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How to Get Work as a Beauty or Massage Therapist

Jennifer Birtles 20th Jun 2020 2 Comments

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’re interested in the health and beauty sector, then working as a beauty or massage therapist could be a good option for you. There is a large variety in roles as well as the option to work for a salon or spa or set up your own business. Its flexibility means it’s a great job opportunity for people with busy lives and other commitments.

We’ve put together a little guide that covers what qualifications and training you need, and how to get started and find work.

Why You Should Work in Beauty and Massage Therapy

Why you should become a beauty or massage therapist

Not sure whether you want to go self-employed as a beauty or massage therapist? Here’s why you should!


Set up as a self-employed therapist to work around family and other commitments. It suits part-time work or if you want to be selective about what times and days of the week you work. You can take on more hours one week when you need to, but cut back at other times if you have prior commitments.

Work From Home

Although you’ll want to be careful about the environment you choose to treat customers in (it needs to be warm, welcoming, and clean), working from home is an option to consider. Renting out space salon space is very expensive and if you’re starting out this might not be a viable option. Alternatively, you could set up as a mobile therapist and visit people in their homes, instead.

Cheap business costs

Running a business as a beauty or massage therapist requires a little bit of initial investment. You’ll need the tools for the job, and have to pay for products like massage oils or beauty products. However, if you’re operating as a mobile therapist – or from your home – the overheads are low. You won’t have things like therapy room rent (or total salon rent) to pay for. This means you can pocket more of your money. You can also offer a more competitive price compared to salons and spas.

Job Security

A study by Oxford Economics found that in 2018 the beauty industry’s estimated worth was just short of an astronomical £28 billion. The beauty industry continues to grow and there seems to be no sign of it stopping, making it perfect for job opportunities. Being qualified as a beauty therapist means that you’ll likely always be able to find work in the sector and have a reliable income.


If you’re easily bored and hate repetitive tasks this is a good option! You’ll meet new people every day, so it’s perfect for sociable personalities. You’ll also carry out different procedures and treatments on a daily basis, so no two days are exactly the same.

Getting Started: Qualifications and Training

Although technically there are no qualifications that are compulsory to work in these industries, it helps if you do have them. You seem more credible and trustworthy to clients while it also provides you with knowledge and a sense of self-assurance that you’ve had official training and know what you’re doing. To work in a spa or salon, you’ll need a minimum Level 2 NVQ.

There are loads of qualification types available so do some research into which will be best suited to you in regards of the cost and how much time you will have to dedicate to it.

Some of the types of qualifications you can get are:

  • NVG
  • City and Guilds
  • Diploma
  • BTEC
  • ITEC

Having a recognised certification when you start to apply for jobs will help to reassure an employer and clients that you know what you are doing and can be relied upon.

It also may be worth considering but you can get apprenticeships in beauty and massage therapy which will enable you to earn a little while you study and as soon as you are qualified you will have a job waiting. Find out more about apprenticeships on the Government website.

Get Experience

Gain experience first

The best way to set yourself in good stead is to get as much experience as you can. If you are hoping to be able to work for yourself then you need to make sure you’ll be able to cater to all your client’s requirements. Gaining as much experience as you can will make you more comfortable carrying out different treatments and feel confident doing so. Therefore, the more skills and treatments you know how to do the more work you’ll be able to take on and consequently, the more money you can earn from it.

When you’re setting up a business it’s always hard to get your name out there. A good place to start is by offering your services to friends and family for a reduced rate. By doing a good job they’ll want to come back to you and they can recommend you on to others. Word of mouth is still one of the most efficient ways of marketing as people trust an opinion more from someone they know.

Another good place to find new customers is to offer your services to local businesses. If you’re a mobile beauty therapist, offer lunchtime manicures or at-desk 15-minute shoulder massages. It’s a great way to gain experience AND find paying clients.

Finding Work and Starting Your Own Business

Plenty of beauty and massage therapist jobs are advertised on popular job search sites like Reed, TotalJobs, and JobSite. These are usually in-house PAYE positions where you work for someone else. It’s a good way to get started as you pick up more skills and can continue to earn while you work on developing your own business in your free time.

Go Part-Time

Consider going part-time at first so that you don’t suddenly have a big drop in income whilst you wait for your business to take off. Often new ventures don’t make money in the first couple of months so be prepared for this. Be willing to give up evenings and weekends to offer your services – you’ll likely pick up more clients this way as outside of office hours is when more people will be free.

Be Mobile

It can help if you are willing to travel to your client instead of them coming to you. Although it takes up more of your time it shows you are flexible and you can charge slightly more accordingly.

To expand your client base you can also offer deals for groups of friends who come together. Making it cheaper for them individually is an ideal incentive as long as you’re not losing out.

Finally, make sure you have professional insurance before you start working. Accidents happen to even the most qualified and trained worker so you want to make sure you and your clients are protected if anything happens.

Read our full article on how to make money as a mobile manicurist. It’ll give you more ideas about creating a mobile beauty business!

More Useful Reading

If you like what you’ve read here why not check out more articles to help you set up your beauty or massage therapist business.

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3 years ago

Hmm. I think you have an idea

3 years ago

Some good points shared here.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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