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Is A Career In Animal Massage For You? Some Things To Consider - Part II

Sep 16, 2008
Starting a business takes time. Most small business owners will tell you that they were working on a business plan and all the other important aspects of starting up a new business for a year or two before they finally opened their doors. If you are planning to start your own animal massage practice, it's important to do all the research necessary before quitting your job and hanging up your sign. Below are a few points to take into consideration.

1. Marketing. How would you market your services? You might want to do a marketing plan, outlining your strategies for the first year. Keep a pad of paper with marketing ideas at hand at all times and write down any new ideas you get. It's important to constantly market your business, not just in the beginning or when business is slow.

2. Training. Where can you learn animal massage therapy? Remember that even after you have graduated from the massage program you choose, continuing to learn is very important. Take classes in other modalities, or classes that explore traditional massage more in depth or from another angle. You never know what might strike a chord with you.

3. Insurance. What kind of insurance do you need? Liability insurance is a good idea; the International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork (IAAMB) offers this to their members. If you are planning to set up a massage studio at your house, look into what's covered by your home insurance. Be careful about this though, I heard of someone who called her insurance company asking what she needed to do when she opened her business, and they immediately canceled her home insurance policy. Something to keep in mind.

4. Legal matters. In addition to deciding what legal form your business should be (sole proprietor, LLC, Inc.), you also need to look into the laws regarding animal massage therapy in your state. They vary quite a bit, and some states only allow massage to be performed under the supervision of a veterinarian. To find out what the deal is in your state, go to AVMA's website (the American Veterinary Medical Association). Since this is a new field, the laws are expected to change all over the country, so make sure you stay up to date with what's going on. IAAMB also tracks updates to these laws, listed by state.

In the spring of 2008, The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM) was founded to develop a set of core competencies for animal massage and acupressure. This resulted in four national certification exams: Equine Massage, Equine Acupressure, Canine Massage and Canine Acupressure, hosted by Hocking College.

NBCAAM states "The purpose of NBCAAM is to establish and uphold professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners. We have taken important strides toward promoting and increasing the level of professionalism within the animal massage and acupressure disciplines. Taking the examination is entirely voluntary and we are excited to be able to offer this option to people who are serious about enhancing the professional standing of animal massage and acupressure in the United States."

If this all sounds a bit daunting, keep in mind that every business has to start somewhere, and nobody knows it all right from the start. And if you love animals and want to make a difference in their health and lives, a career in animal massage is a fun and extremely rewarding choice.
About the Author
Cattie writes about animal massage and offers advice to animal massage therapists as well as pet owners
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