This Massage Envy franchise review was written by Daniel Slone, our contributing franchise reviewer. All opinions expressed in this review are Daniel’s own.
This is a special bonus article for Platinum subscribers.
Once upon a time massage had two connotations to most consumers, at opposite ends of the spectrum. One was massage as a service offered by expensive (and probably snooty, and for many people intimidating) spas. The other was massage as a service “with benefits” provided in seedy salons in less savory parts of town. Fortunately, massage has moved well into the mainstream, and Massage Envy is the leading franchise positioned to exploit that transition.
Massage Envy Franchise: The Basics
Massage Envy took the therapeutic massage out of specialized settings like spas and brought it into the mainstream retail environment. One of the franchise’s main innovations was the introduction of membership packages, which produces in the franchisor’s words “a steady flow of clients and more predictable sales cycles.” The system has now introduced a spa option in addition to the standard massage salon through a partnership with skin care manufacturer Murad. Its model is based on providing a pleasurable experience in a comfortable, clean environment.
Massage Envy Franchise: Strengths
1. Massage Envy holds the dominant position in the massage segment. Established in 2002 and franchising since 2003, it currently has about 800 units in 45 states, giving it excellent market penetration. The brand has good recognition in general, and probably has the best consumer recognition among franchised massage salons.
2. The membership model provides additional predictability of revenue streams. Massage Envy also has relatively low retail rates on a la carte massages, enhancing its competitive position. The option of adding the Massage Envy Spa enhancement provides additional revenue opportunities and appeals to an additional customer segment.
3. While the salons certainly accept walk-in business, the predominance of scheduled appointments makes labor management and scheduling easier.
4. This franchise does not require any specialized expertise on the part of the franchisee. The franchisor provides field training as well as assistance with recruiting massage therapists. As such, the franchisee can focus on running the business rather than working in the business. While experience in some aspect of the spa, healthcare, or hospitality fields would certainly be helpful, it is not necessary.
5. Massage Envy does have financing options through a partnership with Siegel Financial Group and Bancorp Bank for those who meet the qualification criteria, which may make securing a franchise easier. In addition, the system participates in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, which offers discounts on franchise fees to military veterans.
Massage Envy Franchise: Weaknesses & Cautions
1. Thanks to the success of the massage franchise model, there are several competing systems now in existence. None have yet gained the market penetration that Massage Envy has, however. In addition, competition from independent massage therapists and spas will be a factor (though competition is a factor in any business, of course). Massage Envy has drawn some flak from massage therapists for bringing a “mass market” or “corporate” nature to massage, but most seem disgruntled primarily that Massage Envy undercuts their pricing.