What is the average sports massage therapist salary? (UK)

It isn’t easy to pinpoint an average sports massage therapist salary in the UK, as many factors come into play. 

That said, by looking at the information available online and with our industry knowledge, you can get a better idea of how much you can expect to earn as an SMT wherever you decide to work.  

Here’s everything you need to know about the average sports massage therapist salary and advice on how to maximise it. 


What is the average sports massage therapist salary in the UK?

According to Payscale, sports massage therapists earn anywhere between £19k-£71k*. Glassdoor provides similar statistics, with £42k* coming out as the average yearly amount.  

*The above figures are correct as of October 2022.

Using this evidence and our industry knowledge, we can conclude that the average sports massage therapist salary in the UK is between £21k-£40k.

However, your earning potential isn’t necessarily limited to this range. Since you can branch out on your own as a self-employed SMT and create your own hourly rate, the world is your oyster—but more on this later.


What factors affect a sports massage therapist salary?

There are three main points that can impact how much you earn:

  • location
  • qualifications and knowledge  
  • experience level

Your location matters, as salaries differ depending on whether you’re based in or out of London. According to aboutmanchester.co.uk, the average salary in London is around 30% higher than in Manchester, for example.

In terms of qualifications and knowledge, you don’t require a degree to become an SMT—you only require a Level 3 vocational qualification.

But if you hold a Level 4 qualification, you may be able to justify charging a higher rate than your competitors. Or you may gain a better salary from your employer if you’re not freelance or self-employed.

The same applies to your experience level—the more experienced you are, the greater your salary (in theory, at least).


Sports massage therapist salary when working as an employee

When you work for an employer, your earnings will be limited as they will need to take their cut.

However, as with many other professions, a certain level of security comes with being employed. These benefits include:

  • stable income
  • holiday pay
  • sick pay
  • a workplace pension

When you’re new to the industry, your starting salary as a sports massage therapist will likely be around £18k-£22k, increasing with experience.

Depending on your location and the individual employer’s business model, you could see yourself earning around £30k-40k after you’ve got a few years of experience under your belt.


Self-employed salary for sports massage therapists 

Your salary as a sports massage therapist can certainly skyrocket if you go down the self-employed route, but it takes a lot of work and dedication to see this happen, just as working in any other field.

Most self-employed SMTs charge their clients £35-£50 per hour.

Charging this rate may feel as though you’re earning a fortune. But when you consider outgoings, such as rent, equipment, or tax, you’ll see it takes time to create a viable business plan.

You’ll need to invest a lot of time into marketing and advertising your business and planning for slower periods when your client base dwindles.

You may decide the employed route is the best option when starting out, before branching out with your own business model with a few years of experience and more industry knowledge.


Opportunities to boost your sports massage therapist salary

If you’re ready to go down the self-employed route or thinking of setting up your own clinic, there are several ways you can boost your sports massage therapist salary.

To note, you could go down the traditional route by gaining a degree and becoming a Sports Therapist, but that takes a lot of time and energy that many people getting their career off the ground don’t wish to go through.

Here are a few pointers if you simply want to earn more money from working as a fitness professional.


1. Strategic pricing 

When done correctly, this is one of the most effective ways to boost your salary as a sports massage therapist.

Package deals are particularly fruitful for attracting and retaining new clients. This involves presenting your services as part of a ‘package’, which costs more than a single session yet provides clients with a slight discount. 

If a client chooses this, you’ll sign them up for multiple sessions, which means you’re earning more from one client without having to sign up three in one go.

This saves them money and makes signing up for multiple sessions more tempting, especially since clients usually want more than one sports massage at a time.

Here’s an example of this in action from Flux Sports Therapy, a sports massage clinic based in Chorlton, Manchester:

average sports massage salary uk example

As you can see, each package saves the client money, as it costs them less than it would to purchase three to five separate sessions.

The greater the length and quantity of sessions, the more money the client will save. This encourages them to go for the more expensive packages, as they’ll save more in the long run.

Flux still offers two standard sessions as part of their services—60 mins for £45 and 90 mins for £65—but their package deals make them stand out and likely win them the most clients.   


2. Simultaneously working as a personal trainer 

Your earning potential as a personal trainer is unlimited, as you can take your services online and work with clients across the globe. 

Not everyone wants to do the above, but even working as a personal trainer in a gym setting can skyrocket your salary as a sports massage therapist. 

Finding a niche fitness market to work with is a good business strategy, as it’s easier to stand out against competitors. As a sports massage therapist by trade, you may want to focus on training clients recovering from an injury, for example.

You can refer clients between the two services, practically doubling your income. It’s just food for thought if you want to progress your career and earn a better sports massage therapist salary.

Related: How to become a personal trainer


3. Learning basic marketing and SEO skills 

Marketing your services is invaluable, even if you only operate in your local community.

Establishing yourself as your area’s go-to sports massage therapist will win you the most clients. If the market is saturated, you can stand out against the crowd by choosing a specific niche to work with.

There’s too much to cover in this article, but the main areas to focus on include the following:

  • growing your social media presence
  • creating and distributing business cards
  • establishing a referral scheme to encourage clients to refer their friends
  • optimising your website around relevant keywords in your local area (e.g., ‘sports massage therapist Merseyside’)

Ensure you perform in-depth competitor research before creating a marketing plan.

That way, you’ll have a clearer vision of where your business fits into the market and be able to define a unique selling point. This is the best way to establish and grow a strong client base.


Specialist sports massage insurance through Insure4Sport

Working as a sports massage therapist can be incredibly rewarding, but it presents certain risks, which is why you may want to get specialist sports massage insurance.

At Insure4Sport, we arrange up to £10m of Public Liability and £1m Professional Indemnity cover, which protects you from any claims made following treatment you’ve provided to a client.

Click the banner below to get an instant online quote today.

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