The Princes called on Metzler’s business management and franchise experience to create Structura Body Therapies and launched a franchise program in fall 2012. Structura has a goal of 1,000 locations in 10 years, with 15 to 20 in North Texas in the next year.
“It’s a unique concept and very effective therapies,” Metzler said. “That’s what you want in a business with growth potential. You want to have something unique, something that people want, that’s in demand.”
Structura offers structural integration therapies, which focus on the connective tissue of the body in order to bring all the parts of the body into balance. Satisfied clients told the Princes to spread the word about the therapy, triggering the decision to grow.
Metzler says the growth will come slowly, but then exponentially.
“In franchising typically things don’t happen in a linear way,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting the word out, creating recognition and awareness for your brand and your product. Once you reach that 10 to 20 franchisee mark, that’s when growth starts accelerating exponentially. By the end of 2014 we want to be on the radar, we want to have reached that initial critical mass.”
A single unit investment starts around $60,000, and Metzler said they are typically $75,000 to $150,000 all in to start. The investment includes a $25,000 initial investment fee, therapy and business training, travel expenses, equipment, supplies, promotion costs and three months of operating expenses. The minimum space requirement is 350 to 500 square feet, and franchisees pay no royalty the first year. Metzler said that profitability depends on many factors but that franchisees that operate correctly should be profitable within six months to a year.
Structura has two corporate clinics in Ogden, Utah, and another in Kaysville, Utah. The first franchise opened in Chandler, Ariz., in July. Metzler, Jason Prince, COO, and Nancy Prince, vice president of client services, are all involved in supporting franchisees.
Metzler takes a franchisee through the discovery process, which includes initial contact, signing an agreement and negotiations. Jason Prince, who was the national director of massage programs for Steiner Education Group for eight years, helps with hiring and trains therapists. Metzler does the business training, and Nancy Prince visits each site to focus on promotion and customer service.
Competing massage franchises, such as Massage Envy, cost about $350,000 to $560,000 to start and require a net worth of $500,000. Metzler and Jason Prince said they have no preference whether a franchisee is an investor or owner-operator. Area development agreements and multiunit agreements offer franchisees options for opening multiple locations and Jason Prince says his business is very simple and scalable.
Metzler expects an agreement to be signed for a North Texas location by the end of the year. Salt Lake City, Utah, and Denver, Colo., are also expected to be the next areas opening franchises.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2010 to 2020 as “continued growth in demand for massage services will lead to more jobs.” That rate is faster than the average for occupations.
Metzler agrees that the market will help Structura grow. While the corporate Structura clinics are currently profitable, he said the franchisor company is expected to reach profitability by the end of 2014. The company has financial banking from a private investor. Metzler estimated $350,000 to $400,000 company revenue for 2013 and expects that to double in 2014.