Massage Establishments FAQs
Are massage establishment owners background screened?
Yes. Massage establishment owners are background screened pursuant to 456.0135, Florida Statutes.
Are massage establishment owners required to report criminal offenses?
Yes. Massage establishment owners are required to report all criminal convictions even if adjudication was withheld and pleadings of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) within 30 days of the entry of the conviction or plea, pursuant to 456.072(1)(x), Florida Statutes.
Are massage establishments required to have procedures for reporting human trafficking?
Yes, pursuant to Section 480.043(13), Florida Statutes, massage establishments must implement a procedure for reporting suspected human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline or to a local law enforcement agency. A sign detailing this reporting procedure must be posted in a conspicuous place in the establishment which is accessible to employees.
Are massage establishments responsible for knowing the license status of their massage therapists?
Yes. Massage establishments are responsible for knowing that massage therapists practicing in the establishment are licensed, and that licenses are in a status which allows them to practice.
Are massage establishments responsible for identification of massage therapists working in the establishment?
Yes. A person operating a massage establishment is responsible for keeping a copy of the valid government identification of each person working in the massage establishment, including massage therapists. They are also responsible for ensuring that each person working in the establishment is able to present their own government identification if requested by a department investigator or a law enforcement officer.
Are there additional city, county, or municipal requirements to operate a massage establishment?
Yes, in some places. Many cities, counties, and municipalities have additional requirements to operate a business, or specifically related to the operation of a massage establishment.
The Board of Massage Therapy is the licensing authority for massage establishments at the state level. For information on additional city, county, or municipal requirements, contact your local government.
Can a massage establishment change locations?
Yes, a massage establishment can change locations by submitting an application for massage establishment change of location.
A massage establishment may not change locations until the change of location application is complete. This includes receiving a passing result on an inspection of the new location.
Can a new massage establishment operate under a previous establishment license?
No, pursuant to Section 480.043(9)(a), Florida Statutes, if you are a new owner, you MAY NOT operate the establishment under a previous owner’s license.
Can a salon or spa offer massage services?
Yes, if the salon or spa holds a massage establishment license, and the services are performed by a massage therapist.
Information on the requirements for licensure and how to apply for a massage establishment license can be found in the Licensing section under Licensed Massage Establishment (New Business or Change of Ownership).
Do I need a license to operate a massage establishment?
Yes. Operation of a massage establishment requires a license, pursuant to 480.043(1), Florida Statutes.
Does a massage establishment license allow other medical or cosmetic procedures to be performed?
No. A massage establishment license authorizes licensed massage therapists to practice massage in a specific location. Other medical or cosmetic procedures may require additional licensing by other licensing authorities.
Can I find a list of massage establishments in my area?
Yes. The Department of Health license verification portal can be used to search for licensees by city, county, or zip code.
Has my massage establishment changed ownership?
A change of ownership has occurred when the entity holding the license changes. Pursuant to 480.043(9)(a), Florida Statutes:
A license issued to an individual, a partnership, a limited liability company, or another entity may not be transferred from the licensee to another individual, corporation, limited liability company, or another entity.
Some examples of change of ownership include:
- A license originally issued to an individual (sole proprietor), where the individual has changed.
- A license originally issued to an individual (sole proprietor) which now operates under a Limited Liability Company or Corporation.
- A license originally issued to a partnership where the partners have changed.
- A license issued to a Limited Liability Company whose members have changed.
- A license issued to a Corporation which has dissolved and reincorporated.
Can I find out who is serving as Designated Establishment Manager (DEM) for a massage establishment?
Yes. The Designated Establishment Manager (DEM) of a massage establishment can be found using the Department of Health’s license verification portal to search for the establishment license. The name and license number of the DEM will appear under the Supervising Practitioners tab.
Can I find out if a therapist is serving as the Designated Establishment Manager (DEM) for a massage establishment?
Yes. The establishment or establishments where a massage therapist serves as the DEM can be found using the Department of Health’s license verification portal to search for the massage therapist’s license. The name and license number of establishments where the therapist serves as DEM can be found under the Supervising Practitioners tab.
Are massage establishments inspected?
Yes. Licensed massage establishments are inspected annually at a minimum to ensure they are compliant with laws and rules.
I added or removed a corporate owner or officer. Do I need to update my massage establishment license?
Yes, corporations who have changed massage establishment owners by adding or removing corporate owners or officers are required to update their corporate officers.
Information about changing corporate owners and officers can be found in the Licensing section.
Some ownership changes may constitute a transfer or change of ownership. If a transfer of ownership has occurred, you will need to apply for a new massage establishment license.
I changed my business name with the Division of Corporations. Do I need to update my massage establishment license?
Yes. If you filed a change of name with the Division of Corporations for your partnership, corporation or limited liability company, you would need to update your establishment license by submitting a Massage Establishment Change of Name/Location application.
I changed my fictitious name registration with the Division of Corporations. Do I need to update my massage establishment license?
Yes. If you changed your fictitious name, registered a new fictitious name which you intend to use in advertisement, or cancelled your fictitious name registration with the Division of Corporations, you will need to update your establishment license by providing the fictitious name and registration number to the board in writing.
Your update can be made by email to MQA.MassageTherapy@flhealth.gov, or by mail to:
Florida Department of Health
Board of Massage Therapy
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin C-06
Tallahassee, FL 32399
I purchased a business that holds a massage establishment license. Do I need a new one?
Yes, if you are a new owner, you MAY NOT operate the establishment under a previous owner’s establishment license. If a transfer of ownership has occurred, you will need to apply for a new massage establishment license.
Is a Designated Establishment Manager (DEM) required to operate a massage establishment?
Yes, under Section 480.043(12), Florida Statutes, as a condition of licensure, a massage establishment must have a designated establishment manager (DEM). There is no exemption from the requirement to designate an establishment manager.
My massage establishment is closing. What do I need to do?
If you massage establishment is closing and you no longer wish to hold the massage establishment license, you can submit a request to voluntarily relinquish your license.
What do inspectors look for during a massage establishment inspection?
A sample inspection form is available on the board website.
What is a massage establishment owner?
A massage establishment owner is defined in Section 480.033, Florida Statutes as
…means a person who has ownership interest in a massage establishment. The term includes an individual who holds a massage establishment license, a general partner of a partnership, an owner or officer of a corporation, and a member of a limited liability company and its subsidiaries who holds a massage establishment license.
Are certain signs required in a massage establishment?
Yes. Signage required by 456.0341(3), Florida Statutes must be conspicuously displayed in a place accessible to employees, which substantially states:
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave, whether it is prostitution, housework, farm work, factory work, retail work, restaurant work, or any other activity, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to 233-733 to access help and services. Victims of slavery and human trafficking are protected under United States and Florida law.”
For massage establishments, this signage must also provide the relevant parts of the establishment’s reporting procedure for human trafficking, pursuant to 480.043(13), Florida Statutes.
Are massage therapists required to have identification while working in a massage establishment?
Yes. Massage therapists and persons employed by a massage establishment must be able to present valid government identification at the request of a department investigator or law enforcement officer when working in an establishment.
Valid government identification includes any of the following:
- A valid, unexpired driver’s license issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States
- A valid, unexpired identification card issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States
- A valid, unexpired United States passport
- A naturalization certificate issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security
- A valid, unexpired alien registration receipt card (green card)
- A valid, unexpired employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security
What is a massage establishment?
Massage establishment is defined in Chapter 480.033, Florida Statutes as
…a site or premises, or portion thereof, wherein a massage therapist practices massage.
What is an interested party?
An interested party is defined in Rule 64B7-26.001(3), Florida Administrative Code, as
…an individual directly involved in the management of a massage establishment whose ownership entity is a corporation having more than $250,000 in business assets in this state.
What happens if a massage establishment license is not renewed?
If a massage establishment license is not renewed prior to its expiration date (August 31st of every odd year), the license becomes delinquent for a period of six months or until it is reinstated by the licensee. Massage therapy cannot be practiced in a massage establishment with a delinquent license.
If the establishment license has not renewed within six months after expiration of the establishment license will be set to null and void. Once the license is set to null and void, should the owner decide to regain a Florida license in the future, they will need to reapply and complete the full application process.
Who can apply for a massage establishment license?
A person who wants to operate a massage establishment may apply for a license, either as an individual (sole proprietor), or as a part of a partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other entity.
Who is responsible for renewing and updating a massage establishment license?
Renewing and keeping a massage establishment license updated is the responsibility of the massage establishment owner(s) or a person specifically authorized by the owner(s).