a community of practitioners
Hello just my thoughts when I go to work at my YMCA I set my prices and stick to them.Now I am currently building my clientele and I will admit I will have day specials where I will offer free chair massages for MEMBERS and l do charge the average rate for nonmembers.I love doing it.But I am all for collecting my normal rates and sleep well at night.
I agrre with you Gary. We do have to stop taking any job that is offered and start declining some opportunities for the better of the profession. My wife and I usually work around tourist and charge $80 and hour for massage. WE often get people asking us to lower the rate for them. We have to tell them no, because they are paying for our service, and just like any other profession we need to make a living. We have to explain the difference between our fares and others and the quality of work they are going to recieve.
We also do chair massage and charge companies by the hour. We had one company ofeten the both of $10 an hour (apiece) to perform chair massage for a five hour period. WE smiled and happily declined the offer.
Hi Gary. I do not work for Massage Envy but one like them. I have been with them since their inception, about 5 yrs. I go back and forth on my opinion of these membership based centers. On one hand it is a great place for me simply because I am not a "go-getter". They provide the rooms, supplies, advertising, and clients. On the other hand, I do sit around alot, make a paultry commission, (some days it turns out to less than minimum wage) and am expected to keep rooms stocked, fold laundry, etc. I am passionate about massage and love that I can do it everyday but where I am I can not make a living. I am 52 yrs old and have been an MT for 14 yrs and I cannot make a living doing what I love to do. Very frustrating. The Massage industry is changing. Thanks Sheri
When people ask me why I charge so much, I smile and say...
“When you are hungry, you have choices; McDonalds or Ruth Chris. I’m like the Ruth Chris of massage therapists."
I love food metaphors – they get that you can go for quality over price.
In my clinic, I charge what the market will bear, which in my small town (and very economically depressed, 2nd highest unemployment rate in NC) is 60.00 an hour, out of which my therapists get to keep anywhere from $36-45 an hour, depending on the service provided. I know the going rate is much more in bigger towns and other geographic areas, but I am actually the most expensive place in our town. I do have a Rolfer on my staff who charges 100. a session, out of which he keeps $80 and I take $20; he comes from out of town to provide that service here so I don't have a problem with only taking 20%. I'm grateful for his presence (and so is my own body!)
I am an author of business and marketing books and articles (Business Side, my column, appears in Massage & Bodywork Magazine) and I regularly hear complaints about massage franchises. The other side of that is that many people are not cut out to be in business for themselves; these places provide them with insurance and benefits, and many recent grads are grateful to have the job. And the fact is, some people don't turn down those jobs because they need whatever money they can get, and it beats minimum wage at McDonald's.
It is not only the franchises that don't pay enough; my latest hire was working for a chiropractor making $20 an hour when she came to my place for $36 an hour. My staff does not scrub the shower, do laundry, or any other activities other than massage and bodywork. When I handed over her first paycheck last week, she burst into tears and hugged me, and then jumped back and apologized for "getting in my space," but she was just so grateful to be getting the money she deserved.
I know there are other places where the going rate is $100 or more an hour, and the therapist still isn't paid any better. Some of the ritzy spas that charge $100-120 for a massage are still only giving the therapist $25 plus whatever they get in tips, and some places, they have to split those tips with the "towel attendant" or something equally ridiculous.
I also frown on therapists who undercut others' prices in an attempt to steal business. If you are serving the poor, or you have made the choice for example to only work on senior citizens or disabled people with a limited income, then charge 20 bucks if you want to, and don't listen to any naysayers. But if the going rate in your area is $75 and you are charging half that just to try to get business away from other therapists, shame on you. Another business opened close to mine a few months ago with a big sign advertising $40 massage and they haven't done diddly squat. Yes, a few of my clients went there and tried it out, and quickly came right on back to the $60 massage at my place. You get what you pay for. When therapists value themselves and the work they do, that is obvious to the client. People will pay for a quality experience.