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Student massage therapist question....How much to charge for outcalls?

I am a massage therapy student with a question on how much to charge for outcall massage sessions. I was thinking 70 for Swedish and 80 for deep tissue massage 1 hour massages. My massage table heats up, so should I add a price with that feature? Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Depending on where you live, most students cannot get a business license, so charging for outcall massage services may not be allowed by local/state ordinance.  Also, your student insurance policy may not cover you as an unlicensed therapist doing paid outcall services.  Please check with your school for more information regarding local and state requirements to practice massage. Also check with your insurance carrier for restrictions on student insurance policies.

Good luck in your new career!

Sorry, I should clarify....i meant AFTER becoming licenced. With Groupon, it seems like people don't want to pay a dollar a min and want discount massages. I regularly see Groupon ads for 35 or even 45 dollar 60min massages. How do we compete with that?

Charging extra for a heated table doesn't make sense, this would be a value added to your service.

All the MT's I know don't charge more for deep tissue. Might have more to do with the local MT scene in your area. You might be able to get away with it, but what do you if during a session with a client and you come across a knot, or especially stiff area that needs deep work, stop the massage and tell the client they owe you another ten dollars? Not a good idea if you want repeat clients. Like I said, I don't know an MT that charges more for deep tissue, at least in my area, it's very possible that there are some that do. If the differential really bothers you, just charge $80 as your base then. A good basic Swedish that includes deep tissue will serve you better than splitting hairs. I don't know, perhaps in your area not charging more for deep tissue would be enough to set you apart from other MT's.

If you are certified in neuromuscular or hot stone, those are examples of things to surcharge for. Scrubs are good for surcharges too. Things like that. Most add on's are in $5-$10 increments. A good rule of thumb is don't charge more for modalities you are not certified in.

Consider your outcall service as a surcharge.


How to compete with Groupon and ME? Good question. I don't have an answer either than do something that sets you apart from the herd and target market your "ideal" client as hard as you can.

As for setting fees, you have to figure our your base price. This is done by figuring how many massages at a certain price point it takes to cover your overhead for a month. Once this is known, for outcalls, you will need calculate a surcharge to your base price. Some things you will have to consider for an outcall surcharge are:

  • add the average set up and breakdown time at the clients place of business or home.
  • a base charge to cover your vehicle/gas/ins for a average driving radius you are willing to go, 
  • time getting to the client.
  • time returning home.
  • time getting your gear into and out of a vehicle or trailer
  • a scale of charges to add to all of that if you go outside of your home/office radius.

Overhead is determined on what you need to live on and what it costs to run your business, or Overhead = personal + professional expenses.

divide this by the average number of weeks in a month, I use 4.3.

divide this by your price point.

divide this number by the number of days a week you want to work, or need to work.

Play with the numbers you need.

Here are a couple of examples: 



27.5/5=5.5 massages or clients a day



26.6/5=5.32 massages or clients a day.

Important! Understand the personal and possible professional risks of doing outcalls. Make sure you have a safety system in place. Someone you know should be aware/monitoring when you are at the clients and when you should be leaving. You should be calling them when you arrive, and when you are physically out of the door and safely on your way home. If you don't call, they should be calling you. If you don't pickup, they need to call the police.

Good Luck,

For outcalls, I charge double what I charge in my office. 

I'd suggest to *not* charge add-on fees for anything.  Most people don't want to be "nickled and dimed".

I know that doesn't answer your question to the extent you would like... but it gives you something to work with.  You are new in the profession, so you can't charge as much as the seasoned therapist.  Well, you can, but you may not retain your clients doing that.  It's a gamble.  However, you can build clientele and then raise your rates as you become a master in the discipline.

In New Hampshire if you accept any kind of payment for a massage as a student you can never, ever get your massage license.  You may or may not need a business license.  It depends upon your state in question.

I charge $150 an hour and up to $300 an hour for professional athletes, big guys, lots of work.

In my opinion...  I don’t think an inexperienced therapist should charge $150.00 to $300.00 an hour.  The person originally asking this question was a student.  Maybe $70.00 to 80.00 for a biginner?

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