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  1. Hi Alissa!
    I really liked the article. My struggle is that for years I was afraid to raise my rates. Now I trying to catch up to where I think I should be in relation to those around me. I did a $5 increase in March for current clients and am planning to do another $5 Jan 1 or maybe March 2018 for them. I raised $10 for new incoming clients, though I am not sure that all of my previous clients aware that new clients are paying $5 more. Is that too soon? I want to get everyone on the same page asap.
    Also, do you have any suggestions on where I could make connections with anxiety clients? I really enjoy helping those who struggle with anxiety. Thank you!

    • Yeah, it’s really complicated to be raising prices for new clients, but not current ones. It rarely goes well.

      I would suggest you do 1 big rate increase on January 1. Don’t try to be incremental and catch up to the proper rate with a few smaller hikes, that’s just annoying to clients. If you need to go up $10 or even $20, just do it.

      Pair this with a change in your service menu, update your website, spiff up your social media. Maybe even spiff up the office a bit, get some new linens, move things around a little. Host an open house event!

      Making some other changes along with a price hike changes the situation from ‘rate increase’ to “my business is growing and evolving!”

      Planning for January 1 gives you time to accomplish all this, and properly inform your clients with plenty of notice.

      We’ve got some tips on raising prices here: https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/podcast/increase-prices/

      And on updating your service menu here: https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/deciding-change-services-pricing-massage-business/

      If you are worried about losing clients, think of it as pruning the imperfect clients out, to make room for more ideal clients. Regarding anxiety work, I suggest putting some language on your website to indicate it’s a specialty of yours, maybe connect with some local mental health professionals.

      And be sure you are following all of these steps to get new, more appropriate clients in the door.https://www.massagebusinessblueprint.com/get-new-massage-clients/

      • Thank you Alissa! I recently moved to a new location in August, re-did my website in April and had an Open House this week! Good to know I am on the right track. Initially I wanted to raise my rates $10 but was scared so I only raised them $5 (first time in over 6 years of owning my own business). A month later I really wished I was at the $10 rate so I raised it for new clients not the ones who has had a $5 increase the month before… Eek pricing is not fun. Thank you for your feedback!

        • Woot! Then you’re on the right track. I did the same “raise $5, wish it was $10” the 1st time I raised raised prices, too. This is how we learn.
          Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

          • I tried a price increase of $10 because I started out waaayy too low; I can’t even offer discounts. I had clients email me trying to guilt me into not raising my prices. One asked me how many new clients I needed to not have to raise my rates. (I’m fully booked several weeks out). I feel so guilty charging people more now and I don’t want the backlash but I’m absolutely drowning in cc fees from all the debit and credit cards I process. I feel like there’s no good answer.

          • Weeelllll Cassandra, I think what you have here is not a pricing problem. It’s a boundary problem.

            Why would any client think it’s okay to question your business decisions or inquire about the financial specifics of your business?That’s totally inappropriate.

            And why would you feel guilty? This has nothing to do with guilt. It’s business.

            There IS a good answer. Raise your rates. And if a client does not want to pay those rates, they can see another therapist. Period. Any client who tries to make you feel bad about pricing can go see someone else.

            Also, what’s up with the cc fees? What system are you using to process?

            I think maybe you could benefit from some mentoring, maybe check out https://www.score.org/ for that? (it’s free)

    • I started with 50.00 as a new business 3 yrs ago, i mentioned it was a promo rate, for just starting out and advertising. I put on my price menu, prices subject to change.
      I told old customers after their last appt after feb. For ex: Prices will be 75.00 an hour.for swedish n 80.00 for therapeutic
      45.oo a half hour 50.00 for specialty bodywork
      If they buy packages i knock off 5. 00
      If they buy 10 or more i knock off 10.00

  2. Thank you for this article. It is the first time I hear about no gratuity policy. I think i will apply it to my practice. As well as set the prices where I think I should be not to be raising them soon. )))

  3. Thank you for the article. I raised my prices twice in one year just to catch up to what I know and feel is the right price for me to have a sustainable practice. This price increase was for my house call clients.

    Now, I want to go up on my prices for my home office business. I am evolving- using electronic health records by Diana Thompson to keep track of clients progress and my notes for most massage sessions. My desire to increase my pricing is also affected by this fact- Often times I spend an additional 15- 30 minutes of my time doing the assessment and or suggesting, showing clients homework, such as stretches and I am not charging for it. I realize I am way too cheap and working way too hard. You mentioned to not vary the price based on technique and now I am a bit torn. Because the new price increase would have been- 75.00 per hour for relaxation and 85.00 per hour for clinical work. Some coaches tell you to charge for the value your clients receive and to not do it by the minute or time? Any suggestions? Thank you.

  4. This is very interesting and I think great article. I am a franchisee and we have these same discussions when we discuss pricing and costs associated. So it’s terrific to see this. I know quite a few LMTs who have their own practices, I am going to share this. I love that you point out that there are trade offs and each practice (or in my case franchise ) has to decide which route they want to take. Some Franchises charge for different modalities like you mention. We raised our rates a few times over the years and the clients who love you mostly do stick with you. You are right to suggest some upgrades if you raise rates like a little remodel. We emphasised to our long term clients especially that this was to allow us to compensate and retain our long term wonderful therapists and that costs do go up over time. The concept of no gratuities is interesting .. if I were a therapist in an individual practice I would consider that. For us it seems like that movement to have restaurants with no tipping.. hard to replicate. If it became industry standard though I think it would be interesting, charging a bit more.. I do know many of our therapists do quite well with gratuities, though so not sure that would be the same!

    Great topic as I find all your posts!

    • I long for a day when no tipping is required, ever, for service professionals! But I hear you, we’re a way off from making that happen in massage employment situations, and it would take someone really brave, with really forward-thinking MT employees to make it happen in a franchise situation.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments, we really like hearing from larger businesses and franchises for perspective. 🙂

  5. The comments are really valuable here, a good discussion.
    The no tipping policy is interesting and may be something that I consider in the plan to raise my rates from $65 to $80 and hour as of Jan 1st 2019. That 15 is usually the amount that I’m given in gratuity.
    I like the idea of introducing the increase along with a ‘refresh’ of my business as well.
    Good food for thought here, thank you.
    Sandra

  6. Hi,
    When deciding what should be the percentage cost allowed for product is there a fixed standard, I allow 30 ml for a full body massage but with so many different pricing options for product what should be the percentage cost allocated.
    I think between 4 – 6 % of the menu price for a massage oil should be allocated for product, is this ok or to high. Understanding this figure would help decide which supplier I could work with and if my pricing structure is within the industry standard.

    Patty

    • As far as I know, there is no ‘standard’. It depends on the style of work you do, your preference and the type of product.
      For me, the supplier I work with is determined by the quality of the product. I buy from smaller companies, so I pay a higher price for a better quality.

      You may be overthinking this. Pricing for supplies matters a bunch when we’re talking about spa treatments and services that involve more supplies. When we’re talking straight-up massage, it might be better to focus on quality of the service & product versus counting pennies.

  7. Thanks so much for shares your through after I had read and get some idea for my dear friend. She just finished her Thai massage therapist in Houston and she wants to open her own business in Temple TX and I am help her out with the research and what can I do more., To helps her starting.

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