How to Write About your Massage Prices
April 11, 2016 Author: Allissa Haines
I've noticed a trend in the last year: Massage therapists attempting to justify their pricing structure in a blog post directed at their clients. It's usually well intended, but poorly executed.
The blog posts and articles I've seen tend to go like this:
Independent MTs have to pay taxes, rent, utilities, supplies, etc. We have to buy our own health insurance, fund our own retirement accounts. We don't get sick days or holiday pay, we don't get paid when people don't show up. And that's why your massage costs $80.
These types of blog posts make me full-body-cringe for a variety of reasons. They are usually badly written. They are usually heavy in bitterness and whining. But mostly, I'm annoyed that they blather all about the therapist, and say nothing about what the client gets from a really high quality massage.
So I set out to write a better post about why my massage is priced the way it is, and what the client actually gets for that price. I wrote one for me, and I made a template for you.
Here's mine (it appears on my practice website, and when I posted it to facebook and spent $20 boosting the post to a target audience, I got 4 new clients in a week).
What you get from a $90 Massage
For most people, money is the biggest obstacle to getting regular massage. There, I said it. We don’t like to talk about money, it’s supposed to be a private issue. But I’m addressing it head on. Regular massage is a considerable budget item, and it’s important to acknowledge that.
I know this because
I walk the walk and get regular massage.
I am crazy tight with finances, so if I don’t plan for it, massage doesn’t happen.
But if I expect you to jiggle the numbers and budget $90 for a massage every week, month, or quarter, it’s my job to tell you what you’re buying. So here it is, what you get from a 1 hour, $90 massage (or $75 if you’re a kid or a senior).
Clarity in Pricing
I hate the awkwardness of tipping. So I don’t take tips. You pay the listed price. That’s it. (If you buy a package of 5 massages, the price goes down a bit.)
I know who is charging what in this area. $90 for an hour, straight up with no tipping is on the average to low end of the scale.
A Full Hour
1 hour = 60 minutes. The clock doesn’t start until I walk in the room and actually begin the massage.
That’s not the case for every business. Massage Envy’s hour is 50 minutes. Elements gives you 55 minutes.
Even some full service spas operate on a 50-minute hour. But in my office, 30, 60, and 90 minute treatments last exactly as long as indicated. (Unless you’re late, then I may have to adjust accordingly.)
Ease of Scheduling
Scheduling tends to be the second biggest obstacle to getting regular massage. We never think of scheduling massage at a time that is actually convenient to call. (In fact, there are a whole bunch of aestheticians and massage therapists I would like to visit, but I refuse to play phone tag for 3 days to make an appointment. So they don’t get my business.)
You can schedule with me online right here LINK. And if you don’t see a time that works for you, drop me an email with some times you’re looking for and maybe I can make it work. Or I’ll suggest someone else in my office if their schedule is more suited to you.
You get my full attention. For 1 hour, you are the superstar. You are the reason we’re in the room. Need silence? We can do that.
Want me to spend the full hour on your feet? Sure. Warm pillow? Cool pillow? Not a problem.
You get your own full attention. No phone. No demands. Just you.
I’ve had 11 years of practice and hundreds of hours of continuing education. They were all just prep for your massage. I learned a cool forearm stretch just for that one time you come in with a carpal-tunnel-ish kinda wrist ache.
I’ve got a neat pillow/towel propping trick to keep you cozy laying on your side if you can’t lay on your belly. Or if your shoulder hurts when you lay on your back. Or if your knee feels weird in any position. I got this. We will get you cozy so you can fully relax and enjoy your massage.
I won’t practice any techniques that are unsafe for you and your health condition. In general, people on blood thinners should not be getting deep tissue massage. Ditto that for people in treatment for cancer. It’s also unwise to do aggressive stretching on pregnant women. Using cold therapy on a client with Reynaud’s is just dumb. These are called contraindications. And I won’t mess around with them.
The downside here is that I may turn you away, but that’s rare. As in, it’s only happened once or twice in 11 years. We can usually find a technique that is safe and effective for your situation.
There are plenty of massage therapists offering discounted massage, operating under the radar. They may not have a practitioner license. They probably don’t have an establishment license. (You can check all that here.)
If a therapist is operating without all the proper licenses, their insurance will be voided in the event of claim. That’s scary stuff right there.
A massage with me gets you connections with all the practitioners I know. And that’s a lot of people. If massage isn’t helping your tendonitis/backache/anxiety, I’ll help you find the right acupuncturist, PT or counselor for you.
High quality massage oil (or cream, or lotion).
I only use the best products on your skin. The BEST. You won’t leave my office feeling slimy or drenched in oil. You won’t break out from a cheap fragrance or preservative.
Some therapists choose their products based on price. I’ve got my hands in this stuff for 20 hours a week, so I choose my products based on quality. Only the best for us!
On most clients, I use one of several products from PurePro. My friend Dianna created PurePro when she was in massage school 20+ years ago and found her skin reacting to most massage products. She makes the product herself at the shop in Greenfield, MA. I met Dianna at a convention in 2007 and she didn’t flinch at all my questions about parabens and preservatives. She explained my options and taught me about choosing the right products for the type of work I do.
If you are extra super sensitive with lots of allergies, I’ll use Hobacare Jojoba oil. It’s not actually an oil, it’s a wax ester, and it’s the closest match to our skin’s natural oil that you can find. I buy it right from the maker, who I’ve met several times because he works his own booth at conventions and such.
You get to support a small local business
It’s just me! No conglomerate. No fancy management structure or corporate set up. Just a little business owner, paying her taxes, making a living, and participating in the same communities she serves. There are fewer and fewer businesses that can stay afloat in an era of big box stores and amazon. When you pay $90 for a massage, you can be certain that money is staying in the local economy.
All that, from a $90 massage.
I made a template for you. You can download it here and customize it. It's a very rough template, because our businesses are so individual and so different. But I hope it provides you with a really solid jumping point, should you decide to write about your own pricing.
Two tips to remember:
You don't have to justify your pricing. This isn't a defense, nor should you feel bad about your prices. You provide a valuable service, and it's worth every penny you charge for it. You are simply educating consumers, informing them of all the aspects of your work and what goes into it.
Be sure to put the emphasis on all that you bring to the massage experience. This is about how the client benefits from your time (not all the ways your dollar has to be stretched).