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In this post: Negotiating a massage lease can be an indimidating undertaking. Not for the faint of heart! We might even agree to terms that don’t serve us. But massage therapist, I am here to tell you, you don’t have to settle for terms that don’t serve you!
Did you know that you can negotiate the terms of your lease?
Us massage therapists aren’t often versed in the lawyer babble language of leases. As such, we might be prone to agree to terms that don’t necessarily serve us!
But the truth is, EVERYTHING in a lease is negotiable!
Things that can be negotiated in a massage lease
- length of lease
- CPI increase rates
- gradual rent increases
- death and disability clauses
- allowing pets on premises
- a covid clause
The first time I sat through a lease negotiation, I was 14. Growing up, my dad owned shoe stores. Not one to be steamrolled by self-serving landlords, he crossed through lines and added paragraphs like nobody’s business! He was a force!
We can be forces too!
Landlords need tenants! With more and more businesses realizing they can save money by continuing to staff workers remotely, we, as tenants, have the upper hand!
If any of you are in the process of negotiating terms with landlords, stand your ground. Don’t settle for terms that don’t suit you!
As massage therapists, we typically aren’t the type to enjoy conflict. And negotiating can often feel like conflict. But therapists now is the time to be strong! Practice with a friend or loved one if it will make it easier to state your needs. Whatever it takes, make sure your NEEDS are heard!
One of my favorite negotiating tips is to state your request and then SHUT UP! Don’t explain yourself, don’t enter into discussions about why that might not work for the other person, just state and be done. Silence is hard for people! By remaining quiet, you make the other party nervous. Nervous that you may walk away from the deal – thus more likely to acquiesce to your request.
While it is scary to enter into any legal obligation, like a lease, remember the ball is in your court! Be bold and secure as you make your requests! What’s the worst they can say? No…
Here are some of my favorite additions to add to a lease…
Death and Disability Clause
The last thing I want if I were to die or become disabled and couldn’t perform massage is for my loved ones to be held liable for a lease I signed. Therefore, I’ve taken up the practice of adding a death and disability clause to every lease I sign these days.
Here is the language I use:
In the event of the death of, or Disability (as defined below), Tenant shall have the option of terminating this Lease upon thirty (30) days’ written notice to Landlord. The effective date of such termination shall be the thirtieth (30th) day following delivery of such written notice. On such termination date, Tenant shall surrender the Premises to Landlord in accordance with this Lease, this Lease shall terminate and neither party will have any further obligations with respect to this Lease.
For purposes of this section, “Disabled” shall mean the inability of the Critical Person to perform his/her customary duties for Tenant for a period of at least one hundred eighty (180) consecutive days. In the event the Landlord disputes whether the Critical Person is Disabled, the Critical Person shall submit to examinations by two medical doctors, one selected by the Tenant and the other selected by the Landlord. The two medical doctors shall examine the Critical Person and determine whether it is more likely than not that the Critical Person will be unable to perform his/her customary duties for Tenant for a period of one hundred eighty (180) consecutive days from the date of the examination. If the two medical doctors agree, their decision shall be binding and final. If the two medical doctors disagree, they shall select a third medical doctor, whose determination shall be final and binding.
A COVID Clause
Now I know it might seem highly unlikely that we will enter into a lockdown situation like in 2020. It could happen, and wouldn’t you like to be covered in your lease if we did? Some landlords were extraordinarily gracious and kind during the COVID crisis, while others held firm to the terms set out in their lease. Having a clause gives an added layer of protection.
Here is the language I use:
In the event that the State of Colorado shuts down fitness businesses by executive order, tenant may give three (3) day notice of termination and call for inspection of the unit condition per the terms of the lease and a prorata refund of the lease amount paid in advance for that month will be refunded based on the date of the inspection. Security deposit will be refunded according to Colorado law and the terms of the lease without penalty for early termination.
Remember that negotiating a massage lease doesn’t have to be a daunting task reserved for the brave-hearted. You don’t have to settle for terms that don’t align with your needs and aspirations. As I’ve shared, everything in a lease is negotiable, and armed with the right approach, you can advocate for your interests with confidence.
It’s true that as massage therapists, we might not be fluent in the intricacies of legal jargon, but that shouldn’t deter us from standing up for ourselves. Reflect on the empowering story of my father, who fearlessly navigated negotiations and transformed lease agreements to his advantage. Just like him, you can be a force to be reckoned with.
Changing Work Dynamics
In this era of changing work dynamics, with businesses embracing remote work and tenants gaining a newfound upper hand, it’s your time to shine. Landlords depend on tenants like you, and it’s essential to recognize your value in these negotiations. Your skills and services contribute significantly to the wellness of the community, and that’s something to be proud of.
While the prospect of negotiation might stir up feelings of conflict avoidance, I encourage you to embrace your inner strength. Remember that your voice matters, and your needs deserve to be heard. If it helps, practice with a trusted friend or family member to build your confidence in articulating your demands. Speak up for what you need – it’s a step toward creating a lease agreement that truly serves you.
Powerful Negotiating Tip
A powerful tip I shared earlier is to state your request and then let silence fill the room. Silence can be a potent tool, as it places the pressure on the other party to consider your terms seriously. Remember, they are invested in keeping you as a tenant, and your negotiation skills can be the key to achieving favorable terms.
As you embark on these lease negotiations, consider integrating clauses like the Death and Disability Clause and the COVID Clause into your agreements. Protecting yourself against unexpected circumstances demonstrates your foresight and commitment to your well-being and those of your loved ones.
In the end, negotiating a massage lease is about taking control of your professional path. With persistence, knowledge, and determination, you can secure a lease agreement that not only meets your needs but also acknowledges your value as a massage therapist. So go forth, fellow therapists, and shape your lease agreements to your advantage. Your journey to a more equitable and empowering lease starts now!
What are some terms you’ve negotiated with your landlords? I’d love to hear!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008