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In this Post: Setting your massage rates is one of the most difficult things to determine in the beginning of your massagepreneur journey, this post is here to help.
If you have yet to determine your rates, I know this might feel daunting and that you have undoubtedly spent much time lamenting over it, but now is the time to set your prices once and for all!
However, before you arbitrarily pick a number out of thin air, I want you to do a little research/homework/reflection.
Setting rates is a tricky thing.
Charge too little, and you will be in the poor house. Charge too much, and you risk pricing yourself out of the market.
BUT it is important to note that often people perceive those with lesser prices as less than therapists. Charging a higher price might actually make you more appealing.
Oh, they charge a lot, they must be good!
In her work as a money coach, Mikelann Valterra https://www.seattlemoneycoach.com/about/ talks about the concept of ‘noble poverty.’ This is basically the concept that having money is a negative thing, the root of all evil.
In my experience, massage therapists are particularly susceptible to this mindset. We are giving by nature. We want to help as many people as possible. Yet if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, and yes, that means financially, we won’t have enough reserves in our tanks to take care of those around us, including our massage clients.
There is nothing noble about neglecting your needs. You are simply neglecting your needs.
So… If you take only one thing away from this post, take this… Price yourself just a touch higher than you feel comfortable! It is so much easier to offer discounts than to increase your price once it has been established.
Now let’s dive into how to have rates that will sustain you for the long run!
5 Steps for Setting Your Massage Rates
1) Do a little market research. Find out what the therapists around you are charging. While you shouldn’t use this as your only deciding factor when considering pricing, it is a good idea to have an understanding of what is going on in your market.
2) Figure out your monthly living expenses WITH things like travel and savings factored in because you deserve these things in your life!
I am a firm believer in creating a business that fits into the life you want to live—NOT creating a life that fits into your business.
A thriving practice is going to mean different things to different people.
There is such a thing as “toxic” success!
Sometimes having a thriving practice means creating a business that allows for time freedom, or the ability to travel, or one that generously feeds your soul.
What thriving looks like to you might be very different than what it looks like for your best friend!
It is prudent to figure out what type of a life you want to lead and what that will cost to know what kind of take-home pay you need to achieve.
3) Figure out what your monthly business expenses will be. This might be a best guess, but that’s okay. Having an idea of your numbers and your break-even cost will serve you well as you build your massage business.
4) Consider how many massages per week you feel your body could comfortably sustain over the long haul.
Don’t get me wrong, it is okay and even healthy to have fluctuations in this number. There are times in our business when we need to hustle, like when we first get out of school and have bills to pay. And then there are times when we should slow down, like when we have a baby or an injury.
I’m not talking about these outliers. I’m talking about a number that feels like you could live with for a long period of time. A number that allows you to have a balanced lifestyle.
5) Now, do some math.
If you need $2000 a month for business-related expenses and $4000 a month for personal-related expenses and savings, and you feel comfortable giving 80 massages a month, you would need to charge at least $50/massage to cover your costs.
$2000 + $4000 = $6000
$6000/80 = $75
Now compare that to what people are charging in your area. Is it super low? Super high? And then remember my golden advice, charge just a touch higher than you feel comfortable!
Another thing to keep in mind, just because you feel comfortable giving 80 massages per month does not mean you will have that many clients right out of the gate! If you are reading this post, I’m guessing you are probably fairly new in your career.
So, I have a little story for you.
My girl Alana graduated from massage school at the same time I did. She always knew that after graduation she would return to the area she was born and raised to start her massage career. And boy, did she have contacts there. She had lived the majority of her life in this area. It made sense.
On the other hand, I was moving to a town where I knew four people. That’s right, four. Marketing was a little more challenging for me than Alana, who had built-in clients when she graduated.
I’m not saying she didn’t have to market herself because she did, but it wasn’t quite so hard to convince people to check out her services. My point is that just because I decided I wanted to work on 80 clients a month, I didn’t have 80 clients knocking on my door right off the bat. Eventually, sure, but not right away.
When I first got going I supplemented my income working at a spa while building up my clientele. Every single client that called to book an appointment was energizing! I would call my mom, so excited that my marketing efforts were working.
Figure out your prices based on your ideal numbers, but also be realistic. You may need to supplement your income initially, as I did, or maybe like my girl Alana, you will have eager clients who have just been waiting for you to graduate school. Either way, don’t undervalue your worth.
When your mother-in-law questions the price you have determined to charge per session, or your brother-in-law scoffs at the idea that massage could benefit kids, it’s easy to start feeling a little defeated and maybe even second-guess yourself!
But, therapist, your work is valuable, and you are valued!
Now charge accordingly!
- 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
- A Village of ResourcesPodcast Episode 047: Money Mindset for Massage Therapists
- Fresh Out Of Massage SchoolPodcast Episode 046: When Is It Appropriate To Discount Your Massage Services
- Fresh Out Of Massage SchoolPodcast Episode 045: Firing A Massage Client
- Fresh Out Of Massage SchoolSetting Your Massage Rates