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I have been compiling a list of survey questions. It will be available next week and I will let you know how to access it. I am seeking 1,000 therapists to participate so please pass this information on. I will be compiling the information with a colleague and writing an article on our industry.

Thanking you all in advance, Gloria

Some things to think about in the meantime......

Has your career in massage turned out to be the way you imagined originally? If not why?
If you work for someone do they pay for your continuing education or a % of it?

Speak up and Speak out! What do you think is a fair wage for an entry level massage therapist and/or should there be a different wage for someone with experience?


Also, what challenges have you faced if you employ therapists?
What challenges have you faced if you are a sole self employed practitioner?
What challenges have you faced working for someone else?

Thanking you in advance, Gloria

Tags: employment, massage, salaries, spas, survey, wages

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This issue is loaded with many varieties of answers. I paid 60 % to therapists at the center. I wish I could have paid an hourly wage also but it was commission. I paid for everything also. All therapists had to do was come in and do a great massage. Some would stay and others wanted to be called. When I moved us into the bigger center, it was 50/50 and I still paid for everything.

My challenge was working with new therapists. The experienced ones would work and go. New therapists were excited to be doing the work and stayed longer. I also really liked helping new people adjust in the field. I got a lot of folks to give this profession a shot. I think $8/hr is fine if you are able to pay this for them being there and not working, but if you mean $8/hr for performing massage, no way. The house is taking advantage. Are they providing Healthcare and $8/hr?
Mike, thanks for the link you sent me. Anyway else wanting to express your opinion please do so.
Thanks for your feedback Mike... unfortunately some places do only pay $8/hr and not for the downtime and no other benefits. Sad ! LMT's what is happening in your world?
I am self-employed, as in rent my own space and cover all expenses. Also, I am a IC for a Physical Therapy center. When I first started as an IC I was directly out of school. There was a 50-50 split with the center supplying everything except the actual massage. As I increased my knowledge as well as hands on experience, my % went up. I think this is a perfectly fair way to compensate. As for my shop, I charge $80/90min, $50/60min, $40/45min, $30/30 min with all new clients receiving $10 off their first massage. I also have a "loyalty" program that after 4 hours, their 5th hour is free. There are no other "discounts" through out the rest of the year. I am one of those people who is not good about birthdays/Christmas and the like. This gives EVERYONE a bonus all year long. This makes them feel special and most of my referrals are word of mouth. As for the correct wage for a therapist... I think it wholly depends on where your practice is located. "City Dwellers" :) are going to make a lot more than us "Rural Folk". I don't think this is really driven in to the heads of most new therapists. I think the phrase "National Average" is what is heard and acted upon. Someone starting out should research all other therapist in the area (Pricing/ Modalities/ Hours of Operation) and design their practice around "theirs" to stand out and make a statement. They should most definitely be slightly less in price as other established therapists. First, it will get people in the door. Second, as they gain more experience, they will be able to raise their fees to what others in the area are charging. Also, they can always sell products to supplement, as well as, get certified in something that nobody else in the area is offering. The therapist would then be ale to charge a little more as a "specialty". I hope this helps! I am willing to clarify anything that didn't get "put to paper" well.
Thanks Marissa,
I so appreciate your time, thoughts and information.

Anyone else?
Who works in the spa industry? Your thoughts and experiences too please!

Marissa Macias said:
I am self-employed, as in rent my own space and cover all expenses. Also, I am a IC for a Physical Therapy center. When I first started as an IC I was directly out of school. There was a 50-50 split with the center supplying everything except the actual massage. As I increased my knowledge as well as hands on experience, my % went up. I think this is a perfectly fair way to compensate. As for my shop, I charge $80/90min, $50/60min, $40/45min, $30/30 min with all new clients receiving $10 off their first massage. I also have a "loyalty" program that after 4 hours, their 5th hour is free. There are no other "discounts" through out the rest of the year. I am one of those people who is not good about birthdays/Christmas and the like. This gives EVERYONE a bonus all year long. This makes them feel special and most of my referrals are word of mouth. As for the correct wage for a therapist... I think it wholly depends on where your practice is located. "City Dwellers" :) are going to make a lot more than us "Rural Folk". I don't think this is really driven in to the heads of most new therapists. I think the phrase "National Average" is what is heard and acted upon. Someone starting out should research all other therapist in the area (Pricing/ Modalities/ Hours of Operation) and design their practice around "theirs" to stand out and make a statement. They should most definitely be slightly less in price as other established therapists. First, it will get people in the door. Second, as they gain more experience, they will be able to raise their fees to what others in the area are charging. Also, they can always sell products to supplement, as well as, get certified in something that nobody else in the area is offering. The therapist would then be ale to charge a little more as a "specialty". I hope this helps! I am willing to clarify anything that didn't get "put to paper" well.
Gloria, I think what you charge is relevant to where you live. When I started I was working with Mike and we were giving the first massage away free. So a lot of free massage was being done. We were charging 50. after the 1st visit...

Now I still charge 50. per hour but I don't do hour sessions anymore. I live in a mid to lower income area and with the economy being tight I began running a special for 90 minutes, $65. it went so well that I'm still running it and decided to keep it going through December... 2 hours now for $90. People are grateful for the price break and I have been as busy as I choose to be. I do have a home salon so I have no extra expense. I don't charge different prices for different modalities. If I were on the other side of town I could easily get 100. for my 90 minute sessions. I have considered a sliding scale...

We are so taken advantage of by chiropractors and Spa's it makes my blood boil. We are not machines, it angers me when we are treated as such and than paid peanuts...
I'll pipe in (shocker there huh?) :)

i am still just getting my practice started. i work a full time graphic design job. so to start i've ONLY marketed myself to a bike club. in doing so i originally started with $50 an hour. Compared to what the wages are around here...$50 was very reasonable. i sold maybe 2 or 3 certificates....and that was it. no one came knocking. Finally after months and months of nothing, and after brain storming with my MOM (of all people) :) it was decided that something would be better than nothing and so i dropped my rates to $35 a session. Typically I do about an hour and 20 minutes. Well...the very week i announced i was dropping my rates i must have got 3 in one week. and it's been somewhat consistent since...that was back in June/July. It has also made it so that I had repeat clients right off the bat. the response from my clients were that they had always wanted to get massages but couldn't afford them and at the lower rate they finally could. what i have found is that now at $35 i am typically getting anywhere between $40 and $50 anyhow with tip. people are very appreciative of the lower rates so they tip me better. in the end it was the best thing i did for my practice. now my clients can afford massage more regularly...which was my goal...and so they come in more regularly.
"Wage" indicates that you are asking about employed entry level massage therapists. In the Reno, NV area, wages for these individuals vary greatly between franchised massage centers which offer $15 to $17 for massage hours done, less for down time .Although employers will say that employees at spas must be experienced prior to being hired, entry level therapists occasionally get hired . They are usually paid commission on massage hours done and some get none for down time, while others get minimum wage. Commission range from 25% to 40% depending on location. As full time employees they usually have benefits such as vacation pay, etc. So there is a wide range of wages paid for entry-level employees.

My feelings on the subject? Entry-level Massage therapists who want to earn more need to invest in their education, getting the most training and practice while in school so they are better prepared to enter the workplace. If a massage school's most urgent selling point is that they can get you done in six months, the student's education may get short changed as the school rushes you out the door.
6 months for schooling???? where? my schooling was about a year and a half!!

Debra Rilea said:
"Wage" indicates that you are asking about employed entry level massage therapists. In the Reno, NV area, wages for these individuals vary greatly between franchised massage centers which offer $15 to $17 for massage hours done, less for down time .Although employers will say that employees at spas must be experienced prior to being hired, entry level therapists occasionally get hired . They are usually paid commission on massage hours done and some get none for down time, while others get minimum wage. Commission range from 25% to 40% depending on location. As full time employees they usually have benefits such as vacation pay, etc. So there is a wide range of wages paid for entry-level employees.

My feelings on the subject? Entry-level Massage therapists who want to earn more need to invest in their education, getting the most training and practice while in school so they are better prepared to enter the workplace. If a massage school's most urgent selling point is that they can get you done in six months, the student's education may get short changed as the school rushes you out the door.
I went to such a school!

Lisa said:
6 months for schooling???? where? my schooling was about a year and a half!!

Debra Rilea said:
"Wage" indicates that you are asking about employed entry level massage therapists. In the Reno, NV area, wages for these individuals vary greatly between franchised massage centers which offer $15 to $17 for massage hours done, less for down time .Although employers will say that employees at spas must be experienced prior to being hired, entry level therapists occasionally get hired . They are usually paid commission on massage hours done and some get none for down time, while others get minimum wage. Commission range from 25% to 40% depending on location. As full time employees they usually have benefits such as vacation pay, etc. So there is a wide range of wages paid for entry-level employees.

My feelings on the subject? Entry-level Massage therapists who want to earn more need to invest in their education, getting the most training and practice while in school so they are better prepared to enter the workplace. If a massage school's most urgent selling point is that they can get you done in six months, the student's education may get short changed as the school rushes you out the door.
Hi Gloria,

I don't have much of an answer for you yet. I just received my State of Texas License and am starting out on my own. I realized while in internship that I do not have the physcal stamina to work full-time as a therapist so I am setting up a home studio and mainly marketing to friends from church and work. Hopefully it will grow by word of mouth and I can get a couple of massages in the evenings after I get home from full-time job and maybe a few more on my days off.

At my school, Memorial Hermann Massage and Spa Therapy School, I was able to do an extended internship in lue of tuition. (The State has put a stop to that now) But even though there were days that I didn't think I would make it through, I completed 200 hours of internship and I am hoping that even though I am a NEW MT, it helps people make a positive decision about using me as their therapist.

I can't even image flipping burgers for $8/hr much less working my tail off during a massage for that much.

I am starting my fees at $35 for first-time clients and then $50/hr after that. I also plan on offering outcall services for $65 but I am not sure how that is going to go. My husband is not crazy about the out-call part but we will put the safety precautions in place and see how it goes.

I'm not sure if any of this helps you or not but I would love any advise from more experienced MT's

Thanks,
Renea
Wow! Thank you ALL for your input. Great! exactly what I am looking for. Yes, there are MANY 6 month programs out there, in my opinion "Unfortunately" they exist and hopefully we can change that soon and make states require a minimum of 'something'.

Continue to bring in your comments all!
If you work in a spa, please tell us your experience? Your compensation etc.

The more info and feedback would be great! I am taking this survey not only for an article, but Mike you also know I am seeking to help therapist get a 'fare' compensation out there.

However, we all need to understand what the parameters are that employees are setting - so I would love to hear from you working for someone or have done so in the past!

Thanks in advance! Love reading your feedback.

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