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Prepare for a rant on a pet peeve of mine.  This is not just for new massage therapists but also for any therapist who cut their prices so low that they actually hamper other therapists' business...and even their own.  It happened to me today.  I called on a corporate client to work their health fair as I have done the last 2 years.  I might add here that my rates are in the mid-high range.  But I've been doing this work for 10 years and my prices reflect my experience and expertise of my craft.  Anyway, I was told by the human resources person that they opted for a friend of an employee who had just graduated and was working part time plus doing massage part time.  And she was cheaper....a lot cheaper.  I thanked him (even though I wanted to say good luck...I've experienced this before and the job performed was never up to the standards the company was hoping for) and hung up.

Fellow therapists.  Put some value on your work.  Whether you are a new graduate or an experienced veteran, your work is VALUABLE!  Do not cheapen that which you have worked for so hard.  Yes, you may get more business with bargain basement rates, BUT....you will have to work harder, your career might not last as long due to overwork, you might not make enough to live on and, you hurt other therapists who might (temporarily) lose business because they find therapists that charge so much less.  I do this work full time.  If I lose a client to lower rates...fine.  I don't really need clients that base where they go on price.  I am not Massage Envy.  But, for every client lost, I have to make up that slot.  It costs me money.  I don't have another job to fall back on.

That's it.  It's happened before and I always make it up.  Just keep this in mind when you think about slashing rates to become the cheapest therapist.   It will cost you in the long run.

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Choice,

What is the price range for this kinda gig? I have never done it before,but may be doing it soon.I have NO idea,so tell me how does one go about figuring the price to charge for such services?

Peace,Emma
P.S. I am sorry somebody robed you of your job, that sucks!
~

Hey Choice!

I agree with what you're saying, yet would like to add a few comments if I may.

One of the toughest parts of our business is CONVEYING to businesses or clients or prospective clients or whomever what it is we do, and the value of what we do.

This is what I mean when I'm always preaching about building and developing relationships. Constant contact.

Sure, I've had clients slip away from me. Great lessons though...

It taught me to keep in contact with the businesses and clients on a weekly basis. I send them hand-written thank you cards after massage sessions, I create new massage packages with a twist that adds VALUE to what I'm offering. I've created water bottles I give clients with my massage name and logo labeled to it. Provided free nutritional suppliments to clients if they were interested.

Yet...it's not always about 'freebies' or discounts. Most of the time I keep my actual massage price the same or even raise it! It's all in how I do it though...create an exciting new massage package 'name,' but at a higher price.

For me, it's all about the constant contact, staying it touch. Sure, we're going to get screwed at times when the bosses son just graduated from massage school and takes away a client or business, but I still keep in contact. Most folks fail miserably at follow-up, and within a month or two, I've gotten the business back.

Great thread, great information...

Kris
Hey Choice,

I think there's something else going on with newbies too that I had when I first started years ago. It's confidence. They sell their massage at a low price because they honestly think that's what it's worth and they're not confident enough to charge a rate that actually is in line with what their work is worth. I now this because I did the same thing years ago when I first stated (but NOT at the level that I see a lot of people do it today - it's getting to be a bit crazy). BUT I GOT MORE WORK WHEN I INCREASED MY PRICES. There's a reason for that. People think they get what they pay for and I honestly think that a lot of people back then thought "She's charging so little because she's no good or desperate".

I understand your frustration, man. I would have been majorly irked by that situation.
hasn't this forum had this discussion already? :)

I think I'm one of "those" therapists Choice. But from my perspective:

1. I have no overhead at the moment
2. I work part time at it (until such time that I can transition between the full time job)
3. I am still in the building repeat clientele mode which means getting new clients in the door
4. I am trying to make it affordable so that I can have a client come in once every 2 weeks versus once in a blue mood

The intention is NOT to put other massage therapists out but to work within my scenario in a way that best fits.
Kris, great points. I do much of the same thing. The water bottle is something I will have to look into.

All I can say Lisa.....and you know I like you....is that, at least for me, charging "affordable" came back to bite me in the a$$. People that want affordable massage can go to places like Massage Envy. I found out early (when I charged less) that my clients then had no problem bolting if they found someone who was cheaper. There are plenty of clients out there who will come in once every 2 weeks even if your rates are higher than what you think you can charge.....if they value your work. I know you work on mountain bike cyclists. I am a cyclist. I have no problem turning my money over to a bike store to get the latest gadget for my bike. I think that you cyclist clients would still come to you if your rates were upped a little. It's easy to come down on rates, but is much more difficult to raise rates.

I am in the position....because of my lupus and scleroderma.....that I can't work forever. I charge what I do to get the most bang for my work. I am of a limited resource, time and energy. I choose to go after the higher end clients (table or chair) so that I might stretch my career out as long as possible.

If this thread has run before, so be it. It's running again. I think ideas like what Kris offered can never be looked at enough. Too many therapists today, imo, don't get enough business training or don't make the effort to learn more about the biz side of massage.
Dear Folks..."Newbies, Mid-Timers, and all,

There is NO fixed price for massage, anywhere in the country. This is not a contractualized profession, and frankly this discussion on a site supported by a professional organization smacks of anti-trust, and should cease immediately. The price of any massage is fixed by the practitioner, and sometimes negotiated with the client. I support the younger practitioners effort to charge less, if that is the value of their product at this time. Folks who have been around awhile can indeed ask for a little more and feel confident to receive it especially if it holds a value to THEIR client! Time in profession can of course be a consideration, but lets not insult the new guy because they out manuveured a more senior practitioner in a negotiation. That is unprofessional and mean-spirited. The corporate client may in fact find that they are less happy with a different provider and could come back, but maybe not. That is the consumers purogative....its called capitalism, welcome to American business. In closing, please keep in mind that if time on the job was the only factor in setting your massage rates, you would all loose to my 27 years in business. See you on the road.
z
Thank you Terry!

Terry Capuano said:
Hi - this reply is for Emma - In central Indiana the rate for chair massage is $60.00 per hour. I do have a 1x a month chair gig for a corporation here where they pay $50.00 per hour. This gig is 4 hours in length, the company signs up the employees, there are two other therapists besides myself, I receive my check within 3 days, it is scheduled out at the start of the year for the full year, myself and the other therapists have gained private clients from this and the company finds another therapist if I am unable to be there on the monthly day. Another chair massage event recently I charged $65.00 per hour as it is a 1x a year event. Hope that helps.

Emma Torsey said:
Choice,

What is the price range for this kinda gig? I have never done it before,but may be doing it soon.I have NO idea,so tell me how does one go about figuring the price to charge for such services?

Peace,Emma
First of all Monica....I think that you should be careful in your diatribe on what is professional and what isn't. It seems to me some of your comments were on the mean spirited side, although I will not say that I can read your mind on your intentions of saying them. No one said anything about massage being a contactualized profession. Antitrust???? Give me a break. You're really reaching when all that was given was an answer ...by Terry....to a question by Emma. I also answered Emma in a message to her...in case the internet police want to know. And yes, I understand this is America, where capitalism is American business. However, because this is America, I am entitled to my opinion on anything I want...whether it be on your opinion or the way my business day went. My comments, by the way, were not mean spirited. I said what I said because I have seen underhanded mean spirited therapists deliberately act in unprofessional work ways. I've also seen therapists devalue themselves to a point where they could not make a living doing what they love. If you saw it any other way, then I'm sorry. Maybe in your 27 years, you should have, in my opinion only, developed a little more compassion for your fellow therapists, no matter whether their ideas differ from yours or not. See me on the road? I hope not.
Choice Kinchen said:
All I can say Lisa.....and you know I like you....is that, at least for me, charging "affordable" came back to bite me in the a$$. People that want affordable massage can go to places like Massage Envy. I found out early (when I charged less) that my clients then had no problem bolting if they found someone who was cheaper. There are plenty of clients out there who will come in once every 2 weeks even if your rates are higher than what you think you can charge.....if they value your work. I know you work on mountain bike cyclists. I am a cyclist. I have no problem turning my money over to a bike store to get the latest gadget for my bike. I think that you cyclist clients would still come to you if your rates were upped a little. It's easy to come down on rates, but is much more difficult to raise rates.
.

Hey Choice...you like me? ;) Let me ask you this...if you can put your frustration aside for a moment...you said "when I charged less"...there was a time you charged less. there was a time you were less experienced and a newbie and charging less. as you grew in your practice and experience your rates grew (i'm guessing here)...so isn't it the same with the newbies your frustrated with now. isn't this the way many MTs start out? why would you expect then that the newbie of today should do it any differently? and would it be fair to you that a newbie with WAY less experience should make the same? in most professions you make more the longer you do it. I don't see why massage would be any different. i agree with Monica...the more experience the more money. otherwise, why would we want to stay in a business that we could never grow economically?
Sam...excellent point. Glad you took the initiative and learned some business on your own.
I can completely understand where you, Choice, are coming from on that issue and although it does suck to lose clients due to therapists charging less (believe me, I've been there!) there are more issues going here.

For one, if a client chooses to leave to a therapist for a lower fee, they will eventually learn they are getting what they pay for. And, even if that is what they are happy with, isn't it good they are at least still getting massage?

It does cost money to lose clientele, but money isn't always the sole reason you lose clientele, that's why it's such a great idea to be offering little "extras" for free that make clients feel special. Were you bringing in music or free water? How about showing the folks there about stretching at their desk or information on how to prevent injuries at work? If you were already doing this, believe me--- after a few sessions with the newbie, people will be complaining to have you come back. It's not a consolation when you depend on them to eat, but maybe they were thinking of cutting massage out all-together and only because of this fresh therapist are they keeping it for employees. So it's not a good idea to burn bridges, you don't really know the situation there. Not only that, but you can ask the human resource department to keep you in their file and if they know of any other company that might benefit from your work.

I've read here and listened to other therapists complain about being undercut by therapists offering lower prices. (Again, I completely understand how it feels from experience!) but think about a few things.
First, the client may not be able to afford massage and this is all they can get for now, which is better that they are receiving something!
Secondly, if the therapist isn't that great, it will be quickly obvious and the client will return ASAP when they can afford it. Thirdly, what are you/we doing that sets us special from other therapists. In my practice (I don't do a lot of chair nowadays) I have 600 and plus thread count sheets, offer water, give information on proper body mechanics, confirm all appointments, send thank you notes, am very consistent in my professionalism, make the session completely client centered, offer warm towels to wipe off with and hot towels to wipe lotion off feet-- in the session, offer the use of hot/cold packs, and have a heated table. When I do corporate chair, I bring music, water bottles to hand out, and show the client simple stretches and give handouts on how to set up their work stations or other related topics.

Again, I know it's hard, I've been there--I'm dealing with it right now! But if the therapist chooses to charge a lower fee to bring in more business, that is their concern if they wear out their bodies. That is the client's concern, they will be getting what they pay for, and if they aren't happy they'll return. If they are happy, then try to at least look at it in the sense that at least they are getting the healing touch they need.

Every client lost is an opportunity for us to look and how we are running our business, are we taking it for granted? What could have been done to prevent it? And what can you do now to fill that time---so now's your opportunity to find another corporate client, which may prove to be better than the last.

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