Why Massage Therapists Feel They Can’t Raise Their Rates

Jun 26, 2017

How Do I Raise My Rates?

Let's say you have been a therapist for 5 years and have worked very hard to create your clientele. Your schedule is full most of the time and feel that you have created a good business for yourself.

However, your fees and rates are still the same as they were when you started practicing and you feel like it is now time to start making more money without working more hours.

BUT then the “fear” starts to creep in and you are not sure HOW or IF you should raise your rates.

Some of the questions that are probably going through your mind right now are:

 1. I don’t think I am any different than other massage therapists. What sets me apart or how can I create more value in my skills?

2. If I raise my rates will I lose my clients and then my income?

3. Many of these clients have been with me for a long time. I don’t want my rate increase to be a hardship for them but it is a hardship for me to continue at this income level. How do I convince them to want to pay more for the same massage?


 3 Solutions to Increasing Your Value and Having a Strategy to Get There

The first answer to all of this is that you do not just raise your rates and hope it works. It won’t. None of us want to pay more for the same thing. 

But we will pay more for something better than what we previously had – even if it is a service from the same person. So, stop thinking about your fears for a minute and start thinking about what increased value would feel like to your clients.

Increased value in a massage would probably feel like:

  • Educated skills – more of a feeling like “I know what I am doing and you are receiving a "more valuable” touch experience.
  • A more polished and professional atmosphere and feeling.
  • Being able to accomplish more in less time (pain management or goal oriented massage).
  • Feeling lasting and real results from your massage. People come back and pay more when the work you do changes them.

I have told my students for years that if you get into the pain management industry you always have work. BUT, on the flip side of that, you must also be really good at reducing pain and helping the body heal. The proof is in their muscles. If they feel the change, and its real, then they come back.

#1 Solution: Your 60-minute session must have more value without increasing your time.

I want you to know PPS Bodywork increases your ability to work better with pain and stress, but it also increases your business, value, and ability to charge more for your services.

  • This happens primarily because you can DO more in LESS time with PPS. 
 #2 Solution: Start with a $5.00 increase and give your clients plenty of notice before you do raise rates (4-6 weeks).

Now, $5 does not seem like a lot so let’s put this to some actual numbers. Let’s say you do 4 sessions a day, 4 days a week:

  • 16 massage a week X $5 more per each is $80 more per week and $320/per month. (0-6 months and a price change of $50 to $55) 
  • 16 massage/week X $5 more per each is 80.00 per week and $320/month (7-12 months and a price change of $55 to $60) 
  • Total gained over 12 months is $640/month raise (starting in month 7)

 Example: If you were charging $50 and the average rate for massage in your area is $65, then that is probably as high as you can go until your skills can demand a higher-than-normal fee for your area.

*If you are getting tips on a regular basis, this is probably a good clue that you are undervaluing yourself. People pay for what they feel your service is worth to them. If you are getting a tip of $5 -$10 with most of your clients, then you will most likely be ok with the $5 increase in your rates. However, your tips may go down and you need to be prepared for that (and ok with that). When your tips start to increase again later on in your practice, it could be a sign that it is time for another rate increase.

Lastly, it’s time for some business STRATEGY!

 #3 Solution: There are 3 parts to this strategy and the first one is important. The other 2 are suggestions only to help your clients feel better about your transition into asking to be paid more for your professional service.

• The massage you are charging more for is not just the same massage – it’s the same massage your clients love AND better.

• Start rewarding your clients differently – ½hr free for referrals or even $10 off their massage for each person they refer. If they still want/need a lower price, they can have it. They just need to talk about you.

*ALWAYS reward immediately. This business strategy will not work it you don’t acknowledge the work they did for you within a very short period of time or get them on your table/send a voucher in a very short period of time of earning the reward.

 • Bi-annual $10 off coupons or special package rates where they can buy up to 10 sessions at a slightly lower price.

This can be a “thank you for being my client” gratitude coupon or package. Be prepared to have a significant decrease in income that month if you do this twice a year during the same month. I would suggest spacing this out some and not offering it to all your clients at the same time. 

Realize that some clients just respond better to a coupon occasionally to show them you appreciate them. Think about your clients and your business needs Then make an educated decision for yourself.

Just remember, you can increase your value and set yourself apart in the Massage Therapy world! You just need the right tools!

To learn more about how to run a successful business, check out the classes included in the Massage Business Methods Membership am Maximize Your Massage Business: How to Earn $60k a Year at the Massage Table

Good luck in your business! HAVE A GREAT DAY AND GET A MASSAGE!

Amy Bradley Radford 

Blog + Massage + Business = Success!

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