These are the states that pay the most for massage therapists, according to Forbes. So why do so many massage therapists struggle to earn a living wage, let alone a massage salary that allows them to live a life that includes safety, relaxation, self-care, education, adventure, or anything else they desire? The answer seems to be the money mentality, the attitude to the financial aspects of running a practice, such as rate setting, marketing, and sales. Mix the difficult emotions sometimes related to money, such as shame, guilt and fear, and then add the tendency to see oneself as a healer rather than an entrepreneur, and we have a toxic mix of good intentions combined with bad business practices and bad business practices that result in a bad massage therapists. MASSAGE Magazine has called on expert business advisors and therapists to give you advice on what you need to understand and do to create a financially healthy massage practice.
Sales aren't a bad word and money isn't a bad word. Money is necessary to make a living doing what you love. There is nothing dimly enlightened or greedy about making money as a massage therapist. Many of us had, or have, a seriously debilitating relationship with money.
That's all you have to go. We also have this massage attitude has to be affordable for everyone. Your business needs to work for you first and foremost, not for your customers. Don't make the mistake of charging what you think others can afford.
I call it going up to your clients' wallets. Also, don't charge based on what other therapists around you are charging. Therapists are constantly lowering their rates to compete with other therapists, and that is destroying our industry. We have trained the public to go with cheap massages on demand.
Coffee, cigarettes and pizza are cheap and on demand. Massage therapists shouldn't be any of those things. Your rates should be based on what your company needs to do with your services to pay all expenses, taxes and your salary. Do the math and whatever that number is per hour, whatever it is.
For example, solving a particular and common problem or being known for a specialty will allow you to get higher prices and differentiate yourself in a sea of massage therapists. Then, you'll attract clients who want to work with you, not just the cheapest therapist in town. First of all, you need to be very clear that it's not enough to be an expert therapist to succeed on your own; you have to learn to run a business and you have to learn to love numbers. Your office needs to earn money so that you can continue to manage it.
Rebecca de Azevedo Overson, L, M, T. Running a business requires more than passion. Many massage therapists know exactly why they entered the massage field typically, because they want to share the benefits of massage, help others, or simply love the field. Those reasons should not be confused with the reason you chose to start a business, because they are not the same.
In fact, all of those goals related to becoming a massage therapist can be achieved while working as an employee. Take courses that develop your business skills to support the practical skills you have learned. Financial education, marketing, and establishing a strong system of service standards are fundamental to all companies. Many massage therapists invest time and money in developing their massage skills and neglect things that will help keep doors open.
The belief that if you learn new techniques, customers will find you is, at best, a naive mindset. As a massage therapist, you've given yourself the tools to be a great healthcare provider. As a business owner, your practice needs the tools to successfully impart your skills to the audience you expect. Kamillya Hunter is the owner of Spa Analytics, a company that provides strategic consulting to the massage and spa industry across the country.
Three years ago, I made one of the best business decisions I've ever made to support the growth of my practice. There were always awkward moments around tips. Customers didn't know whether or not to tip, how much of a tip was too low, or how much was too much. I found that the customers with the lowest income were the ones who added something to the total and those with the highest incomes rarely, if ever, left a tip.
It was a pattern that I didn't feel very good about. After 14 years in business, I chose to eliminate that awkwardness from the equation. I've looked at all my revenue numbers. As a freelancer and the only therapist in my business, I wanted to have a clear idea of how much the advice that came in affected my results.
I created a flat rate system that included a higher rate to reflect what someone would pay if they left a tip. I was very clear that this was not a tip-inclusive price; rather, it was a flat rate that allowed customers to know exactly how much was expected of them, at all times. While it often surprises customers who are used to adding a tip, they always appreciate the flat rate. Many customers return because they know in advance what to expect to pay.
There is an element of respect that comes from customers when you have enough confidence in your services to eliminate the acceptance of tips, and that respect translates into more bookings. Eliminate tips and, in a short period of time, your income will increase more than you thought possible. Judy Stowers, L, M, T. Owns Apex Bodyworx, LLC, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In fact, the average salary of massage therapists has declined over the past two decades. I have always believed that where there is a great challenge, there is a great opportunity. Although rates have been affected, there has never been a better time as a massage therapist to make a major change in yourself, your career and your future in this business. The huge opportunity you have right now is to find a niche, master it and brand yourself as a specialist in that niche.
Specialization gives you power over your career and shifts control of each therapy session to you. When you give someone a massage, they take care of it. When someone enters a specialized practice, they are there to learn and listen. They are there for your experience.
In addition, as a specialist, you may charge an additional fee for your one-time service. Forget about marketing that technique you thrive on; instead, identify which condition or ailment you're best at correcting. For example, if you're a great myofascial therapist, but you happen to fix your shoulders better than anyone else, become the expert shoulder therapist in your area, the one people look for. Most therapists can give a good massage, but few can change a person's life.
I'm not going to discount the benefits of a good massage, but there are too many places to get cheap and affordable massage therapy today. You need to stand out and do something that no one else is doing if you want a real and lasting career. Paul Ruth is an educator and therapist who founded Mojo Physio and Neuromuscular Performance Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona, and who specializes in neuromuscular release therapy for pain relief. Money issues can easily become entangled in a web of emotions because you don't know how to relate to money in a healthy way or because you didn't have the opportunity to learn money knowledge when you were growing up.
Whether they own their own business or work as employees, they find it a challenge to get ahead. This often takes the form of professionals who proudly wear the “poor but pure” badge because they are uncomfortable with money or fear that financial prosperity will corrupt them in some way. In addition to contributing to financial insecurity, this attitude can lead to questionable business practices. These same professionals may experience difficulty charging adequate rates for their services, and many feel uncomfortable charging something.
Or they get angry if people think their fees are too high. Employees may resent the disparity in their massage salaries compared to the fee charged. One step you can take to improve your finances is to decouple the notion that your self-esteem is linked to the charges you charge. Your self-esteem should be consistent, regardless of your finances.
You provide a valuable service and you should be compensated for that service. Fee structures vary greatly depending on the type of work you do, where you are, and the type of customers you want to attract. Your rates should also reflect your costs. However, the bottom line is that most people can only afford a certain amount of money to spend on massages, regardless of what you want to charge.
You may charge higher fees if your target markets are rich, if you are the only person in your area who specializes in a highly desirable type of work, or if you only want to work with a limited number of clients. Ultimately, your commissions should be based on what the market will bear and not on what you think you are worth. Cherie Sohnen-Moe is a writer, coach and workshop facilitator based in Tucson, Arizona. She is the author of Business Mastery and co-author of The Ethics of Touch, and the immediate past president of Alliance for Massage Therapy Education.
The question that needs to be asked is why. Naturally, they see challenges through the eyes of an entrepreneur and not as a therapist. They see franchises and ask: “What can I do that they can't do? They see daily deals and simply target a different demographic. They are clear that the only responsibility of their massage school was to prepare them to be therapists, and it is up to them to learn business skills.
They are students dedicated to business and have invested a lot of time and money in learning the crucial topics of marketing, networking and sales. In addition, they never deceived themselves by saying things like: “If I set my intention, they will come or “My massage sells itself”. While these phrases may provide temporary comfort to a person who doesn't want to learn real trading skills, doesn't pay the bills, and they definitely don't lead to success. Success requires doctors not to return their calls.
Success requires a sense of rejection after failed attempts to rebook. Scott Lindquist, L, M, T. If you want to be successful in private practice, knowing how to market effectively is crucial; however, marketing knowledge alone won't help you if your fears get in the way of marketing your services. Once you've successfully helped a lot of customers, you'll realize that rejection is part of marketing.
You'll fail sometimes. The key is to learn from your mistakes and move on. However, when you change your mindset to see that marketing is about building mutually beneficial relationships with referral sources and offering free information to potential customers, this fear will dissipate. However, if you think you have a valuable service to offer and there are people who want and need that service, you are actually helping those people when you educate them about your service.
Often referred to with envy, sadness, guilt and fear rather than appreciation, happiness, or gratitude, money can be a sensitive topic. Why is that? Is it because you think that givers and “healers” don't deserve to be rewarded for our hard work? Or that being paid well takes away the integrity of what you do? You may think that by charging too high a price, you are somehow selling or trading too much. Or do you think there is a certain nobility in the struggle? If any of these negative ideas or others like them are the basis of your money mentality, it's time to heal this area of your life. By doing so, you'll be more effective with all your customers.
When you struggle to pay your bills, earn a decent living, or cover your basic needs, you drag that scarcity hole into each session, absorbing your energy and attention from the person at your table. Some customers will feel this and react accordingly. Others will try to fill the hole for you. Sometimes they'll tell you too often how talented you are.
They will bring you food, clothes or furniture, or give you more tips than they should to compensate for the fact that you don't charge enough. Boundary issues, anyone?) Other customers will have their own money problems caused by their beliefs. They will complain about your prices and look for all the discounts and opportunities to pay less. You'll find that they reluctantly feel torn to schedule another session, because even though they say they need a massage, they also say they can't afford your services.
If you really want to help your customers, heal yourself in every area of your life, even in the area of your money problems. Everyone will benefit from this important investment they make in themselves. Felicia Brown is the owner of Spalutions and provides business and marketing advice to massage, spa and wellness professionals. Of course, you need to be good at what you do and be able to deliver a client-centered massage with the excellent technical and soft skills needed to build a repeat clientele.
It could also mean setting aside 10 percent of your massage salary in a savings or retirement account. There are many mornings when it's hard to get out of bed. It's easier to sleep late, skip the phone call or networking opportunity, or not waste time and money on a shop floor. Overcoming this resistance can be difficult, but you will immediately begin to reap rewards.
Continuously presenting yourself with a good attitude draws people to you. Those people will have the knowledge, information, and connections you'll need to advance your career. A lot of times, you may feel like you can't afford the investment. There will be 100 reasons not to expose yourself, but in my opinion, that's where the real magic happens.
Eric Stephenson, L, M, T. While money can't buy happiness, it can certainly make your daily circumstances more comfortable. I often hear massage therapists say that they feel uncomfortable charging more for their services or raising prices when the time comes to do so. Continuing education isn't always free, and your electricity, water, cable, gas, and food budgets tend to be at peak.
Consider your mortgage and rent, and you can easily see how important it is to earn enough money to comfortably cover your needs. I suggest an in-depth analysis of the prices you are charging, and also what you can do to gain additional sources of income outside of the massage services you provide. If you're still charging the prices you've always charged, then it's a good idea to look at what the market supports in your area and adjust it accordingly. If you have regular customers, it's probably not because you're cheap, but because they prefer your services to others.
Those who feel that you are their therapist, period, probably don't look down on this price adjustment. Another great way to add revenue to your office is retail. Whether you sell personal care tools, candles, scrubs, blankets, pain relievers, or other personal care products, the best advice is to sell items that you firmly believe are effective and that you would use yourself. Making sure that your retail items speak to you as a therapist and that you feel confident about them when you talk about their use and effectiveness will take the pressure off those of you who don't like to sell.
These products will easily become natural extensions of your practice and provide you with an alternative revenue stream without compromising your treatments. Are you worried about money? Do you earn and save less than you would like? Do you owe more than you would like? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it's time to awaken your awareness of prosperity. Mine said: “Since you have to work long hours in jobs you don't like just to make ends meet, you need to spend your money very carefully. How disgusting, I know.
Who wants to be the proverbial used car salesman? Well, you don't have to be. In fact, you can be successful in sales by doing the opposite. It's called soft selling, also known as soft persuasion. To attract more customers, I do gentle persuasion with free demo massages.
Do I work for free? Think about “free advertising”. I also target businesses in my niche market. For example, my niche market is brokers. A while ago, I went to a running store and offered free 15-minute demo massages on a group race day.
Guess what I did to sell my massage? You have it. I massaged the runners and provided outstanding customer care. In this situation, the extraordinary customer service meant that I had my massage books with me so that I could back up my findings. Finally, I set up a demonstration massage program to get back in front of their faces regularly.
I started with every two weeks, and then went back to once a month. The results? My niche clientele took off. Becoming proficient in soft sales is very doable. In fact, the barrier to entry couldn't be lower.
You don't need to be extroverted. You don't need any sales training. You can grow your clientele, increase your confidence and gain momentum just by being you. Mark Liskey Offers Free Massage Business Education to Massage Therapists.
He is also a co-owner of PressurePerfect Massage in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Visit their website for a free course on how to build a massage business. What is a useful attitude to paying for something of value? Money can be a measure of value, but value is subjective. The rates set for massage therapy services may be whatever you want them to be, but if people can't justify the value against the cost burden, they won't spend their money on the service.
Many factors influence the amount of money someone is willing or able to pay for a massage. Frequently and regularly received massage achieves continuous benefit, and what a person will pay for a unique experience is different from an ongoing expense. From the massage therapist's perspective, how rates are set or what is a fair wage as an employee also has many variables. Do you have a family to support or do you just support yourself? You can be employed or self-employed and end up with similar personal income subject to income tax.
Each of us needs to determine how much money is needed to pay for the lifestyle we want. We have to earn enough or the value of being a massage therapist decreases; however, we must also be realistic about the earning potential. The fee charged for massage therapy and personal sense of worth and self-worth should not be related. Sandy Fritz is the author of textbooks including Mosby Therapeutic Massage Fundamentals, owns and directs SCF therapies, formerly known as Health Enrichment Center, massage school in Lapeer, Michigan.
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Using occupational data from the BLS, we have analyzed and compiled a breakdown of the average massage therapist salary by state in the U. The possibility of a lower cost of living may be the best factor to use when considering location and salary for a mobile massage therapist role. If you want to make more money as a massage therapist, start seeing yourself as a businessman first. Massage therapists can increase their income and ensure more consistent work as their client base grows, whether they are self-employed or in employment.
There hasn't been a better time to be a massage therapist, with everyone stressed by the pandemic and the salary will only rise from now on. To estimate the most accurate annual salary range for Massage Therapist jobs, ZipRecruiter continuously scans its database of millions of active jobs posted locally across the United States. Massage therapists who specialize in a specific form of massage, such as babies, doctors, reflexology, sports therapy, shiatsu, or Thai bodywork, can expand their clientele and differentiate their services. .