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Pricing Tips For Massage Therapists! Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series

by Samantha Jenkins October 25, 2021

Pricing Tips For Massage Therapists! Ask the Muscle Whisperer Series

We hope you have all been enjoying our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we asked the UK massage industry's top thought leaders to share their top tips for pricing and the mistakes they made in the past when setting prices for their massage treatments! Read on to hear their thoughtful tips.


  • SUSAN FINDLAY 
    Susan Findlay Icon for Ask The Muscle WhispererSusan has observed that new massage therapists will come on the scene and be intimidated by the competition and as a result they will try to not be too expensive. As a they think I need to make my mark in the industry but anybody who puts their prices too low is typically considered to be too inexperienced as they are too cheap. These massage therapists will find that the people that will come into their clinic will be ones that don't necessarily invest in themselves and they will struggle to get repeat business.

    Another issue massage therapists find with pricing is that if they slot into the middle with the prices of other local massage therapists it's really difficult to stand out and demonstrate your skills. More experienced massage therapists who don't have confidence to increase their prices can also struggle to be seen in the crowd. This is why it's best to go a little higher and explain the value you are providing. You can then demonstrate your skills, training and experience.

    Not only does this not undermine everybody else's pricing it also attracts clients looking for quality who are more likely to turn into repeat clients. For Susan now is the perfect time for therapists to increase their prices. With the increase in procedures and PPE clients will likely be expecting a rise and you can also point out that you are unable to see as many clients at the moment.   

    Your pricing speaks loudly to your experience and what you have to offer. So don't be afraid to increase your prices and stand out from the crowd. It'll just lend itself to more business, not less!

    Watch Susan answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    To find out more about Susan's courses and sign up for her great Massage Monday series click on the image below or follow her on TwitterFacebook or Instagram

    Susan Findlay logo

     

    Susan Findlay
    Earle Abrahamson
    Nikki Wolf
    Jayne Burke
    Emma Gilmore
    Sunita Passi
  • EARLE ABRAHAMSON 
    Earle Abrahamson profile for Ask The Muscle WhispererFor Earle the key for pricing is selecting an amount that reflects the level of education and professional skills training that goes into our practices as massage therapists. When Earle first started his career as a massage therapist he had no idea how to price himself within a highly competitive market. So he decided to become a client, he booked in with multiple clinical colleagues and received massages from all different skill sets. What Earle notice was that there was a discrepancy and a complete range in terms how colleagues tended to price. He spotted that pricing wasn't dependent on skills, education, or experience, but more on the area from which that person worked. So for example, booking into a central London clinic had a much higher price than outside the captial.

    So Earle learned very early on that one price doesn't suit all there isn't a standard pricing within massage, and soft tissue practice. So the pricing is really determined by what the client is willing to pay for what the client perceives as value, what the client perceives as an absolute need and the rapport that you as a massage therapist establish with them.

    One of Earle's early experiences with pricing was when he had recently qualified. A client booked in for 30 minutes and Earle gave them an additional 10 minutes of time for consultation and charged £40 for this service. The client said "are you sure it's 40 pounds?" and Earle replied that he was sure. The client replied that he felt Earle was massively undervaluing his skills and service and gave him an additional £25 on top of his fee. The client let Earle know that he had received lesser care from other healthcare professionals and been charged more and that he shouldn't underestimate what he brings to his massage table!

    Earle's big take home message from that experience was to really think about how he values his skills and training. You can then think about how to convey those skills and experience to your clients. This will help you immensely when building rapport and a strong therapeutic alliance with your clients. By really thinking about your value and setting a reasonable price in alignment with your messaging you can set yourself up for getting great clients who really appreciate your skills and expertise.

     

    Watch Earle answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

    You can find more details on Earle's latest book 'Muscle Testing – A Concise Manual' by clicking the images below or find out more details on the next Hands On Training courses by clicking here.

     

    Publications:

      • Making Sense of Human Anatomy and Physiology - Lotus Publishers 2016

       

        • Concise Manual of Muscle Testing - Handspring Publishers. Due out October 2019 
      Susan Findlay
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
    • NIKKI WOLF
      Nikki Wolf joins Ask The Muscle Whisperer from Massage WarehouseFor Nikki the main pitfall of pricing that massage therapists fall into is to go by the going rate. Nikki sees lots of therapists asking in the Facebook groups in forums what other massage therapists are charging, so that they can charge accordingly. Nikki thinks this is a bad idea for two reasons. Firstly because therapists in general, are really bad at setting good rates for themselves. As a group we want to help people and we tend to have a guilt mindset around earning earning money. Secondly just because another therapist is charging a certain amount doesn't mean that they've got it right.

      In the industry as a whole Nikki sees a lots of therapists who think the only way to get clients is to charge a little less than other local massage therapists. In Nikki's opinion this is bad for the industry as a whole as it doesn't encourage clients to value our work and creates a literal race to the bottom!  

      What massage therapists need to do is set their prices in a way that supports them financially and reflects the value they are giving their client. So the first step is to do the maths and work out all the costs associated with your massage treatments and think about what it is you would like to earn. This process also includes thinking about how many clients you would like to see in a week.

      Nikki then encourages clients to step away from thinking about charging per hour and instead focus on the outcomes you are offering. Sometimes we get so focused on what is an hour of our time and expertise worth that we forget the value we are giving our clients. If a client was to think what is it worth to me to be pain free you can guarantee that would be a higher figure than what is an hour of someone's time worth. When thinking about your pricing through this lens you will likely feel more confident about increasing the prices of your massage treatments.

      At the end of the day the only way to go wrong is to charge too low and not covering your costs. As massage therapists we need to accept there will always be clients who cannot afford our services regardless of what we charge. If your struggling to attract clients its likely because you are not describing the value you offer clearly enough. So think about positioning yourself as a premium brand with a premium experience so that you can attract clients who really value your work.

      Watch Nikki answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To find out more about Orchid Massage Academy, click here or find more details on Nikki's mentorship program, here. Alternatively you can follow on Facebook here

      Orchid Massage Academy

      Susan Findlay
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
    • JAYNE BURKE
      Jayne Burke joins Ask The Muscle Whisperer from Massage Warehouse For Jayne the thing to remember when it comes to pricing your massage treatments is that if you have clients who value the work you do together, they will pay your price. In the past Jayne made her pricing much too complicated. She used different offers to encourage clients to come back for another massage treatment in the same month. Jayne offered five pounds off for the second appointment in the month, then 10 pound off, for the third, 15 pound off for the fourth and so on.

      This was a complete logistical nightmare trying to work out where she was with each client each month and in fact it didn't make any difference to the amount of times the clients were coming in for treatments. For Jayne it's better to have a serious think about all your expenses including rent, heating, equipment, professional association fees, insurance, and CPD training and then set your prices from there. You can check out what other local massage therapists are charging but you in no way need to match what they are offering.

      If you are struggling to feel confident about your pricing Jayne recommends a little exercise. Take 3 long breaths to centre yourself and then say your price out loud. How does it feel? Then experiment with saying a higher or a lower price and note how you feel about those. Ultimately you know what feels right for your services so trust your instinct and be bold! The clients who value your skills will pay for them!

      Watch Jayne answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      Click here to find out more about Jayne Burke Holistic Therapies or you can follow on FacebookTwitteror Instagram. Earle Abrahamson
      Susan Findlay
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
    • EMMA GILMORE
      Emma Gilmore profile for Ask The Muscle Whisperer
      For Emma the top tip when it comes to pricing your massage treatments is to never undercut other massage therapists. It never serves anyone to undercut and instead Emma would recommend looking at the prices local massage therapists have set and either match those prices or go slightly higher. Emma stresses that if you have been investing in your training and maintaining your skills as a massage therapist then it is crucial to have self respect for your hard work and charge accordingly.

      Think about your genuine expenses. You have paid for all your operating costs and for your training and education. Factor in all these outlays and charge the high end prices your treatments are worth. If you charge high end prices you attract clients who are looking for quality and who are more likely to invest in their health and wellbeing on a regular basis. If you charge low rates you will attract clients who are
      looking for a bargain who when you try and raise your prices will just move onto the next massage therapist who is offering discounts or a deal on their massage treatments.

      If a regular client is not able to afford more treatments due to personal reasons you could put together a special offer just for them for a limited period of time. You can also offer one concessionary rate space a week. Emma recommends you keep studying so that you can charge more for your massage treatments as you are demonstrating a strong knowledge base.

      Watch Emma answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      You can see the latest courses on offer at School of Bodywork by clicking the image below! You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.

      School of Bodywork logo

      Susan Findlay
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi
    • SUNITA PASSI
      Sunita Passi
      For Sunita there are various factors massage therapists need to keep in mind when pricing their treatments. The first to consider are personal in nature. Massage therapists need to think about what they would like to earn? Your location is likely to influence the figure. This also includes thinking about the numbers of hours you would like to work each week and how many years do you see yourself working as a hands on massage therapist? These questions will likely start to give you an idea of what your hourly rate could be.

      Sunita then suggests looking at other market factors. Take a look at the prices of other local massage therapists. The idea is not to set yourself lower than your competitors but to make sure you are not pricing yourself out of the market completely. Have a think about the type of treatments you are offering. Are there lots of massage therapists offering these treatments in your local area or are you offering something new? Are you trained in something no other massage therapists are offering in your area?

      On top of the costs of getting set up massage therapists also need to consider the costs of delivering their treatments and their operational costs. Factor in everything from your heating, to towels and massage oils. Have a think about the type of clients you want to attract. Will they have certain expectations of what your treatment space should look like or the quality of your towels? All this will likely have an impact on your costs as a massage therapist. Think about what stage your are in your career. Are you a novice or are you an expert in the type of treatments you are offering?

      After considering all these factors you will be in a much stronger position to set your prices. If a new massage therapist comes to town stick to your guns! The right clients will find you!

      Watch Sunita answer your "Ask the Muscle Whisperer" Question below!

      To check out all Tri-Dosha has to offer, including Sunita's newsletter, give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

      Tri-Dosha logo

      Susan Findlay
      Earle Abrahamson
      Nikki Wolf
      Jayne Burke
      Emma Gilmore
      Sunita Passi



    Samantha Jenkins
    Samantha Jenkins

    Author



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    Massage Table Size Guide

    Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

    A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

    The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

    1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
    2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

    Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.

     

    The Width of the Massage Table:

    Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

    Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

    Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

    Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

    If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

    Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

    measuring the width of a massage table


    Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

    The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

    You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.

     

    The Height Of the Massage Table

    Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

    A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

    1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
    2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
    3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
    4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

    The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

    You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

    There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

    1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

    If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

    2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

    The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.

     

    Massage Table Shape:

    The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

    1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

    This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

    2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

    Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.

     

    3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

    A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.


    This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.

     

    4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
    Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
    5. Oval Shaped

     The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

    oval massage table

     

    Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!

     

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