We all know that the overarching goal behind massage therapy is to make clients feel more relaxed and free of unneeded tension. That goal is even the primary one for most massage therapists.
The catch, though, is that massage therapy is a business that doesn’t flout the tenets of commerce. Massage should be a win-win for you and the client.
Raising My Rates?!
It’s important to bear in mind that we all have bills to pay and that massage shouldn’t be charity. You can give clients a great massage and not go hungry yourself.
How? Simply by cutting your overhead and taking in more money than you spend on activities that maintain your practice (rent, salaries, etc.).
There are ways of raising your rates and offering clients deal bundles that can put you closer to realizing your monthly income goals.
Rationale Behind Raising
You should especially consider raising your rates if your clients are satisfied with the service you’ve been providing and you’re taking on a sufficient amount of work in a given week.
Clients realize, if only intuitively, that real wages have largely stagnated over the last few decades and that a dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.
You can raise your rates very marginally at first and see how clients respond to the changes. By raising your rates just five or ten dollars per hour session, you could bring in a few hundred dollars more per week.
You should still be upfront with upcoming rate changes in person, though social media and on your bulletin boards or online newsletter.
Itemize Your Monthly Expenses
If you’re already fully booked (or close to it) and you have a phone book full of satisfied clients, there’s a great chance that raising your rates slightly is the way to go.
That said, you should itemize all of your maintenance expenses (office rent, utilities, etc.) and then determine how much money you need to go beyond financial viability to thriving and crafting your ideal practice.
Take into account one-off expenses like uniforms or a massage table as well as mandatory annual costs like renewing your license to determine how much money you need to thrive from week-to-week with your current client base.
Supply and Demand
You shouldn’t be afraid of spying on the competition, so to speak. Many massage practices have a strong online presence. You can check out the rates, bookings and number of massage practices in your area to help determine your own rates.
If, for instance, your massage practice is in an area that was hard-hit by the recent recession, then substantially raising your rates might not be the best way to retain clients in the short term.
If, however, you have a fully booked calendar, and other massage practices doing great business in your area and charging even higher rates than your own practice, it might be time to email a newsletter to clients telling them that your rates for X massage are changing by Y amount every month.
You might also be surprised to find out that lowering your rates isn’t always a surefire strategy for having clients queuing up around the block of your practice. People expect to pay for quality and it’s been shown that lowering your rates doesn’t necessary equate to more clients coming through the doors.
Add Value to Attract Clients
If you offer clients more value and reason to come to your practice, then it’s likely they’ll take very well to a slight increase in your rates. Let me explain.
We should all realize that 21st century technologies like massage chairs, creams, pads and other professionals like chiropractors can encroach on massage’s territory. Does it have to though?
Probably not. Here’s why – clients can get benefits through a referral program, complimentary services like refreshments, and extended night hours to suit their schedules.
These all add value in the client’s eyes and put your practice a cut above the competition, which definitely goes a long way in justifying a few more dollars per session.
Summing up Rate Changes
Massage therapists are business professionals like those in any other industry. Therefore, the basics of business apply to massage like any other profession – when you have more money coming in (e.g., through more sessions and higher rates) and less money flowing out (e.g., through rent), then you reap higher profits.
You can raise your rates without causing a three-ring circus but there are some important steps to follow. Be upfront with clients about impending rate changes.
Research the massage practices in your area, take a look at rates and really ask yourself how much you’re charging and evaluate the value you’re adding to clients. Your practice may be worth much more than you think.