Tipping Massage Therapists

Tipping Massage Therapists

by Tiffany Cox, LMT

Just hearing the word can make us cringe!

How many times have you given what you feel is one of the best massages you’ve ever given, only to get a $5 tip on a $100+ service?

Having worked in several different service industries myself over the years, I have always been a generous tipper, sometimes even to the point of protest from my wallet. Unfortunately, not all consumers are created equal…and when you get that “thrifty” client, sometimes you just can’t help but think, “Did I do something wrong?”

More often than not, the answer is an emphatic, “No!”

So, you’re confident it wasn’t you…what can you do about reconciling this situation? First, and maybe surprisingly, things have to start within you.

You’ve heard the expression “It’s all relative,” right? Well, it really is all relative. Unless your client throws a dollar bill at you as he storms out the front door while voicing his displeasure with your services, you really have no idea why that client left you a sub-standard gratuity.

Maybe they forgot to go to the ATM before their appointment. Or maybe they spent too much shopping that week and had to unexpectedly cinch their budget belt. Or maybe $5 is an excellent tip in their culture. Or an endless list of other possibilities…

Whatever the reason, you feel slighted and want an answer to ease your professional ego.

If you work in an environment where there’s not much repeat business, there’s not really much you can do to avoid a recurrence with that client in the future. Take the $5 and go buy a treat to make yourself feel better.

If you work somewhere that fosters returning client relationships, there are several things you can do to prevent another disappointing offering from that patron.

Do you send thank you cards to your clients after their first service? Write a little note telling them you hope they enjoyed their service and invite them to return. Offer a small discount on their next service, or a free upgrade if they bring in a friend when they return.

Do you ask for e-mail addresses on client intake forms? Start a newsletter offering periodic discounts, holiday specials, news about your services and shop, etc.

Customer service has become a privilege in our fast-paced society, and your attention to and proficiency in it will increase your appeal as a service provider. People want to feel special, and when you meet that need they will reciprocate. They’ll start telling their friends about their “wonderful massage therapist,” or start giving their family and friends gift certificates for your services.

Thank your clients for choosing your establishment, and give them reasons to return ~ and in turn they will thank you…with a big, fat tip!


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