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Tipping the Massage Therapist

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Miscellaneous Things > Tipping > Tipping the Massage Therapist


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Massage therapists, care and tipping of

Dec 2011

In this day of massage therapists as independent professionals charging more than even I make per hour - and, I might add, some of them worth every penny - do they still expect to be tipped? I don't tip my doctor, lawyer, or accountant, who all charge in the same ballpark (well, perhaps slightly more) or kids' music teacher. Do massage therapists working independently expect tips? I know the ones in spas making a paltry hourly wage should be tipped. My question is about the ones running their own businesses. Thanks for any insight. Suzanne


I can only speak for myself, I've been an independant massage therapist for over 20 years. I do not expect tips. As an independant contractor, I own my own business and give therapeutic services. You are correct that you would not tip your Dr. or DDS, so not MT's too. Yes, of course in a spa setting or any other setting where the MT is an employee. anon
You never tip the owner of whatever service you are receiving: hair, waxing, nails, etc. anon
Hi there! This is a good question,a nd one I get asked frequently. I'm a sole-proprieter CMT, with a catered in- home service for women. The quick answer is, no, I would hope one wouldn't ''expect'' a tip. Longer answer, it's not as simple as the idea that we don't have to take a huge cut, like those who work at a spa, for example. For instance, if a practitioner rents a space, there's the cut! Like myself, I travel to you, hello gas and wear and tear, special insurance, permits and fees, etc.

Unlike working for someone else, there's an enormous amount of extra work that comes into it. From buying our own supplies, washing our sheets daily, to organizing our calenders, booking, scheduling, etc. No one does this for us. So an hour working on your body is at least 90 minutes working for you.

Flipside to that, a person working for someone else can't declare their own hourly wage. We can. I do! I feel I know what I am worth, I'm an advanced practitioner, and continue to study to provide top notch quality work. I educate, guide, and routinely check in on every person I see. So, I can say ''I charge X amount of dollars.'' If I needed/wanted more, I would ask for it, not expect it in an awkward bid for a tip. And if I asked for less, assuming I'd get a tip, well, we all know what happens when you assume.

So, if you are seeing someone who provides quality work for you, and it is all you can afford just to see them at their asking price, don't tip. For me, the best tips are people who are genuinely grateful and jive with the work. It's a pleasure to work with them! A person who slaps $25 onto my asking price is always grately appreciated also. Someone who gives me a great review on yelp? Priceless. So, do what you feel is right, but please remember this person is working much harder than you see or realize. Namaste sole-proprieter


What are you suppose to tip for a massage therapist?

Oct 2003

Hi there: I'm a massage therapist and I'm hoping to offer some insight on the tipping question. I work on my own doing both outcalls and massage in my home. While I agree that it is appropriate to tip in a spa setting because of the amount of money the therapist is getting paid, I think this also makes sense when having a therapist come to your home. I try to keep my prices reasonable and tips aren't expected, but they are very much appreciated. When I do receive tips, it's generally in the 10-20% range. Massage therapists in private practice have a number of expenses that spa employees don't. There's equipment, a city business license, insurance (both liability and health), marketing, linens, music and laundry - not to mention travel time and fuel expense. Every outcall I do for an hour massage generally takes about two and a half hours with travel and set- up. Also, please keep in mind that massage is a skill that requires a certain level of education to perform well. And, as one member already pointed out, training can be expensive. My program cost over $12,000. That said, I sincerely believe that tipping is voluntary and should be based on your level of satisfaction with the service you've received. I truly love my career and wouldn't trade it for anything. I love helping people and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many of my clients. So, I guess this is a very long way to say - yes, if you are happy with the work and if you are financially able to do so, please tip. happily working cmt


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