Should I leave my Massage Therapist a tip?
A very good question but one that isn’t easily answered.
Leaving a tip is a great way to show appreciation for your treatment and therapists appreciate them! However when your at a spa, clinic, chiro’s office, or studio tips are not the same.
Typically in a medical setting you don’t tip right? But when it comes to massage it’s very common because of the spa industry. So when do you leave a tip??
When a therapist doesn’t work for themselves their employer gets a cut and many times it’s more than you think. Lets look at spa’s first:
Most spa’s are chains either a local chain or a bigger one like Massage Envy, Hand and stone, and others. Bigger chains take more of a cut but it has set the norm for pay in other areas like local chains and independent studio’s. If you are a chain chances are the therapist isn’t making more than $30/service. I have interviewed in a few of these places and quickly realized that $17/hour is the starting norm!
Massage is an intense and personal experience that takes a lot out of the therapist and when you need to work 30+ hours just to pay bills and the license fee’s to work your left with little to live off of.
Tipping in Spa’s and chains is more common because they rely on those tips. But what about chiro’s and dr offices?
In my experience the cut is about the same but the starting wage is more around $23-$33 making it a but easier to make a living but still not enough. This is also only when we have clients, it’s very up and down kind of business.
How is it not enough?
As a massage therapist we need to pay the state a license fee (going up to around $200 soon), your insurance for the year (around $210), and present 24 credit hours every two years showing we are continuing our education. On average every 6 Ceu’s (credit hours) costs about $150 and takes away time from work. Sometimes there is travel involved just to go to the ones we really want to go to.
With all of this there are still every day/living expenses that vary from person to person. You will often find that your massage therapistworks in more than one studio, spa, or clinic.
Massage Therapists love their job and get a lot of joy from it, you can usually tell by your sessions. We do it because we love it.
Okay there is a lot but you haven’t told me if I should tip my therapist or not.
So my answer is do you want to? Do you think your therapist rely’s on tips? Take a look at where they work.
The going rate for tips are 15-20%
If your therapist is working at Dr. or Chiro’s office doing 10-20 min massages back to back after every client chances are they are over worked and aren’t getting paid that much.
Same thing with a spa, do you have a different therapist each time? is it hard to find one that’s been a while? Chances are they are also being over worked and rely on tips.
If massage therapists don’t work for themselves they don’t make more that $50/service (and that is when they are charging $110 for the service). Bottom line is do it because you want to now that you know the breakdown. Maybe even find an independent therapist you like and see them at their location.
Is there a tip norm?
Kind of, many time people tip between 10-25 depending on how much the service is and how much the therapist gets per service. Do whatever you can and If you can’t don’t worry about it! It’s not going to effect your service and if it does then you should find a new therapist.