Massage Business 101: The Simple Yet Important Equation of How To Set Price.
I remember when I when I was thinking about entering the work force as a massage therapist, I thought if I could charge $75 an hour my life would be great. I started at a Chiropractic office & was getting paid around $12 an hour working 36 hrs a week for the better part of 9 months. It was a far cry from $75, but hey I was working. It took me about 8 years before I reached my “golden ticket” of $75 & let me tell you life wasn’t so grand.
It took me quite a while to build up both my confidence & a clientele base that would pay me $75 an hour. There were many lessons learned along the way. If I could grab Doc Brown & jump in the Delorean here is what I would tell myself about setting my price.
Setting the price for services should be the equation of expenses + location + experience
While this is a seemingly simple equation, it is actually pretty tricky. In each part of the equation many massage therapists either over look or let pass by.
If I was to give a piece of advice to my younger self & all MTs, it would be to hire both a CPA & a finacial finacial planner. Their job is to help us manage, protect & build our practice.
Again I’m writing this to my younger self; I know he didn’t hire a CPA & I know many of you reading this won’t either. Here is a breakdown of the equation & why each part is important.
Expenses: There are some obvious things here like rent, liability insurance, taxes, & health care, but so often things like a CPA, retirement, continuing education are overlooked. For a larger list of expenses check out this post on cost & expenses.
Location: Is your market a viable location for your practice? Is there enough disposable income to support it? Do you live in a dense enough population where being 1 of 10, 20 or 50 MTs in a 20 mile radius doesn’t matter? I dig into this topic deeper in this post on How To Choose A Location.
Experience: In most other fields advanced or journeyman practitioners are paid more than beginners. In our profession often times this doesn’t seem to be the case. I can tell you my work is 100x better after 16 years in the field than it was when I started. I have experience that can only be learned. The longer you are in practice the higher your fee for sessions should be.
Don’t set your prices at the industry standard/arbitrary number. Set them based on an understanding of what it will take to build & sustain your career. This could save you your practice & many sleepless nights.
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Practice Makes Improvement :)
Shawn Kitzman has been practicing Movement Therapies since 1992. He began his Massage Practice in 2000 and is currently working on a book focused on helping Massage Therapists get out of their rut and put the Passion back into their practice. When he is not spending time with his family, getting thrown in Jiu Jitsu, providing solutions for injured athletes in his practice he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org