How to Price Massage

When it comes to pricing massage therapy, the “sweet spot” is a combination of what drives your target market to spend, how your overhead affects net profit and where your competition has set the bar.

Following are three tips to help you better understand how to effectively price your services. 

1. Know your market. The art of pricing begins with defining your target market. “It’s the foundation of a successful business,” explains Lisa Champagne-Minyard, Thrive in Five program manager at Women’s Economic Ventures, a Santa Barbara, California-based organization devoted to the economic empowerment of small-business owners. However, conflicting truths can sometimes define the same target market. Setting prices that reflect all of your market’s defining characteristics is where creativity comes into play.

2. Look at your competition. The simplest way to nail down your pricing strategy is to check out the competition. Sybil Waggamon-Baker, owner of ComprehensiveVitality, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, decided on pricing after doing extensive research in her community. “I visited 10 different places, got a massage, looked at their pricing, asked a lot of questions and compared each therapist’s training and experience to mine,” she recalls. “Eventually, I found a price that’s fair—and my clients agree.”

3. Be flexible. Shadowing the art and science of pricing is the massage therapist’s heart, which means that your price strategy needs to be nimble. “I’ve coached massage therapists before, and they are a very compassionate group. So there’s this internal dilemma! They want to lower their prices so they can help as many people as possible—but then they’ll go out of business,” Champagne-Minyard says. “My advice is to set boundaries. And if you wish to consider donating massage therapy, too, price your business so at any given time you can afford to work with X amount of clients who pay a low or no fee.”

However, Champagne-Minyard adds: “Don’t just give away your expertise. When you help a client, ask them to pay it forward. Maybe they can volunteer at your favorite community charity. It doesn’t have to cost a penny, but it does put value on your talents.”

You can get more detailed informatoin about pricing in the feature "The Price is Right" from the Winter 2016 issue of Massage Therapy Journal.

"As a professional member of AMTA, I have found comfort in knowing that all the effort I put into obtaining my massage certification is recognized and protected. AMTA standards validate the profession."

Kim K., AMTA member since 2003