Raising your rates for massage can be an intimidating experience for massage therapists. I recommend that you raise your rates every few years. It is really a part of good self care while also just being a part of running a business. The cost of living goes up and your expenses go up each year so it is important that your business be able to meet your demands for money and heck you need to be able to stay in business.
One of the biggest challenges in raising your rates is that you will be faced with the possibility of losing clients. No matter what you do, you may lose some clients. It is just a fact. The thing though is about timing your rate increase and balancing your client loads. The best time to raise your rates is when you are really busy and your schedule is full. Even better is to raise them when you are too busy. That will weed out clients that don’t value your service and allow you to focus on those that do. While that may sound mean and many massage therapists really think that they want to make massage be available to everyone, as a business that is just not possible or a good business practice. When you weed out clients that pay less it allows room in your schedule for those who will pay more.
The fact is that to be able to stay in business and continue providing service to your clients – you need money! You won’t be much good to clients if you can’t stay in business or you can’t pay your own bills.
The best time to raise your rates is when you are really busy. That way if you lose a few clients it won’t matter much. Being really busy also may be a sign that your prices are too low. I would recommend changing them sometime during the year and NOT at the beginning of the year after all the holiday spending sprees. You just have to remember you will get new clients at the higher rate and make up for the losses.
Often when you do raise your rates you will find that most of your clients will tell you things like ” oh it’s about time” or “you deserve it”.
You can let clients know ahead of time so that they can be prepared.
- Set a date about a month away to raise your rates
- Announce it on your website.
- Post a notice in your office near the massage table and/or at the desk where they pay.
- Send out a mailing announcing your price increase but make it also a special offer like buy a series now at the lower rate or buy gift certificates at the lower rate.
I can guarantee you that you will have someone who balks at your new rates and threatens to leave or does just leave. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that it is OK to have them go.
You don’t have to ever explain really why you are raising your massage fees.
You also do not have to explain why you are raising your rates. People should understand that you are a business and that it is just a fact. You never really need to explain or justify your rate increase. Heck, you don’t even have to do all the things to announce it months ahead either. I think we do all these things to make ourselves feel better about raising them! If you have to explain why then maybe that client is not right for your business. Does the gas station announce a month early that they will be raising their rates?
When I first started out in massage, I took over a business where the person was charging way below the going rate in the area. I initially raised it a bit allowing people to get used to me and find me. The next year I consulted with an accountant about raising my rates and he actually advised me not to. He said I would lose too many clients and it would hurt me too much in the long run. Well of course I didn’t listen to him. Yes I lost clients who were used to paying less but I also gained many new clients who were willing to pay more thus increasing my income significantly. It also in some way makes you feel better about yourself and deserving of more. It is a way to acknowledge your own needs and work towards meeting them. It is one of the highest forms of self care which is essential to making it in the massage profession.
I have also had some really well off clients who would complain when I did raise my rates. Yes you will get all kinds.
You will have to weigh each objection to see if you will want to do something to keep the client as a client. It will depend on how long they have been a client and what their financial situation is. How often do they come in – 1x a year or 1x a week or something in between? You will want to take into consideration whether they have been a good source of referrals for your business. You can also assess the time it takes to deal with them as in are they always late or missing appointments or calling to reschedule. You will have to decide if you can afford to lose this client and if it would be worth your time to keep them.
To keep them, you could do a special package offer and let them buy like 10 massage sessions at your old price. You could keep the price the same for them for awhile if you want to.
If they decide it is just time to go, then you will have to work on getting other clients in the door to replace them. Always be working on your website to add new content. Google likes that in particular. Your website needs to be able to pass the E-A-T test – It needs to show that your Expertise, Authoritativeness or Trustworthiness. Always be looking for ways to get your current clients to refer to you and get other people/businesses/doctors/health professionals to refer to you. (See also: how to create a referral network)