It is no secret… the Value of Massage has been on a constant decline with the many massage franchises who keep lowering the price of massage creating the never ending price wars. $59.00 massages at Massage Envy, now $29 massages at Green Spa. $19 an hour at the Rub Club.
When will it ever end?
There will always be someone, somewhere who will go lower than that. Is the $1 massage on its’ way? (I seriously hope not!)
Who will win? No one actually. The business who is willing to go the lowest will usually prevail but it is usually the lower quality service. There are no winners.
Cutting prices also means you decrease the perceived value of a service. Customers will think “oh they are really low prices but what is wrong with them that they have to do that?”
When businesses keep dropping prices, they also have to cut their expenses and overhead. The first to go is usually the employee salaries and also cutting back on the time of the session to allow for more sessions to be done in one day. It is just basic business principles.
The low prices attract people who only care about the low price. They are loyal to the price, not necessarily to the place. They may not really understand the true value of massage. The massage that they often receive at a low cost massage place, is also compromised by the fact that the employee is paid less and there is less time allotted for the massage session and changing over the room for the next massage. A low paid employee is more likely to be unhappy as they can’t make a living and are worried about their families and income.
Separate Yourself from the Low Priced massage places
With the franchises and other places bashing each other around based on prices, the best thing is really to stay out of it all and focus on what you do best – providing the BEST massage experience that money can buy.
You will have to set yourself apart from others by showing that you are different. You can do that in a few different ways:
- Find a specialized niche like a specific type of massage that is unique and very effective.
- Add extra services like aromatherapy or special therapies that do not cost much to provide but will set you apart from others.
- Make sure you provide a GREAT experience for your clients from start to finish – have a very professional website that people can easily find you through, have a direct and easy way to make and appointment or contact you to make an appointment, follow up with questions and appointments in a timely and professional manner, be on time for your appointments, give the most amazing massage ever, give the full hour and a few minutes extra if you can or want to, allow time in between clients to change to the next client, follow up with clients after the massage and ask them to rebook or ask them to send their friends and family members.
- Your website is often the first point of contact for people so it really needs to be effective. It needs to be on the first page of Google so that people can find you easily. It needs to show them that you are the expert on massage in your area and that you are different from all of the low cost places out there. You do that by writing articles on massage. Here is a list of suggested ideas for website content.
- Understand that your target market is different from the low cost places. Yes you have to target people who can afford you. It is about money.
- Be committed to getting the word out about your business. Tell the world what you do and be proud to do so!
To all the franchise employees who are happily working there and doing your best to provide the BEST massage ever, this is not about YOU. I do challenge you to seek a higher paying job and see what it is like to work there and see if it changes what you do or how you give a massage.
Alan Ford says
I so believe, and lived, this very same situation during my 25 years of full time practice in Canberra ACT.
What a therapist has to do (as early on in their career as possible), is find a niche style that suits them, and stick with it. This will drive their client base, (long as the treatments are effective), and word of mouth will do the rest.
After trying to cover all of the massage bases, relaxation, remedial, sports, shiatsu, lymphatic drainage, MET, deep tissue, etc. I found that Onsen Technique MET, was the best direction for me. The first 3-4 years were great for honing my tactile and time management skills, but the last 20+ years were all about being the ‘Big Kahona’ in my field of practice.
2 Olympic Games as a paid ‘Olympic Athlete Service Provider’, a loyal 100 or so continuous return clients underpinning my never ending stream of ad hoc clients kept me fully booked throughout my entire career.
Costs and expenses continue to rise, and as such, so should your prices. Be confident and true to your craft, everyone else in the personal services industry puts their prices up, so why not you. My suggestion is annual or bi-annual small increases parallel to CPI.
I have been a therapist for 18 years now, and I am challenged daily to see myself differently than the inexpensive massage establishments. I am working up the courage and self-confidence necessary to raise my rates and stick to it once 2019 begins.