Today I had the pleasure of surprising a new client when she tried to hand me a tip, by telling her about our no gratuity policy.
Often when I tell people this they look at me with an expression of confusion. Followed almost always by an "Are you sure?"
To that I most definitely say "Yes, I'm sure."
There is a great debate in the massage community over whether it's acceptable/expected to tip your massage therapist. This debate is as old as the "Massage releases toxins debate" and not everyone agrees.
On one side of the fence you have therapists who do accept gratuities and think it's a perfectly acceptable part of their practice. After all they are providing you a service, much like a server in a restaurant or a hair stylist. These are most often, but not always, a therapist who work for someone as an employee.
On the other side of the fence you have therapists, mostly solo practitioners, who feel they charge an adequate fee for their services and don't need to supplement with a tip.
We charge a fair fee based on what our time and level of experience and education is worth.
If we needed a tip to supplement our work financially, we should be charging more for our services.
I can understand the desire for clients to show their appreciation for great work with an extra tip and we're flattered that you think our work is worthy of an extra show of appreciation.
Here are some things you can do with that money that would make us, and maybe you, just as happy.
1. Invest in more bodywork: The number one reasons we hear from people about why they do not receive more bodywork is "I can't afford it."
If adding a gratuity on top of your massage is the reason you can't afford it, then skip the tip.
Save that money to put toward an extra session. Besides, if you tip (or in some cases of massage brain, over tip) you may feel obligated to continue or feel guilty because you can't give the same over generous amount every time, which may prevent you from getting the work you need.
2. Refer a new client: We LOVE new clients! This is by far a much better compliment to our skills than any monetary tip. Referring someone to us means that you care about that person and you trust us to be the one to take care of them.
3. Purchase a gift certificate for a friend: You don't need to purchase an entire session. We sell gift certificates by the dollar amount too. You could combine the amounts that would have equaled a couple of tips and purchase a gift certificate (See #2).
4. Do something (anything) nice for someone else: Pay for someone's toll, a cup of coffee, hold open a door. It's proven that massage increases endorphins and seratonin (our happiness hormones) so why not spread a little happiness to others.
5. Make a donation to the local food pantry. Places like the Exeter Library or your local grocery store have bins for food pantry donations.
These are just some of the ideas of things you can do instead of tipping and if you have a different idea, I'd love to hear about it.