The Cost of Massage Therapy
A peek into our industry... Medical costs are rising across the board, and small businesses often have to work much harder to keep up. Let’s examine where the costs come from, and how we can keep services as affordable as possible.
Ultimately, with a Massage Therapist’s services being essentially the only source of income, the service fees we charge have to sustain all of the following:
Some Products cost more than others. The cheaper the product, the less cost goes into the service, but some pricier products are of higher quality. Better products can positively affect the feel of the massage and reduce the risk of sensitivity and allergic reactions to the unnecessary additives in cheaper products.
Whether the rent for the space is paid directly by the therapist or by a management team, the incoming service revenue must pay not only personal bills, but the bills of the facility to keep it running.
~Tax Withholding, Plus Self Employment Tax~
Most massage therapists are not employees for a larger facility. This means they have to withhold their own taxes (both State and Federal), pay them quarterly, and they do not have an employer to pay a portion of the Social Security taxes. This means there is an extra percentage of taxes to pay for those who work for themselves or as Independent Contractors.
~Utility Costs(That’s a lot of laundry!)~
Usually not included in facility rent are the utility costs for laundry, and the electricity to support all of the lovely heat appliances like hot towel cabinets, table warmers, heated blankets, and stone heaters. Some massage therapists opt to do only clothed massages to avoid linens, but others take on the cost because the linens provide coziness, security, and comfort to clients.
~Equipment and Fees~
The costs for office supplies, management software, advertising, office furniture, linens, and equipment needed for special services can sometimes be quite expensive. Beyond their purchasing cost, larger equipment usually requires maintenance, and smaller equipment needs to be periodically replaced. The more unique and special services a practitioner offers, the more they likely spend to purchase and sustain their tools.
~Body Taxation and Physical Limitations~
We definitely learn to manage our physical limits in this field! There is no way for Massage Therapists to keep up with spending 8 hours on services. Partially this is because we have so many maintenance tasks between services (which we’ll detail below), but also because it can be a very physically taxing job. In order to avoid straining our joints and ending up with chronic injuries ourselves, we have to keep proper body mechanics, which looks like a lot of lunges and squats. Even very still
services are constant isometric exercises on our end.
The massage therapists who overdo this work physically or don’t utilize proper body mechanics always end up finding out the hard way- with our field having an average of only 5 years before hitting burnout! Yikes- Many of us want to be able to serve our communities for much longer than that.
~Sustaining Practitioner’s Unpaid Work~
Most of our work is actually unpaid. This includes the clinical note-taking we are legally required to do at the end of every session, the setting up and cleaning of rooms between each session, and depending on the business structure, the bookkeeping tasks, website building, taking calls and emails, scheduling, service development, Continuing Education, research for client health conditions, event planning, maintenance, etc. that we often times also do on our own. For those who don’t do it on their own, they then take on the costs of hiring help for those tasks and maintaining the hiring costs.
~Practitioner’s Paid Work~
FINALLY! All other costs deducted, we get paid for what we came here to do- taking care of you all!
So what does this mean for the client?
That’s a lot of cost to pass on to clients- Especially when most insurance companies have either not caught up with the science backing the physical and emotional health benefits of massage therapy, or they claim to pay for services but make billing extremely difficult on the therapist. Sometimes that looks like waiting 6+ months and multiple hours on the phone to receive payment for a singular service, which is just not sustainable for most small businesses.
We completely understand how needed our services are, but also how difficult it can be to financially access massage therapy. That’s why Sanctuary Repose’s unique service menu and pricing structure is layered in a way that where cost breaks can happen for the client, they will.
Our menu is specifically designed so that services that use less products, less of the practitioner’s energy, or less equipment can be offered at a lower cost. Enhancements and add ons are also free or reasonably priced. This allows you as the client to prioritize your needs and build the service how you want it, without spending money on things that you don’t need.
You might also notice that a 2-hour session has a cheaper per-minute rate than shorter sessions. This is because giving one 2-hour session means one less set of notes and clean up than two 1-hour sessions- which is money that we can save you, and so we do.
Our unique cost saving Promotions also allow various ways to make some of the industry’s most affordable service prices even lower, so that you can come back often enough for the maintenance that your body needs. This includes First Time discounts, rotating Career-Based discounts, Recovery Plan sliding scales with a weekly or more frequent commitment, buying bulk services in bundles for cheaper (ask about financing options), membership discounts, points earned for each service to redeem for future services, Financial Aid Tokens, and more. Access those by clicking here.
We plan to keep doing what we can to make sure you can access the services you need, and we are always fighting the systems around us to help our clients break-free and flourish. Right now our financial structure is pretty unique, but as long as we are helping people, we can only hope other businesses will start giving similar options.