Sunday, June 17, 2007

How much is a massage worth?

Just recently I was interviewed for another online blog that posts interviews about careers and payscales . It's a very interesting site with a lot of information about all kinds of careers and real people in those careers. Then yesterday, I was reading through one of my massage magazines and was caught by an article titled "Respectable and Worthy of Payment" (written by Cynthia Bologna for Massage & Bodywork Magazine, June/July 2007 issue). If you're thinking that there's a sort of theme going on here, you'd be right.

According to the article, there's a lot of controversy and debate regarding what a massage therapist should or shouldn't charge their clients. Some believe that in order for us to be taken seriously by the professional health community that we need to charge exorbitant fees per session. Still others believe that charging the higher fees is what can keep them from going out of business. These types seem to also be the ones to avoid giving free first-time massages, or free anything (even charging people at charity functions though the fees might be donated to the charity -- after all operating costs have been subtracted). Some of these massage therapists don't think they should offer sliding fees or discounted rates because they believe that their work is completely worth the money they're charging. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

In the foggy, murky land of Making-a-Profit, sometimes people lose sight of one of the basic formulas for a successful service business -- you NEED clients and each client has the promise of bringing more clients to your business! Would anyone refer someone to a service business that seemed cold and indifferent to their needs? Not usually, even if the product/service is exceptional. Maybe there aren't many massage therapists doing what I do but that's okay -- I'll take the clients that they push away. Yes, my services are worth money but I knew that I needed to start out slowly in order to build a practice that enjoys repeat clientele who, in turn, enjoy referring their friends and family to me. One of the main reasons I went into massage therapy was to help others. If this means making my services more attainable to more people by cutting down how much I charge, by offering discounts, or by offering payment plans -- then so be it. Let other massage therapists cater to only those that can afford to pay exorbitant prices, I'm happy in my little corner of the massage therapy world offering my affordable, custom massage sessions. Hey, I believe in Karma, do you?

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