5 Steps to Raising Massage Rates Without Losing Clients

No one particularly enjoys raising prices for massage therapy services, especially the part where you have to break the news to your clients.

How will they take the news? Will they stop booking appointments? Will they look for a cheaper massage therapist?

These fears are common among massage therapists when it comes time to adjust fees and rates.

But, these worries shouldn't keep you undercharging for your services. There is a way to raise your prices without scaring off your loyal clients.

Why raise prices?

There are many reasons why massage therapists need to raise their prices occasionally. Just like any other industry, there are basic costs involved in running your business: purchasing products, maintaining equipment, insurance, certification, paying for utilities and various overhead costs. These basic expenses go up each year and in order to keep your profitability, you must raise your prices or cut back, or both.

That's basic business and most people understand this concept.

One of the other costs for massage therapists is continuing education.

Keep your clients informed about the continuing education classes and workshops that you attend. This will serve a couple of purposes: 1. Your clients will see that you are staying current on the latest techniques and education in your field in order to provide a very high level of service to them and 2. it also shows them that you are investing in your services and business, which costs money.

Your professional growth and experience is valuable, so don't sell yourself or your skills short.

5 Tips for raising massage rates

1. Make gradual increases

You and your clients will find it easier to adjust to a slight increase every so often (say, a $5 increase on all services across the board), rather than one huge increase per decade.

However, if you haven't adjusted your prices in a decade then a bigger increase makes sense.

2. Advanced notice

Give your clients plenty of advanced notice before you raise your prices. You might send an email and post a flyer in your office with the price changes. It is important to proceed with confidence when you let your clients know about the new pricing. About a month's notice is customary among massage therapists we spoke to about this.

3. Proceed with confidence

If you understand the value of your services, that confidence will translate to your clients. Don't apologize, feel guilty, or overexplain why you need to raise your prices!

One suggestion from experienced massage therapists is to post how long it has been since your last price increase. This way your clients can see the adjustment as a simple cost of living raise.

4. Extending a loyalty discount

Some massage therapists prefer raising prices across the board, for all clients and services. Not everyone does it that way, though. Others work with each of their clients individually to extend loyalty discounts. In this way, their new clients begin paying the new higher price, and the old clients pay a slightly lower price.

Another suggestion is to extend discounts to your elderly clients or those who cannot afford to pay more. Every massage therapist knows their clients best and has to do what is best for her or his business.

5. Don't freak out

We spoke to several massage therapists who acknolwedged that they started out very wary about raising prices. But, for most of them, they said their clients are understanding and not put off by reasonable price increases. You may lose a client now and then, but you would probably lose them anyway due to their personal finances or other factors outside of your control.

Here's a personal story from one massage therapist:  "I also put a note at the bottom of my notice stating, 'If this increase causes a financial hardship for you please speak with your therapist about finding an alternative solution'. Nobody has ever left and I've gone from $45/hour up to $70/hour since 1998. Good luck. Remember that what we do is important and has a lot of value to more than just the people we touch."

How have you handled price increases with your clients in the past? Leave a comment below with your tips, comments and questions!