Some things just aren’t worth getting cheap. Low price tags are undeniably seductive, but too often the old chestnut about getting what you pay for turns out to be true.
Beyond quality, however, it’s important to consider how much it costs to bring you the things that you love. With this in mind, so much of what we take for granted– or even belly-ache over the price of–can suddenly seem like a bargain. Massage is one of those things. Let’s take a moment to break down the costs our massage price covers:
This broad term is too easily glazed over, but in our case, these are just a few of the things we need to cover to provide you the massages you love:
- laundry – not only do we have to pay for the machines and maintenance, the actual process of keeping our sheets and towels clean takes considerable cost and effort. While we try to be thrifty, we try to purchase products that will effectively remove unsightly grease stains and disinfect, all while not leaving behind any perfumes or odors. Checking all those boxes comes with a cost.
- equipment – Did you know that most professional massage tables start at about $600? Then there’s the towel warmers, the heating pads, the sheets, the music players, computers, printer, furniture, etc. It all adds up very quickly.
- power – the heating, lighting, and air-conditioning for the whole clinic is fueled by a significant portion of the fee you pay for a massage.
- rent – we love our clinic, and many of you have told us that you share that sentiment. But it doesn’t come free! We went out of our way to find a great deal on this place so we can keep our costs as low as possible while providing you a great massage experience.
Promotion and sales
If you’ve ever come in with a voucher, consider yourself lucky. Those promotions have done wonders to bring in new clients. But that has come with a considerable cost. Each of those sessions fulfilled actually costs us far more than we get paid for it.
Sure, massage practitioners don’t have the student loans of doctors, but they don’t get anything near the pay of doctors either. Most LMTs have to take on some debt in order to afford their training. Doing paid massage work is their time to service those debts one big payment at a time. The less they get paid, the more the interest piles up over the years.
Just as a side note, the training to become an LMT is far more extensive than you might think. It takes hundreds of long hours studying anatomy and physiology, not to mention the hours spent practicing and learning techniques. Amy Gunn, one of our owner/operators, even spent some of her training examining dissected cadavers at a local university. So no, becoming an LMT doesn’t involve the kind of training you would need to become a doctor or a nurse, but the layman might have a hard time telling the difference.
And the training doesn’t stop there! Washington state law requires that LMTs acquire about 12 hours a year of continuing education. There are always fees that come with that training, and your massage practitioner is paying for those.
Most LMTs simply can’t afford health insurance, and have to rely on either the state or pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare costs. Most clinics, like ours, likewise can’t afford to offer health insurance as a benefit. It should be noted, however, that our practitioners are able to purchase supplemental insurance at reduced rate.
This protects the practitioner in the event they get sued. However, that insurance protection is a requirement for a massage license in Washington state, and comes with regular costs that need to be covered.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LMTs make an average of about $18.25 an hour in Washington state as of 2014. While we pay our practitioners well above that average, you need to understand that their pay is per massage hour. Given how hard massage can be on the muscles and joints, most practitioners can’t stand to do more than six massage hours in a day, and no more than about 20-25 total hours in a week!
With that kind of pace in mind, the experienced, skilled LMT who makes you feel like a million bucks isn’t taking home much more than the teenagers serving you iced tea and chili cheese fries.
Feeling guilty yet?
All kidding aside, we realize that the cost of a massage is a stress for many, if not most people. We’ve tried to do everything we can to make sure that our business remains viable. It’s a real balancing act trying to keep the lights on, keep our practitioners working and happy, and satisfying our clients at the lowest possible price. But we love the challenge. We may not have the lowest price point in town, but the quality and experience we offer our clients is second to none.
If paying full price for massage is difficult for you to manage, we have created several ways to pay for a massage, including prepaid massage packages offered at a significant discount. We can even bill against a workers compensation claims or personal injury protection claims for car accidents.
Whatever you manage to work out, we appreciate your business. Each day we’re grateful for the chance to do what we love. Anyone hoping to get rich as an LMT might want to consider doing something else, but that’s just it: we do this because we love it.
Before you balk at our price or go elsewhere chasing a bargain, considering the costs involved could transform your perspective.
Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. Follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.