woman with calculator, setting fees

How much should you charge for a massage therapy session? Fee structures vary greatly depending on the type of work you do and where you are located. Setting an appropriate fee structure is necessary in any business.

Carefully consider all of the costs involved in running your business before you finalize your fee structure. This includes both fixed and unfixed costs. Your fixed costs include rent, utilities, phone, equipment, loan payments, website maintenance, insurance, licenses and promotion.

Unfixed costs are more time and task related and include keeping client records, networking, planning, extended business hours, traveling, practice management and continuing education classes.

There are four predominant fee-setting strategies: the high-end rate, the industry standard rate, the low-end rate and the time-limited introductory rate.

No matter which method you choose for determining your rates, be certain your fee structure is credible for your particular market and that it supports your financial well-being.

Strategy 1 for Setting Fees: The High-End Rate

To adopt this fee-setting strategy, you will set your rate significantly higher than the industry standard rate in your geographic region, to target a small percentage of the population.

This fee-setting strategy usually works only if your service is innovative, in demand and has no competition, or has significant value added to the basic service.

Strategy 2 for Setting Fees: The Industry Standard Rate

To adopt this fee-setting strategy, you will determine the industry standard rate in your geographic region and align with it.

To make that determination, search online for local therapists who offer the same types of services as you and research their rates. The therapists’ rates will be posted online or may be obtained with a phone call.

Strategy 3 for Setting Fees: The Low-End Rate

To adopt this fee-setting strategy, you will set your rate significantly lower than the industry rate in your geographic region.

The benefit to you of adopting this fee structure is that you will attract a larger market share of clients.

The drawback is you could find yourself booked with too many massages, which can ultimately have a negative effect on your body.

Strategy 4 for Setting Fees: The Time-Limited Introductory Rate

To adopt this fee-setting strategy, you will offer introductory rates for a limited time, or package deals that reflect reduced rates. (Buy nine massage sessions and receive one free session, for example.)

Beware of the tendency to overextend introductory rates; you want to attract new clients but not be limited to the amount you can earn per session for too long a length of time.

Ready, Set, Massage

Setting your fees is an important step in launching a massage practice. Choose one of these rate strategies to begin, and remember that your strategy may evolve over time.

Cherie Sohnen-Moe

About the Author

Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach, international workshop leader and successful business owner since 1978. She has served as a faculty member at a massage school, acupuncture college and holistic health college. Sohnen-Moe is the author of Business Mastery and Present Yourself Powerfully, and co-author of The Ethics of Touch. She is a founding member of and is the past president of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education.