massage packages: time versus money

Do not charge by the hour.


Charging by the hour earns you far less money. Charging by the hour earns you far less dedicated clients. And, most importantly, charging by the hour gets your clients far less results.


Because when clients pay you by the hour, the value of what you do for them can get lost. The focus becomes your hourly rate. When a client pays you by the hour, that client has got to be convinced to come back in at the end of almost every single session.

Clients carefully consider each session they come in for, just because of the cost. Because instead of focusing on what’s most important—their well-being—they focus on how many hours they want to pay for, how much their insurance will cover, and they lose focus on what’s most important.

Do not charge by the hour.

Time = Money?

Charging by the hour means that you can almost never really get ahead. You can almost never really scale your business. To make more money, you have to work more hours. Or, to earn enough to hire other therapists to work under you, and charge clients enough per hour so you can pay your expenses as well as your therapists, and make a significant profit—you have to work more hours.

Forever and ever and ever. It never ends. And the margins can get razor-thin.

You’re subject to the natural oscillating factors of the market. The game is, “more clients, more clients, more clients!” And when clients are plentiful, you work and work and work. And your body suffers. And when people lose their jobs, or insurance companies get stingy, your business suffers.

Do not charge by the hour.

man with back pain

Massage Packages: A Different Game

There is a better way: A way that sells what you do to your clients in a way that focuses on the result that they get.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. “What is the value of my client seeing a 70 percent reduction in her chronic pain?”
  2. “What is the value of my client seeing a 50 percent increase in his range of motion?”
  3. “What is the value of my client seeing an 80 percent reduction in her migraine pain?”

If you can regularly help some of your clients get these kinds of results, I’d suggest that that’s worth a lot more than your hourly rate. I coach massage therapists into positioning and selling themselves in this way, and so I know this from many therapists: Most people who get amazing results like this have paid a mere few hundred dollars. Sometimes much less. The exchange of dollars for value is often not a fair exchange of value.

Just imagine, what would that cost if these sorts of results were possible from a medical doctor, without medication or surgery? It might cost the average person’s annual salary. Imagine, what if there was a pill you could take for just a few weeks that could get you these kinds of results?

Just imagine what that’s worth to someone. It’s a heck of a lot more than a few hundred bucks.

If your client has had migraines or chronic back pain for decades, and after just a few sessions, or even a few months, you’re able to help him dramatically relieve that pain, that value is incredible.

If your client cannot move her arm because of frozen shoulder, and you can give her significant mobility back, that value is priceless.

What changes in a client’s life, if after working with you, he or she can lie down comfortably, play with his or her kids again or simply sit down without pain?

What’s that worth?

So, I invite you to keep that in mind when you think about what your pricing is, and play a different game. Don’t worry about how many hours you put into a client. Just keep in mind what’s best for them. Clients are coming to you to feel better. Help them feel a lot better, and charge them appropriately so.

Play a different game by encouraging clients to see that value. See your own value through the lens of the results you provide, and a massive mindset shift is on the horizon.

And then comes a massive shift in your income.

Charge for Results, Not Time

Play a different game by creating packages and focusing on the result they provide.

My massage clients charge anywhere between $1,500 to $5,500 per package. And so can you, if you can provide people real, meaningful results—and if you have a history of doing so.

Please, do not charge by the hour.

Tim StremosAbout the Author

Tim Stremos is the president of Holistic Marketer, where he teaches massage therapists and complementary therapists to position themselves at the top of their market, charge premium prices and automate client flow. He has been marketing for complementary health companies for nearly a decade. Stremos wrote “Real Results: How to Make Four Figures Per Client, Per Month,” for the July 2016 print edition of MASSAGE MagazineMASSAGE Magazine readers can view a webinar that will teach them more about creating packages.