Businessman holding money

As a massage therapist, what is acceptable etiquette when it comes to accepting tips from your clients? Receiving a tip after you’ve just given an amazing massage surely makes you feel appreciated, but is it a necessary requirement for the client? If you don’t receive a tip, how does it affect you and your work in the future?

Ease Their Concerns

Often clients will ask, “Am I supposed to tip you?” to which I reply, “Tips are never expected, but always appreciated. Some people tip, others don’t. It’s a personal preference and your choice is always respected on my end.” This statement has always been simple enough to ease my clients’ concerns regarding tipping.

Increase the ROI

I suggest setting your treatment prices a few dollars slightly above average for your region and providing more value within your massage sessions. Offer services such as complimentary hot-stone therapy or aromatherapy.

This allows your client to feel as if she is getting a great return on her investment, and you feel you are getting paid what you are worth by organically charging a few extra dollars in your set prices. As a result, you won’t worry about whether or not you are going to receive a tip after the massage. In this instance, everyone walks away feeling valued.

Be a Healthcare Provider 

Review how you view yourself as a massage therapist. I believe it’s critical to approach your massage therapy practice through the eyes of a health care provider. Ask yourself if you tip your doctor, dentist or any other health care provider. Branding yourself as a health care provider versus simply a service provider will allow you to create a stronger massage therapy practice, without the need to worry about whether or not you’re being tipped.

If your end goal is to fill your schedule with your ideal clientele while charging a price that reflects your true value, then tipping won’t be on the forefront of your mind. Receiving a tip will simply be that gold star for a job well done.

Ann Ross, MASSAGE MagazineAnn Ross is a massage therapist located in Seattle, Washington. She has been practicing since 2004. In 2009, she created and launched the website, a free resource for massage therapists that teaches the fundamentals of owning a successful massage therapy practice. From personal development to marketing tips and ideas, Ross has been a valuable resource and mentor for many professionals in the massage therapy community who are looking to learn, explore and create their own successful massage therapy practices.