There is little doubt that massage therapy is a lucrative field. Once you start working as a massage therapist, you will realize that there is a strong potential for the amount of money you can make.
Although many contemplate the sustainability of a full time income when starting their business, working as a therapist can provide a stable and steady source of income, at least initially.
That being said, when it comes to remuneration, there are different payment structures used by massage facilities. Not all of them pay a fixed salary nor do all massage therapists get paid on a per massage basis.
This is something you need to understand about being a massage therapist. At the end of the day, you have to think about maximizing your earnings and this may not be possible with the current pay structure you are working on.
There are three main ways in which wages are disbursed to massage therapists:
- Getting Paid Per Massage: As the title indicates, you are paid based on the number of massages you perform in a day. There is a fixed price for each massage, which the clients have to pay. The establishment you are working for deducts a certain portion of the money received from each massage and pays you the rest. Usually, massage therapists working in small massage facilities or in places like spas, health clubs and gyms are paid per massage.
- Getting Paid Per Hour: In some cases, massage therapists are paid by the hour. Generally, a massage session lasts for an hour, unless in exceptional circumstances. Therefore, the amount of money you are paid per massage would be similar to what you are paid per hour. That being said, if a massage session does not last an hour, getting paid by the hour might prove to be more lucrative. This is often the situation with massage therapists working for massage facilities.
- Getting A Fixed Salary: Some massage therapists receive a fixed salary from their employers. In this case, you might be able to supplement your income through tips received from clients. Getting a fixed salary ensures that you have a steady stream of income. As compared to getting paid per hour or per massage, getting a fixed salary could prove to be a more stable option.
So, what is the best option for you? Without going into any details, it is obvious that the one which enables you to make the most money is the best option for you – at least from a financial perspective. However, you need to know the pros and cons of all three options listed above for making an informed decision.
Getting Paid Per Massage Session or Appointment
Getting paid per massage is the best option if you have a large number of regular customers. This way, you can rest assured that the number of massages you perform could only increase and not decrease in the future.
If you are paid per massage, the amount of money you make will increase as you attract more and more clients. On the other hand, it could reduce the amount of money you make if your regular customers switch to a different massage therapist. This is a risky situation as the number of massages you perform will determine the amount of money you make.
This could also be the situation, if you decide to set up your own massage business. In that case, you will receive money for each massage you perform, unless you choose to be paid by the hour. The risk is all yours but the profit is all yours too.
You will receive the full amount paid per massage so, the more massages you perform, the more money you will make. That being said, it is for you to decide whether you can get through the rough phase which you are bound to encounter at some point in time. There might come a time when you don’t make as much money as you had hoped for.
Getting Paid Per Hour of Massage
Getting paid per hour has pretty much the same pros and cons as getting paid per massage. However, there is one distinct advantage here. In the event that your massage sessions last less than an hour, you will mostly be paid for the full hour.
Of course, if the massage lasted for less than 30 minutes, then you will be paid half. This way, you can make more money while working for less time. Generally, the rates charged per hour tend to be higher than what massage therapists charge per massage.
Getting a Fixed Salary as a Full Time Massage Therapist
You might be paid a fixed salary if you choose to work for a massage facility. In that case, you will receive a fixed paycheck at the end of the week or month. You can be assured that you will get your salary regardless of the volume of work you have handled.
For instance, even if there are several slow days during a month, you will still receive compensation for being present at work during those days. This isn’t the case when you are getting paid per hour or per massage.
However, this is also a drawback of sorts. You will not benefit from working hard. If you get through more clients in a day, there is no extra compensation in it for you.
That being said, if you feel that you need a stable income to get by every month, it is best that you work for fixed salary. As mentioned earlier, there are many businesses that offer a fixed salary to the massage therapists who work for them.
In most instances, you will receive tips from your customers. Depending on the number of regular customers you have, you can make hundreds of dollars in tips over the course of a month. There is also a good chance that you will receive some additional perks for working for a massage facility such as health insurance and retirement accounts.
It is up to you to decide which option is the best one for you and allows you to make the most money. The pros and cons of all three have been listed in depth above so that you can make an informed decision.
With all that said, sometimes when keeping the long term picture in mind, you realize that it is not all about the short term salary that matters rather than the connections you make and experience you gain. Read this to understand why it sometimes is desirable to take a lower paying job in the interest of future success.