Do you tip massage therapists who work for themselves?
It’s an interesting question and it’s something I see come up fairly often, so I thought I’d cover tipping etiquette for employed and self-employed massage therapists:
Do You Tip Massage Therapists Who Work for Themselves?
A lot of people stress over how much to tip a massage therapist, but it’s really not that complicated.
The general rule of thumb is to tip a massage therapist the same as you would someone else in the hospitality industry.
So, that means 15-20% is the norm.
This is the same if a therapist is employed at a spa, hotel, or some other establishment, or if they’re self-employed.
Of course, there are no hard or fast rules, so it’s totally up to you how much you tip, if at all.
This is just the industry benchmark or what’s the ‘norm’ in my experience.
Why Is It Normal to Tip a Massage Therapist?
Tipping a massage therapist is pretty similar to tipping a waiter or waitress.
It’s just good manners and shows your appreciation for their service.
Plus, it’s always nice to give a little something extra to someone who has made you feel relaxed and comfortable.
Massage therapists typically earn more than a waiter or waitress and do not rely on tips to top their wage up to the minimum wage as they do, but it’s still very much appreciated.
Is It Expected that You Tip a Self-Employed Massage Therapist?
I would say that it’s not expected, but it is appreciated.
As I said before, a lot of people stress over how much to tip a massage therapist, but really the same rule applies: 15-20% is the norm.
Of course, you can always give more or less depending on your budget and how pleased you were with the service.
And that’s really all there is to it!
The only exception to the rule is if the massage therapist makes it clear on the bill that their rate is inclusive of a tip.
Should You Tip a Massage Therapist if They Are the Owner of The Establishment?
The same rule applies if your therapist owns the business: 15-20% is the norm, but it’s not expected.
As long as they were the ones who performed the massage, of course.
You’re not expected to tip the owner of the business if they were not involved in the massage.
How Much Can You Expect to Pay for A Massage Plus a Tip?
The average price of a massage is $100 plus a 20% tip which is $20 making a total of $120.
This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that most massage therapists have a lot of overhead costs, such as their table, oils, travel expenses, etc.
Plus, you’re paying for their time, training, and expertise.
I’ve never met someone who didn’t think a good massage was worth every dollar, the health and wellness benefits speak for themselves.
Of course, you can find a less expensive massage.
I’ve seen quality 30-minute massages costing around $50 in some states, so that would be a total bill of $60 with a 20% tip.
When Should You Not Tip a Massage Therapist?
The only times you shouldn’t tip a massage therapist is if they make it clear on the bill that their rate is inclusive of a tip.
This is fairly rare, but it does happen.
If this is the case, there will usually be a note on the bill or pricing page of their website indicating that tips are included.
The other instance is if you were unhappy with the massage or service you received.
We tip because we want to help supplement the income of the person providing the service, as well as to show our appreciation for the service provided.
If you were unhappy with the service, it’s perfectly acceptable not to leave a tip.
I hope this has helped clear up any confusion about whether or not You tip massage therapists who work for themselves!
Do you have any other questions about tipping etiquette that I can help clear up for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Header Photo by Aviv Rachmadian on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.