How much to tip for an hour massage?
It’s something most people going for a massage stress over, but it’s really nothing to worry about.
There are some very simple rules for tipping massage therapists, whether it’s a 60-minute massage or more, as I can explain:
How Much to Tip for an Hour Massage?
The amount to tip a massage therapist isn’t based on the duration of the massage, it’s calculated on the amount of the bill.
The standard tip for a massage is 15-20% of the bill, so if your massage bill came to $100, you would tip $15-$20.
Now, let’s say you had a 90-minute massage and the bill was $200… You would still only tip 15-20%, so that would be $30-$40.
It’s very similar to the hospitality industry and how the tipping culture works in that industry.
How Much Do Massage Therapists Get Paid in The US?
According to the BLS (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the median pay for massage therapists in 2021 was $22.55 per hour or $46,910 per year.
This is slightly below the national median wage of all jobs which was $51,480 in 2021, but still a respectable income.
However, it’s important to remember that massage therapists often don’t get paid their full hourly rate because they have to pay for things like renting a space in a salon or spa, advertising, and other business costs.
So, when you’re considering how much to tip for an hour massage, remember that the therapist is only keeping a portion of what you’re paying.
Should You Tip a Self-Employed Massage Therapist the Same?
Yes, you should tip a self-employed massage therapist the same as you would any other massage therapist.
The only exception to this rule is if the self-employed massage therapist owns their own business and is charging the same as they would at a spa.
In which case you may want to consider giving them a larger tip (20-25% of the bill) to show your appreciation and help with some of the other costs involved in running a business.
Should You Tip More for A Couples Massage?
No, you shouldn’t tip more for a couples massage.
The price is usually the same as it would be for two individual massages, so there’s no need to tip more.
The same rule applies, tip 15%-20% based on how the both of you feel about the massage and what you feel most comfortable with.
What if You Don’t Want to Tip for Your Massage?
While it’s not required, it is customary to tip your massage therapist.
If you don’t want to tip, that’s perfectly fine, but be aware that the therapist may not give you the same level of service next time.
If you were unhappy with the massage, it’s fine not to tip but you should also explain why you didn’t like the massage.
You don’t have to be confrontational about it, you could send an email or a text.
Massage Tip Calculator
As I said, the industry standard is to tip 15%-20% for a massage.
Here is a (manual) massage tip calculator for you to use as a quick reference if you’re not fast at calculating tips in your head:
Massage Bill 15% Tip Amount 20% Tip Amount
|Bill||15% Tip||20% Tip|
Why Do We Tip in General?
The reason we tip is to show our appreciation for good service.
It’s also a way of saying “thank you” for a job well done.
Tipping is also a way of showing that you’re a generous person.
When you tip, you’re not only showing your appreciation, but you’re also helping to support the person who provided the service.
In many cases, tipping is the difference between a good income and a great income.
Of course, anyone would welcome a tip as they earn more money – isn’t that why we all work?
So, when you’re thinking about how much to tip for an hour massage, remember that the therapist is providing a service that you’ve appreciated and that you’re helping to support them financially.
While massage therapists do not rely on tips to ‘bump’ their wage to the minimum wage in their state as some hospitality workers do, it’s a demanding job with a short life span.
Most massage therapists can only work 15-20 hours a week due to the physical demands of the job, and the average lifespan of a massage therapist is just 6 years.
So, tips go a long way to helping them cover their costs, achieve a good livable wage, and show them you appreciate their work.
To tip or not to tip and how much to tip – it can be really stressful as a client, but hopefully, I’ve made it really simple for you!
Remember, the standard tip for a massage is 15-20% of the bill and you should only tip more if you had an exceptional experience.
If you have any other questions about tipping or massage etiquette, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’m happy to help.
Header Photo by Simon HUMLER 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.