Tipping is something that makes massage clients a little anxious – but it really shouldn’t.
Most massage therapists are grateful for any gratuity that a client may offer.
It is common courtesy to leave a tip of 15-20% of the total cost after receiving the massage, especially if you were pleased with the service.
If you can afford it, it would be very well received if you give more than 20% as a token of appreciation for a job well done.
However, if you are unhappy with the massage or any part of your experience, you can choose not to tip at all.
In a nutshell, it’s really up to you!
Tipping Etiquette for Massage
As far as tipping etiquette after a massage goes in the US, it’s generally expected that you’ll give a tip if you were happy with your service.
The general rule of thumb is to tip between 15-20% of the massage cost, although you may choose to give more or less depending on your own discretion.
It’s also important to remember that a tip should be given directly to the massage therapist, and not included with your payment.
That way, the therapist knows that it was a voluntary gesture of appreciation for the service.
It is also important to make sure that your tip is in cash and not a credit card payment, as the therapist may not be able to accept credit payments for tips.
Lastly, it is totally fine if you do not feel comfortable tipping after your massage.
If you are unhappy with the service, then you are not obligated to leave a gratuity.
Ultimately, it is up to you and your discretion on how much you would like to tip.
The massage therapist will be grateful for any amount that you can give, and they will certainly appreciate your gesture of kindness.
Related – Here are best practices for tipping self-employed massage therapist.
Why Is Tipping a Thing?
Like it or hate it, tipping is part of the culture in the US when it comes to receiving services.
It is usually a sign of appreciation for good service, and it helps supplement the income of many service workers who may not receive a living wage from their employers.
For some massage therapists specifically, tips may be the difference between making a decent income and barely making ends meet.
But don’t let that cloud your judgment or how comfortable you feel about leaving a tip.
Tipping is not mandatory, it’s important to remember that.
But it can make a big difference in the lives of massage therapists who work hard and provide their clients with excellent service.
By tipping, you are recognizing the skill and effort of the massage therapist, and that is always appreciated!
Should You Tip All Kinds of Massage Therapists?
Some massage therapists are employed in places like gyms, spas, and hospitals.
Some are self-employed or contractors, and some freelance or work for apps like Soothe.
There are differences between self-employed and employed massage therapists in terms of tipping.
When it comes to tipping self-employed massage therapists, a 15-20% gratuity is going to be very much appreciated as they have additional costs over an employed therapist.
They’re also less likely to have a consistent wage or salary, and rely heavily on tips for their income.
For employed massage therapists, tipping though not standard in some establishments is still appreciated and a 15-20% tip will show your gratitude for the massage.
At the end of the day, it is up to you how much you’d like to tip, but it is important to remember that your massage therapist puts in a lot of hard work and dedication into their job and any amount of gratuity is sure to be appreciated.
Don’t Feel Bad if You Can’t Afford to Tip
At the end of the day, if you can’t afford to give a tip or don’t feel comfortable doing so, that’s totally okay!
Tipping is a gesture of appreciation and gratitude, not an obligation.
Your massage therapist will appreciate your graciousness no matter how much or little you can afford to give.
No matter what, be sure to thank your massage therapist for the session and let them know that you appreciate their hard work.
That, in itself, is a great way to show your appreciation for the massage session.
At the end of the day, tipping is a personal choice and you should be sure to do what makes you most comfortable.
If you can afford to give a tip, then why not give them a good review online (assuming you enjoyed the massage), this will help them get more clients.
Related – Here are best practices for tipping at Hand and Stone massage spas.
What if You’re Unhappy with Your Massage?
If you’re not happy with the massage, first of all, it is still important to remain respectful and polite.
You are not obligated to leave a tip for the massage therapist if you were unsatisfied with the service.
You could also talk to the manager or supervisor and let them know about your experience so they can address it.
At the end of the day, your satisfaction with the massage should be your primary concern and you should not feel obligated to leave a tip unless you truly enjoyed the massage.
Remember, tipping is not mandatory and should always be done out of appreciation for the service provided.
Image credits – Photo by Sam Dan Truong 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.