When I first became a certified massage therapist I was offering free massages to everyone; my friends, my family, my neighbors, my hair stylist, the mail man and on and on… I just wanted to practice, practice, practice. At some point though I realized I was going to get burnt out and have no energy for my paying clients if I didn’t watch out. I came to the realization that I needed to stop giving away massages.
At some point every massage therapist has to draw the line at the number of free massages they give out, even to their loved ones. I have a friend who is a medical doctor and he always says, do people expect me to give them free medical appointments, no, and they shouldn’t expect you to give them free massages either. That really resonated with me; massage therapists are professionals and should be treated as such. However, we need to be sure we are reinforcing that fact to those around us as well.
I have a few suggestions to help with this dilemma.
1. Don’t give free massages to ANYONE. Have them give you something in return for the massage, even if it isn’t money. Bartering works great!
- Baby sit for you
- Clean your house
- Trade a service
2. Give a massage as a gift
- Give a GC for a massage on a special holiday
- Give a GC for a massage as a thank you
3. Always have them schedule the massage like any other client
- You should treat all clients the same; whether they are family, friends or a public client
- Make sure they know your cancellation and late policies and tell them they too must abide by the rules
4. If you just don’t have time, refer them to another massage therapist
- It is ok to tell someone no
- Have a list of 2 or 3 trusted massage therapists that you can refer to
You are a professional and deserve to be treated like one, always! What you do helps people heal and there is nothing wrong with getting compensated for that.
“If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.” Norman Vincent Peale
Blog Post By: Maria Leonard, MBA, MT, Reiki Master – Network Dean of Massage Therapy for Globe University/Minnesota School of Business/Broadview University