Does Discount Massage Hurt Your Business?

by on November 23rd, 2010
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Well, that question largely depends on your target audience. Are you seeking to build a client base with the budget conscious, or clients with a disposable income? Are you marketing to people who might get laid off at any moment, or are you targeting people who are financially stable? I once heard another massage therapist complain that certain clients would only come around when she sent out a coupon or ran a special. Well, I believe people will only pay as much as you think you’re worth.

What’s the deal with all these deeply discounted massage businesses popping up everywhere? In my opinion, they are a good business model based on a monthly subscription of massage treatments. The franchise model is easy to duplicate, and is the same everywhere you go. Massage franchises have a system and apparently it works. What does this mean for you and your massage practice? Absolutely nothing. If you think that competing with discount massage is the way to go, you’ll be broke and burned out before you know it.

Are the discount massage businesses really my competition? I don’t think so. These places have been going up for years and it hasn’t slowed my business at all. The massage chains are not hurting my business because I’m not competing for their customers. The feedback I get from people who go to the massage chains are that the price is great, but the massage is a hit and a miss. The other feedback I frequently hear regarding the discount massage business is: “You get what you pay for.” In my experience, most people would rather pay more for an effective massage than waste their money on something that doesn’t make them feel any different or any better.

Who is your target audience? Do you target those people who are always looking for a bargain? If that’s the case, you’ll always be seen as the discount massage therapist. Do you really want to be seen in that light? I remember in a professional development class from massage school, we discussed how to price our services and how that reflects how we are perceived. I’ll never forget when the instructor mentioned that once you start your prices low, You’ll never be able to raise them. When your clients are accustomed to paying nothing, they will get upset when you raise your prices. These people will go to another therapist who charges nothing. If you don’t value your services then why should others?

In conclusion, what I think it really comes down to is that, if you don’t value your time or your services, neither will anybody else. I’m so grateful to have had that sage advice in the beginning of my massage career. I started my prices at the upper levels and there they’ve stayed for almost twenty years. If you’re competing with discount massage, those places might hurt your business but if you’re offering a quality product at a higher rate, there isn’t a lot of competition out there. Now, if you just want to get your feet wet, you could start out at one of those discount places. You will make more flipping burgers and is this why you went into massage in the first place?


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