Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2019

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SIMPLICITY FOR CLIENTS There are fees and tips and taxes tagged on to most purchases. People are price- weary and tired of every purchase being more than originally listed. Every part of your massage business should be easy and straightforward for the client. It should be easy to find you and easy to make an appointment. It should be simple to find your policies, know what payment forms you accept, and how much the service will cost. SIMPLICITY FOR YOU Having an irregular income makes budgeting difficult. There are factors we can't always control, like sick cancellations, seasonal fluctuations, and our own emergency time off. But pricing? We can control that. We can absolutely control how much money we make for each and every massage we perform. If you count on tips to make "enough" money and you fall short when tips are not what you expected, that's a solvable problem. Raise your prices to match what you feel your massage is worth and eliminate tipping altogether. (Read more about setting prices in "Need to Increase Your Rates?" from the November/December 2018 issue of Massage & Bodywork, page 24.) MAKING THE SWITCH Making a change in any office policy takes a little work. If you decide to implement a new policy, wrap the change together with an updated menu of services and pricing. Announce the new menu and pricing a month or more in advance. Do so without apology or emotion and include a reference to the new policy. Everyone's business has a different tone and "voice." For me, such an announcement would happen via email to my client list and say: "I'm pleased to announce an updated service menu and pricing beginning March 1, 2019. Along with this change, I'll be instituting a new no-gratuity policy. You can see the full menu here at my website." You could also do this with a sign in your office and post your new menu and fees underneath. Whatever fits your communication preference for your business is just fine! Be sure to post some kind of alert near your pricing on your website. It doesn't need to be long or fancy, simply "Gratuities are not accepted" or "Thank you, but tips are not accepted." HOW TO SAY NO, KINDLY Even with a clearly posted policy, some clients will still attempt to tip. (But this happens much less when the new policy accompanies a price hike.) You can be polite and refuse at the same time. My favorite line to refuse a tip is, "Thank you so much, but I work for myself and I price my services accordingly. Tips are not necessary." If the client still insists I try, "I would really prefer you use that to come back for more massage." It's rare for a client to insist past that point, but if they do, I take the tip. For every rule there is an exception and a client who just needs to stick with the custom they know. That's just what it is to run a business dealing with people. But if you have implemented your policy well, that will be rare. It also helps to have a suggestion of how a client can help you outside of a tip. When you refuse a tip, you could follow with, "But I would love if you told a few friends about me or write me a review online!" and hand the client some business cards or offer to send an email with a link to your Google Business page. Pricing changes and policies around money are tough. Being different and moving past what "has always been" takes real courage. If a no- gratuity policy piques your interest, be brave and make it happen! Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds can be found at www.massagebusinessblueprint.com, a member-based community designed to help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. Yo u r M & B i s w o r t h 2 C E s ! G o t o w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e t o l e a r n m o r e . 23

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