How To Price Your Massage Therapy Services For Success

Congrats! You have finally completed your training to become a massage therapist and have obtained your certification. You are now ready to start your dream business and embark on a successful wellness career as a massage therapist; however, one not-so-small detail is getting in your way: How much should you charge for your massage therapy services?


You have probably taken some form of marketing course throughout your massage therapy schooling, but now it’s time to put your knowledge to the test, in a real-world situation. Setting rates for your massage therapy services and professional expertise isn’t unique to your industry. And like many other businesses, you should take into account a few personal and business factors:

  • Location: Where will you practice massage therapy?
  • Business Type: Will you be in business by yourself or part of a team?
  • Services: What kinds of massage therapy services do you plan to offer?


You’ve probably already guessed, there’s no magic price that all massage therapists’ use, as many different services require different pricing structures. But you can use that in your favor – as it’s best to come up with the fee that reflects your current level of ability and education and one you’re completely comfortable with – you don’t cringe because you think it’s too high or disappointed because you’re giving your services away.

[vc_text_separator title=”What Does Location Say About Your Rates?” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]We start explaining pricing in terms of massage therapy with location in the large “geographical” sense because where you live and work is the foundation of your quality of life. It also gives you the opportunity to decide whether or not relocation is necessary to your definition of success.


A random search of massage therapy services for a traditional Swedish massage in Chicago was $74/hour. St. Louis and Denver weighed in at $70/hour while New York City was $95/hour. Now if you take a look at San Francisco, that’s where we found the most expensive rate, for the same 60-minute treatment was $102/hour. This has a lot to do with the standard of living in those particular cities by also keeping in mind the supply and demand with the amount of competition.


To offer perspective, the 2012 median pay for massage therapy professionals employed in hospitals or fitness centers was $36,000 per year or approximately $17/hour. However, as an “employee” there’s the trade off of stability and no management responsibilities versus fulfilling your vision for a private practice and having autonomy.


[vc_text_separator title=”Will You Be In Business By Yourself Or Part Of A Team?” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]Even if your “perfect rate” is $102/hour and you live in Chicago, not all of that money goes to your salary or profit. If you plan on working for yourself, there are some expenses you need to be aware of. How far that money goes depends on your overall expenses, such as a massage tables or a chair to offer seated massages.


Monthly expenses may also include rent, utilities, and any massage therapy supplies, such as oils, hot stones and cleaning supplies. Also be aware of annual expenses. Examples of annual expenses are license renewal or any business permits you’re required to have also any massage therapy continuing education courses you will need to maintain your license status, and any massage therapy conventions you wish to attend to network and to gain more knowledge about the industry.


There is also “cost” of maintaining your business – everything from laundry, cleaning (even if you contract out), to marketing. Also, if you share space or open a practice with a colleague or two, the impact of these expenses is greatly reduced.


[vc_text_separator title=”What Kinds of Massage Services Will You Offer?” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]The most popular forms of massage therapy include Swedish massage, Aromatherapy, and Hot Stone Massage. However, think about the individual services and how they’re different: a hot stone massage requires more preparation, while a Swedish massage is hands-on the entire time.


You can always develop the types of massage you offer or provide “add-on” services, such as reflexology or Reiki. As your massage therapy practice expands, your array of services will also influence your fees, since different services require different rates.


[vc_text_separator title=”Our Advice: Research Other Massage Therapist’s Rates” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text]Competition is a GREAT thing! Whether or not you believe that at first, having a connection with the massage therapists in your area is super important for the growth of your business. When deciding which rates you will set for your massage services, take time to research other massage professionals or businesses located in your area.  There is much to be learned by reviewing the range of services, policies, education and certification of the massage therapists around you. What additional services do they offer?


Another thing to note while networking, is the better rapport you have with your competition, the more likely they will be to suggest you if they decide to close their doors. Your success as a massage therapist will result in your commitment and professionalism; however it’s also helpful to see how your business operates in the real world.


About the Author – Sheena Christensen

Sheena Christensen is the Content Manager for; a massage therapy and wellness site devoted to connecting clients to the best massage therapist in their area. Sheena is a wellness and social media enthusiast who has written blogs, articles, and marketing material for many different verticals.