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Forget the Standard!

Let’s talk about some standard stuff in the industry, and why I think you ought to throw some of it out the window. 

In this industry, there’s a lot of things that are considered standard or customary. We can look around and come to the conclusion that we have a standard pricing in most places, with everyone staying around the $1/minute or just slightly higher depending on your area. There are standard times as well, right? Thirty, sixty, and ninety-minute massages are normal to see at most practices. And almost all massage businesses list Swedish and Deep Tissue massages as the go-to services.  

But why?  

Why do we stick to these “standard” things in the industry?  

You are your own business, so why not make all of this your own?  

There’s no reason to keep within the realm of what’s considered customary in the industry just because it’s customary. If it doesn’t suit you and your business, change it up!  

For example, the standard times for massages you see offered may be 30, 60, and 90 minutes; but if you find that you hate 30 minute massages because it doesn’t give you enough time to do what you want, or it’s just not selling, then drop it. You don’t HAVE to offer it just because it’s common in the industry! Or if you find that in most of your massages, you’re rushing at the end, and just 10 more minutes would completely change the dynamic of the massage, then add 10 minutes to each of them; start offering 40, 70, and 100-minute massages. If an hour, or even 70 minutes just doesn’t fit for you, offer nothing but longer massages and stay with the 90, 120, or even 200 minute massages. Make this your own. Your massages and your style of work are unique to you, so your time may very well need to be unique to you as well.  

The same can be said for your pricing. I see people asking about this all the time; “what should I charge?” but there’s no clear-cut answer. Yes, the standard for decades has been $1/minute, but times have changed, cost of living has increased, each therapist has a different level of skill and experience, and every area is different. Charging $60-$100 for an hour massage in my relatively small, blue collar area is reasonable, depending on the amenities and experience of the therapist. But in the middle of a major metropolitan area, not so much! The cost of the service would have to be considerably higher to account for the difference in cost of that area.  

And what about those “standard” services; Swedish and Deep Tissue? For myself, and many therapists I’ve talked to, separating those out or even offering them in general didn’t fit with the way we work. If you’re the same, drop them or change it up to suit you! The key is to simplify to offer what you enjoy, what suits your brand, and what sells. How about offering a “customized therapeutic massage” that encompasses a variety of techniques? Or, let’s say you offer Ashiatsu along with several other traditional massage modalities and your menu is overrun with techniques and styles and times. What if you offered two services, each with a variety of times; hands-on massages and feet-on massages, and that’s it. Or, if you like offering numerous services, how can you make them unique to your business? What add-ons or amenities can you offer that are outside the standard for the industry?  

One of the best parts of being a business owner is making your business what you dream of so that you enjoy as many moments in your work as possible. And if those standard things aren’t enjoyable for you, if they’re not feeding your drive, or fitting into your style of work, or fitting in with your brand, then do away with them or change them to suit you. Think outside the box and don’t let the standard stuff in the industry keep you caged. This is your business, make it what you want! 

Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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