Should I Tip My Massage Therapist?

Ahhh, thee ole tipping question. People want to know, nobody wants to be the CHEAP guy, that doesn’t tip.

But first the story

I ordered a gluten free pizza the other day, and the chap came up to the 23rd floor. He had the “I am barely getting through my day” look, on his face. He handed me my bill and pizza, I took my pizza and gave him a $20 tip.

His eyes lit up like Christmas

I presumed that most folks weren’t very generous with him, and when I see the cost of gas these days, I leap out of my skin. I can’t even imagine how low his hourly wage is.

Let me ask you something, is it customary to tip $20 for a $10 pizza? No, it isn’t, but I did anyway because I thought beyond myself. I put myself in his world, imagined what a normal day might be like for him.

If you get a massage at a spa, or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the services.

On the other hand, there are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to massage in a medical setting. Some massage therapists say tipping isn’t appropriate in a medical or clinical setting.

I work in a rehab center and I get tips, I work in a clinic and I get tips. I do not work in a spa, where it is expected.

I will throw in some insider secrets to help you decide:

  • Most RMT’s are on a 60/40 split percentage with the clinic they work at. The RMT receives 60%. So even though you may pay $80 for a one hour massage the RMT receives $45.
  • In a lot of day spas, RMT’s are grossly underpaid, in a spa they may only be making $22 per maRMTssage. I have friends that work in spas, so I know.
  • The same for rehab centers, most rehab centers pay out a max of $30 per 1 hour massage to their RMT.

As you can see the businesses are pocketing the majority of the money that you pay. RMT’s do not even get a whiff of the money.

Here are some questions to help you:

1.) How would you feel if the situation were reversed?

2.) Would you like to receive a tip? If so how much?

3.) How would you feel if someone didn’t give you a penny?

4.) How would you feel if someone was extraordinarily generous with you?

That’s your answer in a nutshell. If you tip, it will make our day, it will lighten up our lives. It’s that little extra that we don’t expect.

Tipping well improves relationships, because it makes the other feel special and important. Next time they will want to do more for you.

If you get a discount massage, then definitely tip because the therapist is working on you for half their normal rate.

If you get benefits and everything is essentially free, then why not? Why not make someone’s day.

I tip well because I know the value of appreciation, I know that it will make a difference in that persons life, so I do it.

Lindsay Tietz, RMT, Homeopath