Jun. 14th, 2007 08:14 pm
disbelief11: (Pumpkin)
[livejournal.com profile] pun brought up the subject of tipping and it's a subject that is near and dear to my heart...so I thought I'd post something about it as it relates to massage therapists.

A while back I was doing some googling about how much to tip my personal trainer for the holidays and came across a discussion about how people were more willing to tip their waiter or waitress than their massage therapist. (I forget why they said that and I don't really feel like reading back through the whole damn thing. Y'all can go for it if you really want to do so. It's somewhere on Frappy Doo or some such.)

Personally, I'm all for tipping both waitstaff and massage therapists. I think we all know why waitstaff should be tipped, right? They make next to nothing and it's damn hard work. They deserve it.

Here are my reasons for tipping massage therapists:

  1. A therapist working at a spa or salon doesn't make as much as you might think. Yes, some places pay approximately 50%. But many more don't. Heck, I made less than 30% when I started at my workplace. This can be even more true in other countries - one of my co-workers got a massage at a resort in Mexico and the therapist made the equivalent of $6 US on a $75 massage.

  2. Even the therapists who make 50% often don't really make that much. Many places charge the therapists for oil, sheets, etc. I know of places that deduct coupons from the amount as well - one of my friends gave 3 massages one day at a pretty well known salon/spa. Trouble was, one of them was fully comped so the owners didn't pay her anything for that one; the other two customers had 1/2 off coupons, so my friend got paid half for each of those. Yep, for 3 massages, she got paid for 1 and then had to pay for supplies.

  3. Some people don't tip massage therapists because they get the massage as part of a medical or chiropractic visit. I can understand this one. However, I hear from my friends about how sometimes the chiropractic offices don't pay the therapists until the office is reimbursed by the insurance company. If that takes a while to happen, oh well. Not all of the chiropractic offices do this, but it sucks to work at the places that do.

  4. Massage therapists have to pay for continuing education, professional association membership, national certification, and state licensure. Each year I'm paying nearly $300 just for my professional membership. And yes, for some this would be tax deductible. But since I am an employee rather than an independent contractor, I don't get to deduct these costs (at least from how the tax law was explained to me). I am lucky because my workplace will reimburse me for some of my continuing education costs.

  5. The work massage therapists do is physically demanding. There are many chances for injury - and if we can't work, we don't get paid. Which brings me to another point: if you're sick, please don't come for your massage. Because if I'm sick, I can't work. I don't get sick pay or vacation pay.

Of course, there are times when I don't tip another massage therapist - for example, if I've received the massage work at my own home, I don't tip the person because I know they've already quoted me the price they feel is fair.

Those are my reasons. Feel free to comment or offer other viewpoints!


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July 2009

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