Tipping at Massage Chains is a choice to consider
If you book a massage at a large chain of spas or other establishment that operates as part of a cooperative or franchise of locations, the therapist will almost certainly be paying a percentage of the price you pay for the massage. The amounts differ, but on average, your therapist will earn less than 20% of the fee paid by the establishment. That might not sound like much, but if you pay $100 for a one-hour session, your therapist is likely to receive around $15 of the $100 you pay the studio.
Also, keep in mind that these studios usually do not pay their therapists by the hour. Instead, they are compensated on a per-massage basis. That means they are not paid for the time they spend talking to you, letting you get dressed or undressed, keeping things sanitary, and writing out notes in between sessions, on top of side work such as cleaning the toilets, break rooms, or doing laundry (depending on the setup and division of labour in the establishment). This time is needed for the job and can take up a considerable portion of total work time—roughly 20-30 minutes before each session, for each session.
So, even though a therapist in this area works an eight-hour day or more, they will only be charged for five hours of work because they are only paid for the massage itself, not the additional tasks that may be completed in order to administer the massage properly. Like a waitress, these therapists rely on tips to supplement their income, but not to the same degree.
Therapists who work for themselves
If you get a massage from a self-employed person, such as a therapist who works exclusively for themselves rather than for a business owner or company, you normally do not need to tip. While this additional cash is often welcomed, it is not strictly required. Therapists who work for a company rely on tips to make up for the reduced pay they earn for the same amount of work, while self-employed therapists retain all of the money they charge a client, obviating the need for tips. It’s cool to give your therapist a tip if you believe they go above and beyond for you, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so.
In general, how much should therapists be tipped
If you know it’s appropriate to tip at the establishment you’re visiting but aren’t sure how much to offer, there’s a good way to figure it out. If you’re going to tip a massage therapist, aim for 15–20 percent, while some establishments recommend 25–30 percent. These numbers can also be found on tip suggestion notes in massage rooms. These notices are not intended to inform you that you must tip that number. Many clients, on the other hand, are perplexed by how much is considered proper. Many companies print these helpful signs simply to show consumers what is considered normal and leave the rest up to them in order to be helpful.