The notion of tipping can sometimes be an awkward one, especially when it comes to personal services such as a massage. Sure, we are all comfortable with tipping at a restaurant or bar, but what about when getting a massage? How much should I tip my massage therapist, and when should I even do it? Or should I even do it?
The answers to these questions may depend on who you ask, but there are some general guidelines you can follow that can steer you in the right direction, helping you avoid any unnecessary guilt or uneasy situations.
Tipping doesn’t have to be awkward — it can be a smooth and respectful gesture when done right. Here are a few things to consider.
Should I Even Tip My Massage Therapist?
Let’s put it this way: a massage is a service performed by someone who is an expert in their craft. The service level is entirely dependent on that person’s skill, which in turn affects your experience.
Just like when visiting a restaurant, your experience is dependent upon the waitstaff. While they are getting paid for their services, a tip is an acknowledgement that you appreciated their services, and received a great experience from them. So, while they were “doing their job,” their level of service was above the minimum and ensured a good experience, and your tip shows that.
A massage is the same way. If you are pleased with your message and are appreciative of the effort, skill, and other various aspects fostered by your massage therapist during your visit, a tip is certainly warranted, and signals to your therapist that you have benefitted and enjoyed what they did for you with their services.
The gesture is a simple way to reward your therapist with something extra that clearly shows that you had a great experience, and appreciate the skill expertise shown to you. The tip may also reward a friendly environment and atmosphere, conversation, or any other aspects that led to a comfortable and extraordinary experience.
It is worth noting that massage therapists do obviously make money for the service provided, but unless they operate out of their own home or are an in-home provider, they have bills to pay for their space, and all massage therapists have to pay for materials such as linens, oils, lotions, and more. Tips are a welcome luxury that helps to offset the overhead costs of being a massage therapist in the first place.
How Much Should I Tip My Massage Therapist?
The restaurant tipping scale is a great reference for deciding on how much to tip your massage therapist. 15% of the bill for good service, 20-25% of the bill for outstanding service. There really isn’t much more to it.
You are obviously free to tip how little or as much as you want, but the 15%-25% scale is largely considered the norm, and is a helpful way to make sure you are in line with the general population.
How to Tip for a Massage
Credit and debit card transactions make it much easier to tip than the old days of cash only. When using a card, there is almost always a space for you to fill in a tip and add it to your total bill. The process is simple, and everything is neat and orderly.
That being said, a cash tip can be a more personal method, even if you are paying with a card. If you want to be sly and avoid making a scene when tipping, consider leaving the cash on a side table or counter in the massage area as you leave, or when you are getting dressed. You’ll be on your way out the door when your massage therapist discovers the tip.
Still not sure about tipping etiquette at your particular location? You can always ask another employee, or inquire with the person working the counter or handling the booking. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, and even shows that you care about how to be proper in doing so.
Regardless of how you tip, or how much, always remember why you are there in the first place– to enjoy a great massage, without any stress. Don’t let the anxiety of tipping hinder your overall experience. Contact Zen Body Therapy for more information.