Tips: 101

By Mark Shannon

If you have been in massage or any tipping industry for any length of time, you’ve probably asked yourself the question, “How can I get bigger tips from my clients”.  Right about now some of you are thinking that’s pretty easy; just take the moral low road – DEFINITLEY not what this blog is about!

Here are a couple of ideas that might help those inclined to earn a bigger tip the professional way!

1.  Have a sign at the checkout area advertising that tips are accepted!  It sounds easy and it is!  There will be several new clients to your clinic and most of them are not sure how things are done.  Some are not sure how far to undress for their massage let alone that it is perfectly acceptable to tip their therapist.  Many clients are uncomfortable asking you if they can leave you a tip.  A gentle reminder in the form of a sign near the register can help.

2.  Ask!  It is standard practice at our clinic for the person at the register to say, “Would you like to leave a tip for (insert therapist name here)”.  It is very important to use the therapist first name – it adds a personal touch.  Unless the therapist did a very poor job, the answer is usually “yes”.  Sometimes the people checking out do not see our sign!

There are a myriad of standard answers that apply here.  Treat the client as you want to be treated, listen to what the client is telling you, treat them with respect etc.

I once received a $200.00 tip for a one hour massage.  It really all came about by mistake.  I am a huge fan of the warm stone massage – it’s my specialty.  The hour before was booked for a warm stone massage and unfortunately, the client was a no call/no show.  My next client was a regular, but had never experienced my warm stone massage.  So rather than unplug the rocks, I let them stay warm.  When the client arrived I said “I know you’re booked for a regular massage, but I had a client not show up for a warm stone massage and I still have the rocks warm.  Would you like to have a warm stone massage? “.    The client agreed and was amazed!  Ergo the large tip.

If you are receiving small tips or no tips at all, you may have to begin asking yourself some hard questions about your abilities as a therapist.  I would ask a very good friend who can be completely honest with you if you could give them a massage.  The only requirement would be that they give you brutally honest feedback about your massage.  You may need to improve in some areas to make it better.  Always seek to improve your massage routine.

You might have to ask yourself about your personality.  Are you a person with a cold personality?  Generally those kinds of people do not attract other people – rather they repel them.  Do you like to be around “cold” people?  For me, I like to be around those that pay compliments to others – everybody likes a pat on the back!  Compliment your clients.  “Have you lost weight since the last time I saw you?”

One of the easiest things to do is to call the client about 2 days after you have worked on them.  I say something like, “It was really good to see you in the clinic the other day.  I just wanted to call and check on you to make sure everything was alright and invite you to come back sometime real soon.”   It shows I am interested in them, and it’s a non-threatening way to get them back into the clinic.

Overall, it comes down to you – the therapist.  Be genuine.  Care about your clients, make them feel special and give a great massage.  No one likes to be patronized.  You might have to take a hard look at yourself and how you do things.  Nothing’s going to change until you can just get right down to it with yourself.  If you can make those necessary changes in your technique or your personality – The tips will have a way of finding your pocket!

Cautions in Tipping:

By Ross Ashcraft

1.  Be mindful of consistently large tips from specific clients.  If your tip is larger than the massage service then the client might be looking for more than professional massage.  My advice is treat them as a normal client; don’t be drawn into conversations about your personal life; and keep your professional distance.

2.  Tips are a great one on one feedback for your massage practice.  Consistent tipping can say a lot about your abilities and faults.

3.  Always strive for those great tips but don’t ever neglect a client based on their tipping habits.

Blog Challenge:  Choose at least one of the ideas and comment on how you will implement the police AND what specific outcome you hope to achienve.

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