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tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your home?

mary poppins

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Do you tip a self employed mobile massage therapist who sets a price to come to your home with a massage table? He does not have his own place of business. The business model is that he travels to his clients.

Normally when I go to a place of business such as a salon or spa, I tip the service provider for several reasons - service people generally get tipped, to show appreciation, perhaps the business gets all or a portion of the fee for the service and sometimes the service provider has to pay a fee to the owner (example is chair or room rental at salon). However, there is also the rule that business owners don't get tipped.

The mobile masseuse sets his own price and owns his own business, and thus keeps all the money charged. He does not charge a travel fee. Presumably that is included in the fee he set for the massage. Of course, I appreciate the service. Does he get a tip? If so, how much?
 
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jordyonbass

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

I don't see why he shouldn't be; he has many of the same costs as a salon or spa and while he may not have some of the costs they have, he would definitely have other costs that the salon doesn't i.e. travel expenses.

Trust me, someone who owns their own business does not have a licence to print money like many people think. I would know ;(
 
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momhappy

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Yes, I would tip.
 

PintoBean

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

I go to a solo LMT with her own office. I don't tip her regularly, but during the holidays, I gave her a box of chocolates and a card with a cash gift of the price of one session. She thanked us with a lovely handwritten thank you note. :)

When I went to a "wellness spa" with multiple masseuses, I tipped 20%.
 

blingbunny10

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

I would tip. I've also heard the not tipping business owners rule, but have never abided by it.

I used to visit an MT in her home and always tipped her on top of her usual rate. I've noticed some MTs state straight up that the price includes tip, in which case I'd feel free to tip as much (or as little!) as I feel like.
 

CJ2008

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Yes, I would tip...20%.
 

monarch64

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Only if it comes with a happy ending. :lol:

Seriously, though, yes I would tip for any service, and especially if they made a house call.
 

mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Thank you for your input jordy, momhappy, PintoBean, blingbunny and CJ.

I made this post after I already had my massage and tipped the masseur. Towards the end of the massage when it was coming time to pay I was having moments of uncertainty so figured I'd post the question here to double check. I tipped him to err on the side of caution and also because the circumstances were such that he probably had to work harder than usual in my case. I will also give him a great yelp review to help him get more business.

As a bit of background, my back had locked up for no apparent reason and I was stuck on the top floor of my house. I was not able to leave the house to go to one of our usual massage places so the masseur had to carry his table up and down three flights of stairs. He ended up giving me more of a sports massage at the problem spots rather than a typical full body relaxation massage. My husband found the mobile masseur via yelp and made arrangements by phone. The fee quoted, as would be expected, was more than it would have been had I gone to a business.

While he was leaving and after I had paid, I asked for his business card. He was out of cards and referred me to his website instead. I checked out his website which had a page with rates and a function that allowed pre-payment. The pre-payment selections included options for no tip, a flat rate tip, and various percentages for tip.

When I go to a business, I usually tip 18-20% for a good massage, more for fabulous and less for not so great. It is my understanding that the massage therapist in that situation is an employee or contractor and thus works mostly for tips or tip and part of the fee.

I found two articles this morning by massage therapists who explain tipping in different circumstances.
http://newyewhealing.com/the-massage-clients-guide-to-tipping/
http://www.deepreliefmassagetherapy.com/tipping-etiquette.html

Jordy, while I understand owning his own business does not give him license to print money [trust me, I would know, too ;-) ], he does get many benefits by owning his own business, especially by being mobile. He does not have overhead of business rent, utilities, and common area maintenance fees, and advertising is likely less as he relies on his website, referrals and social media. In addition, the increased rate he sets would include travel factor; he can get reimbursed for mileage (https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2016-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business-Medical-and-Moving-Announced); and he can expense his phone, computer, linens, table, linen cleaning and oil costs among other costs. He also sets his own rate and pockets all the money he makes rather than splitting it with others.
 
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mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

monarch64|1456240546|3994407 said:
Only if it comes with a happy ending. :lol:

Seriously, though, yes I would tip for any service, and especially if they made a house call.
I was writing a response when you posted this. Oh my goodness, no happy ending of any kind, lol. I'm still in extreme pain.
 

amc80

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

I wouldn't. They are in 100% control of their business and are free to set their prices accordingly. If they wanted 20% more, they could have set the prices as such. I feel the same way about a hair stylist who has their own business.
 

missy

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Mary Poppins, I'm sorry you hurt your back and I hope you are feeling all better very soon!
 

monarch64

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

mary poppins|1456245288|3994450 said:
monarch64|1456240546|3994407 said:
Only if it comes with a happy ending. :lol:

Seriously, though, yes I would tip for any service, and especially if they made a house call.
I was writing a response when you posted this. Oh my goodness, no happy ending of any kind, lol. I'm still in extreme pain.
Glad I could make you LOL a little! I'm sorry you're in pain; I have begun to have some lower back issues of my own and it is no picnic.

Back to the topic at hand--if you prefer not to tip in this situation, then don't, but another way you could help the masseuse or show gratitude is to leave a positive review on their social platforms or Yelp page. That is ALWAYS appreciated, especially if, to keep costs down, that is their only form of advertising.
 

mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

amc80|1456261243|3994555 said:
I wouldn't. They are in 100% control of their business and are free to set their prices accordingly. If they wanted 20% more, they could have set the prices as such. I feel the same way about a hair stylist who has their own business.
Yes, this is my perspective on the subject, too, and the articles by MTs I found afterwards (linked above and copied in pertinent part below) support our beliefs. But for some reason I still felt odd whether tipping (overpaying?) or not (cheap or tacky?) under the circumstances. Instead of a full 20% tip, I gave more of a token tip to acknowledged that he had to carry his table up and down three flights of stairs to get where I was stuck and had to use more pressure than usual during the massage. I also wrote a stellar Yelp review to help him get more business.

===

Here are a few guidelines for NOT tipping:

If you are getting massage from someone who calls themselves a medical massage therapist, it would not be appropriate to tip. After all, you don’t tip your physical therapist, phlebotomist, or doctor.
If you are seeking massage for relief from a specific condition or for pain relief, and you are getting massage at a wellness center with lots of different types of complementary healthcare providers, it’s OK to not tip. Your therapist would likely appreciate it, but should not be expecting it.
If you are seeing a massage therapist who owns their own business, and is likely the only provider, there is no need to tip. While they would certainly appreciate any tip you felt inclined to leave, they should have set their prices to reflect the amount of money they need to make to keep their business going. Tipping the therapist who owns the business is truly for those times when you want to express your gratitude and appreciation.

====

Then we have the massage therapist/business owner. Most massage therapists who are business owners generally charge enough for their services so clients don’t need to worry about a tip. A monetary tip is appreciated, but never required. We just love it when a client rebooks and sends their friends in for a massage. That’s the best tip of all. A nice candle or homemade goodies always make my day. I have lots of wonderful treasures that clients have given me over the years and I enjoying looking at them every day.
 

mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

missy|1456261315|3994556 said:
Mary Poppins, I'm sorry you hurt your back and I hope you are feeling all better very soon!
Thank you, Missy. I am making some progress but am still far from 100%. The massage therapist on Monday and the doctor I saw yesterday both said my back is locked. From experience, it usually takes a week or two to get back to normal. The doctor gave me some narcotics which I don't like.

I have a history of back problems and exercise helps prevent them. Many years ago I went to physical therapy where they had me do core strengthening exercises. Realizing it was basically Pilates, I stopped going to PT because it was inconvenient. I got some VHS Pilates tapes (talking old times now!) and did that at home instead. After moving to NYC, I loved NYSC because they had so many Pilates classes at various times throughout every day in a variety of locations. Pilates galore! Yay! Since moving to my current location, my lifestyle has become much more sedentary and I have not been doing Pilates which has definitely contributed to my current situation. I need to get back to Pilates and Tai Chi.

I saw in another post that you do Pilates at home often. Do you use an online program or have any recommendations for sources of home workouts maybe on YouTube or cable on demand resources? I no longer have a VHS or CD player.
 

mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

monarch64|1456263895|3994581 said:
mary poppins|1456245288|3994450 said:
monarch64|1456240546|3994407 said:
Only if it comes with a happy ending. :lol:

Seriously, though, yes I would tip for any service, and especially if they made a house call.
I was writing a response when you posted this. Oh my goodness, no happy ending of any kind, lol. I'm still in extreme pain.
Glad I could make you LOL a little! I'm sorry you're in pain; I have begun to have some lower back issues of my own and it is no picnic.

Back to the topic at hand--if you prefer not to tip in this situation, then don't, but another way you could help the masseuse or show gratitude is to leave a positive review on their social platforms or Yelp page. That is ALWAYS appreciated, especially if, to keep costs down, that is their only form of advertising.
Thank you, monarch. Definitely have to take care of the back or you might end up like me earlier in the week crawling to and from the bathroom and getting stuck on the bedroom floor. What a hot mess! I've been laughing through it, though, including my first experiences with a wheelchair ride at the medical center and motorized scooter at the grocery store. Luckily it's rarely this serious for me. I hope it doesn't get that way for you. As above, core strengthening exercises are a good preventative measure.

I wrote a positive Yelp review for the MT earlier this week. I will go back to his website to see if there is an option to write a review there, too. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

missy

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

mary poppins|1456505696|3996094 said:
missy|1456261315|3994556 said:
Mary Poppins, I'm sorry you hurt your back and I hope you are feeling all better very soon!
Thank you, Missy. I am making some progress but am still far from 100%. The massage therapist on Monday and the doctor I saw yesterday both said my back is locked. From experience, it usually takes a week or two to get back to normal. The doctor gave me some narcotics which I don't like.

I have a history of back problems and exercise helps prevent them. Many years ago I went to physical therapy where they had me do core strengthening exercises. Realizing it was basically Pilates, I stopped going to PT because it was inconvenient. I got some VHS Pilates tapes (talking old times now!) and did that at home instead. After moving to NYC, I loved NYSC because they had so many Pilates classes at various times throughout every day in a variety of locations. Pilates galore! Yay! Since moving to my current location, my lifestyle has become much more sedentary and I have not been doing Pilates which has definitely contributed to my current situation. I need to get back to Pilates and Tai Chi.

I saw in another post that you do Pilates at home often. Do you use an online program or have any recommendations for sources of home workouts maybe on YouTube or cable on demand resources? I no longer have a VHS or CD player.
Mary Poppins, I just use the Pilates workout my physical therapist taught me plus we do have some DVD videos that came with my reformer that my dh has added to his routine and I am going to have him teach me at some point. I love my Pilates Reformer and it wasn't too expensive so if you wanted to make an investment in one I highly recommend the one I have. It's easier (IMO) to do Pilates on the Reformer vs floor exercises. Here's the link to the one we have. I have the one that is raised off the floor because it's easier that way.

http://www.costco.com/Pilates-Allegro®-CC-Reformer-by-Balanced-Body®.product.100088147.html

For some reason I cannot get the Costco link to work despite a few attempts so linking you another way to the reformer I recommend.

http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/store/reformers/allegro2-pilates-reformer.html


There are so many to choose from online. Some intense, some less intense, some for women, some for flexibility, some for strength...so many to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Maybe you should sign up for a course or 2 at a local place and then have the instructor design one for your specific needs? That's what my physical therapist did and it was a huge help. Might be worth the initial investment of a few private lessons.

In the meantime I am not familiar with any Youtube Pilates videos but maybe you can find a good video in this link.

http://www.expertrain.com/blog/fitness/top-10-free-pilates-videos.htm

Good luck and wishing you freedom from pain. Every now and then I get back pain too and for me it's because I am not stretching enough after my cardio workout. SO now I stretch after (almost) every workout every day and it is a huge help.
 
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mary poppins

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Re: tip self employed massage therapist who comes to your ho

Missy, thank you so much for the reformer and video recommendations! They are both very helpful for places to start. Your suggestion for a few private lessons tailored to my needs is good. It reminded me of a friend whose friend has a home studio close to me. I'm going to look into her background and see if she has any PT qualifications, too. If not, I'll likely consult with the trainer at our club.

The reformer is quite challenging (so impressed you do that so often) and much better than mat exercises for maintaining proper position. I will likely start again with the mat just to get in practice and make it part of my routine again before investing in the more expensive equipment. In the meantime, we already have a thick mat in the house for DH"s PT exercises. He got a foam roller yesterday so we can do self-myofascial releases (painful but beneficial!) on our problem areas as he is also experiencing some issues.

And yes, daily stretching very helpful. I was so envious of my cat last week because I couldn't even do a cat stretch or get into child's pose. I hope stretching keeps you in good health for many years to come!
 
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Sankuspr

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No, not necessary. I say this because I am a massage therapist. Well, I still hold my license and practiced actively for 7 years. I recently turned to a different profession. Anyway, I was a mobile massage therapist on and off. I would include travel in the price. Pretty much if the drive wasn't horrible, there was no charge. And I never expected a tip. Don't get me wrong, I loved to get one, but was NEVER disappointed to not get one and NEVER expected one. As an mt when one sets his or her own prices they have or ought to have set a price they'd be happy to receive in exchange for the service sans tip. So, if you're financially <very> comfortable and really want to show extra appreciation, go ahead! But if like most people, even if yo uh javecthe extra cash, but it affects your budget and that's holding you back, then don't! And don't feel the least bit guilty about it. An enthusiastic thank you or an explanation of how much better you feel or anything along those lines is extremely gratifying to a massage therapist.

Lastly, let me stay off topic slightly: if you go to a chain spa (hand and stone, massage envy, ect) be sure to tip based off of what the store says the retail price or retail value is as apposed to what they actually charge. Trust me, the massage therapists rely on solid tips fo get by as those places
 

mary poppins

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@Sankuspr, thank you for the thoughtful response. I appreciate your input as someone with industry experience.

As to chain spas, I haven't been to one in years but sometimes go to local non-spa places such as one might find in a shopping center or mall. Though lacking in food, drink and usually atmosphere, I like the convenience of popping in on short notice. At those places, which are lower than spa prices, I tip based on regular full-price rates. They are still working the same amount of time and I feel great afterwards, so I don't dock them for working at a lower priced place.

I hope you are enjoying your new profession!
 
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