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Charge what you are worth because you are worth it.
Have you ever gotten a phone call like this:

“How much is a one hour massage?”

“$65”

“That’s too high, do you have any discounts?”

“Just my package deals, buy 5 and get the 6th free.”

“Can I get a single massage at that rate?”

“No, you have to buy the package.”

“I don’t know how you can charge so much. Can’t you bring the price down to $55?”

And on and on the conversation goes. Every week on Facebook, another massage therapist posts about a similar conversation. They end up either reducing their rates or feeling icky because they stood their ground. I’ve even seen commenters suggest that the therapist who stands firm “forgive yourself and move on.”

What the What? Forgive yourself for not budging on your published price? Nope, don’t forgive yourself. You haven’t done anything wrong.

If you discount the massage for every random caller, how do you justify charging full price to your regulars? Don’t you think they might get a little unhappy if they find out that you charge them full price, even though they are loyal repeat customers, but new clients can negotiate a different price.

How long before all of your clients start negotiating better prices? How much time do you want to spend negotiating prices on every massage you give?

Charging what you are worth is only half of the equation

The other half of the equation is that you are worth what your charge. You have expenses to pay to keep your business running. You need a decent income to support yourself and your family. You have mad skills, yo! You are not obligated to discount your massage because the client thinks the price is too high. If the caller doesn’t have the money to pay your full price

It’s the client’s problem to solve

Not yours. By haggling, negotiating and generally trying to please them, you are making the problem yours. The caller wants a massage. The caller only has $55 to spend on massage. The caller has two choices.

  1. Get more money -OR-
  2. Schedule a shorter massage

I’m giving you permission right now to decline to discount. My friend Allissa Haines, from Writing a Blue Streak, once told me ” ‘NO’ is a complete sentence.” She’s really brilliant about that kind of stuff. So you have my permission to tell this caller, “No, I cannot give you a discount.”

What about the aggressive, bullying caller?

Oh, you know the type. They don’t just ask for a discount, the demand one. And when you decline, they start pressuring you with insults and accusations.

“How dare you charge so much! Don’t you know how much I need this massage?”

Sound familiar? I’ve gotten those kinds of callers, too. By the time I get off the phone with them, I’m furious and so pumped up with adrenaline I could probably kill and dismember a killer whale with my bare hands*. If you’re one of those people that let these bullies guilt you into cutting your price and scheduling around their needs, I want you to copy down the following sentence and post it next to your bathroom mirror.

You are not required to do business with every jerk that knows how to dial a phone.

Got it? You can simply decline them as a client. Trust me, there are other people who want a massage and won’t make you feel badly about yourself.

When was the last time you had this experience? What did you say? How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comments.

* Note to Greenpeace – I would never harm an Orca. I’m actually pretty harmless and very nice to animals.

 

 

4 Responses to You are worth what you charge

  1. I have been a LMT for 7 years and I am on the verge of branching out on my own and I really needed this conformation. My rates are currently very low $60 but in order to pay rent in my future space I will need to boost them by al least $20 to $80. I live in Philly and I Know that it’s a competitive price corperate companies not included. So thanks for helping me to think this thru! I love your blog and your blogging voice!

    • Ayoola – raising rates can be devilishly tricky. But after 7 years, you’re probably well overdue. Maybe others have some suggestions on how best to do this, but one thing I would suggest is to notify all of your current clients well in advance that the prices are going up. Tell them that they will enjoy the current prices until ‘this date’ and if they want to buy any gift certificates or packages at the current price, they have until that date to do so. I would also begin charging new clients the new rate right now. This has two benefits: it gets your current clients used to the idea of paying more, it gives them a bonus time at the lower rates because they are your current clients, and it prevents you from having to do this with any new clients.

      Best of luck and let me know how it goes!

  2. Reading your post I see the same situation i found myself in too, sometimes people call the salon for massage and ask for discount and if you say no they start sometimes to get very pushy.
    I always say no to them fortunately because they are very few and as you said it would be unfair for my regular…

    • I’m glad that you get very few of these calls. I would imagine that, as a spa, you would get quite a few of these. And good for you for sticking to your price!

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983