Are massage chains a good deal for you

You have probably seen their ads, heard about them, or been to one.  Massage franchise chains showed up a few years ago and they have been expanding since.  Are they a good deal for you?  Let’s consider some things you will want to think about before you make a decision.


The introductory price looks like a great deal but remember it is just that – a onetime price.  The regular price you will pay will be higher.(1)  The company gets the bulk of your payment so therapist working on you is really relying on a tip from you, so your cost just went up.(2)  Like many other massage therapists in business I don’t expect tips – I would rather see you use that money to come back more often.

When you schedule an hour appointment you get a 50 minute massage.  A little quick math reveals that ten minutes is 1/6th of an hour, which is about 16%.  If you add 16% to the massage price and a tip to your cost, have you saved any money than going to a local massage therapist?  Unless you are very late and we have to stop, your 60 minute massage appointment with me will get you 60 minutes of hands on work. (3)

To get the discounted price, you will have to be in a contract with them.(4)  You will be automatically billed and unused appointments may not roll over (check your local franchise for details).  You may be paying somebody to not massage you.  Some franchises have quotas to reach so you may be encouraged to spend.  Your massage visit should be relaxing and relieve pressure, not add to it. (5)

The therapists

Chains can have high turnover rates.  You may not get the same therapist from visit to visit.  Typically working with the same person provides more effective massage results.  They get to know your preferences and based on your feedback about what has worked or not worked before, make adjustments during your appointment.  If you find a therapist that who does great work for you, it may be difficult to find them if they leave the chain.  The chain obviously doesn’t want customers to leave and won’t go out of their way to direct you to them. (6)

Therapists may be booked for several consecutive appointments.  Massage therapists are human and we get tired, hungry, thirsty, and in need of a break.  It’s a physical business that takes a good amount of effort.  If your appointment is the fourth one in a row, you may not get the results you want. (7)

Therapists have very limited time between appointments.  They don’t have much time to get to know you and your needs.  You may receive a basic massage which may feel nice – but if you have an area that needs special attention it may not be addressed as you wish. (8)

The biggest benefit offered by the chains is convenience.  You can often get in quickly on the same day, which may not happen with a local small business.  Working with a massage chain may be a good deal for you, but it is not for everybody.  It may actually be more expensive and you may not get the benefits you can get from a local therapist who will take the time to get to know you and help you manage your pain and stress.


Ok, this is a good blog post, was from another therapist off of a FaceBook page.  But the blog is a little vague on some details and I think I want to fill them in. Let’s start at the top!

1)      The introductory price is most times $10 to $15 less then what their membership price is.

2)      The average starting pay for a therapist at one of the franchises is from $12 to $15. Most times topping out at $20 in 3 or 4 years. add to this that they do not get paid by the hour like most employees, but only when they do a massage, so in a 8 hour working day they might only get paid for 4 or 5 hours of that day. So the tips they get can make up about 30% of their take home pay!

3)      In my area the membership price is $59 a month. The average hour massage with an independent is about $60.  Seems about the same right. Look closer, at the franchise you do not get a 60 min massage, you get a 50 min one.  There massage always cut off 10 min from your massage. So now do the math. With the independent you pay about $1.00 a min for a hour massage and that’s a full 60 min. With the franchise you pay about $1.18 a min that comes out to about $71.00 for a full 60 min massage.  Add $4.00 to that and you could be getting a 90 min massage from the independent therapist.  So now how is that deal from the franchise looking?

4)      The discounted membership price in my area is $37 for the hour (this is for massages after the one that comes when you pay your membership) so that looks like a good price, but let’s look, it’s a 50 min massage so that’s $0.74 a min, not bad. Add the 10 min you would get from a independent and its $45.00, so you do save some there.

5)      Most of the franchises let the unused massages roll over, but when your membership is up you lose them.

6)      At all the franchises I have seen you can ask for the therapist you want to see. But yes, turnover is high.

7)      At the franchises therapist are booked back to back with massages, most times 4 hours in a row. Now the independent therapist will do 4 hours of massage in a 6 hours so they have time to rest ad recover. Your franchise therapist will not have that time ad by the 3ed, 4th or even 6th massage they are not even near 100%.

8)      Most times a therapist will take some time to get to know you some, what you are looking for and what is going on. Then they will to a assessment so they know what needs to be worked on and how to help you the most.  This is where the franchise fall very very short.  The therapist at the franchises has on average less than 2 min with you before they need to start your massage. This is how it worked, the privies clients massage stops at 12:55, your massage starts at 1:00. The privies client gets out of the room at 12:59, then they therapist has to  see them out, change out the room, get your paper work, get you into the room and talk to you and start your massage by 1:05. This gives your therapist no time to find out what is really going on. So they massage blind, working whatever they can to see what might help.  Add to this your therapist could be seeing 30+ people a week and with the very limited notes they can take about you  it is like they are relearning about you each time you see them.

So Are massage chains a good deal for you? Well now you have more of the facts, it’s up to you to decide.




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