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Old 05-04-2009, 03:14 PM
 
1,249 posts, read 2,749,653 times
Reputation: 581

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Have you heard those ads on the radio recently in Charlotte about your "exciting new career as a massage therapist"? Here is a wake up call.

My wife graduated from Southeastern School of Massage a few years ago (before they turned into a therapist mill pumping out 100s of new therapists every few months). Here are some unknown facts.

-Massage therapists do not get paid a salary or even an hourly wage. You earn only when you are giving massages. This means most spas will hire several therapists to cover themselves if for some reason multiple people all want to book at the same time. But, this means most new therapists spend 5-6 hours per day sitting around not getting paid and hope to get 1-2 clients per day (working at a spa).

-No benefits or insurance. Some places tell you they offer benefits but if you read the fine print, you are really paying for it and the coverage is very sketchy. The reality is that you will not get health insurance or any other benefits as a massage therapist.

-Do the Math. The cost of tuition was around 8-10k when my wife went to school. It is very hard to make that money back since most therapists change careers within the first 2 years of becoming certified. You will be in major dept for probably the first few years after school.

-Its hard on your body. At least a third of my wife's classmates have back or other injuries related to giving massages.

-Its a tough economy. Not many people in the Charlotte area are spending money on massages right now. According to my wife and her friends, things are very slow. Most of them are having trouble paying their rent.


Bottom line - do not become a massage therapist to make money. It takes at least 5 years to build up enough repeat clients to earn a decent living. Those first 5 years you will be broke and in dept. If you have a wealthy husband/wife or dont need the money, then by all means pursue your dream.

The only ones getting rich off of massage are the educational schools, insurance companies, suppliers, and salon owners.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:56 PM
 
15 posts, read 71,620 times
Reputation: 25
This doesn't even cover the fact that half the time guys ask for a "Happy Ending". LOL, just kidding man, sorry this industry was so tough on you guys, maybe others will take heed and stay away. Of course if that happens then they'll be more business for your wife!
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:23 PM
 
36 posts, read 103,083 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank2 View Post
Have you heard those ads on the radio recently in Charlotte about your "exciting new career as a massage therapist"? Here is a wake up call.

My wife graduated from Southeastern School of Massage a few years ago (before they turned into a therapist mill pumping out 100s of new therapists every few months). Here are some unknown facts.

-Massage therapists do not get paid a salary or even an hourly wage. You earn only when you are giving massages. This means most spas will hire several therapists to cover themselves if for some reason multiple people all want to book at the same time. But, this means most new therapists spend 5-6 hours per day sitting around not getting paid and hope to get 1-2 clients per day (working at a spa).

-No benefits or insurance. Some places tell you they offer benefits but if you read the fine print, you are really paying for it and the coverage is very sketchy. The reality is that you will not get health insurance or any other benefits as a massage therapist.

-Do the Math. The cost of tuition was around 8-10k when my wife went to school. It is very hard to make that money back since most therapists change careers within the first 2 years of becoming certified. You will be in major dept for probably the first few years after school.

-Its hard on your body. At least a third of my wife's classmates have back or other injuries related to giving massages.

-Its a tough economy. Not many people in the Charlotte area are spending money on massages right now. According to my wife and her friends, things are very slow. Most of them are having trouble paying their rent.


Bottom line - do not become a massage therapist to make money. It takes at least 5 years to build up enough repeat clients to earn a decent living. Those first 5 years you will be broke and in dept. If you have a wealthy husband/wife or dont need the money, then by all means pursue your dream.

The only ones getting rich off of massage are the educational schools, insurance companies, suppliers, and salon owners.

I am a CMT and have been for...oh about 4 years. I took time off after having kids and haven't been practicing for a while. Most of what you are saying is true- however, proper body mechanics are essential to giving a massage without injuring yourself (ex: using body weight instead of hand strength esp. when focusing on someones back, as well as making sure the table is the proper height) It is a tough industry and it's best not to get into it for the "money making" aspect. I liked it just because I enjoy giving massages and helping people get over pain and teaching them things to avoid the pain (stop sneaking that arm under your pillow, people!)
Anyway, there was a point to me posting this, but the best bet- the best avenue is to work with a chiropractic or a physical therapist office, and not "spa oh la la" or whatever. You will get more clients because it is a direct referral from a "doctor" and massage is usually an essential part of a persons recovery. Plus a bonus is that the chiropractor or therapist usually carries liability insurance for them and their employees, so you save $$. And you usually don't have to rent a room. You just give a % to the doc.
Sorry it feels like a waste, but there are many different avenues to go with massage. It can be hard finding work, and I wish I had spent my childless and single years focusing on getting my PhD in Physical Therapy. That would be very useful right now!
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:57 PM
 
1,201 posts, read 1,239,141 times
Reputation: 1664
Frank the Tank, that's an interesting posting about massage schools. I went to a school in Massachusetts, a really professional (and expensive) place that emphasized massage therapy as a medical treatment as opposed to fluff-and-buff. There are a few good schools out there but you really have to shop around.

Also, someone who is looking for a decent, professional massage and would prefer to walk out of there without a neck injury or the like--shop around. You don't just pick any plumber or lawyer out of the phone book or even any physician--you really do need to check them out, get a referral, etc.

There are some really outstanding therapists out there and also some real incompetents. I have heard the most unbelievable stories--therapist answering her cell phone during the massage, male therapists hitting on female clients, inappropriate amount of conversation.

When I give a massage I only speak when spoken to, except to whisper quietly something like "this pressure OK?" or "are you ready to turn over now?" that sort of thing. I try to be super-careful and always check about whether they're uncomfortable. A treatment may seem like nothing to me but it may be excruciating to the person.

Oh by the way, I've worked at Massage Envy and Elements Massage, which are mall chains. It was pretty horrible, an assembly line, low pay $15/hour to start and you're always "expecting" that $10 tip. You only get about 45 minutes of table time; the rest is spent interviewing, paying, changing, etc. They hire anybody with a massage school diploma, basically. You don't get to really develop a relationship with the client because of the turnover. Some do, but it's hard. Most of the therapists are very young, right out of school, kind of immature, and wouldn't know how to deal with a serious injury or illness unless it's really obvious. You get what you pay for.

Better to go to a private therapist and develop a relationship so they get to know your body and your needs. In the long run, you get more for your money.

Last edited by blisterpeanuts; 05-16-2009 at 08:05 PM..
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:01 AM
 
508 posts, read 855,942 times
Reputation: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank2 View Post
Have you heard those ads on the radio recently in Charlotte about your "exciting new career as a massage therapist"? Here is a wake up call.

My wife graduated from Southeastern School of Massage a few years ago (before they turned into a therapist mill pumping out 100s of new therapists every few months). Here are some unknown facts.

-Massage therapists do not get paid a salary or even an hourly wage. You earn only when you are giving massages. This means most spas will hire several therapists to cover themselves if for some reason multiple people all want to book at the same time. But, this means most new therapists spend 5-6 hours per day sitting around not getting paid and hope to get 1-2 clients per day (working at a spa).

-No benefits or insurance. Some places tell you they offer benefits but if you read the fine print, you are really paying for it and the coverage is very sketchy. The reality is that you will not get health insurance or any other benefits as a massage therapist.

-Do the Math. The cost of tuition was around 8-10k when my wife went to school. It is very hard to make that money back since most therapists change careers within the first 2 years of becoming certified. You will be in major dept for probably the first few years after school.

-Its hard on your body. At least a third of my wife's classmates have back or other injuries related to giving massages.

-Its a tough economy. Not many people in the Charlotte area are spending money on massages right now. According to my wife and her friends, things are very slow. Most of them are having trouble paying their rent.


Bottom line - do not become a massage therapist to make money. It takes at least 5 years to build up enough repeat clients to earn a decent living. Those first 5 years you will be broke and in dept. If you have a wealthy husband/wife or dont need the money, then by all means pursue your dream.

The only ones getting rich off of massage are the educational schools, insurance companies, suppliers, and salon owners.
Truer words about the massage industry were never spoken. The only thing I would add is that it is very tempting for some women and men to get into sex work. I've seen people do it, and some are still doing it. They live with the fear of getting busted. Usually that only happens in election years, when local government wants to show the taxpaying public that they are earning their money by making a couple of "example busts."

Also, in Oregon the state board and the massage schools are complicit. Requiring lots of continuing ed with high tuition attached. (It helps keep the schools in business.) The reality is that most people who get into massage get out within a year or two. There is simply no money in it. Like FrankTheTank said above, if you don't need the money give it a try. But be warned, it's a lot of work for little return. For example, you do your laundry, you market your business, you clean the office and/or room, you go to continuing ed classes (that is, if you've lasted that long, which usually you don't), you live with people not showing or canceling at the last minute, and you also have to fend off some advances at times.

I watched a relative go through this, and needing to be supported by family. And she was good (and attractive).

Massage schools hope you don't read posts like this

If you really want to do massage, get a chair and work by the minute. But even that is very difficult to set up, unless you live in a resort area like Vegas.

PS A few years ago there was a massage school in the Portland Oregon area doing marketing to seniors at various high schools. They were actually claiming that as a massage therapist you can make $60K per year while working your preferred hours and setting your own schedule. Let's get real: even sex workers have a hard time making that much due to competition in the business!
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:14 PM
 
11,769 posts, read 18,193,242 times
Reputation: 2664
I generally tip my masseuse $30-$40.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:58 PM
 
1,201 posts, read 1,239,141 times
Reputation: 1664
Those schools that boast of high incomes--you have to realize that just like an accountant or lawyer or cleaner or car mechanic, it takes years to build up trusted clientele who will give you quality referrals.

You need to keep improving your skills beyond what they taught you in school, because face it when you graduate you are still a beginner. After a couple or three years, if you had good teachers and keep improving yourself, you become more of a professional.

You also need to build up a serious clientele who will return to you and also refer other serious massage therapy fans. You do not want or need people who are just looking for a one-off bargain treatment. You want people who know what good massage is, and who are willing to pay for it. You build up a relationship of trust, and they become like family. If someone is late or has to skip the appointment at the last second, you can cut him some slack. And he or she returns the favor with customer loyalty.

It's really like any other profession. It takes hard work; there's no short cuts. An awful lot of people dabble in massage who really don't know what they're getting into. It's a great profession once you have built up your clientele and have some reliable income, but be prepared to invest some time into it, and maybe pound the pavement, going to health fairs and handing out cards, and looking for referrals pretty much all the time.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
44,764 posts, read 56,045,751 times
Reputation: 37784
Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
Frank the Tank, that's an interesting posting about massage schools. I went to a school in Massachusetts, a really professional (and expensive) place that emphasized massage therapy as a medical treatment as opposed to fluff-and-buff. There are a few good schools out there but you really have to shop around.

Also, someone who is looking for a decent, professional massage and would prefer to walk out of there without a neck injury or the like--shop around. You don't just pick any plumber or lawyer out of the phone book or even any physician--you really do need to check them out, get a referral, etc.

There are some really outstanding therapists out there and also some real incompetents. I have heard the most unbelievable stories--therapist answering her cell phone during the massage, male therapists hitting on female clients, inappropriate amount of conversation.

When I give a massage I only speak when spoken to, except to whisper quietly something like "this pressure OK?" or "are you ready to turn over now?" that sort of thing. I try to be super-careful and always check about whether they're uncomfortable. A treatment may seem like nothing to me but it may be excruciating to the person.

Oh by the way, I've worked at Massage Envy and Elements Massage, which are mall chains. It was pretty horrible, an assembly line, low pay $15/hour to start and you're always "expecting" that $10 tip. You only get about 45 minutes of table time; the rest is spent interviewing, paying, changing, etc. They hire anybody with a massage school diploma, basically. You don't get to really develop a relationship with the client because of the turnover. Some do, but it's hard. Most of the therapists are very young, right out of school, kind of immature, and wouldn't know how to deal with a serious injury or illness unless it's really obvious. You get what you pay for.

Better to go to a private therapist and develop a relationship so they get to know your body and your needs. In the long run, you get more for your money.
I've been wondering about all the Salon Envy places around and whether or not they would be worth a visit.

Anyone with any other experience with one besides this poster?
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Charlotte NC
7,142 posts, read 3,541,605 times
Reputation: 2500
Its all about clientele... hair stylist, barbers, nail techs... I don't think any of these are paid hourly.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:01 PM
 
1 posts, read 25,418 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkingowl View Post
I generally tip my masseuse $30-$40.
A masseuse is someone who offers happy endings. A therapist does not.

Also, I agree with other poster's. It takes time to actually make a good/decent living off of being a therapist. Working with a Chiro is actually a pretty good bet. Or working more from a medical angle
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