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How Much Do You Tip a Massage Therapist?

Shemiah Williams, eHow contributor Jun 5, 2013

How Much Do You Tip a Massage Therapist?

By Shemiah Williams, eHow Contributor

 Massages are a wonderful way to treat your body.

Whether it's truly a treat or a preventive step for your muscles, massages are a wonderful way to treat your body. With an increase in popularity, spas and salons have gone above and beyond to offer a variety of massages and body treatments as well as providing an unforgettable experience in a calm, relaxing environment. Because a massage therapist is providing a service in a spa setting, as a courtesy, you should tip them in addition to the cost of your service. Does this Spark an idea?


  1. Standard Rate for Hospitality
  • One option for determining how to tip a message therapist is to use the standard hospitality rate of 10 to 15 percent. Some people use this figure across the board at restaurants, bars, spas and salons. With a price range of $50 to $100 for a massage, this would equate to a tip of $5 to $10 at 10 percent and $7.50 to $15 at 15 percent. You can tip more or less depending on how pleased you were with the service. Remember, at a spa, you're paying the spa for the service you receive from the massage therapist or an aesthetician. While he or she receives a portion of your payment, the therapist is not being paid directly. Your tip helps to cover the overhead that is deducted by the business from his or her payment. If you are unsure of what to tip, ask what the average tip for his or her services are.

Develop Your Own Rating Scale

  • With all of the instances in which tipping is appropriate, it is often difficult to discern who gets how much and when. Take some of the guesswork out of it by developing your own rating scale to use in any potential tipping situation. Assign flat dollar amounts to each level of service. For example, a rating of excellent could equal a $15 tip, good could be $10 and fair could be $5. If you're a religious tipper, you could establish $5 as your minimum no matter what; however, you shouldn't feel compelled to tip for inferior service.

Keep It a Little Simpler

  • At the end of the day, you will need to balance your checkbook or bank account so do it with a nice round number. Plan to build an additional budgeting amount to cover tips. For example, if your visit to the spa includes an $85 massage and a $45 manicure and pedicure totaling $130, round up to $150 and split the additional $20 between the massage therapist and the nail technician. It is up to you how you distribute it, $10 each or $12 and $8 to reflect the involvement and price of their services. Remember to inquire because sometimes spas require that tips or gratuities are paid in cash. Do what you feel is an appropriate reflection of the services you received.

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Read more: How Much Do You Tip a Massage Therapist? | eHow

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Comments (24)

Mike on Nov 16, 2014
Leave a $20 tip thats fair for someone thats phyically working on you for 50 mins or more Too high? You try giving
Someone a massage and see how exhausting it can be

Emma Pierson on Dec 23, 2015
I disagree with your post. Across the board it is 20% not a standard of 15%. This is the first thing that pops up when someone searches "How Much to Tip Massage Therapist". Please put it at the real standard as many people may use this and tip incorrectly.

15% may have been the norm, but is no longer the norm in 2015/16

Please refer to other sources,d.bGQ

"percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren't totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding. 15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities. "

Alex on Jan 13, 2016
<i>Too high? You try giving
Someone a massage and see how exhausting it can be</i>

This is a meaningless argument. If you think you make too little in a particular job/field, switch jobs/fields. I'm not interested in hearing you complaing about how hard you work, implying that somehow you're special and that others who work hard for the money they earn are lucky that you do your job, thus should just hand over a lot of the money they earned by working hard at their job.

You're not special. You're not working harder than everyone else. Stop pretending you are special and are an especially hard worker.

Stephanie on Jan 18, 2016
I agree. I can't believe this even pops up first on Google. $20 is very fair

Vee. on Feb 01, 2016
For an hour massage $20 and up is what's considered fair, but any amount is taken as kind gesture of appreciation :).

Of course it depends on the work you receive. If you go to the mall and get your massage there (the not very private ones) you probably shouldn't tip more than its cost. But I don't recommend mall massages to anyone who is in pain and/or really needs bodywork.

No disrespect to people who work in restaurants or bars, work is good... But the work they do does NOT equal the work a Massage Therapist gives for their client. Massage therapy is indeed exhausting, but it is a calling. It is work of healers. It is physically, energetically and at many times, emotionally taxing. It is an exchange of trust and love between client and therapist. Anyone who doesn't understand why an MT deserves a tip is not a therapist themselves, has never actually given someone bodywork, and most likely have never received a proper massage.

My experience with tips have been $15 the least and $60 the most for an hour massage, I've been in practice for a little under 2 years.

George on May 01, 2016
Where we live, most massage therapists are for the most part independent operators. They rent shared spaces, or a room for a certain number of hours a week while others rent the same space for the remaining hours of the week. As independents, should you tip the same as one would to a therapist that is a salaried employee of a spa?

Massage Therapist on May 17, 2016

Leave a $20 tip thats fair for someone thats phyically working on you for 50 mins or more Too high? You try giving
Someone a massage and see how exhausting it can be

Agree- 18%-20%, $15-$20 is the correct amount- please fix this as this is what is first that comes up on Google. Truly upsetting. Agreed with posts below:
Emma Pierson on Dec 23, 2015
I disagree with your post. Across the board it is 20% not a standard of 15%. This is the first thing that pops up when someone searches "How Much to Tip Massage Therapist". Please put it at the real standard as many people may use this and tip incorrectly

Jennifer on May 28, 2016
I just came from my elements massage in my area. I am a member and got an hour massage. While I was leaving, I noticed the tip sign. One smile face was $20, two was $27 and 3 was $35. I gave $24, but $35 tip seems really high to me. Also, just because I don't/can't afford a $35 tip does not mean that I don't think the masseuse did a good job. Does your office follow this tip guide, it doesn't appear so from what is written on this page.

Jen mitchel on May 28, 2016
For an hour massage, if you were happy and left feeling better $20 minimum tip. 90minute session $35 minimum. Massage therapy is a very hard profession, none of them are able to do 40 hours of massage in a week. So they rely on their tips to make up and have somewhat of a fair wage. Full time for massage therapist is 25 hours a week because of how physical the job is using their fingers, hands, wrists, bodies, energy, ect to help YOU (the client feel better). Also, I ALWAYS make sure to give my massage therapist their tip in cash personally otherwise if you use your debit or creditcard to leave their tip because then they don't get it until they get their paycheck which means it's taxed just like their wages. So if you do leave the tip on your card make sure to give more to make up for the amount that will be taken out in taxes. Thus, please tip your therapist in cash! They will go above and beyond for you, watch and see for yourself! Massage therapists are similar to waiters in the aspect that they rely on their tips for a huge part of their income. Although you can't say their the same because massage therapist is 25 hours per week is considered full time, for waitresses that's only part time work. So please keep that in mind. I have many friends who are therapist in WASHINGTON State so that's how I know all this information. One last thing, massage is like their own art, every person has their own skills and abilities. So when you get a "bad" massage remember that it wasn't "bad" it was just not a good fit for you as the customer. So don't take it out on the therapist and say they have you a terrible job, just remember that's what their abilities were as a therapist and then go on and try someone else but don't tip any less than normal. They rely on that tip as part of their income. Always tip cash, minimum for an n hour is $20 to answer this question.

Michelle on Jun 13, 2016
I am a massage therapist, and believe tips are given based on effort and skill. Guidelines are just that...I frequently get $20's or more for 50 min massages. My clients appreciate the effort I put forth... detailed therapy , giving them the therapeutic relief they desired and needed!! Anything less would surely bring disappointment..and ....tip reflective of unsatisfied service!

Carol on Jun 22, 2016
I always tip but not always happy about it, if I pay $75 for an hr massage. The therapist is making $75 an hour, I have never made $75 an hour. Or anything near that.

Mark on Jun 28, 2016
"So if you do leave the tip on your card make sure to give more to make up for the amount that will be taken out in taxes."

Um, the law says you have to pay taxes on income. Even if you pay in cash, they need to report that tip as income. So pay taxes now, or later, it makes no difference.

Jen lewis on Jul 07, 2016
Minimum tip for an hour massage is $20.00 and then for 90minute sessions is $35.00 minimum. I enjoy getting massage myself. I get one at least once per month. Massage therapy is a specific healing job and very physically demanding. I can always appreciate it when my therapist is really going above and beyond to do a treatment specific for my needs and that's when I tip above the average $20 for an hour session.

Steve on Jul 21, 2016
Carol, that's not how massage therapists work. They make a small percentage of the amount that you paid for your massage after "chair fees," similar to a hair stylist or tattoo artist. Please educate yourself before getting upset about the amount you pay someone to help you feel better.

JR on Sep 10, 2016
Everyone forgets it is gratuity. Tip what you want. Whatever you feel is appropriate for the service you recieve and naturally what is affordable. Don't be cheap if you can afford more but if all you can afford is $10% then so be it. This world is so ass backwards.

Ben Burdick on Sep 13, 2016
I find it interesting that massage therapists are the only "therapists" that receive tips. If they tout themselves as being part of the medical profession then I don't think tipping is appropriate. Would you tip a physical therapist? An occupational therapist? Hmm...

Ben Burdick on Sep 13, 2016
Another thought - Though I typically tip 20% in the service industry, there is no 20% standard as others have argued. The original standard was 15% and as inflation occurs, the $ amount of a tip, being percentage based, goes up proportionately with inflation. If you take the time to search the internet you will find that many people have discussed this issue. For some reason the U.S. is a tipping culture. There are many other parts of the world where tipping just doesn't occur at all.

Donna thompson on Sep 25, 2016
I would never tip less than $30.00. And that would be for a bad experience which I have never had.

Erin on Nov 16, 2016
This is a ridiculously low recommendation and needs to be edited..
15% or under if it wasn't amazing
25% and up if it was just mind boggling how amazing it was.
It seems a lot of people tip $20 for an hour massage even if it is very inexpensive.
This is really unfair to massage therapists everywhere that your low ball opinion pops up first as if it is fact. PLEASE CHANGE THIS- I am a massage therapist and I work in a very expensive spa-
and I would say that 95% of my clients tip 20% or much higher. It is rare to get a 15% tip and even rarer to get 10%... it makes the client look cheap and dissatisfied with the service.

Jack on Nov 18, 2016
How about you bake the gratuities in your service prices so customers don't have to worry about it? One price, one service. No speculation needed.

Bee on Nov 29, 2016
Carol, a massage therapist does "make $75 an hour". If they are independent or work for someone a very large chunk goes to overhead. Also, they do not work 40 hours hands on per week and 99.9% physically couldn't. There are many other things that go into the work than giving sessions (laundry, legal paperwork, so on).
Ben, "other therapist" are often included under the insurance umbrella. If you are in a part of the world that has massage therapy in office with a doctor, you don't tip. That occupational therapist is charging upwards of $180-400 a session to get cut to half or less of whatever they billed. So even at $60-70 and a $10 tip, you're getting a great value.
Jen M, thank you.

SG on Dec 08, 2016
emma. its steven

Jeffry on Jan 05, 2017
I'm a nurse and I don't get tips. You don't hear me complaining about it.

Tony on Jan 13, 2017
Wow, tip the massage therapist that I'm paying 100 an hour? I'm a contractor and no one tips me when I finish their kitchen or paint their room or so their landscape! Tipping over
Tipping over priced service personnel is a joke!!