This post isn’t meant to be persuasive only curiously inquisitive.

Should I tip my massage therapist?

Out of all the jobs in the world that can receive tips, this one is the most flip-floppity. For example, when this question first crossed my mind, I googled tipping, and nowhere did I see mention the need or want to tip your massage therapist. And so I added to my question.

Is it appropriate to tip my massage therapist?
Why should I tip my massage therapist?
How much should I tip my massage therapist?

And these are the answers I came up with…

YES! You 110% should tip your massage therapist.

As long as the place your therapist works allows it, I think it is absolutely appropriate to tip your massage therapist. If you’re unsure, then, before you pay for the massage, ask the receptionist, front desk clerk, or massage therapist him/herself if they accept tips. A yes answer means you’re in the clear for tipping. A no answer means you’ll have to be a little more creative by how you show thanks.

Here’s an example:
My sister goes to a massage therapist who works for a company that doesn’t allow her to accept tips. So instead they ask all who get a massage there to refer their friends and family. Referrals are an EXCELLENT way to say thank you.

But why though? Why should I tip my massage therapist?

When I asked my husband, this was his response, “If she listened to my needs and did her best to meet them – like she really listened to my body and did as much as she could to make sure I left feeling better than I walked in, then she deserves a tip. Kind of like tipping a waitress…”

And finally, How much is an appropriate tip?

This is very much based on you. And I have a few rules of thumb by which I live:

  1. Think about your finances and your budget. If you are financially capable to tip $10, $25, $50 dollars then great! And if you’re only able to spare $3 for a tip because money is tight and you have been out of work for a month an a half, then you are amazing! Don’t ever think that you have to tip beyond what you are able.
  2. Think about the cost of the massage. A great rule of thumb is to give anywhere from 10-25% of the cost of the massage.
  3. And, think about the massage experience itself. Was your massage therapist punctual? How was her attitude: happy to be working with you or only there for the money? Did she listen to your needs and work out any problem areas you had? Were your expectations exceeded during the massage? Do you really feel better walking out of the massage than you did walking in?

The private practice exception

A lot of massage therapists are private practitioners working in their own solo business. This leaves many with the question of whether or not they should consider tipping. Again, I leave this up to you with only one thing to consider: TAXES!!!

Up to 37% for federal, 12.4% for social security, and 2.9% for medicare: Taxes add up, and when you’re self employed as a private practitioner, it adds up fast.


I hope this post has been informative and given you food for thought, so that, the next time you receive a massage, you can tip confidently knowing your questions have been answered.