Memberships and Menus?
Note: This piece was fun to write because I was able to speak from my experiences as a massage therapy consumer, licensed massage therapist, and business owner. I have been a consumer for over a decade and therapist/owner for 5 years so I feel pretty confident in my opinions regarding this topic. The few times people have asked me if I offer memberships at a discounted (usually meaning WAY under my rate), it makes my stomach turn, yet I still consider it. I always went with my gut which says NO WAY JOSE. I am happy to have a platform to explain why...and you'll be happy to know it's because I want the best for my clients.
As consumers of massage therapy, I thought yall would be interested to see how businesses like Unravel determine what is on the service menu and why prices are what they are. Why are so many places pretty competitive, with $5 difference or so...while other places are SO CHEAP?? Unravel falls in the competitive category; we are not the most expensive, we are not the cheapest. Here's a whole lot of WHY from our POV as consumers, therapists, and business owners.
When I am a client, I don't look for memberships. I actually look the opposite direction. First of all, I shop local. I like to support someone's dream. Second, I have a background in Psychology and memberships is Marketing and Business Psych 101. There's a philosophy called "in group/out group" that businesses are gunning to get you into with memberships. It makes you believe a fallacy that you are getting the best deal because you are special by being part of their exclusive VIP club. That sounds great, until you get into the membership and "live" the fine print. What is included...or should I say excluded? Most of the time, the "extras" that we provide are extra costs, or "add ons". The extra financial obligation is a drag, especially if something in your life changes that you did not expect. Or what if you end up not liking the vibe of the place after all but you're in a contract? But the worst is when you get what you pay for and end up having to get another massage because the cheap one wasn't worth it OR even worse, thinking massage therapy doesn't work for your condition and end up in surgery! It is easy to make the first experience AMAZING... salesperson is smooth, get in a contract, and bam, what is the incentive to keep the quality the same? I want my massage therapy experience from booking to intake to massage to checkout and rescheduling to be relaxing and without gimmicks. Unfortunately for me I see right through sales and psych manipulation and it ruins my experience...but fortunately for me I stay away so I don't even have to deal with that.
As a massage therapist, I have never considered working for businesses that offered memberships. Have you ever gotten a massage from a therapist that is burned out? It doesn't necessarily make for a bad massage, but definitely not the whole experience you were looking for. At Unravel, that will never happen. When massages are underpriced, the therapist is not getting paid what they deserve for their work, and they burn out because massage therapy is one of the top most physical jobs. Businesses that offer memberships also indirectly pressure tipping. So, if you tip are you saving money? By the time you walk out after: tipping, plus any extras like cupping/scraping/oils/tmj work/etc, and the member price...you probably paid the same or more! OR MORE. The sad part is that a licensed professional, who took many hours of coursework, clinicals, and yearly CEs are working for tips. NAW. I will not do that to myself or another therapist. It is a moral thing for me and I will not burn myself out.
The therapists at Unravel Massage Therapy are also the owners. We have 100% control over our service menu and prices. But when we make those decisions, we put ourselves in YOUR shoes. Our clients are our bosses. We include all the techniques and tools needed for the session. No add on to the price. Do you want an oil we happen to not have, or a technique we are not familiar with? We will 1. Get it. 2. Learn it. 3. Refer you to a therapist that can help ASAP...we have many therapist friends who are great! We use the best of everything on the market. Linens...detergent...face rest...essential oils...tools...education. We don't cut costs. We get the best for yall. Memberships are not meant to benefit consumers no matter how pretty the package is wrapped. Memberships are created by businesses to benefit the business. At Unravel we make decisions that benefit clients. We don't even have a menu because we don't limit the sessions ahead of time. We let the client decide what they need when they get there. It keeps things simple; massage is supposed to be an escape not complicated. Some business experts may be cringing right now, but it has worked for me since 2016. We focus on giving the best massage every time. We focus on getting the best products. Therefore our clients are very happy which makes us successful. We couldn't provide the best if we didn't charge enough to pay for it all. That is the business side of it. (If you have been to Unravel, you know that we love our jobs and clients so much, we would do it for free if we didn't have to eat! HAHA!) Everyone can win in the client/therapist relationship.
I leave yall with this...
To the consumer, shop smart. If someone wants the "discount bread store" of massage therapy, that is absolutely fine. You'll get what you pay for and if you are happy with that, that is what matters at the end of the day. If you want the cream of the crop at a discount price and it's too good to be true, it probably is. That is not what we do and our clients love it.
To the therapist, know your worth. Never sell yourself short. You work hard. You're a healer. You will attract the clients you deserve. I have coached therapists wanting more from their careers. Reach out if you want to chat!
To the business owner, have integrity. You represent all of us..the big corps and the small businesses like Unravel. There is a balance and price point. There is no free lunch.
Thanks for reading my blog post. Please contact us 3372904145 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
We are happy to provide Opelousas, La and surrounding area with quality massage therapy services.
Amber K. Darby, LMT, MS