Friday, October 10, 2014

Which Would You Prefer - A Tip, Or A Referral?

I've seen tipping discussed very often in several massage therapy Facebook groups as well as on Linkedin.  Many massage therapists depend on tips much the same as a waitstaff does in a restaurant.  There has been much debate on whether we should even be accepting tips if we want to be considered health care workers.  Here is a list of interesting articles I have compiled on the subject.

The therapist point of view:

The Tipping Point Where Do You Stand on Receiving Gratuities? by Laura Allen

 Death To Tips! by Kelly Bowers

To Tip Or Not To Tip? by Cherie Sohnen-Moe

The client point of view:

How much do you tip a massage therapist for a 60 minute massage?

As you can see, there are many differing opinions on the subject.  Here is how I handle the situation when client asks me about my tipping policy. I let them know that I don't expect tips, but they are appreciated.  If you leave it at that, your client may feel guilty if they don't tip you, so before that happens, I then let them know that I would much rather they give me a referral.  If they know of anyone that could use some relaxation, or some relief from their body aches to pass on my information.  I then give them something to hand out.  This is key.  I hand them a few business cards, or my current promotional flier.  Handing your client the flier increases the chances of them actually telling people about you, and it also increases the chances that the referral will actually come to see you sooner than later with the promo flier.

So, what do you feel about tipping?  Personally, I'd prefer the referral instead.  Here is why:
  1. Better Value. A tip doesn't last, a referral can turn into repeat business.  This is much more valuable to me than a few extra dollars are in the moment.
  2. Rewards My Current Clients. I have a referral program in place in my business.  (I know some areas of the country don't allow this, so if your in one of those areas, don't break the rules.)  For each referral someone sends me, they get a $10 credit good to use toward any service.
  3. Builds My Business.  We all know word of mouth is the best way to build your business.  Potential clients are more inclined to try you out if someone they know is telling them how awesome you are.
Do you accept tips?  What is your tipping policy?  Let me know in the comments below, or in the Facebook Massage Marketing Group.

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