When is the last time you raised your rates for massage therapy? Are you unsure when or how to raise your rates? Are you afraid that a price increase might drive your patients away? This article will go through factors to consider when determining if and when you should raise your rates, and some advice about communicating that decision effectively to patients.
Start by knowing all the relevant numbers. You should consider your current income and expenses, as well as how far ahead you’re booked up, and how many referrals you are normally getting. If you are regularly booked well in advance and consistently getting referrals, this demonstrates that your services are popular and your patients view significant value in your services, which indicates you should consider raising your fees. You can also look to see what other RMTs in your area charge for their services. If your rate is lower than the general average, you may want to consider raising your rates.
Although the cost of doing business isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to raising your rates, you should still evaluate your expenses and see if they have gone up by any significant amount, indicating you might want to raise your rates. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated an increase in expenses for all RMTs to consider the additional personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies required. Many RMTs raised their rates as a result.
It's also important to assess the value of the overall services you provide. Have you invested in continuing education focusing on specific conditions or patient populations you see regularly in your practice, which offers an extra benefit to those patients? Have you added modalities within the scope of practice of massage therapy that your patients find valuable? You should also evaluate the level of customer service you provide and whether there are specific areas where you go above and beyond to make your patients feel welcome and comfortable. These elements all contribute to increased value, which can be captured in your pricing .
You should also consider the timing of your rate increase and how much you’d like to raise your rates. If you’ve just raised your rates two or three months ago, patients are not likely to be accepting of rates that change that often. However, if it’s been a year or more since you last raised your rates, this will be considered a reasonable timeline to consider raising them again. When considering how much to raise your rates, you don’t want to raise rates an unreasonable amount. If patients see your rates have suddenly doubled, they might reconsider coming to you for massage therapy. A 5% or even 10% increase is considered more reasonable.
When raising your rates, you should keep in mind your obligations as outlined by the CMTO. You must post your rates in a visible location in the practice setting, and your rates must be communicated to the patient prior to treatment. Fees should also not be excessive or unreasonable but that can easily be avoided by following the rationale above when setting fees.
When you’ve decided to raise your rates, you should give your patients notice. There’s no notice period you are required to give, but either 30- or 60-days’ notice of a fee increase is considered standard. You should contact all your patients, letting them know about the fee increase, as well as post the fee increase in your clinic space and on your website.
If you’re concerned about raising your rates due to a potential negative reaction from your patients, there’s no need to worry. If you have a strong justification for your fee increase based on increased value you're providing and give your patients ample notice, they are less likely to react negatively. The justification for the price increase doesn't necessarily have to be something new in your business, it can also simply be that the costs of everything regularly increase. Many businesses regularly raise their prices which, if justified and not excessive, many people accept as just part of doing business.
These are just some considerations when you’re looking to raise your rates. Your individual rates will vary based on your location and individual circumstances. There is advice on how to set your fees in general and fee related issues in our Fee Guideline. We recommend that you review your fees once per year to consider whether you would like to raise them, so you have ample time to notify your patients.