To Accept Tips or Not...That is the Question

HEY Self Employed Therapists -- STOP Taking Tips -- it is hurting your business!

If you are self-employed, many people feel it is customary NOT to necessarily tip the "Owner".

It is common NOT to tip the owner of a salon if they cut your hair, or the restaurant-bar owner being they tend bar at times because he/she is already making all the profit anyway! Do you tip your healthcare professionals?

Ask yourself these 12 questions if you are deciding about whether you are going to accept tips or not:

1) Which image, brand or type of practice will you be presenting-- Spa Service or Therapeutic/Medical/ Sports Massage?

2) Are your fees already competitive, above average or expensive? Have you establish your fees by your expertise and experience? Consider who your target audience is? Cheaper isn't always better. People will pay high end prices if they believe you are worth it.

3) Do your flat fees support yourself with a minimum amount of appointments per week/month? Do you "need" the money tip to pay your bills, create a savings and take a vacation?

4) If you are working for yourself: are you thinking as a business owner or are you thinking as an employee? Are you more an "instant gratification" person or "long term investment" person? Business owners think of their clients / business as future income, not daily dues. 

5) Is there a chance that allowing or encouraging tips might prevent a client from booking another appointment if they feel it is now an established necessity and protocol to have an extra $10 or $20 or $30 for each and every appointment? What if you do want to raise your fees in the future? yikes! Not all people may have that extra cash every time.  

6) Are we placing more stress on a client who is coming to get stress relief? No expectations = no stress.

7) If you have established a prepayment reservation or monthly fee/retainer type business why handle cash when all you want to "handle" is their muscles? Keep cash out of your "healing room".

8) If you (wish to) present as a “Therapeutic, Sports or Medical Massage Practice", and compare your practice to other health care professionals: psychologist or physical therapist? Would you ever think to tip them?

9) Even if you had a "great breakthrough session" with your Psychologist, or Physical Therapists or Doctor, etc. would you offer them extra cash for the session?

10) Are you claiming these cash tips on your taxes? (Crazy question, I know, but...the IRS will find out if you accept tips!)

11) Would you take tips from certain people and not others? Inconsistency is not recommended and very dangerous for your reputation -- clients talk.

12) Will you or do you put your “tipping policies” in writing, on your website or a sign on the wall? Again, if it is in your policies that you do NOT accept tips - then there isn't an issue tax-wise.

Personally, and professionally, I don't accept tips. Never did. It didn't feel right. I work for myself and I think my fees are quite enough that I can support myself.

If and when a client does offer a tip, I say, "Thank you, I am flattered, but it is not necessary, I don't accept tips... and I give it back!  WHAT? YES, JUST DO IT. Watch what happens… and then call me to tell me about it.

If they are an insisting person that won't take no for an answer; I'll say, "let's compromise... let's place this "tip" as a down payment credit toward your next visit". Take out your schedule and REBOOK them right then and there! It works like a charm to build a practice… quickly! And also they feel good that you accepted their compliment also known as money. At the next session, they arrive and subconsciously it feels like they get a financial break!

It is a Win - Win! Are you a long term commitment kind of person or do you live for quickies and constant hustle?

Please think of your practice as your best investment for your future - not a daily instant gratification. 

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