Posts Tagged ‘Specials’

Recently I was on Facebook and saw an ad for a local chiropractor’s office offering three hours of massage for less than $100. I was instantly furious. Several thoughts bounced around the inside of my head while I was trying to determine what made me so mad. Was I upset about possibly losing business? Yes, but not so much for this kind of emotional reaction. Was it the chiropractor’s office? Maybe, but I’d never even heard of the place before. Was it the massage therapist? Maybe, but I didn’t even know who worked there. Was it the ad itself? Just a black and white text affair, blunt, but no. It took a bit before it finally coalesced to the point that I could put it into words.

Who in their right mind is willing to do three hours of massage for less than $100?

As an independent business owner and massage therapist the only scenario that makes sense is that the business is doing it to bring in more business. Okay, that’s one way to do it, but is the massage therapist getting paid a previously agreed upon minimum hourly rate? Or are they having to eat the cut rate? It’s one thing for me to decide to cut my rates and do a special, it’s another thing for an employer to decide that for me.

Let me break some of the numbers down and give you an idea of why I found myself so angry at this Facebook ad.

I’m an independent massage therapist whose rates are currently $70/hour. When I do an hour of massage I receive from my client $70. With that $70 I keep the doors open, the heat, air, lights, and water on, supplies stocked and pay any other business related expenses, pay taxes, pay myself so I can keep food on the table (and in the dog’s bowls) and a safe place for my family to live.

As an employed massage therapist when the employer runs a “special” the massage therapist typically takes at least a share of the hit. So that special for 3-hours for $100 works out to 1-hour for $33.33. The employer then takes their share which is negotiable at the time of employment and is typically 40-60% depending on what the employer supplies. So out of $33.33 the employer will take $13.33, if the massage therapist is lucky, leaving them $19.99 for an hour of massage. If they’re not so lucky those numbers flip, the house takes $19.99 leaving the massage therapist $13.33.

Now, I am fully in support of the house taking their cut, they have to in order to keep the doors open. But can you imagine going to school, graduating, being required to take and pass a national-level exam, purchasing and maintaining liability insurance, going through the process of becoming licensed by the state, maintaining continuing education hours in order to become a skilled professional all to be paid $13.33 for an hours worth of work?

I certainly cannot and before you move away from that list I just wrote about all the things you have to do to become a legally practicing professional massage therapist in the state of Alabama, consider that every single thing on that list takes money. Most of those steps take a lot of money.

So it’s just not feasible from a business standpoint for a massage therapist to agree to work for this kind of pay. They can’t keep up their certification and licensing much less put food on the table. Add to that, people flock to these kinds of deals giving that therapist a lot of work to do. So they’re wearing their bodies down without receiving sufficient resources to maintain their self-care or livelihood. I think we can all agree this is not good practice nor is it sustainable.

So who would agree to work for this pittance?

Unfortunately, the massage therapists who agree to work under these circumstances are often desperate for money and employment, very young, just graduated from massage school, have student loans coming due, and/or a combination of these. So deal shoppers who bounce from place to place looking for the cheapest deals are essentially taking advantage of someone who is already down on their luck or trying to get started. They also may not be receiving the best massages either because let’s face it, how good a job do you do when you’re stressed out and worried about how you’re going to pay the electric bill.

What Can We Do?

As a consumer of massage, you can either refuse to deal shop or if you do, tip the therapist directly at a very high percentage. If you can’t afford to make up the difference in the tip then book at least two more appointments at full price for every one appointment you get at a discounted rate, write a review for the therapist, and send your friends to that massage therapist. In other words, do all you can to support that person.

As a massage therapist, you can negotiate these things with your employer. It’s best if it’s in the employment contract or agreement, but you can still negotiate with them even after you’ve signed an agreement. Insist on a minimum rate of pay for your services. Insist on limits, both to the number of “deals” they offer per year and how many massages they sell at the discounted rate or give away for free. Don’t expect that to be an easy conversation, but nothing worth having comes easy or cheap. Also consider the possibility that self-employment may be a better option.

In a perfect world we would all get paid what we are worth. Unfortunately, our system doesn’t work that way and we get paid what we settle for or what the market will bear. As a massage therapist I choose not to settle for less and know that sometimes I’ll be slow because there are lots of deals floating around. As a consumer of massage I refuse to shop the deals because it artificially dilutes the value of massage therapy and makes it harder for all of us, consumers and massage therapists, to afford.

So if it sounds too good to be true, you know it probably is, at least in the long run. Anyway, here are a couple of related articles that you may now be interested in reading: How to support your favorite businesses for free and How to find a great massage therapist

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is Decatur’s Ashiatsu Barefoot Specialist!

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freeA while back I decided to start a referral special for clients, but I don’t think I did a good job putting it into words so I wanted to take a minute and put all the details here.

Refer three new clients to me and get a free massage!

Fine Print:
No limits. Refer three friends this month and three more next month you get two free massages!
Free massage must be received within 90 days of award.
This special cannot be combined with gift certificates.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Barefoot Massage Therapist!

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rainbowWell, it seems my contract at that other job that has been taking up so much of my time these past few years has finally run its course. I am so very excited to announce that effective August 24th I will have many more hours to devote to clients.

My new schedule will be as follows:
Monday: 12pm – 8pm
Wednesday: 12pm – 8pm
Friday: 9am – 4pm

I know many of you have been hesitant to share me with your friends because of my limited availability, but you could just earn a free massage if you do!

Refer three friends between now and the end of the year and earn a free 1-hour massage. Each friend must book and receive at least one 1-hour massage, plus write your name as their referral in order to qualify. Gift certificate redemptions don’t count for this incentive, but there’s no limit to the number of free massages you can earn.

Book your appointment today!


Also, I will begin sending out available appointments at the beginning of each week (if any are still open) so make sure you’re on my MailChimp email list!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Barefoot Massage Specialist!

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MardiGrasCreweMany of you probably have already seen that I am on a Mardi Gras Crewe here in Decatur, AL. I’m a charter member of Crewe O’ Ye Crooked Goat, aka Pirate Crewe and you can find us over here if you’re interested in becoming part of our crewe or just like all things piratey.

Anyway, I always try to do a special around Mardi Gras because it’s fun, but this year the stakes are being raised.

Recently, the Carnegie Carnival parlayed with Decatur High School Developmental Program and began a proper recycling program for all the Mardi Gras beads that are flung about during the parades. The developmental center will wash, sort, and re-bundle all the beads collected and then put them back into circulation for next year’s celebration. All proceeds from the recycling program will benefit the developmental program. Win! Win! Win!

Last year you’ll remember we were an informal collection point for Mardi Gras beads after the parade. As of today, we are now an OFFICIAL Carnegie Carnival collection point for beads that will be recycled through the developmental program.

So, without further ado…

Bring in a fistful of Mardi Gras beads to recycle and you will receive $10 off your massage.

This offer is good one per customer and runs from February 14th – March 31st.

Want to get in on the fun? Carnegie Carnival Mardi Gras schedule is here! Hope to see you at the parade on February 14th!

Or you could just become a pirate and join our Crewe! Ask me how.

It’s so easy a PIRATE could do it!


Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Only Bamboo Fusion Therapist!

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Did you get my August newsletter?

No? Well, get yourself over there —> and sign up for the newsletter. It’s where you’re going to find the latest information on any specials I’m running. I am also told they are somewhat entertaining and sometimes helpful.

Anyway, since I really want everyone to take advantage of the specials I’m running during August and September here’s a summary.

Bring an unopened bag of puppy or kitten food to my office and get $10 off your massage during the months of August and September. All collections will be donated to Decatur Animal Services.


Adopt an animal from a shelter during the month of August, bring in your adoption agreement, and get 50% off your next massage.


Police, Fire, Rescue, or Active Duty Military – $10 off your massage, year-round. Just bring in your city/county/federal ID for the discount.

So what’s stopping you? Save some money, get a massage!

It’s all good.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Provider of Thai-Yoga Bodywork!

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KreweOYeCrookedGoat-MardiGras2013All I have to say about this year’s Mardi Gras parade is, Wow!

Okay, you knew I couldn’t just say, wow, and leave it at that. Wow! OMG! I still can’t believe how much fun that was! {Doing the funky chicken dance…} Okay, whew, calming down a little bit now.

We had a good time. Check that, we had a great time!

There’s nothing like spending time with your friends working toward a common goal. Even if the goal is something really weird like building a pirate ship on a trailer then dressing up in thrift store finds and running around clashing plastic swords with each other.

Until Sunday I didn’t realize how crappy the start of this year has been for me. Issues with my other job, a couple of unexpected deaths and some niggling family issues that just won’t go away have combined to bring me down in these dreary, rainy days that are typical for southeastern U.S. winter weather. And as usual I smile and soldier on employing the ‘fake it til you make it’ mentality until I’m so far into a trench I can’t see the sun anymore.

Mardi Gras was a good excuse to kick my hermitey self in the butt and get around friends. And no matter how sad or crappy I was feeling when I got to a work session, by the time I left, I was glad I went. My friends (new and old) always have a way of lifting my spirits just enough. Whether they’re feeding me tasks to do and leaving me alone or we’re all hauling on a rope to pull a mast upright, it helps.

And then seeing the finished product and getting to take our awesome, hard, and creative work and put it out on the street to entertain the masses. Seeing those little kids’ face’s light up at real, live pirates, it did something for me. Watching the delight wash over the adults when they realized we were for real and that ship wasn’t just cardboard and spit, but actual wood and nails and canvas. It cracked something open in my heart just a little bit.

And I think that’s what I’m trying to write about today. How getting out of my head and doing something with others and for others and just being open to letting life in instead of shutting everything out helps to start healing something I didn’t consciously realize was broken. Perhaps my instinct to shut down, hunker down and feed my turtle should be an indicator in the future that I need some time with friends. Perhaps…

Thank goodness for my crazy, artistic friends who envision these nutty things for us to do. I’m not sure what I would do without them. For sure this life would be a lot less fun.

P.S. – We won the trophy for 1st place for our float. Pictures over here, if you’re interested.

P.S.S. – Only two of my clients made a spectacle of themselves. Lucky them! I hope they’re not giving up massage for Lent…

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Fijian Barefoot Massage Massage

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Photo Courtesy of Julie Ankrom, AOBT Extraordinaire

Photo Courtesy of Julie Ankrom, AOBT Extraordinaire

Yes it’s a verb, Mardi Gras, it’s something we do anyway. Fat Tuesday in translation or Tuesday Fat if you want to get super specific. I’m just here for the good time so I don’t care what you call it. But let’s get to it, shall we.

The reason I’m writing about Mardi Gras here on the 2nd of February is because I want to invite you to a parade! Now if you’re wondering what parades and massages have in common, not a lot unless you slap a massage table and a set of portable bars on a float and have your therapist do a bit of Ashi as you stream past thousands of possibly drunk and definitely jealous individuals. Maybe not such a grand recipe for personal safety.

Of course, after the parade, that’s when massage comes in. All those folks dancing and prancing their way down 2nd to Bank and on to Church, they’re going to be needing a massage. I should hand out cards.

Anyway, on to the invitation.

When: February 9th @ 6pm

Where: Decatur, Alabama beginning at 2nd and Gordon and traveling to Bank and Church

Why: Because it’s tons of fun, lots of throws and I’m going to be on Krewe O’ Ye Crooked Goat again this year. Check out the Carnegie Carnival website for more details on all the activities and beneficiaries of our event!

And because I’m shamelessly promoting myself today. If you make a spectacle of yourself and I catch you doing it, I’ll give you a gift on the spot. I haven’t actually decided what the gift will be, but I guarantee it will have something to do with massage and that you will like it. I probably need to decide on a code word so I don’t just walk up to random folks who are celebrating a bit too rambunctiously. How about, “Are you my massage therapist?” Yes, that will do. Ask me if I’m your massage therapist at the Mardi Gras parade and you receive a gift.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage

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