How Much To Tip for a Massage & Massage Tip Calculator - Unwinding Central (2023)

One of the more awkward situations we can be in is not knowing how much to tip for a massage. You’re relaxed, you’re ready to go, and then you realize you just don’t know what the etiquette standards are. Don’t worry! There are clear-cut standards.

So, how much to tip your massage therapist?

The standard amount your massage therapist expects is a 20% tip. This number applies to different massage experiences and is based on the original price of the massage, so if you had a discount, remember to add that into your tipping considerations.

Of course, there can be a lot more questions surrounding the etiquette here, including resort standards, how to hand over the tip, whether you need to tip in cash, and how to handle a bad massage experience, so this article is going to take a deeper dive into all of your questions so you never have to feel unsure while tipping for a massage again.

Table of Contents

How Much To Tip Your Massage Therapist

The standard tipping rate for a massage in the United States is 20%.

This standard is set industry-wide and is referenced in many etiquette guides, so there isn’t much wiggle room. There is a range of “acceptable” that goes from 10% to 20%, but 20% is still the expected standard.

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A tip of 10% would indicate that you were very unhappy and is as low as the tip should ever go, even if you’re upset about how things went.

Of course, you can always leave a tip over 20% if you are more than happy with your massage. That is totally up to you, and while it is a great gesture, it is in no way expected.

Massage Tip Calculator

It can sometimes be tricky to calculate your tip, especially when you are so relaxed after a great massage. Don’t worry. We’ve put together a simple yet powerful massage tip calculator for you!

Frequently Asked Questions: Tipping Your Massage Therapist

Tipping can be an emotional and awkward experience if you’re unsure about what’s normal, so below, we’re going to cover some of the most common questions.

You can get a massage from a self-employed masseuse, at a spa, or at a resort, so we’re going to take those different scenarios into account in these questions since you may run into different experiences depending on where you are.

Should I Tip Cash Or Handle It On A Card?

How Much To Tip for a Massage & Massage Tip Calculator - Unwinding Central (1)

In most scenarios, cash is the preferred method of tipping for your massage therapist. This won’t matter much to a self-employed masseuse, but at a spa or a resort, it matters a fair amount.

Your massage therapist at a spa or resort will get paid out their tips when they get their biweekly check from their employer. If you tip them in cash, they get the tip right now.

However, if you don’t have cash on you, paying the tip with the rest of your bill is still entirely acceptable. Cash is just a nice touch for your massage therapist.

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How Do I Hand Over the Tip?

If you are one of the people who is fine with tipping, but feels awkward about the etiquette for actually handing over the money, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. You can plan for this. No need to tense up after your long massage, this will be fine.

Sometimes in the massage room, while you’re getting dressed, you’ll see an envelope you can place your tip in. This is the easiest method when it’s available.

However, if you have a cash tip and don’t see an envelope, you have two options. One, you can simply handle the cash to the massage therapist. When you do so, simply hold out the money, smile, and say, “Thank you.” They will understand that you’re tipping them.

The second option is to slide the tip into the pocket of your robe and hand the robe directly to the massage therapist. They have to do the laundry, so they will find the tip. It’s preferable to do the first option, but if you feel too uncomfortable, the robe trick is there for you.

Alternatively, when you pay at the front desk, you can ask the front person to give your tip to your massage therapist for you.

What Do I Tip When I Have a Coupon or Membership?

Sometimes, being a member at a spa will give you a discount. You can also purchase a massage through a coupon service like Groupon, or sometimes get a discount through a deal directly on the spa’s website. This is a great way to save money.

However, when you’re calculating your 20% tipping rate, it is standard to tip 20% of the original price for the massage.

Should I Tip More for a Longer Massage?

The duration of a massage can vary widely. So, how much should we tip for a 30-minute massage? And for a 90-minute massage?

Since longer massages are generally more expensive than shorter massages, just applying the standard 20% tip should be enough. Your massage therapist won’t be expecting a higher tip for a longer massage.

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How Should I Handle Tips for a Couples Massage?

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The standard tip for a couples massage is 20% of the total price, such as for individual massages.

Typically, a couples massage is performed by two massage therapists. To make things easier for your masseuses, each member of the couple should tip their own masseuse 10% of the total price.

Of course, change can sometimes be a problem, and giving the whole 20% to one of the masseuses is totally fine. To avoid any misunderstandings, just clearly say to your massage therapist, “Thank you! This is for the two of you.” It most likely won’t be their first time. To be extra cautious, ask your partner to explain to their masseuse that you will be leaving a tip for both of you.

Alternatively, if you had your massage at a spa or a resort, you can leave your tip with the desk person and ask them to give it to both massage therapists.

How Much to Tip for a Terrible Massage?

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Okay, so, how much to tip your massage therapist if you really hated the experience? While some people feel that not tipping at all is acceptable in this situation, most etiquette guides disagree. In this case, tipping 10% is still considered a requirement.

Instead of cutting the tip, asking to speak to a manager after your massage is the standard way to really do something about a terrible experience.

Is There Ever a Time I Shouldn’t Tip?

There are instances where there may be a “no tipping” policy. You may want to watch for this with a self-employed massage therapist and at all-inclusive resorts.

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If a self-employed massage therapist has a no-tipping policy, they will tell you ahead of time. You won’t be expected to know this on your own without them telling you, so you’ll be taken care of. No need for you to do anything. Assume you tip them unless they tell you not to.

With an all-inclusive resort, you should ask the front desk about tipping policies when you arrive. Specifically, ask about the massage therapists. You’ll likely need cash to tip massage therapists in this situation, so it’s much easier to have some on hand for this scenario.

Understanding Why We Tip Massage Therapists

When you’re looking at how much to tip for a massage, you might be thinking that this all seems fairly expensive. With the hourly rate you paid, aren’t they already making a great deal of money? However, when you pay for your massage, you’re also paying for the space the massage took place, the tools used in your massage, lotions, the marketing, front desk people, and other expenses related to running a massage business.

At a spa, a massage therapist is hired at an hourly rate as a service job. They have to pay for training to become a massage therapist. They expect to make a 20% tip on their services because this has become standard.

Massage therapists rely on tip money when considering their hourly rate and what a living wage may be for them.

Enjoy Your Massage By Planning Ahead

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If you’re having one of your first massage experiences and weren’t aware of the tipping etiquette, it can be an uncomfortable surprise. Knowing these guidelines ahead of time can help you plan your budget and better enjoy the experience.

When you’re setting a budget for your regular massages, make a practice of adding the tip into your budget so you won’t find yourself surprised when you pay the regular bill.

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How much do you tip for a $300 massage? ›

We spoke to two etiquette experts, who suggested leaving a 15% to 20% tip, if you're able. Twenty percent is generous for the massage therapist and easy on the brain, which may be feeling more relaxed than ever after a massage. The math is straightforward.

Is $20 a good tip for a 90 minute massage? ›

The standard hospitality rate for massage tipping is 20 percent. For example, if a massage or body treatment costs $100, a 20 percent tip would be $20.

What is the average tip for a 60 minute massage? ›

In general, the 20% rule applies to tipping your massage therapist. So, if you're wondering how much to tip for a $100 massage, you'd want to tip $20. If you're considering how much to tip for a 60-minute massage (that costs $100) – you'd still tip $20.

How much do you tip for a $175 massage? ›

15-20% of the bill, including drinks.

Where do you leave tip after massage? ›

Therapists don't expect you to give them a tip in hand. You don't have to tip immediately after the massage. Relax and enjoy, and if you want to give a tip at the end, put it on the bill on your way out. Some spas have tips included, so be sure to ask at the desk.

How much do you tip on a 500 massage? ›

Some independent massage therapists charge all-inclusive rates for their services, but generally tipping 20 percent for spa services like massages, facials and more is advised.

What not to do during a massage? ›

What NOT to Say / Do with Your Massage Therapist
  1. Ask your massage therapist to go see a movie / come to your house / etc. ...
  2. Excessive noises. ...
  3. Comment on our looks/attractiveness. ...
  4. Poke your head out of the room to let us know you're ready. ...
  5. Start undressing while we are still in the room. ...
  6. Touch us.
Jul 3, 2020

Should you tip before or after a massage? ›

You should always tip something after a massage—it's rude not to,” says Beth Rose, a licensed massage therapist and business owner in Kennewick, Washington. “We are providing a service. Plus, massage is hard physical work! A good tip gives us an incentive to serve you better the next time.”

How much do you tip on a $120 massage? ›

A 90-minute massage costs about $120 - $150. So, if you follow the general 20% gratuity rule, you'll tip about $24 - $30.

Should I do a 60 minute or 90 minute massage? ›

90-minutes is the best chance for you to nod off and truly relax. Give yourself some extra time and treat yourself! When it comes strictly down to value for time, the 90-minute is the best choice.

Should I do a 30 or 60 minute massage? ›

A: I usually recommend that you make your first appointment for an hour. It is hard to assess new tissue and effectively treat someone in 30 minutes. After your first appointment, the time may be adjusted to 30 or 90 minutes depending on your needs. This is not a hard and fast rule however.

Is 60 minutes too long for a massage? ›

So if you really want specific work AND full body relaxation, it may be worth considering a 90-min session. General relaxation can be achieved in a 60-min session, but if you just want general relaxation in half of the body (front/back or upper/lower) then a 45-min appointment can also work.

How much do you tip on a $200 bill? ›

15-20% of the bill, including drinks.

How much do you tip for a sensual massage? ›

Standard tip rate

The general guideline on tipping for a massage is around 25 percent of the total cost. It's a standard that's pretty similar to tipping at a restaurant. At a minimum, an appropriate massage tip is around 20 percent of the cost of the massage.

Do you tip a massage therapist covered by insurance? ›

You tip your nail tech and hair stylist but not your massage therapist. RMTs are professionals and just as you don't tip your doctor, dentist or teacher, you do not tip your massage therapist.

Do you turn over during a massage? ›

A 60 minute full body massage typically starts with a head & scalp massage to get you relaxed. Then, they will work the neck and shoulders, move on to each arm, and work their way to the legs & feet. Next, you will flip around on the massage table and they will work on the back of the legs and potentially the glutes.

Should you talk during a massage? ›

Is it okay to talk during a massage? Yes it is, as the client you can choose to converse with your therapist whenever you want. If you want to talk, feel chatty or just want to be heard it can be an important part of the letting go process.

Do you leave massage tip in Room? ›

General Tipping Guidelines

You'll rarely ever find a day spa adding a service fee so it's recommended that you directly tip your therapist in cash. “We allow tipping and encourage it by leaving envelopes in the treatment rooms so that it's convenient for you to tp your therapist,” he adds.

Do you tip if gratuity is included? ›

Others may automatically include gratuity when the bill is drawn. If either of these instances is the case, then no, you do not need to tip on top of this price. However, if the service was exceptional and you had a wonderful experience, an additional tip is never a bad idea.

Is tipping 20 percent ridiculous? ›

Is 20% tip ridiculous? The tip is essentially a grade, telling you how well you've done. And 20 percent is an extreme portion of the overall cost of the meal, and tipping over that as the last way to say “this service was very, very good” is absurd.

How much do you tip for a $80 massage? ›

“We recommend tipping 15% – 20% based on each client's comfort and satisfaction with the massage,” said Meng. Luckily for Soothe, their clients have increased the average tipping percentage in 2021 from 18 to 20 percent. So if a 60-minute massage costs $80, the tip would be $12 to $16.

What is inappropriate during a massage? ›

That includes sexual touching, sexually explicit comments to or any sexual act whatsoever. Every well-trained massage therapist understands – or should understand – the guidelines that follow.

Why should you not shower before a massage? ›

Shower. While your intentions might be in the right place, a hot shower prior to your massage is actually not recommended. “A hot rinse right before your massage can increase your circulation as well and your chances of sweating through the session.

What is the first rule of massage? ›

First do no harm – to yourself!

How much clothing do I take off for a massage? ›

You'll want to strip down to just your undies. Take off your bra—it'll get in the way of the back massage and who can relax with underwire poking you anyway? Also, if it's just an upper body massage, you can leave your socks on, otherwise, slip them off so the therapist can work on your soles.

How do you figure out how much to tip? ›

Explain that a tip is calculated by multiplying the total amount of the bill by the tip percentage expressed as a decimal. ° For instance: The total bill for a service is $27. The percentage to tip is typically 15% (0.15), 18% (0.18), or 20% (0.20).

How do you calculate tip amount? ›

People generally tip 15-20% of the bill. To calculate tip multiply the total check by 1 plus the decimal percentage tip you'd like to leave. If you wanted to leave a 20% tip, you would add 1 to 0.20 to get 1.20. Multiply the bill by 1.20 to get the total amount you'd leave including tip.

Is a 2 hour massage too long? ›

Is 2 hour massage too long? A 120-minute massage is the longest massage offered by most massage therapists. Many people choose two-hour massages when they want to treat themselves. These lengthy massages are great for anyone who suffers from a lot of muscle pain.

How much do you tip a hairdresser for $300? ›

$100 service = $20 tip. $150 service = $30 tip. $200 service = $40 tip. $300 service = $60 tip.

What is the average tip for massage therapists? ›

How much to tip a massage therapist in-home? You should tip the standard hospitality rate of 20%. Self-employed massage therapists who travel to your home generally charge enough to cover the cost of travel. So there's no pressure to tip more than the usual amount.

How much do you tip for a 300 dollar haircut? ›

"Tip 20 percent on the true total cost of the service, not the discounted cost," Schweitzer says. "The hairdresser did the same amount of work, so they deserve the same amount of tip."

How much do you tip for a $100 hair color? ›

How much do you tip for a $100 hair color? You should tip 18% - 22% for good service and 25% for excellent service. A quality hair coloring requires a lot of skill and your hairdresser should feel appreciated for their hard work.

How much do you tip for a $250 haircut? ›

Most of these experts suggest leaving 15% to 20%, depending on the service and your satisfaction. Going with 20% is nice for the stylist and you because that math is pretty simple.

Is $50 a good tip for hair? ›

A 20 percent tip is $20 and a 25 percent tip is $25. Not sure how much to tip on a $200 hair service? A 20 percent tip is $40 and a 25 percent tip is $50.

Do you always tip a massage therapist? ›

Do You Tip a Massage Therapist? Although a tip is never required, if your massage is at a spa or hotel in North America, a 20 percent tip is standard if you were pleased with the service. (The exception is all-inclusive spas that have a no-tip policy.)


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