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Incorporate Massage Blog

4 min read

Office Massage Services: Can Employees Pay for Massages?

Jan 24, 2015 11:02:00 PM

Every once in a while I go into a company and meet with them about the corporate massage services we provide, and the question inevitably arises:

Can't we just have the employees pay for office massage?

It seems like a very logical way to cut costs and with a perceived benefit for your employees, but in reality that’s not the case at all. 


I already covered overall pricing and how to calculate rates in Calculating Corporate Chair Massage Rates and How Much Does Chair Massage Cost?, but the subject of employee-paid massage programs has yet to be properly addressed. So let’s do this.

Office Massage Services Employee


Office Massage Services: Why not have the employees pay?


Employee-paid office massage programs aren't a win-win.

Back in the beginning we used to think along those same lines. Why not simply bring the service in for the employees to have access to purchase chair massage at work? The company isn’t out any money and everyone wins, right?          




When we provided employee-paid massage programs, we saw the exact same thing happen with each and every one of them. No matter what industry the business is in, no matter how large or how small, every single employee-paid program died.


Why did the employee-paid office massage programs fail?

Many times the effect of employee-paid massage services ends up being the exact opposite of what the employer intended. There are actually quite a few reasons we've been able to identify for why employee-paid chair massage programs are a no-go. 


#1. Employees don’t feel the love when they have to pay for it.

Time and time again we saw that making employees pay for chair massage services did not have the intended effect of making the employees happier. Instead, many employees saw this as a sign of their organization unwillingness to invest in them. Something along the lines of, “oh, it’s nice we have people here doing massages, but it really sucks that our company won't provide it.” We saw that many people only used the services when they happened to have a headache or pain on that very day that needed addressing and it was convenient.

On the other hand, the employer-paid massage programs tell a completely different story. The organizations we've seen that invest in their employees when it comes to corporate massage services, have seen incredible results. So much so, that every single client we have worked with over the last 5 years has continued to invest in their programs year after year! We have never seen a client end a program they were paying for. Not once.


#2. Your reach with the chair massage program is very limited.

The participation rate for employee-paid massage programs is between 5-15% of your organization. But with corporate massage the employer pays for, the participation rate is 5 times that! So if this is a program you are seriously considering introducing at your business, all the benefits of corporate massage will be much more far reaching and much effective in improving your office as a whole.


#3. Non-solicitation policies will destroy everything.

This is something it took a while for us to realize. Especially in larger organizations, bringing a massage company into the office where the employees have to pay for it actually ended failing because it created a vendor relationship where we couldn't comminucate with their team because it violated their non-solicitiation policies.

What does this mean? It means that we are viewed as a “vendor” or salesperson just wanting to solicit to their employees, and in most cases we were not subject to non-solicitation policies that limited our ability to communicate with the employees and ultimately killed the program because of the inability to educate the employees that it was even available.


On the other hand, a company who chooses to invest in their employees has a relationship with their massage company that is seen as a partnership. They have invested in this program for the good of their team and want to the program to be fully utilized, so together the massage company and the business develop a program that will succeed.


#4. Employee-paid massage programs are a morale killer.

When the program begins to die, the massage company is forced to withdraw themselves from the organization, and the ones left behind are not happy about it. For those few people who regularly used the employee-paid massage program, but weren’t enough to sustain it, they will be left disgruntled and de-motivated. That is exactly the opposite effect that a corporate massage program is meant to have, so for that reason, we just stopped doing them.


The middle ground of office massage costs.

There is one last option we have yet to discuss. And it is actually my favorite: Subsidized Massage Programs.

This is where the company can choose to SPLIT the cost with the business. This is actually our most successful program option because it helps the company's budget stretch much further, and the employees are invested in the massages as well.

This means they typically have a lower no-show rate and everyone is happy. Most of the subsidized massage programs we provide just require a $3-5 cost to the employees, and the company covers the rest. This model has been a very successful option for our clients. 

Now you may be reading this and think that an employee-paid program is still the way to go for you, and that’s fine. In fact, you can contact one of our competitors that provide that service from our list on the 5 Best Massage Companies

Or you can get a free demo from us by clicking the link below.


Free Corporate Massage Demo

Amelia Wilcox
Written by Amelia Wilcox

Part massage therapist, part entrepreneur, Amelia first experienced the benefits of massage therapy as a child suffering from headaches. Massage helped, and now she’s returning the favor to her clients every day. A 2002 graduate of UCMT, you can find her running, baking, exploring with her husband, or singing her guilty pleasure, “Reflections” from Disney’s Mulan when she’s not hard at work.