Massage Envy envy?

April 26th, 2007 • Posted by SpaBoom Staff • Permalink

I'm on the board of directors for the New Mexico Spa Association and at our past few conferences, Massage Envy has been mentioned or brought up. In every conversation there are basically two points of view about Massage Envy. The first relates to some level of anxiety and concern about their business model, and how that might erode already modest (if any) profits. The second relates to how Massage Envy isn't a threat, because they don't want customers who shop by price anyway, and prefer the customers who are paying for the experience.

After obtaining a massage from Massage Envy, I don't believe either position is quite right.

Let me explain.

As a vendor to spas and salons, I do my best to visit and pay for services from those spas and salons who are SpaBoom clients. I'm located in Albuquerque, and have visited quite a few of our clients located here (and there's still many more to visit). Every experience has been enjoyable, but different.

I visited Massage Envy last week, and have to say the experience was also enjoyable — who doesn't like to receive a massage — but different.

What this means is, Massage Envy has successfully created a niche for themselves, by offering low-cost, moderate-quality massage for the non-discriminating client. If a spa has a Massage Envy in its neck of the woods, and they don't have a strong, obvious differentiator, I do believe they will need to compete on price to remain competitive against Massage Envy.

You may disagree with me, but do yourself a favor: Go clandestine and pay the $39 introductory price for a massage at Massage Envy.

Then, go back to your spa. Really think about the type of clients you have, your differentiators, your quality of service, and the availability of potential clients in your region that your differentiators appeal to. Do you have a winning mix? If not, reformulate. Work harder at marketing. Provide incentives for client referrals.

Make it clear what your differentiators are. This is tough. Unlike the car business, your prospects cannot "kick the tires" of a massage. So, if your differentiator is experiential based, come up with methods that allow potential customers to experience your difference. Here's a suggestion: Have a "free massage" day, once a month or once a quarter. Or, make some PR for yourself, and invite the local police and fire departments to come in for a free massage.

Don't suffer "Massage Envy envy." Don't become anxious and give up. But… don't sit on your laurels and pretend that everything is the same, either.


290 Responses...

  1. Kathryn says:

    I gotta tell you we are still happy customers. I usually book the couples room for a Saturday afternoon and we both just relax and enjoy, then go out somewhere nice for dinner. Our Massage Envy has a members waiting area (this is separate from the main waiting area) that has soft lighting and comfortable chairs with water, tea, and granola bars. I'm sure the music is probably the same background type you hear at most spa, very soft and muted, not bothersome, but then I usually drift away while I get my massage. My only complaint would be that I really don't like "chatterers" and the therapists need to adapt to their client, I usually tell my therapist at the start I don't chat. Other than that I'm still a fan.

  2. John says:

    I read many of these posts. Much of the time I had a smile on my face thinking of Shakespeare's line: "Perhaps thou doth protest too much."

    If the complainers expended as much energy improving their business, they wouldn't have the time to complain about someone else's business. Everyone knows that there are different price points for different experiences when purchasing ANY product or service. Why should massage be any different?

    We have fine dining establishments, McDonalds and many types of dining in between those two extremes. I occasionally go to fine dining establishments, I occasionally eat a cheap burger and most often do something in between. I return to the places that do a good job relative to the expectation of the price point. I've been to expensive restaurants that were nothing more than that — expensive. I've been to cheap restaurants that were excellent.

    What does this all mean relative to massage? Like any other business, some are run well, some are not. That goes for Massage Envy or ANY OTHER establishment. Go where you're comfortable paying a price that makes you comfortable. Go where you like the service received. Reward that business by being a regular customer. If you want to be snobby about any product or service, so be it. But remember, you don't make yourself look better by trying to make someone else look worse.

    And one more thing: A higher price doesn't make the product or service better. If you want to charge more, great. But you should figure out how to EARN more for your business to thrive.

  3. relaxalot says:

    A couple of things, first you are misquoting Shakespeare, the correct line is:

    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Look it up, it's in Act 3. Don't put in quotes something you paraphrased, it's sophomoric.

    Second — Your second paragraph is pure sophistry. Believe it or not some people can actually write a post critical of ME and STILL have plenty if time to nurture a thriving practice. I can spend all day growing and nurturing my incredible private practice and then spend 5 minutes writing a post regarding ME. See? I'm doing right now. It's easy.

    Many of posts I have read here are from MT's and clients who had either worked in an ME or visited one and their responses reflect their feelings and to be fair not all are positive. To Second–You're the complexities of the criticism with a blanket summation on price points means that you have not grasped the whole of the critiques or their implications on people who are actually in the massage profession. There is a healthy debate within the massage profession about places like ME that often overwork and undervalue their employees. Your disavowal notwithstanding, this is what much of the criticism has been about.

    Massage is different because the product is human energy applied through touch. Anyone that does this professionally knows how unique this job is and respects it as such. The fact that you equate having a "cheap" hamburger with having a "cheap" massage shows that you are most likely a consumer and not a provider of massage services so how could you relate to our concerns? "Cheap" means "cheap" and in this country you DO often get what you pay for. For many people a "cheap" massage is "inadequate." For those who are passionate about massage both as a profession and as a consumer "cheap" won't ever cut it and therefore neither will ME whose sole focus is on offering "cheap" body work… Beyond that for many this issue is more about the dumbing down of a profession we care about and the ramifications of how it affects the industry and the workers within that industry. All seemingly valid criticisms and worthy of note.

  4. Wow! There are a lot of comments here so I want to share my experience. I am in the Washington DC Area. The owners of the Massage Envy in Rockville, Pentagon City, and Lake Ridge are the same. They are not friendly, ridiculous, hired me a CA position in which I am more than qualified for, and let me go in two days! I did not actually start the job. But I did stick around long enough to see environment. In Pentagon row the customer service was absolutely horrible. They fired several people in the two days of training/observation that I did and they did slave their therapists. They required them to do two hour massages, and required constant back to back sessions. They were like pit bulls. They were so aggressive about selling memberships it was ridiculous and I wanted the job but not that bad. I witnessed a customer yelling at the Manager, and the manager calming her down to sign up for another membership. I have heard mixed stories about the quality of massage at this particular location.

    I then went to the College Park location and was hired as a therapist. In three weeks I had people coming back for follow up session two and three times, it was awesome. There was no time for consultation and if you care about your clients how do you consult in five minutes. I was absolutely slaved. My body hurt everyday. Worked there for three weeks. I needed help with my sheets because clients don't always run on time, and quite frankly if you're a therapist who cares about the client, neither do you.

    I was the Top therapist in a week, they told me. The stats were awesome. I got a massage from one of the therapists and was pissed that I had to pay for it because it was awful. The therapists talked so bad about the clients and breached confidentiality. The therapists were not good at doing massages. There were complaints and they were sending people to me to help save memberships.

    In three weeks, my books were almost covered for the next few weeks with requests. They are supposed to aid the therapists and they did not want to do so. Some of the management were very lazy and felt like the therapist should do everything. They just don't treat the therapists well at all. If I am tired out of my mind from giving 150% in every massage, changing my sheets should be something that you desire to do to take the load off. There was no time to clear energy or think straight. The manager said she wasn't going to cater to me…

    She was yelling at me (while I was off of the clock) and really had control issues because in their minds we are like dogs, they pet us, feed us if the numbers look good with some surprise pizza or something and then we should get back to work harder. The reality is, I am a skilled therapist, and without the therapist there would be no Massage Envy. We should respected more as therapists. Did I mention the pay? You get paid between $15–$20 per hour which is why they are so pressed about the tips.

    Additionally, the "Requested Appointments field" can be changed by anyone at anytime so if they want to go back into the appointments and change your requests after the therapist has seen the client you will miss earned money on your bonus check. Did I mention that the bonus check is once a month?

    Here is the issue with massage envy… no amazing therapist will leave their practice to work for them. Only therapists who must do it to supplement income for a short time. It took me three weeks and I was over it guys. They have extremely high turnover, in EVERY location that I have ever heard of. Clients like to get comfortable, they can't because when they find the one that they want, they are gone.

    Additionally, CA's think that they are giving us a break and are under the impression that they are treating therapists well… how unfortunate.

    Not only can they not keep therapists, but they are a slave mill. Therapists who work for massage envy are often not as skilled as therapists who do not work there. Get clients on your table, that is all that you have to do. If there is a significant difference, the client will make the change because they will see the value.

    They aren't taking over anything. It was a good idea, but there is no way that I believe Massage Envy will make any history in the massage world.

    I am fighting for massage therapists to have a voice, and have written a bill to address fair practices for massage therapists, including a minimum wage requirement. Please support it by following the link and signing the petition. More information to follow…

    http://www.petitiononline.com/Massage/petition.html

    I don't know how much you have done to become a massage therapist but I have an Associate's Degree and have been in the industry for four years. I was using the word customized before I heard Massage Envy or anyone else in my space say it. Once clients are educated about massage, I believe that they will make their own choices about where they receive massages.

    The massage clinic/center industry is world's apart from a spa so fear not… as an experienced business owner it is apples to oranges.

    As for those private therapists or massage clinics/centers we are the ones who have to make sure that we position ourselves. I will never charge $59 a month for a customized full body massage, I don't care if they were next door to me.

    The petition addresses, eliminating prostitution, wages, giving therapists breaks as needed, and much more…

    As for massage memberships, that is a way to discount the massages, and it would be unfair for taking them down for that. Many therapists offer massage memberships they are just not a franchise. Additionally, if therapists take a stand and demand more money from them, it would force the price of the massage to be raised. Personally, I have a commercial space, and based on the business expenses, the salaries, the lease etc… they are going to put themselves out of business by keeping the price of the massage that low. What clients are doing is discovering the massage clinic, signing up, following through with the membership or having a bad massage, never returning, and certainly not renewing.

    Just wait this one out y'all….

    Have an amazing day…. remember to sign the petition and look out for the bill so that we can support it and establish some things in the industry that would give us more of a voice.

    Thanks

    Res

  5. $39??? — That's the price that we've been offering at The Healing Arts Day Spa Since 1998. Before Massage Envy opened their doors their CEO visited our Day Spa twice. He recognized our strategy and matched our $39 price so you could say that we are the "birth parents" of the $39 massage. Massage Envy tried to raise their rate to $49 but that only lasted for a short time. At The Healing Arts Day Spa we offer Full 60-Minute and Full 90-Minute Massages, Organic Facials and Organic Body Treatments, Massage Envy offers 50-Minute and 80-Minute treatments AND all of our Massage Therapists receive additional training from Arizona's #1 Massage Therapist, Terrell Lynn. So, where is this industry REALLY going with Same Price Since 1998? The only way a Massage Therapist and/or Massage Establishment and/or Day Spa can continue to survive is by the Quality of their Therapists. Over the past 10 years Terrell Lynn has had a 60% – 80% Repeat Client (R/C) and Client Referral (C/R) average while most Massage Therapists average 3% — 7%. We're now offering Terrell Lynn's services to teach those Massage Therapists who are truly interested in becoming a High Quality Therapist instead of a clock watcher, lotion applicator. Call 480-Massage or visit: TheHealingArtsDaySpa.com. Sincerely, Russell Warren

  6. relaxalot says:

    Way to plug your spa dude. Bragging about creating "cheap" massage? Sheesh… don't get me started. If I ever need someone to teach me how to work for peanuts I'll be sure to check out your site.

  7. Sarah Irving says:

    Interesting debate. It seems to me that growing popularity of massage has created a much wider range of 'products,' ranging from practitioners with a high level of skills, who might be regarded as true health professionals, through to what I've experienced a lot in the UK, the phenomenon of people who are basically beauticians who tag a basic massage qualification on to their manicure, facial etc skills to get jobs in beauty parlours which also find it expedient to offer some massage. It's a difficult one – obviously it's got to be good to have some more affordable massages out there so that more people can access them, but I can see dangers in that a) some of the latter type of practitioners could potentially be unsafe with people who have injuries or other conditions, and b) they could put some people off massage by offering a less useful and satisfying experience. Democracy vs quality? I want to end with a shameless plug for my favorite massage therapist in Manchester, UK, the very highly skilled Jutika at Bodywise.

  8. KNC says:

    I started working at a Massage Envy clinic 3 months ago, right out of school. Here's the way their compensation works for therapists: I make $15 per hour when I'm working on a client, and work with, maybe, 3 clients per 6-hr. shift. At the end of the semi-monthly pay period, they calculate how many hours of massage I've done during the pay period and multiply it by $15. Then they take the number of hours I've worked during the pay period and multiply it by $8.50 (their minimum wage). I get paid the larger of the two totals. It's a complicated system that basically has you working for tips.

    Therapists are also expected to turn first-time customers into members. Therapists are expected to have a request rate of at least 50%, which is a hardship for those new to the clinic. If a member only comes in for a massage once a month, it takes a while for them to request a particular therapist regularly.

    So far, it has been impossible for me to support myself by working full-time at Massage Envy.

  9. ridwanzero says:

    A couple of things, first you are misquoting Shakespeare, the correct line is:

    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Look it up, it's in Act 3. Don't put in quotes something you paraphrased, it's sophomoric.

    Second — Your second paragraph is pure sophistry. Believe it or not some people can actually write a post critical of ME and STILL have plenty if time to nurture a thriving practice. I can spend all day growing and nurturing my incredible private practice and then spend 5 minutes writing a post regarding ME. See? I'm doing right now. It's easy.

    onlineuniversalwork

  10. CB says:

    As a Licensed Massage Therapist currently employed by Massage Envy, I've come to the conclusion that not all Massage Envy's are created equal. I'll admit, my clinic has its bad points, but I haven't found a place that could compete. I myself, have been licensed for 2 years. My first year was spent working in a small spa with only one other therapist. I was basically on-call 7 days a week, all day long, and only averaged 4 clients per week. I have been at Massage Envy almost a year now. I got to choose how many massages I wanted to do every day and how many I could do in a row without a break. I chose 5 a day, 3 in a row. I work 4 days a week and I average 18 massages per week, due to the fact that the clinic I work for is extremely busy because of its great location. When I first started, I usually got at least a $10 tip from everyone. Now that I've been there a while and my clientele has grown, I began keeping track of my tips and I average $18 per hour in tips now. When I add the $15 per hour I get paid, I average $594 per week. I never have to worry about whether I'll be busy enough to pay my bills. I recently turned down a position at a chiropractor's office because they could only pay me $20 per hour and could not guarantee I would get any tips. I also personally believe I am a very talented massage therapist, and my clients receive a very good massage for a reasonable price. I have very faithful clients that continue to request me month after month, or in some cases, every week. My clinic has over 20 therapists, and I've never heard of any client not being able to find a therapist that they like. They let you choose if you want a male or female therapist, and my coworkers and I all strive to provide a satisfying massage experience for each individual.

  11. tbear says:

    Can anyone speak about or have you had any negative experience pertaining to fair booking practices at Massage Envy.

  12. michael london says:

    I have received massages from 2 Massage Envy locations in Boston (and 10+ therapists). Overall, I have been impressed by the facilities and the massages I have received. Yes, I have had better massages in high-end spas, but I have also had worse massages, too. I am impressed that Massage Envy has figured out a superior business model that works for many.

  13. michael london says:

    I actually think their booking practices are a strength. Easier to get a massage on short notice and never had an issue with starting on time or a therapist no-show…

  14. Mary says:

    I love the massage I get at Massage Envy, but really dislike 80% of the front desk staff at the West Ashley location. I would consider myself an average tipper. I tip $15–$20 per my massage depending on if it's a swedish massage or a deep tissue. There's a girl there, I think her name is Tori, and as I've left and just had the door begin to close behind me I've heard her say that people need to not be so cheap with their tips. First of all a tip is purely voluntary and nobody should be forced to give one, but more importantly, how can someone who is supposed to promote a positive company image still working for Massage Envy. I've also heard her big mouth while I was waiting in their "tranquility room" before a massage cussing and joking around with the other girl who has a southern drawl. I will probably start going to the Summerville or Mt. Pleasant, SC location from now on to avoid having to listen to her big mouth.

  15. Jay Katz says:

    The Massage Envy near me is in Columbia Maryland. Their business practices are unethical. After about 3 years of membership I find myself with 11 prepaid sessions… almost a full year's worth. I've been rather busy. I called to temporarily suspend my membership while I whittle away at the 11 I've already paid for. I was told I couldn't use the prepaid massages if I didn't have an active membership. This is unethical and outrageous. Here is the ultimate insult… when I questioned the logic and ethics of their policy, I was told the driver is the computer system which "doesn't allow us to book an appointment if the membership isn't active." What an insult? I am outraged and plan to pursue my complaint.

  16. I was wondering what the turnover rate is at Massage Envy? I own a massage therapy business, not a spa and was curious about how many therapists they go thru in say a years time? Any thoughts or comments. I personally, have been through about 12 therapists in the past ten years. I hired a girl who used to work at an Envy based out of Iowa, and from the sounds of it, they go thru' staff rather quickly. Just wondering if that is true.

  17. Matt says:

    I currently work at Massage Envy and have been a LMT for three years. I have to say It is the best job I have ever had. We stay busy and I see a whole lot of repeat clients. There is a lot of bashing going on about Massage Envy from disgruntle ex employees. saying they are slave driving and that they make you work sick and blah blah blah. here is how it goes when you are hired you give the front desk the number of massages you are capable of doing until you need a break. example I can do 4 hrs in a row and 7 hrs max in a day. On occasion there might be a mistake or someone calls in and you have to pick up some slack. But show me one place where that doesn't happen. Yes you are paid a lot differently too. Starting out you get 15 per hr massage $1 per request and $5 per prospect you sell a membership too. you get a $1 raise after 6 mos and another a year after .you get $2 per request after 18 mos. Plus you gratuity which can range from the people who still tip 20% on a 39 dollar massage to your $25-$30 per hour tippers. On a most days I make about 30-35 dollars an hour. I don't have to book any of my own appointment, wash any sheets, Or do any heavy cleaning basically I just Massage. I never have a problem getting time off I make about $3000 a month granted I generally do 8 hours of massage a day. There is a bit of competition between MTs over clients but the way I see it is none of these are your personal clients anyway they belong to the company if you leave they are not gonna follow you they will still be there. Now is it hard work heck yea but I am the type of person who would rather work than sit in the back twiddling my thumbs. as far as rushing the clients I add 2 30 min buffer breaks in my schedule so I have time to do a proper introduction and interview and a talk about what we accomplished today and what we will work on next time. I might just be very lucky to have such a great boss but I really do love my clinic it's my second family. Well that's the truth nothing sugar coated just the truth. My clinic is in Atlanta GA @ windy hill road. If your ever in town look me up for a top notch massage.

  18. SJackson says:

    Wow, what a debate. I briefly worked at 2 of these locations. I now have a private practice and now work part time with a chiropractor. I know that I will be paid $30 per 1 hour session. There is a 15 minute buffer between clients and I completely dictate my schedule.

    When I worked at ME much of the staff was unhappy (from the MT's to the front office). It was much busier at the 2nd location I worked at and I liked the front office staff a lot. The first location was new and the front office staff always seemed on edge. You do work very hard for the base pay if you specialties are deep tissue or nmt. I did feel rushed at times due to the fast client turn around. One trick I picked up from therapists that had been there was to layer the sheets so you could just pull off the top two sheets before the next client.

    Independent contracting and private practice are more geared to my personality. One of the reasons I chose this profession was to be my own boss in addition of course to helping people heal. ME is a good option for those who need immediate work and those who want as little resposibility as possible ie: overhead (rent), scheduling etc.

    Do the best where you are with the options available.

  19. Jennie Keiper says:

    I am a certified massage therapist who has had a small practice for 10+ yrs. I also have 15 yrs. as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I am wondering if anyone of you who has owned a business has looked into becoming a ME owner? If so, what were your thoughts? I hear the concern about pay and I understand. I also here all the debate in regards to high end spas and the comparison of the two. The business model is pretty ingenious in my mind and it works. Yes, they make money and their prime business is membership. Who else has this type of model? How do you think fitness centers make money? They survive on membership sales! Apples to oranges is right! I myself have struggled to increase clientele, because of economical limitations etc. I am a very experienced and licensed practitioner in this state and am frustrated like the rest of the massage therapists. My retention has been high about 80%, but low numbers of clients. I feel blessed to have the clients that have believed in my experience and knowledge, and giving them what they need, not what you need as a practitioner. Tips are optional and many of my clients do not tip and I do not expect it. Clients or patients have needs, if you meet those needs, they will return to you and request your services. Best wishes to all the massage therapist for their hard work!

  20. musiclady says:

    I currently work at a Massage Envy and to be quite honest, I hate it with a passion!!! The only thing that is keeping me there is my poor clients!!! All my clients would much rather see me outside of there and are tired of having to tip me so much because of how cheaply I'm paid! I originally was hired in at $17.00 per hour with pay raises of 85 cent every 550 massages. Since then they have done away with merit raises which was based on performance. Now I have to fall under four categories in order to get a raise. 1) 3 in-a-row, 6 in-a-day; (2) deep tissue; (3) pre-natal or hot stone; (4) 2 hour massages. Since I only do 2 of these I can only get a 50 cent raise after two years of service!!! This was not what I was hired under and I think it is ridiculous that I just have to accept the changes. I was last year's most requested therapist and all I got was a $10 gift card to Dominick's!!! Boy, I feel so rewarded! NOT!!! So, now I'm making $18.75 an hour after two years and because there have been therapists who are doing more massage than me, they have now surpassed me in wages and not to mention that they don't have as high a request rate nor do they care about their work. They are just there to collect a paycheck! Sounds like a good idea, maybe I should stop caring too! So far, in the last two years of work there, I have injured my thumbs, wrist, back, elbow, and my arches have fallen! But when I ask if I can take it easy for a day, the reply I get is, "Are you sure you can't do more?" Are you kidding me?!? I have had to drop down to three days a week there because I was hurting myself trying to make a buck! If you ask me, Corporate America has ruined massages now forever! And seriously, it's a gimmick! The average massage rate in my area of Naperville, IL is about $65. By time my client get done paying for their $59 membership and a $20 tip, it equals out to $79! Which means the pay that they are paying their therapists is close to minimum wage! Furthermore, I found an old paycheck stub from when I use to work at K-mart, now granted I work a 40 hour week, I made more there per year than I do at Massage Envy!!! Because I cannot work more than three days week without hurting myself. Due to the fact that I'm given all the deep tissue massages because all the other therapist don't know how to give a decent deep tissue massage! And to Jennie Keiper, if it wasn't for my tips I would be further in the poor house because of Massage Envy. I can't even afford a car payment or afford to pay my student loans! So, don't be surprised if you open one and you have a high turnover rate! Secondly, you must have a down payment of $300,000 to open one!

  21. D says:

    I currently work at Massage Envy. I am at my 3 month review as a SA. I love the place and 97% of the people. The owner has 3 here and all three are manage by the same guy & girl. Management is very poor in solving customers problems that are beyond our hands. The ACA, same thing but worse. They are about money, money, and money. So we fell pressured to sell hard, not about customer service. Treats are given almost everyday, to therapist and SAs. The memberships are good but be ready to commit to 12 months. We do the best we can do as SAs!!!

  22. david says:

    the best way to go is to improve the quality
    of the service to compete properly…

  23. They lack mobile service. Many people feel more comfortable in their home.

  24. Shaun says:

    I am not sure of any" experience" they are selling besides poor service… I just left with a party of 7 disappointed women there to celebrate a birthday because members of our party were treated poorly and unprofessionally… when you are in the service industry, service should ALWAYS come first!!

  25. Léa says:

    I like the concept because I too cannot afford to pay the exuberant prices charged at the spas (especially here in S. Florida), but the therapist work like factory workers and can do as many as 6-8 massages a day and make only $150–$200!

  26. A Customer says:

    I've been a customer of Massage Envy and consider some of their business practices to be unethical. Their "Wellness Program" or monthly contract for an hour of massage is nearly impossible to get out of. Many folks have had to cancel their credit card to try and stop the monthly charges from continuing even after serious concerted effort to jump through the challenging hoops they throw in the way to get out of the contract. I feel like I've been scammed and like so many others have lost hundreds of dollars by making the mistake of relenting to the pressure put on me after that introductory massage that first time I went in to sign up for a monthly discount on an hour session. What a mistake and I caution consumers and ask that those in the profession be careful of Massage Envy's unethical business practices.

  27. beware the cancellation says:

    Here was my recent experience, and the letter I sent to their corporate office:

    I have been on the monthly Massage Envy program for about one year. The staff is very nice, and the massages I’ve received have been good. Stephanie, at the front desk, is very good at remembering my name, even when I’ve forgotten hers. The location is very convenient, and very nice inside. All around, the membership has been a good thing.

    About a two months ago, I realized that my life had gotten better, evidenced in part by the multiple massages I had on account. Last Spring, I was getting about one per week, but now it had been three months. I wanted to cancel the membership to save on monthly expenses, and was told/reminded of the cancellation policy. That is, I would get billed once more, and I’d have just 30 days to use up my pre-paid massages. I found this pretty frustrating as my time is short, and I don’t like to waste things I find valuable, and three massages in a month would be wasting them, in my view. In addition, I had had some fraud on my credit card, and had to go to the shop to provide my new number, and to sign the cancellation form. I did go by the shop to switch the card accounts, but didn’t yet cancel. I waited and tried to find time to get another massage. A few weeks passed.

    I ended up canceling that credit account altogether, and shifted to another company. This meant I would have to go into the shop again to switch the account. And, I still hadn’t gotten another massage. I was up to three pre-paid massages on my account now. I went in to sign the cancellation form, would not provide my new credit card number, and was told that Amanda the manager would call. After about a week, she finally called.

    Amanda and I had a long discussion about this cancellation policy. I realize that she is a shop manager, and that she is required to follow franchise rules.

    This email is, therefore, directed to those of you that make the policies.

    I think you REALLY do understand Customer Service -– when you are acquiring and keeping existing customers.

    I think you REALLY missed the boat on how the cancellation experience affects the long-term customer perception. Had my cancellation process gone the way I think it should have, I would never have written this letter, and I would have considered being a customer in the future, and I would have continued to recommend you to friends. Now -– not so.

    Here were the options I was looking for:

    1. Refund the cost of my three massages that were on account.
    2. Give me gift certificates for myself or friends/family for the massages on my account.
    3. Give me more than 30 days to use my massages.

    Amanda would not grant any of these options. Her only concessions was to not bill my new credit card for the final payment. And, she reminded me that a few locations around town now offer facials, so that was an alternative for me. Nice, but I don’t do facials, and I still have to use three massages in 30 days. Still a waste, in my opinion, and I’m still not really a happy customer. I’ll try to use those massages, but I’m soured on Massage Envy, and not really happy about being there.

    As for attempting to understand your policy, I think you might see your business as something like the gym -– we pay for the month and can come or not, but we still pay. The difference is that the gym is there for me nearly 24 x 7 for a plethora of work out options. I don’t require an appointment, and I know I’m purchasing a membership. Your marketing, on the other hand, clearly tells me that I’m getting one one-hour massage per month for $39. If I cancel, I want my money or my massages back in return, and with an expiration period more like a gift certificate vs. just 30 days.

    So, I’ve cancelled, I’m sending this letter, I may choose to post it on the internet and tell my friends, and I’m trying to use up three massages in 30 days.

    I would suggest you evaluate your cancellation process and policies.

  28. Amanda says:

    I have been going to massage envy twice a month for over a year now and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!! I live in Charlotte and have visited each of the 3 locations near me. I have yet to receive a bad massage or customer service. I get treated like I own the place when I walk in and the staff there is always so friendly to me.

    The massages I receive are excellent and beyond comparable. You will always run into good massage therapist and bad massage therapist. I've been to locally owned salons and felt like I haven't even been touched when I left and I have been to other big massage places and felt like I had the life pounded out of me. I always enjoy my massages at massage Envy. I'm very upfront about what I expect when I go in and they are always good about working on my problem areas. They made it a very easy transition from my normal deep tissue massage to a pre natal massage when I found out I was pregnant.

    I've always enjoyed my massages and customer service there.

  29. Chris f says:

    My experience with Massage Envy is terrible. I signed up for the membership in Jan of 2011. I have not been able to get any massage at all because they cancelled my appt the day of twice. I feel Massage Envy just wanted to keep charging me for the membership but not offer any massage services. The service is at a discounted price because they are NOT reliable.

  30. carmen says:

    Horrible company… terrible services. Once you book your appointment and get the massage everything looks good. Once you are done and you are out they try to hook you with a membership that leaves you more stress out than the way you were in the first place… DO NOT CHOOSE MASSAGE ENVY. You're better off going to place that you are free to choose services when you want.. believe me, they are good places with much better services than this.

  31. kristen says:

    Do not become a member! All you're paying for is the massage to get rid of the stress caused by Massage Envy. No courtesy, just policy.

  32. Amy says:

    Message Envy has upset a lot of customers, and it's difficult to see how they can continue doing business with their reputation plummeting. They really need to revise their policies, and probably change top level management. Their system of contracts just sounds awful!

  33. karen rands says:

    My experience with Massage Envy is that they are very routine and mechanical in their delivery of a massage. I think they target the first time massage person who is willing to give a try or treat themselves for the promo price of $49. Their membership model is a broken model because it assumes that that promo price person is willing to commit to getting a massage every month and spending upwards to $80 a month doing it. Part of the success of any business is to get repeat customers. When they first came on board, it was novel, and had an impact against independent operators. Successful spas have countered that by offering multipack massages you can use anytime…. by 5 for the price of 4 kind of things… you can bring a friend whatever.
    And you should also be aware that they will often not honor the promo coupon that is mailed out, claiming corporate changed the price and therefore they are unable to honor that promo price that got you into the store to begin with. You are there, so what are you going to do…. suck it up and go for the shorter period for the same money or pay more. They still give you a new visitor price, but not as good as the promo coupon that got you in the door. They make you feel like cattle… in and out as quickly as they can get you in and if you don't sign up RIGHT THEN for the membership deal, then we really don't want anything else to do with you because if were to come back EVER, we'll charge twice the amount… so there.
    The only thing that keeps them in business is that they have great branding and a big marketing budget, they are located in populated areas that can provide a constant churn.

  34. Paiu; says:

    I own another Franchise very similar to Massage Envy. Our prices are the same at ME. We have 16 therapists and I can say that ALL of them are very happy as well as our customers. I believe that this pricing model does not cheapen massages. In fact, because we make massage more affordable for most people that MORE people get into the regular practice of receiving a massage….something good for EVERYONE> The massage industry is growing with a wide variety of facilities for the customer. Find your niche and do it well. There are plenty of customers thanks in part to ME and facilities like mine.

  35. Sophia says:

    Well I am here to say that they DO NOT WANT quality people working for them that are seasoned professionals. They only seem to want young, unqualified employees who operate like robots. I recently interviewed at the Queen Creek AZ location and the guy who was the decision maker and the person who would ultimately decide my fate with the company was too busy to begin the interview because he was just so important he had to take and read emails all the while holding one finger up at me like just wait a minute here while I act like I'm important. He continued to use words that were not words like creatism! He seem to have an entire vocabulary crafted for himself. AS I sat there, thinking I moved to AZ from another state and was very successful, this guy who could not seem to utter one full sentence was deciding my fate as a Massage Envy employee. All I can say is if you like the service you are receiving and the person you see as a therapist at ME then that is fine, however I have decided that I will become their biggest competitor and it won't take too much effort from what I've seen they don't want good solid therapists working for them. I don't want to fit into a hole where you cannot take each client as an individual and that I have to push product on them as required at Massage Envy that you sell $20.00 of products per guest. The funny thing is I sold a lot more then that but it wasn't a requirement it was from sheer passion for what I decided to do with my career. See the thing is caring for people doesn't mean that you care for 5 clients. You care for people with names and people whom you have built a relationship with and who are seeking good quality services. In the end I'm glad they didn't call me back because it has just propelled me to move forward with my new studio!

  36. herb says:

    It is 9:30 pm. I just got off the phone with Sheldon Brandt from the Plainview, NY office and I'm fuming mad at the blasé attitude that was afforded to me.
    My predicament starts on Dec. 19, 2011 where I purchased a massage/facial package for two for my wife at around $370 which is a substantial amount of money for me. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift (meaning surprise gift) where the sales girl was helpful. Then on Dec. 21, 2011 Sheena from the Plainview office called my house to inform my wife that there was a problem with the purchase but said nothing else but to call back. Oh and she said sorry about blurting out and ruining the surprise. My wife did not tell about the phone call until after Christmas. Just in case you or your company does not know, the Christmas holiday is on the 25th. I'm saying this because neither Sheena or Sheldon understood that it is supposed to be a surprise. I just could not understand why they could not have waited till after the 25th.

    Well I promptly went down to the store the very next morning after I was informed. The sales girl was very apologetic and put me on the phone with Sheena. Although not taking full responsibility, Sheena offered to make one of the packages complimentary to make up the Christmas foul up. I just want to add that Christmas is a big deal in our house. Well anyhow, the sales girl re-swiped the gift cards to show the adjustments after verifying with Sheena over the phone. Feeling somewhat compensated, I trudged over to the jewelry store to purchase another gift to try to make up my surprise Christmas morning mess up.

    Now another week later on Jan. 4, 2012, I receive call from Sheldon. He tells me that Sheena felt threatened over the phone that she gave the complimentary card without getting authorization from Sheldon. I didn't like the way he implied I sounded threatening. Especially if I was in front the counter and there were other customers in the store. Then he continues that the complimentary card was excessive and that he needs to take it back and offer some other cheap service. I felt bullied and didn't like his tone of voice. I started to feel that this business was not well run and might give out an inferior service. I did not feel comfortable sending my wife to such a poorly run establishment. I proceeded to ask for a refund which Sheldon said he cannot do because it is a gift card. So far I've had contact with this establishment 3 times already and I've still yet use the service.

    I did not care for the blasé attitude that Sheldon afforded me and he didn't care for what I was saying and it was corporate policy not to refund gift cards. This was not a very good first impression that I experienced and I was hesitant on this gift. I work in a service industry in that area where I meet a lot of people. To break the ice, I usually get around to relaying personal experiences that I have come across, good or bad. So far this is on the pretty bad experience.

  37. Betsy says:

    I had a similar experience with Massage Envy's cancellation policy. First i was told I would have to come in to fill out the form. When I complained one of the women at the front desk was kind enough to fax me the form. I would have had to drive 45 minutes to just fill out a form. Then I read the cancellation form and found out that an additional charge would be made before my cancellation was effective. When I emailed the Corporate Offices I was told that it took 30 days to process the cancellation. I have written to the CEO of the company but don't expect any good result. Clearly they look upon this cancellation "fee" as a revenue stream. I have learned my lesson and will go back to the local massage spa I used to use–they may be a bit more expensive, but at least they don't take money for something I don't want. But I think that other people shout also write to the Corporate Offices and complain. I am a corporate librarian and this was the only information I could find on them:

    Mr. David T. Humphrey, Chief Executive Officer
    Massage Envy Franchising LLC
    14350 North 87th Street Suite 200
    Scottsdale, AZ 56260

    I suggest you write Mr. Humphrey if you have an issue with them. He is not unknown in the industry and I imagine values his reputation.

  38. ChevyBoyMN says:

    I currently work for ME and this company just plain sucks. Therapists are treated and paid like crap the turnover is extremely high. I would never recommend joining ME and soon going to be out the door where I am at. In over 20 years of working corporate before becoming a therapist, I have never seen a company so poorly managed from the top down. Mr. Humphrey should most definitely be concerned about his reputation as this company is ruining the integrity of the massage industry.

  39. TheBlackRook says:

    I've been working as an SA for a few months now. And it's a lot of pressure to sell the memberships. The hourly wage we make as SA's still sucks, and most of what I rely on is being able to sell our "wellness program." As an SA the goal for us now is to be at least 30% for closing, which is a very hard thing to accomplish. Even when you sell a membership, a lot of times if your numbers are low the staff will chastise you about it. The numbers are put up on a big board in the office for everyone to see, and you can also access it on the computer as well, which really bites.

    Their goal is to have you selling memberships in three days upon being hired, and then you have to deal with a lot of people who are angry (and I really don't blame). Honestly, I really dislike this job, I feel like I'm being forced to sell something people don't really need/want just so I can make it by to pay off a car, keep my apartment, and feed myself.

    With the "script" they have you use in order to "sell" these memberships, it sounds ridiculously robotic, and people do notice that (although they tend to think that people don't). They don't give people enough credit, tend to undermine how observant and smart people actually can be. And then they tend to have men (if available) talk with the women before their session and after for a greater hope of selling the membership, and the women with men who are prospects. It can be really frustrating, and they really get mad at you if you go off their set "script" which I know doesn't always work. I've sold more memberships off script then I have on. And they teach you to be really aggressive and pushy, when people say "no" you have to ask them why they're saying no, and then push past them, and beat them down until they finally agree. Not to mention the MOD's get REALLY angry when you offer them a 6 month option rather then the 12 month.

    I'm currently looking for a new job because I really dislike the stress and pressure to sell from this job, and the only benefits are 1 free massage every 30 days (which I don't even like people touching me, so this is useless to me). I've been there three months and watched them go from way understaffed, to way overstaffed, to now understaffed once more because they have a hard time keeping SA's.

  40. BeachLMT says:

    The entire massage field has fallen from its high statures and been taken over by Spa owners and their business models. The pay rate at Massage Envy is higher than I imagined. Ive worked at small and large day spas for the past few years and making $15 plus an hour at a ME absolutely astounds me! The high end, award winning spa in Wilmington, NC barely pays that to their highly trained very efficient therapists! At least the ME therapists have the opportunity for raises and have incentives! Nowadays spa owners demand that LMTs push retail…oh, wait…"educate" their clients, but let me say that from my experience, if you don't sell retail, you get pushed back on the book. Its not about who is giving quality massages and receiving return clientele, its about who is selling the most retail. There is talk about massage being therapeutic, good for you, etc but the reality of the business is that these places are there and open to make money and they do that by paying low wages to massage therapists, have very strict conditions for time off (forget holidays with your family), have NO BENEFITS, little breaks if any between massages (or a lunch for that matter), and in general take advantage of massage therapists. The only way I can see for maintaining quality over what you have to offer while hopefully making a decent living is to have your own practice. There is not much difference between being a massage therapist at a Massage Envy and being a massage therapist at a day spa.

Leave a Reply...