The Downside of Deep Discounts

February 11, 2015

Hot button topic alert!   The deep discount.   For us service providers, this is the "beyond a normal discount offered", also known these days as groupon, livingsocial, or amazon local


I'm going to take some flak from colleagues on this one, but those that know me have heard this rant before.  The myth is that by offering such discounted services (say, 50-75% off) you're bringing more potential clients in the door, and hoping to make regulars out of them.  Play the long game, if you will.  Here's the fine print of this offer though:  these sites are still going to take their percentage off the top, leaving the MT with a payment of around 20% their regular fee. 


The cherry on this discount sundae?  Once you've paid your overhead and consumable costs (that lotion doesn’t magically replenish itself!) that hour Massage you just did earned you a whopping $10.  


Now, I understand the bargain shopper, I really do.  I love a great deal as much as the next person, but consider the following in respect to services: it’s a physical pursuit; we spend hours each day putting stress on our own bodies - repetitive movement building tendonitis, pressure to hands risking arthritis and strain, back pressure from leaning over or being on our feet all day - all to perform our service to help our clients.  We do this having spent years of time and effort and considerable financial investment in school, continuing education and overhead costs.  For $10?  No thanks.  That's less than minimum/living wage in many places.


What actually ends up happening with deep discounts is a culture of deal-hopping emerges in services; people looking for the next, bigger deal.  That regular client you're hoping to get?  Not gonna happen.  They're likely to move on to next week's deal.  Repeat.  There's the odd exception who use the deal to find a Therapist they like and stick with, but that's rare. 


The other reality is these deals devalue the professions and services offered.


Yep, I said it.  Deep Discounts Devalue the Profession


When we accept less than we are worth as Providers, we encourage and participate in developing a consumer and health culture that expects less of us.  A culture that places the exact value - monetary or otherwise - on our jobs as we place on them ourselves.  When we accept less, we are worth less.  We're saying "nah, you don't have to pay my fee, I don't think I/it/we are worth that much anyway". 


Clients take cues from their Providers.  So it is our professional responsibility to model professionalism, ethics, and confidence in our service. 


If you don't think you're worth it, neither will anyone else, clients and other professions included. 


Down with the Deep Discount!


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