Gratitude Over Gratuity

Posted by Sarah Kinsler-Holloway on

This year, I did something that felt very unnatural, but simultaneously was so freeing; I stopped accepting tips.

I know, I know…. why would I turn down money. Stupid right?

Well let me first explain why I did it, and then will explain how it ultimately effected my business.

The Why

When I went solo, it meant I no longer had a receptionist to check out my clients. There was something about checking them out, and being present for the tipping portion that made me feel deeply uncomfortable.

I was providing a service, yes, but then to expect gratuity on top of it, as a way of saying job well done, felt icky to me.

Also, I truly love what I do as an esthetician, and to expect a tip on top of a service price felt disingenuous to me. I believe as spa professionals, so much of our business it built around relationships with out clients. Of course we have to consistently do our best, but I do believe our clients ultimately keep coming back because of the vibe that is formed. Gratuity to me cheapened that experience.

The How

I knew that if I were to take tipping off the table, I would have to raise my prices 20% all around to make sure I wasn’t losing money. In some cases I raised them to 25%!

I sent an email out letting my clients know that prices were going up, but that I would be no longer accepting tips.

To offset the price increase further, I implemented a loyalty program, which was very well received.

The Feedback

The feedback has been very interesting. Some appreciate not having to do the math, while others say they don’t feel right not tipping, and then there are those that defy my policy and still tip, lol!

I think tipping is so woven into the fibers of our service industries, that not tipping feels foreign and wrong. And it’s hard to say how much it effected my business in terms of new bookings because of all the closures in 2020. In fact, here in Michigan, as I am writing this (January 3) we are still shut down. I look forward to being open for business so that I can truly assess the impact, if any.


Stay tuned, because I will definitely doing a follow up blog!

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