Massage San Jose

Hours of Operation:

Monday - Sunday
10:00AM - 10:00PM

Holiday Hours
  Easter Sunday - Closed
  Thanksgiving Day - Closed
  Christmas Eve - Close at 6:00PM
  Christmas Day - Closed



Motif Spa

4980 Cherry Ave
San Jose, CA 95118


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We accept cash, credit card, and debit card payments. A $1.50 fee will be added to all credit and debit card transactions. Gift cards may be purchased in advance and used at your leisure.


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« How to prepare your Motif massage | Main | The Motif Story »

The Secret of 20 Dollars Day Spa Massage Industry

  If you Google “Massage Near Me” or drive around any city in California, you will find massage parlors and day spas at almost every corner of the street.  If you decide to walk inside one of them and order a 20 dollar massage, you may surprisingly like it more than you expected. While the price may be cheap, the services are still high quality.

  However, if you show your appreciation by tipping them 5 dollars, you may notice the whole situation suddenly changed. If lucky, you will hear your masseuses speak a foreign language to their colleagues or they may give you an unamused look. If you’re not so lucky, they may ask you for a higher tip. You might be thinking that 5 dollars, which is 25 percent of the service price, is good enough.

  The question is, why is a 25 percent tip not enough for those masseuses?  Are they greedy? Are they underpaid? Or could there be other reasons?

  Back in the early 2000s, Asian massages, especially the Chinese foot massage, came to the US and soon became the most popular massage. More and more people started to like going to foot massage parlors and getting massages there. One can argue those massage parlors become a part of many peoples’ lives. Since the customer base continues to grow, lots of people obtain their massage certificate and then dive into the industry. Because opening a massage parlor does not require a huge investment, many people try to open their own spa in hopes of making their American Dream come true. After all, low service prices attracts a huge customer base. In addition, the low requirement to get into the industry leads to massive amounts of massage parlors and Asian spas everywhere.

  Because of the low prices, spas have to get more customers in order to make a profit. As a result, the whole industry becomes a low margin, high volume industry. Even with high volume customers consistently coming to the business, masseuses do not make much compared to those who work at fancy massage places such as Massage Envy and Burke Williams even though they have the same certificates.

Most people then think, if they have the same certificates why don’t the masseuses work for Massage Envy or Burke Williams?  We have asked this same question to our employees here at Motif Spa. The biggest obstacle preventing them to work at those places is the language barrier. Even though they can provide good quality services, they cannot communicate as efficiently as needed. Communication skills are a big part of a fancy spa’s advantage, which customers are willing to pay a higher price for.

Now let’s go back to the topic regarding tips. Why a 5 dollar tip for a 20 dollar massage is still not enough. We countered this problem when we first opened Motif Spa. Because of this problem, we had to part ways with many great masseuses throughout the years. When we asked the masseuses, they said that unlike restaurant servers who take care of 8 to 10 tables at a time, most masseuses provide private services to individuals and they contribute the whole hour to only that one person. Yet with servers, even if every table gives them 2 dollars, they can still earn at least 15 to 20 for an hour. Since tips are huge part of the masseuses’ income, they think, if the customers liked their work, they deserve more than 5 dollars.

  However, the masseuses also said, they know that tips are basically  gifts from customers and understand if someone does not tip due to poor quality of  services. What they do not like is people claiming they received the best service, yet give little to no tip.

After discussing with many massage therapists, we finally sorted out tipping guidelines. If it’s your first visit and you request a 20 dollar foot massage spa in the San Jose area, a 10 dollar tip for 1hour foot massage is encouraged but only if they provide high quality work. For a 1 hour deep tissue massage, tips could be a little bit more, but it depends on how you feel about the massage. If you find the right person who can become your personal favorite therapist, 15 dollars or more is encouraged. We here at Motif Spa show our love to the youth and elders; any amount from them will be perfectly fine. Please note that these guidelines are based on high quality services. Thus, if you are not satisfied with the service, you do not have to leave anything.  We compared our prices with fancy places like Massage Envy and found that even if customers paid 20 dollars plus 10 dollars tips for a foot massage, it is still 50% cheaper than their services.

Keep these tip guidelines in mind and we guarantee that no matter which massage spa you visit, you will get high quality services with a happy smile from your therapist.


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