It can feel like a cringe-worthy moment for most independent salon owners, but raising prices is a necessary tactic to keep up with an ever-inflating economy, a growing business, and an evolving skillset. More than likely, it’s probably about time you gave yourself a raise!
Many stylists and creatives fear being “too expensive” because they genuinely take joy in making people feel or look good while flexing their artistic muscles. And while the price-raising conversation is not necessarily an enjoyable exchange to have, it doesn’t have to be a bad one.
Whether you’re just getting started or have an established business in need of a profit boost, follow this advice to make sure you’re earning your worth and meeting the expectations of your loyal clients.
A lot goes into consideration when you’re designing your pricing. First, you need to understand which clients you’re targeting – are you in an area where you’ll attract high-profile patrons or influencers, or are you providing services to other small business owners and humble locals? As most beauty services are considered a luxury, different demographics will have different priorities and levels of income at their disposal for your services.
Next, keep in mind where you are located. For example, the cost of living in New York City will be much higher than, say, Cleveland. Do your research on the surrounding cities that you may be drawing clients from and do some research on what their average incomes might be.
Most importantly, you need to know how much money you need to make – not only to survive but to thrive. Take a look at your desired annual income and break down what that equates to for each hour you’re working. Your salon suite rental, your products, your tools, your business insurance – all of the overhead must be accounted for first so you can calculate what you’re actually bringing home. You need to cover all of these items, have money for personal bills, and of course, some disposable income for fun.
To understand what your overhead costs look like, make sure you’re keeping track of all of your business expenses in one place. You can do this easily with GlossGenius' Expense Management feature, which allows you to track and categorize your expenses, store your receipts, and run reports. Simply click on More >Expenses > View & Track All Expenses in the GlossGenius app to stay on top of your spending.
When you think about the value that you bring to your clients every day, consider what you’re offering them beyond the service. You are a skilled artist and expert in your field and your rates should reflect that. Of course, you’re providing a specific service, but if you’re offering that service in a luxury suite, with top-of-the-line products, using techniques and artistry that you’ve mastered over time, that’s part of your worth. You are providing more than just a service, you’re providing an experience as an artist.
When it comes to raising prices as an independent beauty professional, your skills are improving every year as you work on more clients, attend trade shows, or take new courses. You deserve higher rates in return for your services as a result. Keeping in mind that you will need to strike a balance between your value and your local cost of living, if you’re charging what you’re worth, anyone who thinks you’re “too expensive” is likely not your target clientele. (And that's okay!)
It’s important to have full transparency with your pricing for your clients. One easy way for them to see your pricing clearly is through online booking. With GlossGenius, you can easily add all of your services to your website in just a few clicks. Simply go to More >Services and click on the + icon to add a service in the GlossGenius app. Enter the service name, duration, and price (or 'starting at' price), and add a brief description of the service. You can even categorize each service to stay extra organized and assign to whichever staff members offer that service.
As a new stylist, more often than not you’re starting off with referrals from your friends and family with prices set lower than a sustainable business model should be. Even if you’re an established stylist, chances are you’re probably not charging enough.
If you have a steady flow of clients and a solid ticket average, but still aren’t meeting your minimum salary needs, it’s time to raise your prices. To be sure it’s time to give yourself a raise, you should know where you currently stand. Crunch some numbers to determine where your average ticket sales are ringing in, and how much money you’re making per hour or client.
When you’ve determined the time is right for a rate bump, communication with your clients is key. Start the transition early and give plenty of notice so that clients don’t suffer from sticker shock the next time they sit in your chair. Six to eight weeks’ notice is usually sufficient. When you’re sharing the news, be sure to communicate the increase in a positive way. This is an exciting time for the growth of your business! You’re doing this to continue providing them with the highest quality service and products that they deserve. You can find a template letter for an easy way to announce your rate updates here.
GlossGenius makes it easy to communicate any salon announcements to clients through their text and email marketing features. You get 100 text messages a month and unlimited emails with your subscription. Simply filter and select clients, create a message, preview, and send. You can filter by Not seen in the last X months, Last seen in the last X months, Has had X appointments or more, and Has paid $X total or more, or filter by past services or retail purchases.
Depending on your goals and your network, there may be a day where you receive the Holy Grail almost all service providers dream of: celebrity clients. Depending on the league of your A-list clientele, it’s not unreasonable to rake in a six-figure salary as a stylist to the stars. Along with a hefty day rate, most well-known stylists or service providers earn extra perks like free products, first-class flights, and fancy hotel accommodations as they travel in tow with top-billing patrons.
What happens to the fees for the rest of your clients when you’ve hit the big time? The bigger the name, the bigger the rate. Keep in mind though, that the location rule still applies – if you’re based in an entertainment hub such as New York City or Los Angeles(where most celebrities are based), charging “celebrity rates” may be more acceptable. If you’re bringing your impressive portfolio back to your small hometown hoping to earn top-dollar rates, you may need to adjust your expectations a bit.
No matter where your rates fall on the scale, you can track your salary and always earn what you're worth when you utilize GlossGenius’ all-in-one salon booking and payment platform. Check out our free four-part guide on How to Raise Salon Prices.