Are You Worth It?

I had a great time at the Beauty Superstar symposium a few weeks ago.  I got to spend a day listening to the pressing issues of hairstylists from Portland to Miami. Salon coach Miki Wright and the Beauty Superstars team almost allowed me to give a mannequin a haircut but I advised that this probably would not be a great idea.

Pricing emerged as important issue.  Many stylists had concerns about whether their pricing was too low. Are you pricing what you are worth?  Do you think a change in your pricing will scare off your core clients?

When many businesses think about pricing, they do so from two perspectives.

First, you can base the pricing on your cost to provide the service plus something extra to earn a profit.  You may think about how many appointments you can complete with one bottle of conditioner. You can calculate a cost  to ensure that each client covers her fraction of the costs.  Then, you add a mark-up to give you a reasonable profit. There is nothing wrong with this approach.  Many businesses set their prices this way.

Second, you can charge by the full value of your experience and skill.  This is really the ideal way to create pricing. At the symposium, one speaker declared,”I charge $1,200 for a weave….because I am worth it.” Many stylists clapped by hearing the thought of charging what they are worth.

The hard part is to explain your value in a way that clients understand.  You need to convince them that it makes sense to pay you more to do the same 90 minute service as they would another hairstylist down the street.

This value should not just be a random number that you make up. Here are a few of things that you should consider when trying to change your pricing to match your “worth”:

  • What are comparable stylists with your skill and experience charging in your city?  Do some research to find out your competitors pricing.  You should define salons as competitors if they go after the same target client.  Location alone does not always make another salon a competitor if they target different types of clients. For instance, your salon may target seniors and the salon down the street may cater more to local college students.
  • What do you your clients spend on other pampering/image services? What are they paying to get their nails done? Are they paying $100 a pop on massages? Clients try to equate your services against what they would pay for similar services or items that they value in the same way.
  • How much does the salon atmosphere contribute to the overall value of each salon visit?  Clients have shared, “She wants me to pay X when her salon is in the ‘hood and I can barely get a clean towel.” Salon owners should think about adding frills to justify overall pricing levels.  Booth renters should consider whether the salon overall image matches the pricing that they hope to charge.

At the end of the day, it comes down to willingness to pay.  If you can find a client that would be willing to pay $1,200 for a service, then yes, you most certainly are worth it.

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