Money Matters

The Pricing Problem

Part art, part science, pricing your services is one of the most important and delicate tasks you’ll undertake in the salon. And no two salon owners approach it quite the same. We asked readers: How do you decide how much to charge for a particular service?

How do you decide how much to charge for a particular service?

I never look at the competition, because we don’t have exactly the same location, overhead, or product use, nor do we offer the same thing. I create my own services and techniques, so it doesn’t make sense to compare. I just decide what my time is worth, factor in the cost of the product for the type of service, and then try to offer as much value to the client for that price as I can. I’d rather add on an upgrade to spoil my client than have to rush and fit in more people because I am not making enough. That’s not fair to anyone.  ~ JESSICA MAHLER, Painted Red Nails, Osterville, Mass.

In general, in these trying economic times, I feel you need to be competitive and be in roughly the same price range as everyone else around you. For me, it’s a little different because I’m well established and because I do five to seven full sets every day with all kinds of designs ranging from French to very elaborate. It was hard for me to determine how much to charge until ultimately I gave myself an hourly rate. If it takes me half an hour, I charge accordingly and so on. I don’t charge for nail repairs because I don’t have that many of them. And I don’t charge to take the nails off if they’re getting a new set put on by me. It’s a win/win for all because the clients keep coming back! ~ PATTY LOPEZ, Studio 24, Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico

When it comes to pricing, I price-check other salons in town. I don’t want to be the lowest and I don’t want to be the highest. I want to be right down the middle. By sticking with a pricing structure in the middle of the road I market to all. I don’t want to limit myself to marketing for those looking for the lowest price or to those who think that the highest price is the best. I want to be available to everyone. ~ DIANA BONN, Identity Salon, Muncie, Ind.

 I consider how long it takes me and how much the service will cost to perform. For a one-hour service, I start with $30 then add the price of product. For a 30-minute service, I start with $20 then add the price of product. I charge an extra $5 for any services that require special training or for services that no one else offers (for example, Frenchpolish- look gels, color gels, embedding, and glitter gels). So a French-polishlook gel (+$5) fill takes me one hour (+$30) with glitter (+$5) and costs $5 for product. So I would charge $45. A French-polish-look full set of gels is $70 purely for the “wow” factor. When I do a new full set of these gels on a new client, the nails look so fabulous to the client who has never had gels before (or who has never had my gels on her) that she can’t stop staring at them. It takes me one hour and I still charge $5 extra for glitter or embedding. Every five years I raise my prices $5 across the board. I prefer this method compared to raising prices $1 every year. ~ KATHERINE FAHRIG, Nails at Panache, Creve Coeur, Mo.

 You must know your competitors’ pricing and complete an independent study of comparables in your demographic area. The cost of doing business including labor, cost of product usage per service, and all operational expenses must also be factored in. The client must feel she is getting “value” for her dollars spent. To be successful, you must learn how to add value, to either the guest experience or the service, without adding cost. ~ TERESA HINTON, Blu Water Day Spa, Kensington, Md.

Keywords:   add-on services     business     economy     keeping your business competitive     money     nail repairs     service pricing     sustainable business  

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