Setting the right pricing for services is a non-stop nightmare. If I set my prices too low, I spend all my time defending my decisions to my colleagues. If I set them too high, I spend my time defending them to my clients.
Thing is, I've been doing nails a long time now, and I feel that I have accumulated an impressive list of achievements that warrants charging a premium price for my services — just because they're services by moi. On the other hand, I also have to take into account things like the local economy, my target audience, and my target audience's income, discretionary income, and personal spending habits.
And I have found that I really enjoy a clientele comprised of an eclectic mix of ages, races, career fields, personal styles, and income levels. Which means that I need to find a happy balance between prices that fit my level of experience and expertise and prices that are affordable — considered reasonable — by my preferred clientele.
For the most part, I'm comfortable with my prices. Sometimes I make the mistake of comparing myself to colleagues who command higher prices — sometimes for considerably less extensive work — and then I feel like a miserable loser and I find myself buying into all that, "You need to charge what you're worth" spiels that I don't really buy into. (Yes, you need to charge what you're worth, but not if you're worth considerably more than your market can bear.) But mostly, I'm comfortable with my prices.
But every time someone tells me that my prices are "so reasonable" or "cheaper than those walk-in places" (Really?! Well, OK, yeah, I guess, by the time you factor in the extra charges for cutting down, repairs, gel top coat, etc.), I feel a little sick to my stomach; occasionally downright insulted. And then someone else calls and tells me that I'm out of my mind for charging such high prices. Really? There's more than one tech in town charging $85 for rockstar backfills — it's not like I'm the most expensive!
Pricing is one of those issues that nobody seems to agree on and is very difficult to get just right. Ultimately, I try to set prices based on how much money I need, what I think is a reasonable income for my area, and what my preferred clientele is able — and willing — to pay. As long as I don't allow myself to get caught up in the peer pressure, I feel pretty good about it all.
It's just funny that I can be so insulted by one client who intends her comments to be complimentary when she tells me that my prices are "so reasonable" while the client who exclaims upon hearing what she owes me, "I've paid more for CRAP!" somehow not only makes me laugh, but makes me feel great that she loves her nails and doesn't mind paying for them.