Q&A

Should I lower my prices to meet other people’s standards or am I right to charge more because I give better service?

Q.

I am a booth renter in a small town. There are several other salons here that do nails. I am fresh out of school and am being told that I don’t have enough experience or good enough equipment to charge $30 for a pedicure. There is a new nail salon here that charges $20, but I’ve been told it is unsanitary and doesn’t do anything but basic nail care and polish. I give a 10-minute massage and a sugar scrub as well as basic nail care and polish. I don’t think it’s right for me to be told I can’t charge that much just because I can’t afford an expensive pedicure chair yet. But I need to build clientele while making my rent and buying supplies. All of the well-established salons in my area charge $30 to $35 for pedicures and some of them use the same type of equipment I use. Should I really lower my prices to meet other people’s standards or am I right to charge more because I give better service?

A.

You are neither the highest nor the lowest, so for the new kid on the block I actually think you have priced your service conservatively. Not having a fancy throne also doesn’t affect the price. I own an award-winning salon and have been in business for over 25 years and guess what? I don’t have thrones! There are a million ways to make your pedicure special without a throne. You are right when you point out that other salons aren’t providing the quality pedicure you are providing. I find that very few salons really give a true pedicure; they are just doing glorified polish changes. Your enemy is the fact you are in a small town with already established salons. In my opinion, doing it differently is all the more important. Remember, you don’t want to compete with them, you want to be different from them. If you work hard and never compromise your quality, never shortchange a customer’s time in the chair, and promote yourself 24/7, then they will come, stay, and tell others. 

— Shari Finger is the owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, Ill. 

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