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The Real Reason You Should Raise Your Service Prices

by Holly Schippers | August 14, 2015

As I picked up a soda for the road yesterday, it crossed my attention that the 20-oz. bottle I was used to seeing was now 16.9-oz. and the price had gone up a bit. While this might have elicited alarm at one point in life, it has become something that now just makes me shake my head. Many things over the years have done the same thing: cereal, chips, crackers, etc. The boxes remain the same while the weight and amount of product decline and the price keeps creeping up. Nothing in our lives gets cheaper as we get older, quite the opposite we shell out more and more money for less and less. While some income levels may not even notice such insignificant changes, I think nail professionals should take notice and come to terms!

With all the recent uproar about the human trafficking in salons that has been going on for generations, the clients of such salons say they are “disgusted, appalled, and shocked.” Yet, I haven’t read any coverage that they are speaking out for salon services to be priced so that a nail professional can make a livable wage.

When I talk to nail professionals about raising their prices, their eyes get wide as their head shakes no and true fear alights in their eyes. They fear losing all of their clients for raising prices a dollar or two. In a society where we will pay $5 and up for a custom caffeine beverage, what appalls me is that the same society begrudges a nail professional the right and ability to make enough money to go beyond basic survival and actually live.

Just for fun, let’s play a quick numbers game to make it real. Let’s pretend you only offer one service, this service is $20 and takes an hour. You have ten clients a day, five days a week. This means there is an income of 1,000 a week. Next let’s say your rent is $700 a month and utilities like electric, water, phone etc., come to $100. Then there is childcare. If you only have one child, let’s say that is $150 a week. Your products costs are $250 a week and your additional overhead like internet, salon booking, laundry time, and supplies, etc., are $500 a month. This leaves you $1,100 for the month to pay your house payment or rent, car payment, groceries, household bills, fuel, etc. Most of the numbers I have are lowballed for easy figuring. One could argue that their nail professional charges $30 for an hour service. That’s all fine and dandy; however, as the cost of living expenses were lowballed for easy figuring as well!

Let’s take this numbers game to the next level. Most nail professionals have not raised their prices in the last five to ten years, if not longer. Remember the intro paragraph? Prices on everything else are going up constantly. So let’s say just for easy figuring that all expenses combined only go up $50 a week in five years. Yes that’s lowballing it, but you will still see the point though. The income was at $4,000 and that’s assuming every client actually shows up and that there was not an illness or death in the family that kept the tech from working. With the additional $50 a week increase in expenses over five years, the tech now takes home $900 a month. Again that take-home amount needs to cover increased house payment, rent, car payment, groceries, household bills, fuel, etc.

How about taking it one more step out to ten years. The tech has now been doing nails for ten years without an increase in pricing due to fear of losing clients paired with client complaints about how expensive it is to be there. For easy figuring of expenses, let’s pretend overhead went up $50 a week in five years, and let’s be delusional a little longer and pretend they only went up $100 a week in ten years. This means the take- home pay for the month is now $700 and needs to cover increased house payment or rent, car payment, groceries, household bills, fuel, etc. How many of you reading this have strictly a house and car payment that would take the entire $700? So then where is fuel for the car supposed to come from? What about groceries, doctor visits, dentist visits, and all of life’s other random expenses that make us feel like we are going to drown some days?

If it has been a while since you raised your prices, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you have clients that question, harass, or condemn you for wanting to make a living wage, feel free to print this blog. The government set forth cost of living increase is 3.7% annually. For every year you have not raised your prices you should multiply is by that 3.7%. I waited three years to raise my prices last year, with one service at $32, 3.7% of that is $1.18. Take $1.18 times three years and come up to about $3.50. I raised the price $3-5 across the board for all of my services. Please consider a cost of living raise, a decent, caring person (client) will understand you need to pay bills, just as they do and can’t afford to make less year after year to infinity.

With all that said, I learned from an amazing mentor Alicia from Denver that the ideal time to raise your prices is October. Put out a notice at the beginning of the month and price changes take effect at the end of the month. You can do this, you are worth it, and I wish you all the best!

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