Your price list for services took a lot of planning and research. Visiting competing local salons to compare prices, determining the type of clientele you want to attract, and considering the time it takes you to perform each service are but a few of the factors you probably took into account. But are there ever instances in which you’d deviate from that carefully calculated list? From a newbie tech who’d discount to get in new clients to a veteran tech who offers an alternative to discounting your core services, we offer you multiple perspectives on this issue.
N ewbie Tech: Krystyna Van Autreve, Jenerations, Peoria, Ill. As a new nail technician, I think it’s acceptable to discount services to promote my new business and effectively get clients in the door. Discounts for first-time clients, either as a percent off or a dollar discount, let clients justify taking a risk with a new tech. After you’ve won them over with that first service, hopefully they’ll become part of a steady clientele.
A second acceptable scenario is to promote specialty services. For instance, if I were introducing an anti-aging manicure, I’d discount the service to entice people to try something new. Running a discount as part of a monthly promotion is a great way to encourage your clients to add an additional service to their visit. If you have a client who comes in every other week just for a fill, then giving a monthly discounted special like a chocolate pedicure might make her add that service on to one of her appointments, increasing your dollar per client ratio.
Veteran Tech: Loni Jensen Preato, D’Hair to Be Different, Las Vegas. Based on my 18 years of service in the industry, I can come up with a few circumstances under which it’s OK to discount your services. For me, the first is discounting to family members, and, in the case of my immediate family, giving services for free.
I also think it’s acceptable to discount services if a client is going through a hardship. I’ve been known to discount or do these clients’ services for free until they get on their feet. These clients remember that then take good care of me when their rough times are over. Yes, I’ve been burned before, but overall, the rewards that paid off financially and in friendship by far outweigh the negatives.
For new techs, I recommend you don’t reduce your prices too much (maybe 10% at most), because you can’t raise prices dramatically and expect clients to stay with you. I think a better alternative is to keep your prices the same but offer a free paraffin clip or nail art design.
Salon Owner: Kim D’amato, Priti Organic Spa, New York City. I think there are several situations where discounting salon services is appropriate. One is to cross-promote and encourage partnerships with other businesses in your area. For example, my salon has a partnership with the Whole Foods Market next door. Every Whole Foods customer who spends a minimum amount in the grocery store receives a card for 15% off in Priti. The salon benefits because we get to partner with another organic business to promote a green lifestyle, and we get to promote our soy polish remover, which is sold at Whole Foods. This type of partnership also works with restaurants, florists, or any other business with a similar clientele.
Second, I discount to students. I think the discount is worth it to make students more aware of sustainable products; they are the future of the organic industry and also future customers of the salon.
I also discount services for charity events, generally giving services for free.