I was in Las Vegas recently, home to more spas in a concentrated stretch than anywhere else in the world. I booked a pedicure appointment four weeks earlier and arrived at the spa on time.

The manicure and pedicure services took place in the "salon," not the spa. I was not offered a nice robe, Sensi slippers, or even a soft drink. The room was not private and certainly didn't feature a whirlpool chair. The best part of the pedicure, the foot massage, lasted only a few minutes. The entire service took less than 45 minutes and cost $65 plus tip.

The pedicure was on a Thursday at 4PM and they were booked through the weekend.

There are two points to this story. First, consumers are more than willing to pay $65 for a pedicure. But if you're like the average salon, you're charging $30-$35. I know what you're thinking: "Well, that's only in Las Vegas." Actually it's happening all over America.

The second point is that they were 100% booked and with qualified talent so scarce today, it didn't matter how good the ser ice was. What mattered was they were available to those lucky souls who booked far enough in advance.

All too often we sell ourselves short. We underprice our services thinking that our customers will complain if we charge too much and then won't come back. We look at the Vietnamese salons charging $30 for a manicure and pedicure combo and wonder how we're doing business at all.

let me ask you these two questions: Is your decor and service area attractive? Does your staff give fabulous pedicures? If your answer is yes to one of the questions, raise your pedicure prices by $5 today. If your answer is yes to both, raise them by $10 today. The same thinking goes for all nail services. Give the customer what she wants and she will gladly pay for value. It's time to stop giving away our services. Let's take a lesson from those who have learned.

 Larry Gaynor is president and CEO of The Nailco Group in Farmington Hills, Michigan

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