My product costs have gone up but I can't raise my prices in this economy. What do you suggest?
You’re right, it’s not the time to raise prices. Everyone has been affected by the economy and you do not want to discourage customers by raising your prices now, which may make them feel that they can no longer afford to get their nails done.
Instead of raising your prices, try reinventing your service menu. Change your services and offer new things to make it fun for the customer. Up the prices slightly only on unestablished services and make sure you have some low-cost options available.
Reinvent a low-cost service — like an $8 polish change — by adding shaping of the nails, a lovely lavender lotion hand massage, a quick push back of the cuticles, followed by polish and speed-dry top coat. Call it a “Lunch Time Manicure” and charge $12. Market it to surrounding businesses, or offer it free with your highest-priced pedicure. After all, your cost is time and a couple of drops of lotion is a small price to pay for a new customer, or to entice an existing customer to spend her hard-earned cash on a higher-priced pedicure instead of painting her own nails at home.