Updated: Jul 18, 2018
As stylists, we are always told to charge what we’re worth so we don’t sell our talents short. As true as this may be, what we aren’t told is how to determine what our valuable time is worth.
Below I have outlined 5 things to consider to help you determine your own value behind the chair.
Establish a baseline price per hour for your time. First, you must consider what you are worth per hour. Whether you are working for yourself or for someone else, your per hour cost should be consistent. I often relate this number to the price a client will pay for a haircut with you. You are normally booked out 45 minutes to an hour, right? That’s a good starting point. If a haircut with you is $65 an hour, then you should at least expect to earn $65 per hour for your time, regardless of whether you receive only a percentage in a commission salon environment. If you have an assistant and often double-book, then double this number.
Look at your competition. As salon services vary in price from region to region, it’s important to do some quick research and look at what your competition is doing. Are your baseline prices similar to theirs or are you way off the mark charging much more or much less? Although it’s not necessary to charge the same as everyone else, it is important to be competitive if you are still interested in building your clientele.
Charge more if you are an expert or specialist. If your talents soar in certain areas, such as haircutting, balayage, or color correction, and people often seek you out as pro through Yelp or Instagram, then your dollar value needs to go up. For instance, my speciality is balayage, and because it’s my specialty, I charge significantly more for those services than I do for a simple root touch up or foil.
Charge more if you have a waitlist. There’s no better time than this to give yourself a raise. If you have client’s lining up outside your salon, chomping at the bit for an appointment, now is the time to raise your prices. You are a wanted professional and you deserve to be paid more because of it. You may lose some old clients that can’t afford the raised price, but soon you will have new clients that are paying a higher ticket. Boom, your dollar value just went up again.
Stop giving discounts. Offering a discounted service can be an enticing strategy to get new clients in the door, but by doing so you are creating a client culture that treats you as second rate. Not only do these clients cringe when the price goes up on the next service, they might not even come back a second time because there’s no discount. To have longevity in this business, you have to hold strong to your prices and back yourself up by delivering exceptional work that clients will appreciate and pay for appropriately. (Side note: If you want a little enticement to get the ball rolling, throw in a complimentary haircut or take-home product, but never “discount” your professional time).
I hope these thoughts inspire you to create your own value so you can charge what you’re worth, and stand behind it with confidence.