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For many hairdressers, the topic of raising prices and facing clients seems so overwhelming that they let years pass without broaching the subject.
Derek Cash, stylist and owner of Genesis Hair Boutique in Pembroke Pines, Florida, explains why deferring a pricing increase is bad for business. Cash, @derekcashstyles, an ambassador for SalonCentric and a member of MODERN’s Artist Connective, grew up in the industry. When he was a young stylist starting out and the time came to decide what to charge his clients, he simply looked at his mom’s prices and asked for the same.
Over time, Cash realized this wasn’t the best way to determine his finances. “Today’s world is different than 2008,” he says. “Clients come in with photos from Instagram, and it’s our job to make those photos come to life. Pricing is so important because the time it takes to create looks seen on Instagram is considerable.”
Here are his tips for managing your service prices:
1. Raise prices once you’re booked out a few months. “Once you are so booked that you have to put clients on a waitlist, it’s time to reconsider your pricing. You might lose some clients, but you will feel more confident doing so if you know you have solid bookings.”
2. Don’t feel bad about charging more. “Clients will understand. They’ll want to help you succeed. I had a friend who I was honoring my old pricing for, and I started to resent them. It wasn’t their fault. It was mine.”
3. Value your right to grow. “In other jobs, you ask for a raise or you get promoted. You need to get to the next level; that’s how you grow.”
4. Address the subject with grace. “Hair services are a luxury. Not everyone can spend $600 every two months. I explain the pricing upon initial consultations. I say ‘your bill is XYZ this time. It’s a lot this time, but for your next time, we don’t have to do a full. We have options.’ You just have to communicate.”
5. Learn it’s OK to let go. “The only thing you can do is let clients know how much you’ve appreciated them. With clients I’ve had for some time, I might say ‘I’ll honor this price today, but moving forward, my prices will go up to this.’ They have some time to think about it. You have to leave all feelings behind.”