Make That Monet
Updated: Aug 3, 2018
Paint Puns. Get it?
I feel like we're all familiar with being told the phrase, "charge what you're worth." How do you know what you're worth? I think the problem is a little bigger than just undercharging for your time. I think when we add up the a la carte prices of what we've done, we get scared and think, "wow that's a lot of money." Followed by finding a way to reduce that price. I'm guilty of it. Those prices are there for a reason, however. It not only incorporates your time but backbar costs as well. Every time we lower the price because we're too scared to actually charge for what we've done, the salon is losing money. In order to have a healthy work environment stocked with everything you need to be successful, the salon has to make a profit. Every time you gloss someone for free you are cheating not only yourself but the salon(or just yourself x2 if you booth rent).
The next issue is "charging what you're worth". As a rule of thumb we typically find our hourly worth by gauging our haircut price. If you double book, then double that number and that would be your hourly price. There are, however, other factors. Realistically, you're worth whatever someone is willing to pay for you. What people are willing to pay will depend on your skill and your supply/demand ratio. If you're booked solid for 6 weeks on a consistent basis and you haven't raised your prices in a year, you are undercharging. If you're a specialist and you haven't raised your prices in a year, you're undercharging. If you've taken multiple advanced classes this year and you haven't raised your prices, you're undercharging.
Think About It
Has a plumber, landscaper, mechanic or any other professional who charges for product + labor ever given you a discount because they felt bad about the price?
When it comes to charging for every add on and every service you do, maybe try breaking it down and explaining it to your client. When you throw out a number with no explanation, they feel confused. In their mind, what they are asking for is very simple and you know it isn't.
"Because I'm doing a full head of babylights, which are many many micro highlights compacted into the hair, it will be a $20 upcharge from my regular full highlight because of time and product. Because I'm worried about the integrity of your hair, I will not lighten you without a bond protector(explain what it does if you must) which is an additional $50. In order to get that shadow effect, I then have to apply a root shade and let it process for an additional 20 minutes. This additional process is an additional $35. Your total today for the look you've requested will be $280, are you ready to get started?"
Discounting Attracts Cheap Clients
There are two types of people in the world. Those who live for the "deal" and those that understand that quality product is expensive. I think it's easy for me to charge what I'm worth because I personally am the type of person to say "I don't care what the cost is, this is quality and I'll pay what I have to pay to get quality." The more you live by that mind set, the more you attract like-minded people as clients. When you are consistent with your quality of work, they see you take the time for those extra steps to get it done right, they see that you are difficult to get in with, they will naturally associate your cost with quality and security.
When you are charging appropriately, no client will feel like "too much work".
I'm sure we've all had that moment where you see the inspiration picture and you look at your client's hair and think "Oh my god I do not have time for this nightmare." Of course you do! I remember thinking about each and every step I would have to take to get my client to her goal and just roll my eyes thinking how completely not excited I felt about doing it. That's when I wasn't charging correctly. Break down every single step at the full cost of that step to your client, if they give you the green light then you're about to make a lot of money and do a really cool transformation you can show off to the 'gram. If they give you the red light, you just avoided killing yourself for scraps. Remember, you are not desperate for any person's business.
What To Expect?
When I raised my prices and started charging for every step, my clients who would always groan about prices naturally weeded themselves out. Clients that don't see the value of what I do are not people I'm desperate to accommodate. I'm an artist and a chemist and my brain is completely fried at the end of the day from troubleshooting how to make you look like a celebrity. If my effort is only worth $100 to you, then we are not suited for one another.
It opened up my schedule for new clients who understand the value of my work and my consistency. I can't tell you what that does for your morale in the work place.
My numbers increased 20% in a year. When you are paid properly, you will always go above and beyond for your client. Go above and beyond for your client and they will be your client for life.