As a new year approaches, it is important to start thinking about your strategy for the next year. One of the hardest things to think about during this plan, especially if you are an independent business or salon owner, is pricing. Do I keep my prices as-is? Do I increase them slightly? How much should I increase my prices? When should I increase my prices? Will this shift in pricing affect my business negatively?
It is difficult enough trying to figure out how to price salon services, and it is a whole different ball game trying to strategize when to change them. Don’t you fear, Nova Wax is here with the top tips for adjusting your salon pricing!
Know Your Costs
First and foremost, whether you are figuring out how to price your salon services for the first time or determining how much to increase your prices by, you need to know what your overhead costs are. You should never base your pricing off what other salons are charging, because the only way to know what YOUR profits will look like is to know how much it costs to run YOUR business. Researching the average waxing prices in your area is important though, as it will give you an idea of what other salons are charging so you know not to go too low or too high. What someone is charging in a large, populated city for a brow wax will not be the same as someone in the suburbs. After researching the average for your area and factoring in your overhead costs, you will have a much clearer idea of what your service prices will look like.
How much does your wax cost? How much do your supplies cost - gloves, spatulas, masks, etc.? How much does your rent, bills and utilities cost? Have you factored in taxes? All of these elements are crucial to determining your pricing structure to maximize your profits. While you may barely break even during your first few months or even years of servicing clients, breaking even is never the end goal. By knowing your costs, you can have your sights set on the bigger picture and have a clearer idea of what you need to be charging that will not only support your business, but also supply you with plenty of profit.
Know Your Worth
Having confidence in your skills should be one of the most important factors when deciding your pricing. If you know you perform bomb brows, better than anyone in your area, charge appropriately! You should never feel the need to sell yourself short in order to remain “competitive” in the industry. Low pricing does not always mean best value - remember that! The good clients, the clients you WANT, will have no issue paying your prices and will oftentimes happily support you raising prices because they know you are worth it. Those who value good services know what it costs, and might even be turned off if your prices are too low.
Low pricing could also attract clientele that is not the most ideal - and these individuals will definitely give you a hard time about any pricing changes that may come down the line. At the end of the day, you are providing a service that is not a necessity. While waxing does produce incredible results that can only be maintained with a consistent routine, waxing is a luxury and luxury doesn’t come cheap! You spend your time and effort day in and day out to help others feel beautiful and confident in their skin and that is an experience that needs to be priced as such.
Are you in high demand and sought after? Are your books constantly filled with back to back appointments? Charge accordingly! On the other hand, if you are not busy with tons of clientele your pricing should be fair to that too. Building books takes time, and people may be wary of paying a higher price for a brow artist or wax specialist they’ve never heard of. Affordable pricing that is fair to both you and the customer will attract new clientele, and as you build your books and gain that popularity you can begin gradually raising your prices.
Every price increase should be strategically planned out so that you can maximize your profits while still remaining fair and not causing a huge jump that will startle even your most loyal clients. While waxing services are a luxury and not a necessity, there are some clients that do budget for these types of services and being fair to them as well is also important. Start planning in advance and set a “start date” for your new pricing list so you can plan how to disseminate the information.
Timing is everything, and strategically announcing a price change can help with it making more sense to your clients. If you plan to launch new prices in January, you can let them know it is for the new year! Or you can wait until February, with the reason being you wanted to give your clients plenty of time to recover from the holiday shopping madness. Announcing a price change during a season shift is also another great strategy. If it is right before the spring or summer, you can justify it with the start of “high season” where the demand for waxes will increase. Finally, your studio “anniversary” date is a great time to raise prices as well - you can turn it into a fun event for your clients to celebrate your salon to help distract from the price change!
Price increases should be gradual, and huge jumps in pricing - like a brow wax going from $25 to $50 - will push people away. Start with gradual increases, especially on your most popular services. Your increases should also be routine, so that long-term clientele will come to expect it and it will not be such a nerve-wracking experience for you. Ensure that your increases are also spaced out, and that you are not constantly raising your prices every few months to the point where your clients cannot keep track of what they are paying.
Additionally, if you are using a luxurious, high-quality product like Nova Wax, you can tell your clients that you are investing in a better product for your salon that will provide them with a superior experience. Clients love hearing that the products used on them are luxurious or top-quality, so let them know! If they know the quality of product you are using, then a price increase or a slightly higher price for specific services using Nova Wax will be justified in their mind. Educate your clients on the products you’re using, and we are happy to provide you with material and signage to place in your salon to showcase that you are using Nova Wax so they can see it for themselves! If you use Nova Wax along with other waxes in your salon, you can also create a “Luxe” or “Premium” wax service using Nova that is at a higher price point, so your clients can have the option to indulge themselves. Once they experience the difference, they will know!
Communicate and be Transparent
Whether your price increase is a couple dollars or a $10 jump, communicating with your clients beforehand is the best way to ease them into it. While some may not have even noticed if you silently raised your prices a couple of dollars, it shows them that you care about them as a client and you value and respect them for choosing you for their services. It may not feel best to draw attention to a price change, especially a small one, but you never want to make your clients feel like you are trying to be sneaky.
As we mentioned earlier, planning your new pricing start date in advance will give you plenty of time to share the information with your clients. A month or two notice is ideal, and you should also tell them in person if you see them for an appointment before the price change takes place. Cover all your bases by sending out an email to your client database, post a sign in your suite or salon, and create a post for any social media platforms you use to stay in touch with your clientele. Ensuring that your messaging is positive and appreciative will make this process go over much smoother! Here’s an example of a potential email below, which you could take snippets of for social media:
“Dear Nova Family,
It has been an absolute pleasure to service all of you this past year, and I thank you so very much for your constant support! Attached you will find a new service price list, which will take effect on (X date). Each year I take time to invest in the best products for my clients and research ways I can elevate your salon experience, so that each service is better than the last. I sincerely thank you all for your love and support as my business continues to grow, and I cannot wait to see you all soon!
You can also choose to add a “last minute” special or package for clients wishing to take advantage of certain services before the prices change to make it fun and create a little boost in business. Most of your clients will appreciate you being honest and upfront, and even applaud you for raising your prices!
Be Confident in your Reasoning
While you do not really need to justify raising your prices, you may encounter a few questions from clients and being prepared to answer these questions will take the stress out of the situation. If you are confident in your key points for raising your prices - better products, gaining more experience, cost of living - then your clients will have confidence in it too. The last thing you want to do is stutter or slip up when asked about the pricing change, because then your clients may think you are just trying to squeeze more money out of them instead of adding value to your business and their services.
A simple reason to give is that you’ve gained more experience and fine-tuned your skills over the past year. With any other job, you get an annual raise. Why shouldn’t you? Increase in business is also another great way to answer this question as it will instill urgency in your clients to book in advance and not miss or cancel their appointments, as it may be awhile before you are able to squeeze them in. Cost of living, rent changes, overhead cost changes are all incredibly valid reasons to increase your prices and almost everyone experiences these changes in their own lives! Share only what you feel comfortable with, but have a solid response handy in case someone does ask why your prices are increasing so you can display that confidence.
The most important thing is to stand your ground and do not ever apologize for raising prices. This is your business, your livelihood, and only you know what it costs to run it! You have spent a great deal of time and effort into developing a pricing structure that is fair to you and your clients, and you can assure them of this. Anyone who has an issue with pricing is not a client you will want to retain, and will just clear the way for even better clients that respect you and your business.
You Will Lose Clients
Do not let this scare you, but it will happen - and that’s okay! If you run a lot of specials or are a newer professional who has entry-level pricing to gain clientele, you may experience pushback. You will find that many of your clients will congratulate you on raising your prices, and these are the people that are important - not the two or three looking for a deal. People like familiarity and they are going to pay more for that instead of going through the hassle of finding another service provider they like. You are giving yourself the raise you deserve, and those who stay are worth it and those who leave don't care about your time or quality of services. When you honor yourself and your worth, you invite people into your world who want to honor you and these clients will make your job that much better.
If you have this idea in the back of your mind as you begin to announce the price changes, it will make the process that much easier. You will not be blindsided by the few that leave, and you will know that these clients are not ones you wanted to keep long-term anyways. The people that were only visiting you because you were “cheaper” than others are not those that value your work, they just value the cost. You want to build clientele that appreciate the work you do to help them feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful in their skin!
If you are nervous about raising prices, just remember that your time is important and that you will have clients that value your craft and the work you put in. It is easy to get wrapped up in other areas of your business that you get distracted about making sure you are getting paid accordingly. Becoming an aesthetician is not something you just wake up and decide to do one day - you have to put in hours of work and training to become licensed. Reward yourself for the time you have invested in your career! The decision to make a price change is scary, but once you make that jump you will find that your clientele will be full of people who value your training, experience, time, and craft!