Don’t Be Afraid to Charge What You’re Worth

When it comes to discussing her hair, your techniques, the newest trends and even the best place to get gluten-free food, you can talk to your client confidently and endlessly. But when it’s time for her to pay the bill, your poise plummets, you avoid eye contact and you try to wrap up the transaction as quickly as possible. The voices in your head tell you things like, “You’re charging too much.” “She probably can’t afford this.” And even worse, “Your work isn’t worth that much money.”

But the fact is, if you’re a licensed, experienced cosmetologist who has worked hard to perfect your services, and you offer each client an enjoyable, satisfactory salon experience. You are worth every penny and probably more. It’s time to switch off those voices in your head and stop feeling embarrassed about being paid properly for your services.

Be confident in your skills.
Knowing you’ve mastered every aspect of your craft is the most important factor in expecting to be paid appropriately for your services. If you’re unsure about a particular skill—for example, maybe you need work on your balayage or men’s barbering—get more training and get yourself up to speed. “Push, push, and push yourself,” says salon business expert Carlos Valenzuela. “This means not waiting until you go to a class or seminar. Learn every day. Go online while you are waiting for clients. Your prices should reflect your commitment to perfecting your skills. Charge for your dedication to being the best.”

Give every client an extraordinary experience.
At its most basic, a haircut involves a client leaving the salon with less hair than when he or she walked in. But what separates a $15 hair cut from a $50 hair cut is the experience that client enjoys while in the salon. Is the client greeted cheerfully and promptly? Is your station fresh and spotless? Do you offer hot and cold beverages? Do you include a head massage with your shampoos? Do you make it easy to book appointments with online booking? This detail-oriented attention to your client’s enjoyment and comfort adds value to your service and justifies the prices you charge.

Don’t second guess your client’s finances.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Nowadays, billionaires in Silicon Valley wear sneakers and hoodies so you can never tell what someone does or doesn’t have. Never assume your client can’t afford your services. “It’s up to her to decide how she wants to budget and spend her money,” says hair color expert Beth Minardi, “Not you!”

Understand that clients leave.
And new clients show up. Client retention is definitely an important aspect of your business but realize that not every client will stay with you forever. If someone doesn’t feel able to afford your services and moves on to another stylist, this opens up a slot in your books for someone who is comfortable with your prices. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how business works.

Offer A Guarantee.
Guaranteeing your services is a form of insurance for your clients—they know if they aren’t happy, you will re-do the work at no charge. A guarantee is powerful—it gives your business strength and with that strength you demonstrate your value. And that translates into fair rates for a job well and confidently done.

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