How To Charge For Corrective Color

Your menu covers the basics—single process, double process, highlights, balayage. But what happens when that inky-haired box color client shows up in shock, begging you to restore her to her natural shade? How much should that cost?

There are many ways to charge for corrective color, but a recent poll of pros reveals four key approaches.

By The Hour Plus Additional Services
Many stylists include a specific rate for corrective color on their menu. They will then add the cost of additional products and services. For example, Shannon Walker (@paramountdsc_shannon) in Philadelphia starts with a base color correction price of $60 per hour. The corrective service might include color removal or lightener. From there, she’ll add her costs for completing the look. For example: full balayage/foil--$130; toner/glaze--$45; cut and style--$45. Total cost: $280. 

Hourly rates, of course, are based on the going rate for a specific area. For example, Ian Cutrona (@mrduder) from Orange County, CA charges $100-$150 an hour. His advice is to do a complete consultation and lay out the price beforehand. “Some corrections are easier than others,” he says. I let every client know upfront what they’re getting into so there are absolutely no surprises or unrealistic expectations.”

By The Hour Plus Products
While many stylists fold the price of the color into the total, some prefer to charge for the specific amount of color used, since color correction can often require extra applications. That’s the strategy of Janel LaTessa (@hairbyjanellatessa) of JL Hair Artistry in Cleveland. She says, “Say a color correction takes four hours and five tubes/batches of color. I would charge $100/hour or $400 plus $20 per batch for a total of $500, which includes the blowout and style.”

By The Service
Another popular approach for charging is by the application and service. “If I have to do multiple base colors or glosses, I charge for each application,” explains Michele Pritchard of Currie Salon and Spa in Philadelphia. “If I have to do multiple lightener applications, I charge my base price for each one. Since I book on the half hour, it’s easier for me to explain my rates to my client if I charge by the service.”

Chantelle LaPrairie (@haircolrxpert26) also believes this is the most profitable approach.Today I did a correction that required a haircut and two back-to-back colors that took 20 minutes each,” she notes. “I charged for a cut and style and two color applications. It took me three hours total.”

Base Price Plus Additional Treatments
Aneesha Nichols (@neeshterece) from Lumberton, NJ sets a base price of $200, which includes a cut and a blow dry. Treatments or color sealers are additional. “I feel if you charge by the hour, the client will try to dictate the service,” she observes. “Then you might not be able to provide her with everything she needs.”

Regardless of how you charge for corrective color, it can add up. That’s why Lynn Ouellette (@theconfidentcolorist) of Sarasota, FL caps her corrective color fees at $500. “I cap because typically by the time someone gets to me, they've spent money getting what they didn't want and I feel bad,” she reasons. “But more importantly I know once I've corrected something, I'm likely to keep that client so I will make up for it down the road. I build on repeat business. I just need one chance to gain a loyal client, and in the end,  I believe clients are more than generous when treated fairly.”

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