Expert Advice

How Much Am I Worth?

Patrick McIvor | March 22, 2013 | 11:37 AM
Patrick McIvor

I received a very interesting question from a friend on Facebook the other day...

“You're a platform artist! Do you think anyone is worth a $1,200 dollar haircut?”

And my response was,

“Yes, why is anyone not willing to pay the price, then right to say it’s not worth that when others are clearly willing to not only pay, but to wait to pay $1,200 for a haircut.”

This is something that has long plagued our industry and a subject that can be tough for hairdressers.  Because of our unique relationships with our guests, sometimes establishing our initial price is easy, but raising the cost is something that can be put off for years even though we know all of our costs have increased. I think that happens partially because generally the first value for our service is given to us by our employer who many time sees our great value. Later though, when it comes time for us to reevaluate our value, we hesitate because we are worried that people won’t see us as “worth” as much.

So, how come some salon professionals charge $12 for a haircut and others charge $1200?  How much is a haircut worth? That is the $10,000 question.

Can one person’s widget be worth 1000X some one else’s widget? …Because when you get right down to it, a widget is just a widget, and a haircut just a haircut.  Well, is a car just a car, a house just a house, a painting just a painting or a t-shirt just a t-shirt?

I think when we look around at general examples, no matter what the economic situations are, valuations that vary in cost by up to 1000X or more come down to one thing, the experience it creates for the consumer.  It is the consumer who validates the value and when it is thought of as a service or item, the value is based on cost, but when the value is placed on the experience not the actual value of the service or item, the sky is the limit. 

Food: This is as recession proof an industry as ours, and today with so few people actually cooking, many cost valued food items and very high-end restaurants have flourished by pushing the extremes.

McDonalds, BIG Mac - $5

Fleur Las Vegas, Fleurburger - $5000

Transportation: The goal of transportation is point A to B, safely.

Nissan Versa - $13520 mpg 30/38

BMW 750Li xDrive - $118,895 mpg 16/24


Which one do you want? Consumer Reports worst or the disappointing one? Shelter: How much is a home worth? It depends where you live.


New York, New York - Address: 146 West 57th #32K

Square footage: 286 square feet

Price: $395,000

The Skinny: This apartment in Metropolitan Tower was designed as a maid unit and has never acquired a kitchen. But, if all you want to do is swim, go to the gym, and do laundry in the building, maybe this is the place for you? $1,381/square foot!


Arlington, Texas - Stunning Executive Home. Wood Plank Floors In L...

Price: $395,000, City: Arlington, Beds: 4, Baths: 4

Type: Residential, MLS® #:11895220, 3704 sq/ft

For us, it’s not only the experience, but the artistry…and what is art worth?  Heck, my daughter can at least get the nose in the middle of a portrait’s face, but Picasso can’t and they’re getting $95.2 million for “Dora Maar au Chat.” That would make my daughter’s value $95,200 @ 1/1000th valuation.

It was Vidal Sassoon who taught us that it’s not the hair on the floor that they’re paying for, it’s what’s left on the head.  For me, that was the first step in understanding the guest was never really paying for how much we did, they were paying for how they felt while we were creating a beautifying experience for them.

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