When most stylists get into the hair business, they do it out of a love of hair and the empowered feeling that comes with knowing you’ve made your clients feel beautiful—not because we see it as a way of getting rich. But just because money isn’t your primary motivation doesn’t mean that it’s not important.
The hair business is still a business after all!
And yet many stylists find themselves uncomfortable talking about or handling money. Which is a real shame, because that apprehension often causes us to settle for the status quo even when we know deep down that we need to make a change.
Case-in-point: Pricing your services.
So often, stylists fall into the habit of not charging as much for their services as they know they’re worth. At its best, this means that you’re leaving money on the table that you could be using to reinvest into your business, advance your skills, support your family, or work towards your other personal and financial goals. At its worst, this means you could find yourself burnt out, bitter towards your clients, and disenfranchised with the industry.
Does this sound familiar? No bueno!
If you’re having a hard time talking to your clients about money and charging what you’re worth, the sooner you can put a stop to all of that self-doubt, the better. Below are some tips that you can use to feel more comfortable in charging what you know you’re worth.
1. Understand why you’re undercharging to begin with.
Before you can address the problem, you need to understand exactly what’s causing it in the first place. Without doing this initial work, it’ll be impossible to know what changes you need to make.
In our experience, this issue most often stems from the subconscious mind, which is where our money stories and beliefs tend to live. Everyone has a money story or belief that could be limiting their ability to live their best financial lives, and the only way to remove these fears is to face them head on. You need to literally rewire your subconscious beliefs.
For example, it isn’t uncommon for a lot of stylists to start out by undercharging for their services, for a variety of reasons. You might, for example, be experiencing imposter syndrome, which prevents you from understanding that you’re just as good as everyone else. Or you might have a deep-seated fear that if you’re too “greedy” when you first start out, that you won’t attract clients and will fail. Either way, you then struggle to raise their prices a few years down the line after they are feeling more confident and established.
By confronting these issues, you can take steps to remedy them and prevent them from happening in the future.
Don’t like thinking or talking about money? That’s natural, but it doesn’t have to hold you back! Listen to Episode 16 of our Hair Goals podcast to hear Jamie talk about why money is often such an awkward topic for so many of us, and how you can break your patterns of avoidance.
2. Break your bad habits.
Acknowledging what’s holding you back is the first step. Then, you need to change your words and actions to break these bad habits and start forming new, healthier habits.
Your words reinforce your beliefs, whether they’re positive or negative; and your beliefs reinforce your words. Whatever you tell yourself, your brain believes to be true; it doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. The cycle can’t be broken until your script is flipped.
By flipping the script, you can break this pattern and reinforce the positive beliefs about yourself and about money that you’ll need to understand your worth and feel confident in your pricing.
False truth: I am not good enough to charge more.
Truth: I am good enough to charge more.
3. Elevate your client experience.
Sometimes, the difference between a $100 service and a $200 service is little more than presentation. If you want your clients to pay you premium prices for the services you perform, then you’ve got to offer a premium experience.
How you show up to your job matters. The way you dress matters. Your energy matters. How you organize and decorate your space matters. How you talk to your clients and coworkers matters. Literally everything matters!
If you want to elevate your services, look inward and think about what you can do to expand that experience for your guest. Typically, it’s all about how you make people feel. Do you spend enough time connecting with them, checking in on them, and building deeper relationships? That might just be enough to push your service over the edge and help your guests see the value you bring.
4. Get comfortable talking about money.
By getting more comfortable talking about money with your guests, you’ll be able to have more meaningful conversations about your pricing, which can help you stay firm on your prices.
One tip in this regard is to speak in terms of investment instead of cost. By asking your client how much they’re willing to “invest in their hair” during a session, for example, you elevate your service and help them see that they really are making an investment in their beauty.
Another great idea: Base all of your prices off of a formula that takes into account overhead, cost of materials, and profit margin. Doing so, and understanding the breakdown, will help you be transparent with your clients if they ever push back on why a service costs so much. Simply explaining to them the reasoning behind your prices can go far in both assuaging their concerns and also building trust.
5. Stick to your price list.
Look, sometimes all of us might feel tempted to drop prices for a friend or a family member or a good client who we’ve worked with for a number of years. But this is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make.
Once you establish your menu and set your prices, never go below those prices—not even as a promotion or out of a sense of obligation. Your prices should be tied to how much you see your time and your skill being worth; by dropping your prices in any scenario, you’re undercutting yourself.
Want to learn more great tips to help you grow your business? Sign up for our Independent Business Class today where you'll learn everything about running an effective salon business.