Many salon owners wait as long as possible before raising prices because they worry about losing clients. While this is a legitimate concern, it should not prevent you from taking the necessary actions to make your business sustainable and successful.
By following a few best practices, you can retain nearly all of your clients and even increase their satisfaction when updating prices.
Identify the Right Time
Salons should be raising costs regularly but not too frequently. For most businesses, raising prices once every 12-24 months is ideal.
When deciding to update prices, be wary of any external factors as well. For example, the response to a price increase will be more negative during a recession with a higher level of unemployment.
It is also important to get a feel for client satisfaction. They will be more accepting of higher prices when they consistently rave about your services. However, if clients are frequently complaining, a price increase will just make them run to a competitor.
Be transparent and explain why you are increasing prices. With rising costs, it is fair to increase your prices. And as you acquire new skills and gain experience, it is also reasonable to charge more.
To prevent any shock or anger, provide about 4-6 weeks notice before implementing the new prices. Post signs on your front desk, mention in your regular e-newsletter, share it on your social media channels, and update your service menu and brochures.
Occasionally, a client will still not realize that prices have gone up. For this appointment, you can honor the original price but take note of it in your salon software so they don’t take advantage of it and make the same complaint again.
Thank your clients for their business and their loyalty. Be genuine and assure clients that their best interests are in mind. Again, explain that the price increase is necessary to maintain service quality; you are not trying to cut costs by utilizing inferior products or rushing services to cram more appointments into your calendar.
While clients may understand why prices are increasing, it may still be difficult for them to justify spending more for the same service. To help them feel comfortable with paying more, offer more as part of their service.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Offer a bottle of water or another beverage of the client’s choosing when they come in for a lengthy service. Or add a free scalp massage to any haircut and shampoo. Ultimately, always aim to provide a better experience for your salon guests.
Lock In Prices
As a token of appreciation to your clients, provide an opportunity for them to “lock in” the original price for a certain period.
Have a Team Mindset
If the revised price is beyond a client's budget, offer them the option to see a Junior Stylist instead. Assure them that it will be a smooth transition (store color formulas, service histories, and photos in Insight) and that there will not be any awkwardness.
Differentiate Your Business
People are most easily swayed by price when they compare two identical products or services. But when you provide a unique client experience or develop strong customer relationships, you are setting yourself apart from your competitors. Clients will now need to weigh the experience and quality of service with the price.
If your price increase is within a reasonable range and is handled respectfully, most clients will choose to stay because of the familiarity and the developed relationship.