Give yourself a Raise: Knowing when - and how- to take the Plunge

As a behind-the-chair stylist, raising our prices can feel daunting – and it can be difficult to know what time is the ‘right time.’ Using the guidelines here, you can discover which indicators signal that it’s time to give yourself a raise, plus simple tips and tricks for implementing the change – minus the muss and fuss. Read on to learn how.

Tip 1: Market analysis. When you’re considering a price increase, it’s important to take competitor pricing into consideration. Being drastically above or below the median isn’t attractive to current or prospective clients – and if you’re already at the top of your bracket – it might be tough to justify an increase to your existing clientele. Go here to discover how to establish a solid baseline.

Tip 2: Cost of living. If you’re a long-time stylist, and you haven’t increased your prices over a period of several years, you might be due for a ‘cost of living’ raise. This price increase should be relatively small (think 5-10%), and it won’t make a huge impact on each individual ticket prices. However, it can help to cover the naturally rising costs of food, gas and housing.   

  • Product Costs. While cost of living increases can affect our bottom line – so too can product costs. Don’t let your profits decrease because the price of products goes up. Instead, let your service prices reflect the product cost increase.

Tip 3: Look at your books. The most important component to ‘giving yourself a raise,’ is being 100% booked; this means that there are no gaps in your schedule. In order to accomplish this, you might need to increase your clientele. A great way to do this is via client referrals. For tips and tricks on perfecting your referral program, go here. Once your books have reached their capacity, you’ll know that a price increase is in order. Remember to start small. Drastic increases will thin out your clientele – which you’ve worked hard to acquire.   

  • Pre-booking. Pre-booking your clients can help to reduce surprises – and gaps – in your schedule. Find out how you can learn to master the art of pre-booking, here 

Tip 5: Communicate – but don’t apologize. Remember to communicate clearly with your clients. Explain your price increase – but don’t apologize. Remember, you work hard, and you deserve a raise, so long as it’s justifiable. Forgo giving yourself an increase if you aren’t able to explain why you’re doing it. Ultimately, you can boost your income in one of two ways: more clients or higher prices. Avoid raising your prices until you’ve maximized your clientele.

Knowing when it’s time to give yourself a raise can be tough – and explaining a price increase to clients can be even tougher. But if you follow the guidelines outlined here, the process can be straightforward and painless. Try printing flyers, sending personalized letters to your client’s homes, or crafting tent cards to display at your station. Use the key phrases, here.

Phrase 1: Help us to congratulate _____ on their promotion to a _____ stylist. Inquire as to how this will affect your service as of _____. Make sure to give at least 6 weeks notice.

Phrase 2: For their excellence in service, _____ will be promoted to a _____ stylist. Please inquire as to how this will affect your service as of _____. Again, be sure to give 6 weeks notice. 

Phrase 3: Costs of doing business have increased. As a result, and to continuing providing excellent services using quality products, these costs will reflect in service prices. Thank you for understanding. Offer clients 6-8 weeks notice.