There are several items to consider when developing prices for your services (and products).
Whether you are a booth renter, also known as an independent contractor, or are a salon owner, the cost of doing business will be the foundation of the price of your services. Next, will be the cost of the products that go into the service offering. To gain an accurate selling price you will need to know how many uses, or how many clients will an item serve, i.e., number of shampoos in a bottle of shampoo. Some manufacturers have this information on the product label, or you may find in on their web sites. Product labels are often written per use, like food labels list “per serving” and how much goes into a serving, i.e., 2 ounces per serving and the container holds 10 servings.
Overall costs of doing business are indirect costs. They may be fixed or variable and could include:
This list is provided for information only and is not meant to be complete. Please consult a CPA or other expert business adviser.
While the overall costs of doing or being in business attributes to the price of services, they are also items, that without them you would not have a business. These are necessary investments which fall under management. So, the question here would be “can I afford to be in this business and at what level?
Years of Experience
If you are fresh out of school, no matter how talented you are, your prices should reflect entry level. You may noticed some salons have Master Technician or Junior Technician designation fees. If you are a solo operator you might not refer to yourself as “junior”, but you could promote your prices as “introductory” or “opening specials”, implying they are temporary. After six months to a year, you should then increase your prices 25-50% or more (rounding up or down to the nearest dollar) depending on how low the original fees were.
An introductory full-service manicure may be $10.00 during the introductory period. After the introduction the new “regular” price may be $15-$20.00. When pricing for full services keep in mind what you are willing to accept as a lowest price for the same service but in an express format. An express manicure (also referred to as a polish change) for example may sell for $7- $10.00. Please note the prices used in these examples have not taken into consideration the community of clients you will are serving. We will cover that in a later section.
Side Bar. Your pricing will also reflect how much you want to make an hour, exclusive of any client gratuity. Chances are if you work as an employee, your hourly rate will be fixed. For independent contractors working in the industry full-time, consider how much you need to earn (for a living) to cover the costs of the business, personal living expenses and profit.
With respect to the length of time you perform a service, (without rushing) will add to or decrease your hourly rate. For example. A seasoned nail tech may be able to perform a full-service manicure within 25-30 minutes. If the fee is $15.00 for the service, that technician conceivably makes upwards of $30.00/hour.
Staying with the same scenario, four express manicures at $7.50 each, assuming it will take you 10-15 minutes from start to finish, still adds up to $30.00+ per hour. You can see how quickly your income can grow based on number of clients served, performing at a steady pace. Keep in mind that these are only suggested prices. Your market may bare a higher rate or lower. Upgrading the same services with special polishes and treatments can also increase the hourly rate. The goal is to set a standard for yourself and work towards it.
Practicing in a moderate to low-income area, you may only be able to charge $12.00 for a full manicure and $5.00 for an express service. Upgraded services should always be offered to each client. It is up to the client to decline or accept. Rule of thumb never count your client’s money. That is to say do not prejudge what a client can or cannot pay. Or will pay. Nail and foot care may be a luxury or a treat that your client may splurge on for themselves once a month.
If you are located within a higher income community you will be able to charge more for your services. You will need to research what the going rates are in the area. Compare those rates for equal services and develop your prices from there.
In either case, always use the highest quality professional products and treat your clients with respect. They will love you for it and rebook and of course refer their friends and family.