The beauty salon price war

How to charge what you're worth



With new salons opening up every day, it's becoming harder for established beauty businesses to withstand the flurry of competition. Award-winning spa owner Sam Pearce explains the dangers of entering into a discount war and why you should charge what you’re worth

As business owners, we know that the beauty industry is saturated and that we’re all fighting for the same customers, but how do we do this without devaluing our services? How do we put a price on what we offer and bravely stick with it?  

This without question brings a price war, and one that some clients are using to their advantage. It’s now common practice to have to “discuss” with clients the reasons why you don’t offer two for one discounts or BOGOF (buy one get one free) deals.

Any good business owner recognises patterns in spend, seasonal changes, fluidity of change and the continual growth of new businesses popping up every five minutes, and all this requires adaptation in pricing. 

Therefore, I will never understand why clients think it is acceptable to haggle over a fixed-priced service that takes skill and education to perform. If you go out for a meal and the cost of your food is set, you wouldn’t dream of saying, “that’s great, but can I have it for X instead?” 

As beauty therapists we offer so much more than a beautifully polished set of nails and it’s this you need to make clients aware of. We listen without judgment, we serve, we keep secrets, we treat generations of families, we tailor the experience and we consider every aspect of the customer journey. 

This kind of service is priceless, not to mention the unadvertised extras that we offer for free to make the experience even more enjoyable, such as complimentary drinks, a hot water bottle in the winter, iced towels in the summer and being made to feel as comfortable as possible in a beautifully designed environment.

The truth is you can’t mass market what it is that you as an individual offer, which is why you have to recognise how special your skill set is, and selling in bulk not only devalues your services but it becomes mechanical in its practise, demoralising staff. If you panic and lower your prices out of fear then you will attract the wrong clientele, and this is almost impossible to recover from. 

If you’re competent, confident and true to your own brand, business and self then price should never be an issue. It should be an agreement between you and your customer – that they should never have to question what you choose to charge for your services because their understanding and decision to use your salon is based on mutual respect.

As American business magnate Warren Buffett said, “price is what you pay, value is what you get”. 

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