Reopening Your Salon During COVID-19

Should You Raise Your Prices?

As the doors to our salons, spas, and shops start to slowly reopen as regulations ease back in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,  many of us—stylists, barbers, estheticians, etc.—are left with a ton of uncertainty on how to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and proceed.

In so many ways, we all probably want to carry on with business as usual—you know, go back to normal and pretend nothing ever changed. There’s definitely something comforting in the concept of returning to how our salon lives were before COVID-19 was ever a problem.

But in other ways, our salon lives (and everything in between) have changed forever. It’s not entirely possible to just go back to normal, because this situation isn’t normal. That means that we all are likely taking a look at how to restructure, reexamine, and reinvigorate our businesses in order to bounce back from the repercussions of the coronavirus shutdown.

And for many of us, that means asking a tough question that we might not all know the answer to yet—should I raise my prices?

On one hand, you don’t want to surprise your loyal customers (who missed you terribly during the shutdown) with hefty, new prices, you’re also expected to do a lot more with a lot less in order to be open during the pandemic.

For example, now, you’re (likely) limiting your occupancy rates, seeing fewer customers than you normally would, and are having to put a ton of extra effort into sanitizing your space after each use. There’s a lot more you’ve added to your job now and there’s a lot less tolerance for bringing in as many clients as you can.

The pros and cons could go back and forth forever—and honestly, we’re not here to tell you which answer is right for you. Only you can decide that.

Instead, we’re here to throw some pricing ideas your way, talk negatives and positives, and give you useful tips and tools for raising prices without losing clients (if that’s the route you decide to go).

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but we hope this article can help you create your perfect solution.

To Raise Prices or Not to Raise Prices—That’s The Question

Ultimately, the decision to raise your prices or leave them where they were before the shutdown is entirely up to you.

Like we said before, neither option might feel 100% right—but, at the end of the day, you need to do what’s best for your business—whether that means raising prices a bit to help bridge the financial gap or choosing to stay firm on your old pricing to keep your regulars happy.

If you’re sort of on the fence about whether or not you should raise prices, ask yourself a few of these deeper, important questions to try to uncover what seems right for your business:

  • Does my business need this right now? To be fair, it totally might given the shutdowns—many salons and shops absolutely need the extra revenue to stay afloat.
  • Am I comfortable raising prices or adding a COVD fee to my services? No judgment, just answer—how does the idea of raising your prices make you feel?
  • How will my customers react to this? This can’t always make your decision for you, but any smart business owner knows that you have to think about how your actions affect your clients (they’re the ones paying you, after all).
  • What does my staff think about this possible change? Consider their opinions—they work with clients, too, and they know first-hand how people feel about your pricing.
  • What’s the data say? Is there a cash crisis? Are your local regulations requiring you to see fewer clients, reducing your potential daily revenue?

Obviously, those are just a few factors of the dozens you should consider, but that’s a great starting point if you’re truly unsure of how you feel about raising your prices.

Raising Prices: A Few Options for Adjusting Your Prices (Without Scaring Away Your Clients)

If you answered a few of those questions and feel confident that raising your prices is the way to go but you’re concerned about losing clients, then this section is for you.

While it might be tempting to just boost prices in an effort to help bridge the gap from all the business you lost during the shutdown, a big jump in price can sometimes make a client feel like you’re gouging them.

Obviously, that’s the last thing you want to do.

But, when the cost of doing business goes up, sometimes the price has to go up, too—and unfortunately, the shutdowns (and the added restrictions and precautions that go hand-in-hand with reopening) raised the cost of doing business substantially.

So, we suggest trying out a few of these strategies to raise prices conservatively in a way that’s direct and transparent from your clients’ perspectives and helps you stay profitable during a tough time.

The best advice we can offer? Be transparent and communicative with your clients. Let them know why you’re raising prices, what they can expect, and if these price changes are permanent. Full transparency and a direct line of communication can both go a long way when it comes to pleasing your clients.

Start with a COVID-19 Fee

Or rather, a sanitation fee. You’re doing a lot more in the way of next-level sanitizing than you ever would in a non-COVID-19 world, and that takes a ton of time and effort—time and effort you could be spending working on other clients.

But you care about your clients and you want to keep them safe and healthy—and in our current world, that means doing a ton of extra work to make sure everything is clean and virus fee. It also means you’re likely supplying your salon staff with PPE, another expense specifically to help keep everyone safe—and you’re likely supplying masks for your clients, too.

As we said before, the cost of business has gone up, so the prices need to go up a bit, too.

Cut Services That Don’t Help Your Salon

If you’re not keen on raising prices for your services, think about cutting non-profitable services that might be holding you back. For example, consider doing away with kids’ cuts (if that’s not a cornerstone of your business) or avoiding offering uncommon services likes perms, extensions, etc.

Every salon will have a different set of services that they might be able to do without—so take a look at your menu of services and ask what could be doing more harm than good during this time.

Implement a Modest, Blanket Increase to Your Pricing

If you’re totally on board for raising your prices, this might be the best option for you. A small, modest, blanket increase for your entire list of services can make a huge difference in your overall revenue—even if it doesn’t feel like you’re raising the prices of each service substantially.

When we say modest, we mean, like, raise prices anywhere from $10-$15. But when we say blanket, we mean, like, raising the price of every single service. That way, you’re making more money across the board without throwing a huge increase at your clients.

No matter what you decide, full transparency and honesty is the best way to communicate about prices with your clients. This way, they’ll be able to understand where you’re coming from, they’ll be able to empathize, and they’ll respect that you were so candid with them—they also won’t feel like you’re throwing a surprise surcharge at them, either (which, helps).

Are you a salon, shop, or spa owner or manager? Have you created a unique way to remain profitable and keep your customers happy during this chaotic time? Tell us all about it! Drop a line in the comment section below and share your knowledge with your community of beauty pros—that’s what this space is intended for.

For more tips, tricks, and insight—COVID-19 related and not—keep up with our regularly updated blog.

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