As salons finally open their doors after a long and hairy 3 months, the planning and preparation involved has been a huge undertaking for many, and it comes with a cost. A subject that has been discussed heavily is that of price increases. It was debated early on in the lockdown as hairdressers started to realise their worth. With clients saying how much they missed and needed their regular appointments. Now, with the additional costs of PPE and for many, extended opening hours, it is not feasible to open without putting prices up to cover these additional overheads.
The most disheartening thing to see is the number of people receiving angry and rude messages from clients. Suggesting that this price increase is due to greed, or an attempt to make up for the losses of the last few months. You know this is not the case at all, but let’s discuss this inevitable price increase, how to approach it, and how to take this time to realise your worth.
Letting go of the emotion
Hairdressers by nature are often quite selfless. Working extra hours or stretching beyond their physical capabilities to accommodate desperate clients, and charging far less than they really should. Unfortunately, a lot of the reason for this is fear of losing clients. “But clients pay my wages.” I hear you cry. As much as this is obviously true, the reality is, those who don’t value or respect you aren’t worth holding on to.
When I talk about letting go of emotion, I mean to stop apologising for having to increase your prices. Given the current situation, prices need to increase for salons to be able to keep their doors open. As you are very much aware, PPE is costly, longer opening hours to be able to split shifts and reduce the number of stylists in the salon means higher bills. Social distancing means for many that every other chair is out of use.
A lot of people are trying to be as transparent as possible with clients in regards to this, but it is being met with some upset it would seem. Honestly, it is not worth your time or energy to argue with a client over a few pounds. Let them go. There, I said it. If someone does not appreciate that your service is valuable to them, nor can they understand that your costs have risen during a global pandemic, how will they react when you increase your prices as you progress in your career?
We talk a lot about growth in the industry, about learning and progressing. For many, this is one of the reasons they love the job as it allows this. What is often forgotten, is that this translates into your work. Education and progression don’t happen during Mrs Smith’s bi-weekly blow dry. They happen in your own time. So, you are using your own time and money to better your skills, which is something that directly benefits your clients.
Realistically, if you doubled your prices and lost half your clients, you’d still be making the same. I’m a strong advocate for working harder, not smarter. Not because I’m lazy, but because I feel the point of a career is that you grow and work to improve yourself so that you are more valuable. And therefore, earn more money for your knowledge and skill set. Put like that, it translates into any line of work.
You are going to encounter clients who do not wish to pay your prices, and that is okay. They may not be able to afford it, or it simply may not be something that they consider valuable to them. Everyone has different priorities. The hardest challenge is accepting this for what it is and allowing yourself to let those people go.
Realising your value
Realising your worth as a hairdresser is very important. Across the world, salons have been closed for long periods. Because of this people are becoming rapidly aware of how much they rely on them. Hairdressing has always carried a certain stigma. Deemed uneducated and often undervalued, if there’s one thing this pandemic has done for hairdressers, it’s brought them into the limelight.
Now is the time to put your foot down and get rid of the superfluous. You may lose some clients during the opening weeks, but as I’ve said, they are not worth your time. Don’t allow a few people to hold you back. But don’t feel forced to explain yourself to anyone. You wouldn’t call Hovis and tell them they are paying their staff too much because bread has gone up 5p. So why can you tell your hairdresser they are charging too much?
Blog by Amy Senior – The Hair Bones