Price increase - but a difficult situation


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Oct 9, 2015
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Please advise what you would do?

I am aware that my price structure for nail extensions / maintainance is too cheap.

I have 10 years experience but have worked self employed for 3 years.

I charge £20 for shellac application
£25 for a full set of extension and £20 for Infills.
My full sets and Infills I include shellac application (as I prefer this to coloured acrylic for the simple reason of being easier to change colour)

My problem is that my shellac on natural nails and Infills with shellac is the same price!

This has happened as I stated off with shellac on offer for £15 then the normal price is £20.

However I have for years charged £20 for Infills and then I gradually started putting shellac on top Instead of coloured varnish or acrylic. I never charged any extra for it.

Now I feel my full sets and Infills are under priced.
I also made the mistake of not Charing for nail art as I found it a mind field setting a price structure.

I have very recently put my nail art as extra cost but all my clients have art.

How can I put up my price of Infills and new sets and it not be a huge blow what with the art increase as well?

Shall I wait? How long would you wait and what price would be a fair increase at a time?
I feel it should be £25 for j fills and £30 for new sets but that as well as art with the new charges would be a £8-10 increase for some cliens all in one go ...
How about do the price increase but if you don't already, offer a loyalty card scheme to kinda even it out...

Very difficult since you've set the bar low, hindsight is a wonderful thing!
I would write a sign saying....
"I will be raising my prices to £25 for infills and £30 for a full set from 14th Feb due to product price increases"
set a date from when your happy for this increase to take place and place it where ALL clients will see it.

This gives all clients a warning that your prices will increase soon and it blames the price increase on product costs - which is the truth although it is not a sudden or recent increase just a realisation that you should have done this previously. It also means you don't have to tell clients but they can mention it if they feel the need.

You can add a loyalty scheme or referal scheme if you want to lessen the blow a little for loyal clients but remember if implementing these things not to get yourself back into the same situation where you feel your undercharging for your work.
Thank you both for your input.

I guess my real question is how much of an increase is too much at once?

If I was a client and my two weekly appointment went up by £5 I'd be very shocked and annoyed- even if I was given notice.
How long have you maintained your current prices?
For the past 3 years.
Majority of my clients have been built up over the last year as I've increased my hours
How about...
"After 3 years of maintaining my prices & absorbing all product price increases I will be raising my prices to £25 for infills and £30 for a full set from 14th Feb".
Give enough notice for people to book in 3 weekly if they feel it costs too much to keep at 2 weekly. You are assuming they won't be happy to pay for the quality of your work but you may be surprised, at the end of the day if they can't afford their nails done then they will have to go without or go somewhere they can afford, you may lose a few clients but that extra cash will mean your not losing money and your making room for new clients that will pay your higher prices. Work smarter NOT harder.
Then going forward ensure to add a pound or two to your prices every new tax year, that way you won't end up needing to inrease by so large amount in the future.
Tell everyone the prices is going up with immediate effect for all new clients, but you will be staggering the increase for existing clients.
So today it is the same price, next visit it will go up by 2.50, and the third visit will be at the new price.
Thank you all again.

I think I'm am going to run with the nail art increase for a while longer than stager an increase in my prices in general ready for the busy summer months.
We are also due to move in April so don't want my clients to think they are paying for that!
I think it would make more sense to start using normal polish and keep the prices the same then charge a top up if people want shellac.
i'm going to be honest here so please don't take this the wrong way. when was the last time you actually sat down and calculated how much each treatment cost? i really think you need to do this, yes its a pain in the neck and yes its going to take time but it really needs to be done so you know exactly what each treatment costs before you start adding in profit margins. you also need to work out how much your earning per hour if you don't already know.

once you have done the basic treatment cost then work out how much you want as profit margin, do you want 80% 100% etc? once this is calculated then you know truly how much to set each treatment. also are the specific treatments that you want to drop as you no longer want to do them or they are not popular? which of the treatments are the most popular for yourself, these are the ones that you should be making the most amount of profit on.

also take a look at your local competition, what are their prices and what is the difference between most expensive and cheapest and where do you fall within them? once you have that information think about how you would like your business to develop in the future, where do you want it to go and who do you want as your clients?

i know you said you are moving in a few months so maybe now is a good time to sit down and figure this out. you could also do some rebranding of your business and then implement your new price structure in april all ready for the new tax year and also it gives everyone to recover from the christmas spend. you could even do new price lists with the new branding for your new salon in one go. and you could do a little of the launch online now such as opening new salon on such and such a date and come and see whats new.

ideally you should be reviewing your treatment costs regularly, minimum once a year so you know exactly where you are with your business and how you want it you develop for the next year. i don't think shoving five quid on top of each treatment is really going to help you with the pricing rut that your in, you need to go back to basics and work up from there.

and as a side note you don't need to justify to anyone why your increasing prices all you need to state is from x date there will be a price increase or price change. when was the last time a big company stated to customers why they were increasing prices? you don't need to and as i say i think this would work really well with a little rebranding as your developing your business.
Thank you all again.

I think I'm am going to run with the nail art increase for a while longer than stager an increase in my prices in general ready for the busy summer months.
We are also due to move in April so don't want my clients to think they are paying for that!

Do you mean the business is moving or are you moving house?
Thank again for the input.

The business is moving as well as a house move as I work from a cabin from home.

I know my cost per service and to be earning per hour what i'd like, and feeling my treatments hold more value (to me) I would like my sets to be £5 more than they are. I am making a profit and my business runs well with steady increase in clients but I just feel people age getting a bargain especially with my now 10 years experience.

I just feel slapping them up by £5 at once is a lot, plus my new nail art price structure on top.

I think I need what most professionals need in his situation, a hard push from fellow techs to do what you know needs to be done
I'd go for two smaller increases over a few months rather than one large one. X
Ive got similar "too cheap" issues for different reasons. But speaking as a customer I just hate random "well I haven't put my prices up for X period so feel it's time" because I just feel that it's up to a professional to keep on top of their costings and not stiff me with a big price hike in one go. I don't know anyone that has a 10%+ pay rise and that's what people compare with. As customers we are all used to stealth mini price increases or shrinking product sizes.

This is what I have done successfully:
1. mini prices rises on just one or two services of 25-75p. Hardly anyone notices and if they do, the increase is too little to pass comment on - but I do this 2-3 times over 14 months(ish)

2. Add something new to the service and increase the price by more than the cost of the addition. So we turned our "too cheap" gel painting service into a manicure by completing the service with an exfoliation and hand massage. We told our clients that we had been able to take advantage of a salon "opening offer" and had stocked up, but now had to pay the normal product price, so we were softening the blow by adding in a bit more care and attention. Our clients loved us for doing this and fell over themselves to tell us that our prices were still competitive (so they'd checked...)

For one or two treatments, if a client asked about a new (to them) service I might say "well the price will be going up soon but at the moment it's still X until I need to order new stock". Once I've run this possible price rise past 2 or 3 people, I then tell my regulars that a treatment will be increasing in cost so that they can "take advantage of the old price", I might also say " I stocked up when there was an offer on and passed the saving on, but they haven't run the offer again so I when I reorder I'll have to increase the price".

We've also worked hard to add even more value to the customer experience. We've had favourable comments over our range of teas, nice mugs, pretty towels and lovely products and I feel that we've nipped a lot of potential grumbles in the bud by making our clients feel that they are sharing in our success journey.

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