Charging per service is the industry standard–but if you're contemplating a change in pricing structure, Briana Cisneros makes the case for charging by the hour.
Briana Cisneros counts plenty of duties on her résumé— global educator, founder of Workshop Evolve, Wella Professionals color ambassador and stylist at Los Angeles- based Shannon Hair Salon—but one career choice holds steady: her pricing structure. She charges an hourly rate for all services, except cuts. “[I was finding that] there are too many services and products to break down,” Cisneros explains. “At the end of a client’s visit, when it’s time for her to pay and you’re trying to explain everything you’ve done—it all just feels too ‘car salesman’ to me. I started implementing [an hourly rate] with my color correction clients and quickly realized, as services became more di cult to define and so many more steps were involved in the coloring process, that this was the way of the future. I love the freedom it has given me in my business and art.”
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So how does a stylist determine her optimal hourly rate? Cisneros recommends trying 20 percent more than your haircut price. (If you don’t offer cuts, start by determining your daily, weekly or yearly income goal.) But be honest: How much would you pay yourself to do your hair? Do you need more education to improve your skills (and therefore boost your pay)?
Ultimately, Cisneros believes that if your business is healthy and growing, you should be raising prices at least once a year. “It’s not hard to justify charging hourly, and many services end up being close to what you were previously charging,” she says. “A few might go up, and a few might even go slightly down at first, but it feels very fair to the stylist and client alike.”
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Finally, if you’re contemplating making the switch to hourly rates, she advocates open and effective communication with your clients ahead of time. “Have a brief one-on-one meeting with each [client] before you start her service, telling her this will go into effect at her next appointment,” Cisneros recommends. “Pricing doesn’t have to be complicated—it just has to make sense.”
Some stylists charge “premium pricing” for in-demand time slots, like weekends and Friday nights. Briana Cisneros skirts the issue by prebooking clients on weekdays, instead of Fridays and Saturdays, to help fill slower days first.
• Improved client service
• Thorough services, sans compromise—thus boosting in-salon inspiration
• Easier cost-related communication with clients for greater transparency
• Better results and longevity
• Stable, predictable income
• Clearer expectations for clients
This story first appeared in the November issue of Beauty Launchpad. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.