How to Raise Your Barber Shop Prices
Without Losing Clients
It’s the time that every shop owner dreads but will never, ever be able to avoid—price adjustments.
If you’re running your own barbershop—whether you’ve been doing it for years or you’re brand new in the biz—this is a harsh reality that you’ll undoubtedly have to face over and over again. On one hand, it’s exciting—you’ll be making more money, you’ll be able to expand your business, better cover your expenses, etc. But it’s also terrifying. Why? Because with the rise in your prices comes the possibility that you could lose out on the market you’ve got right now.
And truthfully, because of industry-specific stigma, this process is sometimes even scarier for barbershops than it would be for other types of businesses in the beauty industry—salons, for example.
This stigma says that, more often than not, people are anticipating lower prices from barbershops than high-end salons because of the environment, the types of services, and more. That’s why raising prices in barbershops is such a struggle.
But, just like with anything in this industry, if you’re doing it right, taking the appropriate precautions, and being transparent, you can succeed—even if it’s scary. Here are some tips on raising your barbershop prices without losing out on your bread-and-butter clients.
Step 1: Know Your Worth—And If You Don’t, Figure it Out
This one sounds simple, but often, can be the hardest part of the whole process—know your worth and know the value of your expertise. Barbers are often stuck somewhere between the concept of providing lower prices for their services to draw people in and wanting to throw some respect on the barber game—and we’re here to tell you that you’ll never find a balance between the two unless you’re appropriately respecting your skills, your expertise, and the value you bring to your customers. So, think about it—really sit down and think about it. Consider your value. Consider your expertise. Ask yourself questions like, “where else can clients find this specific value?” or “how much is my expertise truly worth to my clients?”
Most importantly, do this regularly. Sit back and consider the way the industry has changed, the technology available, the continued education you’ve embarked on, and truly consider your worth in this industry. IT’s likely your prices are not reflecting your true value.
Step 2: Consider the Cold Hard Facts
Take a look at your books. Know your overhead costs. Understand the price of products and service. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to evaluate how you should price your services (and subsequently raise those prices). Are your current service prices covering the overhead costs you need to keep the lights on in your shop? Are you over-charging or under-charging for a specific service? Go through every detail you can to form a comprehensive look at what you should be charging, what you’re missing out on, and how your market is behaving. Take a look at your competition. What are they charging? Are they doing something better or worse than you? Cover your costs, know your market, and gain an understanding of the most important factors in your business.
PRO TIP: The cold hard facts include your time. Your time is valuable—nope, scratch that, your time is your value. Sure, your skill and your training are factors, but you’re literally charging people for your time, and you only have so much time in a single day. Remember that and give your time the credit it deserves when you’re allotting your cold hard facts!
Step 3: Remember Where You’ve Been—And How Far You’ve Come Since
This insightful part of the price raising journey is very important (and often can be sentimental). Take a good hard look at your current prices. When you set them, how experienced were you? What had you accomplished? What were you good at and what did you need practice on? Now, take a look at where you are now—do those prices match your services still? If it’s been some time since you updated your pricing, then the answer is probably no. Have you continued your education? Gained new licenses? Become more experienced and more skilled in a particular service? Hired on specialists? Probably so. Think about where you started with those prices and how far you’ve come—the two likely don’t coincide anymore.
Step 4: Math it Out
Get out the calculators and crunch some numbers—or, if math really isn’t your thing, find an accountant to help you with this step. Take everything you learned so far—your cold hard facts, your change in value, your competition, your market, your costs, your profits, etc—and get to the math portion. Figure out what you need to cover your costs, maintain a profit, meet your goals, and beat out your competition.
Step 5: Give Your Customers Plenty of Warning (and Time to Adjust)
Don’t try to sneak in your new prices overnight, in the dark, when no one is looking. Be upfront about what you’re doing. Announce your new pricing on your social media or website, give people a date that you’ll be implementing it, and be sure there’s plenty of notice. Tell your clients with already booked services that this change won’t affect them. The more transparent you are about your change in price, the better off you’ll be when it comes to client loyalty.
Step 6: Offer Your Regulars Some Kind of Incentive to Stay On (a Little Discount Never Hurt Anybody)
If you’re still a little concerned about losing regulars, try offering discounts or deals to incentivize people to stay. We give this advice cautiously because it can be easy to overdo when it comes to discount—but, if you’re being careful and ensuring your customers know that you’re offering them a limited-time deal (and that they too will be expected to pay the increased rate soon), then you’ll be good to go.
Step 7: Just Do it Already!
Seriously, just do it already, and don’t feel like you have to have some apologetic explanation. Sure, it’s fair and transparent to be open with your clients, and you should be—but be firm. You’re not apologizing for raising your rates, it was time! You’re not sorry that your prices are going up, you’re confidently increasing them.
If you’ve taken the necessary steps to raise your rates and feel good about the reasons behind those increases, then just do it! Sometimes, you just need to take action—take it boldly and confidently.
Step 8: If You Haven’t Already, Make it Clear That Your Prices and Rates Are Subject to Change
Truthfully, clients are most likely to get upset about rate changes if they hadn’t considered it was a possibility. And in a way, that’s not entirely your fault—people should know that as you advance in your skill, your rates will advance, too. But, it is your responsibility to ensure you’re being as transparent as possible with your clients. Not only will they appreciate it from a financial standpoint, but from a brand loyalty standpoint, too. People are far more likely to work with brands and companies that they trust, that they don’t feel like are trying to pull the wool over their eyes. So, if you’re telling your customers fro the start—in person, with signs up in your business, on your website or social media, etc.—that your prices are not static—they’ll definitely be more open to the change when the time comes.
Never Stop Evaluating & You’ll Never Stifle Your Success
See? Raising your rate doesn’t have to be a life-altering, career-ending, stressful phenomenon—in fact, it can be pretty easy so long as you’re doing it correctly. Our best advice to finish this up? Never stop evaluating your experience, your place in the community, and the services you can offer. Be honest, be transparent, and be sure of yourself—that’s the key to maintaining clients in the first place.
Looking for more advice on how to best run your barbershop, hone your skills, and stay up to date on the latest barbering trends? You’re in the right place. Check out our regularly updated blog here to stay in-the-know for all things barbering industry.