I don't think I need to tell you that 2020 has been a tough time for the hairdressing industry, and coronavirus has brought unprecendented changes to the way we work.
Reduced capacity, longer working hours, increased costs, extra cleaning, PPE, and longer roots have been just some of the challenges that we have faced; and that's before we even think about the loss of earnings during the lockdown.
Many hairdressers have increased their prices as a result of Covid measures: but how much is it reasonable to increase your prices by? Change your prices by too much and you risk losing clients, but failing to look at your pricing strategy could affect your earnings during this difficult time.
If you're happy to absorb the extra costs that the covid crisis has caused, great! Your clients are bound to appreciate all of the extra work you are taking on to keep them safe (and the extra work you have to carry out to fix their lockdown hair!) - but your profits are likely to be affected.
How much of an increase is too much?
One salon in London increased prices for a standard cut by 83%, from £30 to £55 - an increase so great it warranted a mention in the national news.
If you're almost doubling your prices, your hard-earned clients are likely to ask some questions, and possibly look elsewhere. However, we all work to earn a living, and ultimately if that kind of increase is needed to cover the bills (and you can stay fully booked) it's the right thing to do.
The lockdown has made many people appreciate the work that their hair stylist carries out, and it is reasonable for people to understand that you are going to have to put extra work in as your business adjusts to 'the new normal.'
Ultimately, if your normally busy salon has empty stations for a reason other than the social distancing regulations, you've probably gone a bit too far with your price increase.
What is normal for the industry?
Ireland reported an increase month-on-month of 6.4% for the hairdressing industry - so that £30 standard cut mentioned above would have risen to just under £32 in July compared to the same month last year.
Several salons mentioned in the Mail article linked above have added a £3-4 surcharge for each appointment - and from the people I speak to this seems about standard to me too.
The whole experience for anyone visiting a hairdresser is very different to pre-lockdown, and it's obvious to any client as soon as they walk in (or wait outside!) that things have changed. A £3 charge for this seems completely reasonable to me, and I assume from how busy we all are, it seems reasonable to most of our clients too.
What are other people saying?
The National Hair and Beauty Foundation have been reported as saying that salons need to factor in the extra costs associated with the safety precautions, adding that: "Salons need to charge enough to cover their costs and make a profit, otherwise it's not a viable business."
But the UK's Minister for Business and Industry, Nadim Zahawi, warned that if salons put their prices up consumers will vote with their feet.
And that's sound advice - ultimately our customers set our prices - and the price they're happy to pay for our skills and effort is the right price. We all try to build good relationships with our customers, and an extra £3 or £4 to keep them safe seems completely reasonable. If your customers don't think it is, they will let you know.