Kelly's Counsel

This is the age-old question that gets asked in every lash forum every day of the week.  “What should I charge for eyelash extensions?”

Are my prices too high?  Wait, are they too low??

What would you charge if you were me???

What should I be charging????????

In the Lash Industry there are two camps about pricing. One believes everyone should charge the same prices or risk ruining the industry in a price race to the bottom.  The other believes you should charge whatever you want.

I’m going to take you through both arguments.  At the end, you will know EXACTLY what you need to charge.

Meet Debate Team A

These Artists say you should charge whatever you want to charge for eyelash extensions.  It is after all YOUR business! No one is telling Bunnings their sunloungers are too cheap! Debate Team A says you should set your prices by actually looking at your financials, your market and your skills.

Pricing is about what you are worth and the value you give, not just plucking a number out of thin air or charging $80 because Mary down the road does.

Meet Debate Team B

These Artists say the industry is saturated and we must all keep to the same price for our work. If people start to offer cheaper sets, there will be price wars and everyone will be undercutting each other and before we know it, the industry standard will be $20 a set!

Therefore, everyone MUST keep their prices above $150 for Classic and $300 for volume (AUD). Then clients will know what to expect and anything cheaper means the Artist must be crap or just starting out.

So who’s right?? Let’s dig into these arguments a bit more….

ARGUMENT – DEBATE TEAM A

When you ask the question “how much should I charge for eyelash extensions”, the Debate Team A camp will ask you questions in return. What are your costs? What do you want to earn?  Who are you marketing to?

I wholeheartedly believe this is the best way to set your prices. It’s not a quick 3-minute decision on what to charge, you need to break it down to work it out taking into consideration a fair few things, like:

  • What training have you done, what did it cost and how long did it take to perfect?
  • How long have you been qualified?
  • What have you done for professional development? How has this added value to your business?
  • Are you good at what you do? Would you give yourself a 5-star rating? If not, what do you need to do to bring yourself up to a 5-star rating and then could you charge more?
  • What does it cost you to actually work? Daycare? Rent? Stock? Parking? Electric?
  • What value are you giving your clients? What would you be happy to pay for that value?
  • Who is your ideal client avatar? What will she be willing and happy to pay?
  • What is your point of difference and what is that worth to your clients?
  • Are you outsourcing to anyone? What does that cost you?
  • How much does it cost you in advertising to attract each client?

…… lots to think about hey? So just charging $80 because Mary down the road does…really doesn’t make a lot of business sense. You have to know your figures, you have to know your worth!

ARGUMENT – DEBATE TEAM B

How many times have you seen lash artists (and sometimes even lash industry leaders) calling for everyone to charge the same price for eyelash extensions?  I’ve seen it and heard it so many times.  Debate Team B says we should band together and all charge the same to protect our value and our industry.

This is sometimes called cartel pricing, or price fixing. And it is illegal. Pretty much everywhere in the world.

In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) takes a very dim view of any kind of collusion between competitors in relation to pricing. See more here:  https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/cartels/price-fixing

In America, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects consumers in America. They also take a very dim view of any kind of collusion between competitors in relation to pricing. See more here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/dealings-competitors/price-fixing

The EU also has strict laws to protect free competition.  This includes laws against price fixing, cartels, and abuse of a dominant position.  See more here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/selling-in-eu/competition-between-businesses/competition-rules-eu/index_en.htm

So looking at the legal stuff….. an educated decision here would be to not price fix!

Is Lashing your hobby or your business?

Each year as you grow more and more skilled and have more and more experience, your prices should reflect this. You are a kickass business woman, this is not ‘just a job’. Charging the same as an hourly rate for an employee in this industry isn’t beneficial to you.

Say lash artists working for other businesses earn $25 an hour. If you charged just that and don’t factor in any of the considerations I listed, plus all the extras costs like tax and GST… how much does that mean you are REALLY earning an hour? The answer is – not a lot my friend.

What is the point of all the blood sweat and tears to run your own business if you are going to earn a lot less than doing the same job for someone else and probably working a quarter of the hours? You work your ass off. Charge accordingly.

When you are working out your prices, its easy to just think about “servicing hours”.  What about the hours you work but aren’t really “billable hours”? The time you spend working on your business not in it. You may do clients for 40 hours a week, but as a business owner I bet my bottom dollar that you end up working more like 70 hours a week!!

Think about all the time corresponding to clients and being on social media, ordering stock, doing your books, training staff etc. Do you want to work for free?  When you’re building a business there is a bit of a time investment required, but it’s a good idea to think about all these extra hours that need to be covered too.

You are on your way to huge things, you are full of ideas and passion and it shows in your creative work. Your clients love coming to see YOU. They have confidence in you, and you will have confidence in your pricing…. If you factor everything in properly and set your prices on the value you offer.

There is no shortage of people wanting lash and brow services. You will only feel the market is saturated if you don’t have anything to make you stand out and look different. By setting your business up properly and being methodical in your plans, you will know how to attract your target market and keep them. And your target market will be happy to pay your prices regardless of what anyone else is charging.

PEOPLE WILL PAY WHAT YOU ARE WORTH.

You are skilled, knowledgeable and an expert in your field, so sweetie…. you have every right to charge like one.

Even if you have just started out, or you only get to lash 4 hours a week and have only done one course and your skill level is still beginner… you are knowledgeable and skilled and about to get better every single day!

You should charge whatever you wish to charge. But it should be an educated decision and you do not need to justify your pricing to anyone… except maybe the government if you are caught price fixing!

Much Lash Love,

Kelly xxx