“So I’m thinking of charging 60 bucks for a makeover. Do you think that’s a good idea?”
At QC, we’re asked these types of questions quite frequently. The fact is, we’re never going to be able to answer that question straight-up, because pricing your makeup services depends on so many different factors!
Many makeup artists struggle when it comes to charging their clients for their services. It’s a tough call! On the one hand, if you charge too little you can be perceived as “cheap”. On the flip side, you don’t want to be too expensive for the area, either!
So how can you figure out the best pricing for your business that will help you attract new clients while staying competitive? Well, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started in the right direction!
Do Your Research
The first rule of pricing your makeup services is to know what your peers are charging. So first things first, take some time to look up other makeup artists in your area and make a list of all their prices for different services.
Odds are, you’ll find a pattern pretty quickly. Likely you’ll find that most of them are within $5 to $10 of each other for similar services.
Now, you want to go a step further than simply listing your competition’s pricing. Also make a note of their skillset, years in service, etc. since all these factors will affect how they’re perceived by customers. After all, a business that’s been open for the past 20 years and homes a veteran celebrity makeup artist can realistically charge more than one who just opened its doors less than a year ago!
So, when researching competition, try to list all of the following:
- Complete price list
- Years in business
- Location (are they home-based or do they have a professional studio?)
- Experience level of the artists
- Special offers, discounts, etc.
- Portfolio Quality
Once you have an idea of what your competition is charging, take some time to ask your target audience what they would like to see from your makeup business. Now of course, most of them would like cheaper services. But that’s not the point of this exercise.
Your competition all likely have a list of very similar services they offer. Are these the types of services your clients would like to see? Maybe your clients would like additional services you haven’t thought about, or they would like different combinations or package deals.
Getting your clients on board early can help them be on your side once you publish your price lists.
Set up a Fair Structure
Once you have an idea of what you *should* charge based on your area, the local competition, your experience level, and your clients, you’ll want to sit down and map out your own services and a fair price for each.
This shouldn’t take much time. Don’t worry about taxes or playing around with pennies at this point. Just ballpark what you should charge for your services. You’ll get to play with those numbers in a minute.
Use Different Pricing Strategies
You’ve got your rough price list. Looks a little boring? That’s ok, let’s take care of that right now.
Remember, these are the prices you’re going to list on your professional website. You want them to be attractive to clients!
Those Pesky Symbols
Have you ever gone to a restaurant where the menu has a simple two-digit number next to each item, but no cents, and no dollar sign? That’s very much done on purpose. The $ or € is a scary symbol to people: it gives a more urgent sense that they will soon be parted from their money.
So, when listing your services, try rounding prices up to even numbers and don’t use those “dollar” symbols. Simple number values will be more enticing to your clients—and it still looks professional!
Playing with dollars and cents
Now, there are many theories out there that argue the .99 cent or .95 cent rule. This argument is that if you reduce the cost by a penny to lower it, say, from $40 to $39.99, the customer will see better value of that second price. I’m not a big fan of that tactic because it’s been pretty well discredited in today’s world, but you can certainly give it a try if you want to!
Regardless of your preferences, the key here is to make your prices seem as unintimidating as possible.
List from Highest to Lowest
Most businesses will list the least expensive service at the top, leading to the more expensive ones. Now, if you list them the opposite way (meaning, the more expensive services first), the client sees services decreasing in price! So by the time she sees a $40 makeover, it seems like a much less expensive option to an $80 makeup lesson. All of a sudden, she’ll be more attracted to that $40 price point.
Compare these two lists, for example:
Both these lists show the exact same services at the exact same cost (minus a penny on the left column). But which one looks less intimidating to you? Which list do you think your clients would respond to?
Offer Package Deals
Now that you have the base prices for all your makeup services, try to think about different package deals or offers you can use to get those clients through the door. The key here isn’t to de-value your price list, it’s to give your clients value for money, so that they will give your business a try… and then keep coming back!
You might consider:
- Offering service bundles at a lower price point
- Offering discounts for friends or family who book back-to-back appointments (or larger discounts for larger groups)
- Starting a loyalty program for returning clients
- The sky’s the limit!
By offering some of these incentives, you can help get more clients through the door who will come back to you, again and again.
I only have one caveat for package deals: be ready to honor them. Once you offer a discount or a loyalty incentive, it’s a commitment from you to follow-up on that promise. Going back on your word in these kinds of situations can seriously hurt your business.
Give it a Try!
Here’s a bit of good news: with everything online today, you can very easily play around with your pricing lists whenever you’d like. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have your price lists printed out on any other type of collateral, so just go ahead and give it your best shot.
Odds are you’ll make some tweaks and modifications to your makeup service pricing at first, but I’m confident you’ll quickly find a structure that works for you!