How to Price Your Makeup Services - QC Makeup Academy

“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

Competing with Established Makeup Artists

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

Target Makeup Clients

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 Fee Structure

This shouldn’t take much time. Don’t worry about taxes or playing around with pennies at this point. Just ballpark on what you should charge for your services. You’ll get to play with those numbers in a minute.

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.

Try Different Pricing Structures for Your Makeup Artistry Services

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 the 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:

Comparison chart for pricing makeup services

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!

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.

By offering some of these incentives, you can help get more clients through the door who will come back to you, again and again.

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!

Have you had trouble setting prices for your makeup services? Find out how to raise your makeup service prices as you gain experience!

Author Mireille Pitre

More posts by Mireille Pitre

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Diana M. says:

    This article was very helpful! Thank-you Mireille for posting this up! Even though I’m still a student under QC Makeup Academy, while I have been practicing on different faces, the subject of money has always come up. Some people (who I do makeovers for, for free), tell me that I should already start charging an amount while I’m still a student, but I’ve never been comfortable with that (although, to be honest it would help since at the moment, I don’t have an actual income, and… well, makeup is expensive!). But again, I’m glad I read this! It has really helped! 🙂

  • Lollypop says:

    This article has been of tremendous help to me. It has opened my eyes to be a proper business person. Thanks a bunch.

  • Bianca M. says:

    Thank you so much!!

  • Khaliya Abdul says:

    Thanks so much !!huge help !

  • Insiya Zakir says:

    While I was starting up being a freelance makeup artist, the issue in my region was that the other competitors charged a mere fee and used local makeup, not branded products for clients.
    It became very difficult to quote my price in the beginning because clients were used to using cheap makeup.
    I started off with a competitive price.. however, as I started getting orders, my fee increased bit my bit.
    I guess that is how we grow 🙂

  • Sonja says:

    Hi,am not a qualified makeup artist, last year did an elderly lady (86yr Young ) wedding makeup & hair as a favour,she looked beautiful. Had many lovely comments from friends etc.
    Was asked if I’d do prom makeup demo for 15yr old, has beautiful green/blue eyes,she asked for black eyeshadow & silver glitter! Tried to persuade her to go more natural but wanted black. Did as she asked & followed pic she showed me….
    Well it didn’t suit her,hid her gorgeous eyes. Mother said it looked like 1980’s eye make up,tried my best with her black eyeshadow (didn’t have this colour of my own.) was a bit hard to apply.
    When time to pay, mother asked how much & charged her £17. She was shocked at price & said should have asked how much before I started but she paid it. Was at house just over an hour. Do you think I over charged? My husband said not -£10 for hr £5 for makeup £2 for petrol.
    Would really appreciate some replies.

    • Adeline says:

      Hi Sonja! I just wanted to say that although you may not have a lot of experience, it is a good idea to let someone know beforehand what your pricing is. I think most of us go through this, you’re not alone! Personally, I don’t think you charged too much at all. 20 pounds is reasonable!

  • Gemma Mannering says:

    Whilst I was learning I would charge clients just £5 to cover some product that was used. Now I charge accordingly to what they are after for example a full face or just their eyes being done. I have just lowered all my prices for my business due to having a new target audience who are mums and people who simply cannot afford higher priced services, like me a mum I thought this would help people feel good about themselves without being short on money and since doing this I have had an amazing responds and a lot of people booking but it all depends on your target audience, how much people in your area charge and how much you would like to earn.

  • Jordan Garcia says:

    This article is so interesting! I would not have even thought about how the listing of services and the way they are displayed (whole numbers with no symbols) could have such an impact on your business. There’s just so much more that goes into pricing that you wouldn’t even think about! I’m definitely learned a few things after reading this, and I’m going to start researching what services cost in my area!

    Thank you for sharing this article Mireille!

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