Since 1960, the cumulative average percentage of inflation in the U.S. is over 90%. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator on, a haircut that cost $20 in 1980 should have the equivalent value of $58.41 in today’s marketplace. This report also states that the national average, based on consumer reports, for a haircut today is approximately in the $30 – $40 range, respectively. When in fact, there are numerous salons that still charge well under this range.

This is a fairly large discrepancy that gives us a glimpse that our beauty industry is behind inflation growth curves. We see this resistance to change reflected not only in pricing, but additionally, the slow pace of growth on salon business strategies, small business practices, and strategic skills training. To add to the discrepancy, we need to consider the increases in rent escalations, annual product costs increases, utility increases, the sway of marketing shifts, as well as the demanding needs of team development. These are just a few of the costs of doing business which add up to eat away at our profitability and our passion.

Based on conversations that I’ve had everyday with stylists and salon owners, most beauty professionals have not kept up with the basic inflation that other industries measure their metrics against. They’re driven by fear, lack of confidence, and a general misunderstanding of what components go into pricing structures.

The question is why…

  • Why is there an intrinsic fear in salon owners and stylists to raise service prices?
  • Why is the confrontation of a price challenge so scary to salon professionals, even when armed with every reason to raise pricing to readjust the imbalance of supply and demand?
  • Why are stylists afraid to lose existing clients when they’re losing them anyway by turning away two to four new clients every week because of being booked so far out?
  • On that note, why are stylists challenged in learning how to work with assistants to magnify their productivity?
  • Why do salon owners create obstacles when it comes to hiring assistants and utilizing them properly in order to increase revenue and raise levels of quality control?
  • Why do stylists evoke emotion to a seemingly unemotional concept?
  • Why are stylists so dubious about increasing their skill set in a structured way allowing them to justify higher prices due to better value propositions?
  • Why do salon owners and stylists not put into practice a powerful dialogue that solidifies their pricing policies and salon structure with their guests?
  • Why are stylists so resistant to calculate their worth in a documented and well tracked methodology?
  • Why do stylists have difficulty equating their time to their earning potential?
  • Why do salon owners not customize their pricing structures in a controlled tier system format within their businesses in order to grow their team individually? Especially since it’s a known fact that every service provider has a different level of skill at any given time?
  • Why have salon professionals not recognized that there needs to be a structure behind pricing that is based on business metrics and financial documentation?
  • Why is the national median income average (reported by the IRS) for a hairstylist still around $23,660 per year, which is $1,971.67 per month, equating to $11.38 per hour? Luckily, the average median income for condensed areas like New York, L.A., Washington D.C., or Boston is currently at a higher average of $37,120 annually, which is $3093.33 per month, equating to $17.84 per hour. Additionally, the average median income for areas within Minneapolis are approximately $24,435 per year, which is $2,036 per month, equating to $12.73 per hour. These are all very humble numbers, wouldn’t you agree?

These are not simply questions, but thoughts serving to inspire you to think about all of the stumbling blocks that you may have regarding price structures. I’d like to provide solutions as well as spark some conversation to most of these hurdles for you. Potentially, these conversations and thoughts can lead our industry to fearlessly take action to position ourselves in the marketplace with appropriate fees for our skill and time.

Our purpose is to balance our prices in a way in which we can start changing our industry towards more profitability. I want to inspire a commitment to ourselves to increase our income through growing our skill and managing our time strategically. Perhaps we can start driving those national averages upwards, making the accepted status quo in the beauty profession start to become a thing of the past. Celebrating our talent is more than just compliments on social media posts and tons of followers, but instead, equalizing where it truly counts… in our bank accounts.

Click here for Part 2: The 3 Fundamentals to a Successful Salon.

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