One of the biggest pitfalls you’ll face when you start your own business is how much you should charge for your services. When you’re a newly-qualified therapist and you lack experience, it can be tempting, and understandable to price yourself on the lower end of the scale. But as time goes on, you’ll find that you’re working yourself into the ground to make ends meet if you keep charging bargain basement prices, and this is not sustainable if you want a viable business.
I recently raised course prices at the academy and I was so nervous doing it, but I realised that I could no longer offer my expertise, personalised care and attention, and quality teaching at the old prices.
So why do so many self-employed therapists (and small business owners in general) find it so hard to charge their worth, and how can you turn things around if you find yourself in this situation? Read on to find out!
When it comes to pricing, do you tell yourself these things?
- My customers just wouldn’t pay a higher price.
- I’m not sure I’m good enough to charge more.
- Times are hard and I don’t want to be yet another person asking people to pay more.
Why you need to stop undercharging-now!
- Your business won’t make any money.
- You’ll be forever working more and more hours to make ends meet.
- It hurts industry standards. If you provide your services at too low a price, it cheapens what you do and what other therapists do.
- You’ll attract problem clients. It can be tempting to think that you’ll get more customers if you price yourself low, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get quality clients. You’ll be stuck providing your services to clients who just want something cheap and cheerful, and even something for nothing; probably not who you imagined you’d attract when you started your business. If you don’t value yourself and what you offer, don’t expect other people to.
- Constantly offering deals and discounts makes you look desperate for business and cheapens what you do. Deals and discounts are a good way of filling up your appointment book at quiet times of the year, or when you launch a new service, but they should not become the norm for your business.
What’s up with customers who want everything cheap?
For every customer that happily pays you what you’re worth and is grateful for your time and expertise, there’s one that doesn’t really value what you do and just shops around on price. But let’s take Mr or Mrs Cheap and Cheerful out of the equation for the minute. There are two common reasons why people won’t pay a higher price for your services:
They genuinely can’t afford to
Money is tight these days, and for some people, beauty treatments are an unaffordable luxury. This makes sense, and these people might book in when they have a little spare cash.
They don’t get what you offer
You don’t ‘just paint nails’ or wax eyebrows. You might have spent hundreds of hours honing your skills on courses and on clients, and you’ve probably spent thousands on courses, and let’s not forget, treating clients is a big responsibility. Then there’s the long hours, the blood sweat and tears you put into building your business every single day, and sometimes having to juggle this with a family life and other responsibilities. Clients don’t see this, and our prices should reflect the value of what we do, our expertise, effort, and our desire to build a successful business for ourselves and to support our families.
How to take control and charge your worth, at last!
- Sit down with a notebook and write down what you offer, what makes you different from your competitors, what you do well, and how things could be better. This is a good starting point from which to think about your prices. Is there something about your business that makes you a more attractive proposition than your nearest competitor? In terms of the academy, I always say that our unique selling point is the caring and personal service we offer compared to some of the bigger training providers. We always keep classes small so everyone gets the individual attention and support that they need, and I’ve priced what we offer to reflect that.
- Don’t rely on word of mouth only to get customers. Much of your business will come from recommendations, but don’t be afraid to promote your business in other ways, like on social media, to spread the word about your services further afield. Note: Great social media pages will make you look busier, more popular, and more professional, and this will translate into you being able to charge more for your services.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Some people will try to negotiate cheaper prices or ask you to do things for free, but it’s important to remember what your time is worth and set boundaries. You wouldn’t go to a hairdresser and ask for a free haircut, and you wouldn’t walk out of Asda with a trolley full of stuff for free (well you could, but you’d get arrested!) so people shouldn’t expect you, a professional therapist and business owner, to offer something for nothing all of the time.
- Know your numbers. Make a point of getting to grips with what’s coming in and what’s going out of your business. If you don’t know where you’re at, you won’t be able to see what you need to do to improve things.
- Charge more. Once you know your numbers and how much you’re actually making, bite the bullet and bump them up. Yes, I know it’s scary, but you don’t want to be caught in the trap of charging too little and working too much forever. Imagine what it will be like to actually know you’re charging your worth. Imagine how much more motivated you’ll feel. Imagine being able to take days off and spend them with your friends and family, and not having to work every hour God sends? Well you can!
Want to be your own boss?
Train with us and get on track to starting your very own beauty business.
All our courses are taught in small groups which makes for a relaxing learning environment where you’ll get all of the attention you need. Steph, our academy director and trainer, has over 20 years’ experience in the industry so when you book a course with us, you’ll be perfectly prepared to be the most successful therapist that you can be.
For more information on any of our courses, call Steph on 07825337342.