7 Essential Tips for Creating a Successful Pricing Strategy

Being an independent beauty professional in your own salon studio is an exciting and gratifying venture. Make sure your pricing strategy is on point to maximize your earning potential!

As a salon suite owner, you can enjoy the perks of schedule flexibility and creative freedom. But one of the most rewarding benefits as an independent beauty professional is financial freedom. To give your revenue a boost, it is vital that you are charging your clients correctly.

1. Count the Costs

Counting the Costs
Source: nopparat

The first step in setting your prices is to consider the going rates in the area, your expenses, your time and your level of expertise. Use local rates as a gauge for setting prices, and price based on your experience. It is also critical to consider your expenses to ensure that you are profitable. Remember, products, tools and overhead costs money. Lastly, your time is precious. It’s helpful to know the amount of time it takes you to perform each of your services.

2. Create a Time-Based Pricing Structure

Factor your time into your pricing. Make sure you know what even one minute of time costs you. Salon software provider, Timely, suggests calculating your ‘per minute’ rate to know what you’re charging for each service. Take each service and divide it by the amount of time it takes (example: $65 Cut/45 mins – 65 divided by 45 = 1.44). Stylist Gina Bianca uses a time-based pricing structure. She says time-based standards creates consistency and an excellent guest experience.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Setting Clear Expectations with Clients
Source: waldemarus

Provide thorough consultations with your clients. Pricing your services based off of your time and knowing how long your services take helps you create clear expectations for your clients. After consulting with your client and educating them on the process, you’ll know exactly how much to charge them and how long it will take.

4. Don’t Undercharge

Set your rates and stick with them. Do not undercharge for your service offerings. Using an appointment scheduling app or software can help with maintaining your prices. Value you what you do, and your clientele will follow suit.

“Get the confidence of the public, and you will have no difficulty getting their patronage… Remember always that the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten” – H. George Selfridge

5. Know When to Increase Your Prices

Beauty Expert Liz McKeon says to keep your prices up with the inflating costs around you. As you’re in business the cost of business increases (i.e., products, overhead, etc.). Maintaining your prices in the midst of inflating costs will negatively impact your bottom. McKeon recommends increasing your rates at least once a year and give your clients sufficient notice when doing so. Don’t feel bad when it’s time to raise your prices. Stylist Derek Cash says “Clients will understand. They’ll want to help you succeed. I had a friend who I was honoring my old pricing for, and I started to resent them. It wasn’t their fault. It was mine.”

6. Cost is Not the Only Deciding Factor for Clients

Sometimes beauty professionals may feel like they need to charge less to attract clients. McKeon shares that many clients are willing to a premium when they know they will receive things such as quality service, timely service, excellent customer service in return.

7. Know When to Discount Products or Services

Offering discounts to clients should be strategic. McKeon recommends using discounts for the following:

  • To encourage repeat sales
  • Bundling sales
  • During slow times to stimulate demand
  • Clear out outdated stock

Discounts should be planned ahead of time around your pricing strategy.

How to Get Referrals for Your Salon Suite Business

Word of mouth is a powerful way of growing your salon suite business and building your clientele! A New York Times study reported that 65% of all new business comes from referrals. Most consumers choose a service or product based on someone’s recommendation. Here are ways to grow your salon suite business with referrals.

Introductory Discount for New Clients

Provide a discount to attract new clients. Coupling the discount with exceptional service and a great client experience will leave them likely to come back and spread the word about you!

Reward Your Current Clients for Referrals

iStudio Salons Ft. Lauderdale Sunrise Plaza Esthetician

Offer incentives for your current clients when they send you referrals. Create referral cards that you can punch as they refer new clients. Give your client a discount or complimentary service when they complete their referral card. Be sure to tailor your incentive to match your client’s preference.

Share Your Business Cards

Share your business cards with your clients and ask them to share with their friends. In “Be A $100,000 Haircutter“, Ivan Zoot suggests taking the 500 business card challenge. In the challenge, you are to give out 500 business cards in one month (18 cards per day). For example, if you are a hair stylist or barber, Zoot recommends giving your card to the best hair you see. The thought behind this is that a person who already has awesome hair doesn’t mind spending money on it. Sharing this many business cards should result in having a busy month in the month that follows.

Leverage Social Media

Post your work on social media and tag your clients. Once a client sees their photo, this may encourage them to share their photo on their social media platforms as well. Incentivize your clients when they write a review of your business. Reward them for posting a picture of the service you provided on their social media account. Reviews and social media posts provide added exposure for your beauty business.

Run a Social Media Contest to Drive Referrals

Run a contest through your social media platforms to garner new clients for your salon suite business. Award the winner with a free service or offer a significant discount on their first booked service.

Cross Refer Clients with Other Beauty Professionals

Operating your business in a salon studio with a collective of independent beauty professionals provides the perfect opportunity to cross-refer clients. Cross-referrals can be mutually beneficial for all the beauty professionals involved.

Ask Your Top Clients for Referrals

Every beauty professional has their Most Valuable Clients. Elite Beauty Society recommends asking these clients to refer their friends. Their friends are likely to have similar characteristics as them and are likely to be people you’d like to have as your clientele. Elite Beauty Society also suggests placing your VIP clients in a special referral program and offer them exclusive rewards for referrals.

4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Tax Success

It’s tax time. Having some tax insight can help you make the most of your earnings by applying the right deductions and credits. Here are some useful tips as you prepare to file by Tax Day.

Organization is Key

The first step with getting ready to file your taxes is to keep your business documentation in order. Save the receipts related to your business expenses. Use business management tools such as a scheduling app to easily track income from your salon business . Tracking your income and expenses as you go makes filing your taxes easier!

Take Advantage of Tax Deductions

The money you spend on your salon business to make money can serve as valuable deductions. Your salon suite start up costs for items such as equipment, furniture, and products can reduce your tax liability. You can also claim other expenses associated with operating your business like advertising, website costs, rental payments, and supplies. Any expenditure related to your business is tax deductible.

Report Your Tips with Your Income

The tips you receive as a beauty professional is taxable income and you should report it on your tax return. The IRS has a guide that addresses tip income reporting.

File on Time

Make sure you file your taxes on time to avoid any late payment penalties. Penalties can be both a costly and unnecessary expense for a small business owner. Use an E-file software to conveniently submit your tax return.

Photo: Getty Images – Jamie Grill

5 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Followers

Social media platforms have proven to be successful marketing tools for many salon professionals. For Social Media Day, we have some tips to make sure your Instagram is optimized to help you grow your salon business and brand.

Start with a bio related to your salon business

Beginning with your Instagram handle name, make sure it is easy to understand and relevant to your business.

Next, consider your Instagram profile as the “home page” of your account. Your profile should be clear enough for visitors to grasp what your account is all about.

Keep your profile professional, if you want to infuse your personal life consider using Instagram Stories.

In the “Name” field in the “Edit Profile” settings consider using your location and professional title/service as this field is searchable on Instagram (i.e. Orlando Master Stylist, Maitland Esthetician, Winter Garden Balayage Specialist, etc.).

Make sure your bio contains the following:

  • a photo or your logo
  • profession/business
  • location
  • contact information
  • bio link that connects to your website or online booking.
Courtesy of BellaMaria by Lisa

Post picture perfect photos

Instagram is a highly visual social media platform that can serve as your online portfolio. Barber John Mosley (@popular_nobody) says that it’s essential to have a theme and great content for your Instagram.

Try capturing photos of your work in natural lighting or use a ring light. Use clean, consistent backgrounds free of clutter, large text, and distracting borders.

If you need to make some enhancements to your photos, we recommend FaceTune2 . It’s a great editor app and has loads of retouching tools.

Remember to make sure your clients are okay with you posting their photo. And when using watermarks, keep them small in size so that it doesn’t become a distraction from your awesome photo.

Courtesy of BellaMaria by Lisa

Know your target audience

Consider your current clientele and the kind of client you would like to attract. Take advantage of using hashtags relevant to your salon business and who you are trying to target. You can use up to 30 hashtags in your post. If you do not want the hashtags to be visible in the caption of your post, add them as a comment on your post.


Courtesy of BellaMaria by Lisa
Courtesy of BellaMaria by Lisa


Post consistently

One of the keys to maintaining and growing your Instagram audience is posting consistently. You want to keep you audience engaged and coming back to see more of your work. According to Later, the best posting frequency is the posting frequency that you can keep up with consistently.

Give your Instagram posts a boost

We recommend setting your Instagram account up as a business profile so that you can use the Promote feature. Promoting a post helps bring more exposure to your posts and profile. And it’s really easy to use.

How to promote a post on Instagram:

  • Locate the post you want to promote and select the blue “Promote” button.


Courtesy of Hair Nerd Orlando


  • Choose your goal.
Promote on Instagram


  • Select your target audience. You can have Instagram automatically target an audience similar to your current followers, target to people in a specific location, or manually choose the people, location and interests you want to target.
Promote on Instagram


  • Choose your budget. We recommend starting small and analyze your results at the end of the campaign.
Promote on Instagram
  • Once you confirm payment information, you can begin promoting your post.



John Mosley Talks Barbering and Social Media

7 Ways to Heat Up Your Salon Business

Summertime is here and in full effect. Here are some tips to heat up your salon business and to keep you productive during the slower summer months.

Think summer friendly services

Promote low maintenance hairstyles that enable your client to enjoy the sun and water with minimal effort. Consider offering a discount on products that protect their hair from the sun and minimize frizz or offer a bundle deal. As a nail specialist, make sure your clients’ toes are sandal ready!

Summer Ready Hair Source: Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com

Offer summer gift certificates

A summer gift certificate is a great way to get customers into your studio. Gift certificates help make gift purchasing effortless. According to Millennium Systems International, “72% of gift card holders spend more than the amount of their card, and on average spend 20% more than the gift card value. On top of increasing average ticket and overall revenue, a good gift card strategy can also increase your frequency of visit as well as client retention.”

Give your marketing materials a makeover

If you have downtime during the summer, use this as an opportunity to review your current marketing materials or come up with ideas to expand your marketing pieces. Small Biz Daily recommends working with a local web and graphic designer to give your salon business a fresh look.


Give your marketing materials a makeoverJacob Lund – stock.adobe.com 

Partner up with another beauty business

Pair up with a non-competing salon business to create an appealing beauty package for potential clients. Creating a package deal is simple as a salon suite owner in a collective with different independent salon and beauty professionals. For example, an esthetician could collaborate with a nail specialist to create a facial and manicure special offer. 

Partner up with another beauty business
Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com 

Offer summer promotions

Consider running promotions to avoid the summer slump. Try offering a special offer for first-time guests. You could promote a dollar amount or percentage off on their first visit (i.e., $10 off your first visit, 15% off your first visit). Encourage current clients to refer a friend and reward them with a discount or complimentary add-on service for doing so. Offer last minute specials on slower days through your booking app or social media posts.


Get your clients pre-booked for their next appointment before they get out of your chair. Make sure they are selfie-ready for their upcoming summer vacation or wedding. Provide an exceptional client experience to help increase retention.

Prebook your clients
AntonioDiaz – stock.adobe.com

Educate yourself

Invest in learning more about your craft during your downtime. Research upcoming classes or webinars. Slower times are also an excellent time to make sure you know the ins and outs of your retail products. Understanding all of benefits and features of your products can help you with retailing them to your clients.

8 Wine-Inspired Hair Color Ideas

In honor of National Wine Day, we are sharing our favorite wine-inspired hair looks from some very talented iStudio Salons hair stylists. So pour your favorite glass of vino and enjoy some intoxicating hair inspiration!

The redder the better ?#jamvillahair

A post shared by Orlando Balayage & Extensions (@jamvillahair) on

#pulpriot #fireball #wintergardenstylist #istudiosalons

A post shared by kayley_denison (@hairbykayley_denison) on

Is it Fall yet? ?

A post shared by Alexa Lamb (@alexalambstudio31) on



Continue reading “8 Wine-Inspired Hair Color Ideas”

What is a Salon Suite?

Salon suites are private, individual salons that operate in one building. Picture a salon that contains mini-salons. Salon suite concepts are one of the fastest-growing trends in the beauty industry. The popularity of salon suites is a response to salon professionals becoming independent.


Renting a salon studio is like a booth rental. But, salon studios allow salon professionals to have their own space and run their business their way.

Salon suites empower beauty professionals to run their own business without the overhead or hassles of traditional salon ownership. A stylist can jumpstart from salon employee to salon owner.

Salon suites usually contain a collective of beauty professionals including: hairstylists, barbers, skin care professionals, nail professionals, massage therapists, makeup artists, and waxing specialists. Salon suite concepts are a win-win for clientele as they can get many beauty services from one location.

iStudio Salons is a contemporary salon environment retrofitted around our salon professionals. iStudio Salons was created for salon professionals who desire to have artistic freedom, scheduling flexibility, and financial security.

We provide a beautiful salon environment with elevated amenities for salon professionals to bring their talent and clientele. Our world-class interior design, space planning, and lighting design complement and promote our stylists’ success and their clients’ experiences.

iStudio Salons Boca Raton Lobby

Within every iStudio Salons location, there is a loft-style common area, where salon professionals can greet their clients and go with them back to their studio. Salon professionals have secure 24/7 access and can decorate their studios to fit their needs and reflect their style.

iStudio Salons Salon Suite Studio

Stylists pay a weekly charge for renting a studio and have the ability to retail their own products and set their hours. Studio pricing varies based on the size of the studio (standard, large, and double) and also the location of the studio within the salon. Weekly charges include all utilities, cable, and WiFi.

Are you ready to have more freedom


$100,000 Haircutter Class with CLIPPERGUY Ivan Zoot

iStudio Salons kicked off April with a salon business education class led by Ivan Zoot aka the CLIPPERGUY. Ivan Zoot is a licensed barber, cosmetologist, and certified personal trainer.

Ivan has over 30 years experience in the beauty industry and holds Guinness World haircutting records – for cutting hair the fastest in the world, for making the most haircuts within an hour and for the most professional haircuts within 24 hours!

Ivan shared great principles to help salon professionals build and grow their business. A few of these principles included:

  • Managing yourself – get up early, rest, exercise, and carve out time for vacation.
  • Deliver excellent customer service to clients – provide value to your clients. Demonstrate your gratitude for your clients by giving them a handwritten thank you note.
  • Manage your appointments – be on time, use a booking app to help manage your appointments.
  • Rebook appointments – offer to rebook for each of your clients
  • Ask for referrals – Ivan suggested giving each client two business cards and ask them to send you two friends, every time.

Ivan’s passion was contagious and our salon professionals left inspired and ready to improve and expand their business!

Each salon professional received a complimentary copy of Ivan Zoot’s Be a $100,000 Haircutter book.

To order a copy of Ivan’s book, visit his website.

Special thanks to Booksy for sponsoring this educational event for our salon professionals.

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