As a beauty professional, I hear a lot of things regarding price increases -- from clients, from co-workers, from other beauty professionals, and of course from your average consumer.
My clients -- They understand that although I price my own services, those prices are set by a multitude of things. *I* may be the only one who gets a say in those prices, but they reflect my ongoing education, increasing skill level, cost of (good, quality) product, cost of living, and most importantly, they reflect my dedication to your health & safety. In working for myself, *I* am the only one who can give me a raise, and for the most part, my clients understand that. Who would work for years on end without a raise, even when your out of pocket costs go up?
(Some of) My co-workers -- Most of the ladies I work with understand their value and charge accordingly. One or two haven't adjusted their prices in many years (one did about a year ago, after 8 years of not raising them, and is still not charging what she should be). They are, in my opinion, not only doing themselves an injustice, they are doing their clients an injustice. It's an overall perception to many -- by not charging what you're worth, you feel forced to take on clients you don't necessarily want to take on, and may end up working more hours than you should be. This will NEVER be me.
Other beauty professionals -- This one is two-sided. Some of them fully understand their worth & charge accordingly. Some do not; these pros are constantly trying to run specials (sometimes using those discount sites - ugh), work extra hours, and take on high-stress clients so they can make ends meet. I've been in business over 10 years (as a booth renter, no less!), and have NEVER run a special. Sure, I occasionally will throw in a little glitter or a decal for free (my choice), and in the early days, I gave out the VERY OCCASIONAL free manicure (which cost me very little in product and time, and almost always ended with an upgraded service, and even some new clients).
Average consumer -- For blogging purposes, I will stick to the "consumer I know"; that is, those who walk in off the street, asking for my services, and those who cold call me, asking for services. I find that, unless these people are referred to me by a current client or other beauty professional, they usually think I charge too much. The problem with this, as I see it, is that they are trying to compare me to their (for lack of a better term) "corner chop shop"... and there is *NO* comparison. The services at these places do not rate the same as mine. It's like comparing Taco Bell to having a true, authentic, home-cooked Mexican meal. Of COURSE I charge more; I'm WORTH more... and if they can't see that, they're not worth my time.
For those of you who are "the general public", it is time you see the difference between the corner chop shop and a true Beauty Professional, as well as why we charge more. Basic things you should be looking for are: overall salon cleanliness (sweep, dust, etc), all products in original containers, all licenses posted so you can see them (and up to date), disinfectant in jars that are not cloudy nor full of debris, foot baths properly cleaned in between clients (no, spraying the foot bath and wiping it down is NOT "properly cleaned"... what about those internal pipes/jets?!??! EW!), and new or properly sanitized/disinfected/stored implements. For the record, sterilization is NOT required, nor is it regulated within the beauty industry; just because the tech opens a "sterilization pouch" with implements in it in front of you doesn't mean those implements were sterilized properly!!! The biggest indicator of a good salon? One where the tech will answer any & all questions you have about their services, state rules & regs, and their disinfection procedures. If they can't, or won't... run. If you have an questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call the state board (Oregon's can be found here); they can answer any questions you may have.
Beauty professionals should be reevaluating your service menus every couple of years (industry average for price increase is every 1-2 years); see what's selling & what's not, what product costs have gone up, where your overhead is at, etc... And, please please please, TAKE SOME TIME OFF ONCE IN A WHILE! :) It is my genuine hope that you will not only see your own value, but that you will charge accordingly for it. Yes, you'll probably lose a few clients, but in my experience, you'll also gain more who actually value you for what you're worth (work smarter, not harder).