How to Price your Extensions for Profit

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The third Great Lengths Coffee Talk session has taken place, with an inspirational and informal webinar hosted by James Henderson of the multi-award-winning M Hair Extensions in Nottingham.

With over 25 years of experience in hair extensions, M Hair Extensions is one of only a handful of Great Lengths salons that have been awarded Elite Status - the highest status achievable. James is also the brains behind the global collaboration between Great Lengths and the Little Princess Trust, which gives clients the opportunity to donate their used hair extensions to support children with cancer. 

The hour-long chat, titled ‘Pricing for Profit’, is part of a business focused series of free online seminars hosted by Great Lengths, designed to inspire, educate, and help grow salon business. Speaking with passion and enthusiasm on the topic, James’ clear-cut message during the session was that salons and stylists needed to be confident in their pricing structure to attract and retain clients. From the precise calculation of overheads and profit margins to maximising consultations, retail sales and aftercare, he urged salons not to sell themselves short.

We’re all good at what we do – we’re artists. The pricing and the hair itself are just ingredients of what you are producing. It is a bit like being a chef – what you turn it all into is what makes you, you! Do not try to do things on the cheap because if someone wants cheap, they will go somewhere that is cheap. Charge what you are worth, and you will get the clients that you want.

With stylists across the UK and Ireland tuning in for the webinar, highlights included the following:

Do your maths…

To determine your pricing, work out your hourly rate based on your monthly overheads, break down how many hours you work in salon and that will then give you your hourly rate. Then add on the cost of the hair, styling, and aftercare and how much profit you want to make on that service. I do not work it out solely based on time because the better you get, the quicker you will get, so if you are looking at it from a time basis your pricing would go down as you improved! When you have worked out your price for a particular service, stick to it and that way, your profit will increase as you get quicker. Do not worry what other salons are charging – work out what you want to charge and stick to it.

If you are just starting out and want to build your client base, you need to make sure you are not overcharging on your profit margin. Be realistic on your pricing and look at your core clients – what are you aiming for and where do you want to be in the market? Not everyone wants to be Elite or Platinum – a lot of salons are happy to do extensions as an add-on service, so it just depends on where you want to be in the market.

Quality comes at a price…

If you want to be the best and give the best service, you need to price accordingly, so I make sure my service is second to none. More expensive hair is better quality – if you want quality, you pay for it. Great Lengths is a premium brand – when you see the work that goes into it, you begin to understand that good quality costs money.

With regards to discounts, I find that offers can be problematic because you tend to get clients waiting for them and they will only book their next appointment when they know a discount is available. They do not become the regulars that you want that come back and keep the business going.

Insist on a consultation…

We get so many enquiries on social media asking how much it costs for a full head of extensions. You cannot price a service like this without first seeing the client’s hair – you need to feel it and colour match it, so you are going to have to see them at some point. If someone is serious about extensions, they will make the effort to come and see you for a consultation.

What I will do is offer a price range to people who enquire about the cost and say that extensions cost from £X to £Y. A lot of people might only have £300 to spend on a full set so I do not want to waste their (or my) time if we are out of their price range. Tell them the minimum price and if they cannot afford that, you are both saving time in not booking a consultation.

Offer finance options…

Extensions are a premium product and can be expensive, so if you can offer to spread that cost, that can be a deciding factor for the client. Everything is financed now – your phone, your car – so why not your hair? We offer a 0% finance plan, and it has worked well for me. Make sure you do it the correct way – you must do your homework, so register with a reputable finance company and go through the FCA. We pay the finance company a commission and the clients get to pay the total bill back over six months with a 10% deposit and it works well. We get clients coming in off the back of that and even if they end up not taking the finance option for whatever reason, they still get the extensions done. It is great for cash flow because you get that lump sum straight away and the client pays back the finance company. You are not waiting for six months – you are guaranteed to get your money and it is the finance company taking the risk.

Educate your clients…

Educate clients on the ground – talk to them about the ethicality of the hair and explain the processing of the hair. There are videos that you can watch on the processing and the amount of labour that goes in to get the product. The client needs to understand the brand to understand the pricing. Ensure clients are aware that for a manufacturer to call a product ‘real hair’ it only must contain 5% real hair. Great Lengths guarantees 100% - when the client knows this, it helps them understand why they are paying what they are. Give them as much information as you can, and this will help justify the pricing structure.

Donate your used extensions…

The Little Princess Trust is an amazing charity, and it is something we can all be part of. It does not cost you anything and it will help generate more business. It is a fantastic feelgood thing to be involved in – it is such a worthwhile cause, and you really are changing lives. When I started the collaboration in 2015, it was always my ambition for this initiative to be launched globally. Great Lengths is in 60 salons all over the world and the Little Princess Trust can now operate in all these countries, receiving donations and helping children in places that they could not reach before.

Create opportunities to keep the client returning…

Aftercare is so important. A follow-up blow-dry two weeks after extensions are applied gives the client the opportunity to raise any problems, however small, which may ruin their experience if left unaddressed. A lot of clients are apprehensive about managing the extensions themselves, so this helps put their mind at ease and gives you that extra edge.

As well as a routine blow-dry, make sure you include removal in your pricing structure because it gets the client back into the salon; you can remove the extensions correctly and donate the hair, but you can also get them rebooked. You want to keep getting them back as much as you can. It is all about building that rapport with the client – do not just do their hair once and wave them out the door, you want to create opportunities to keep them coming back into your salon.

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