There are some cookie cutter shops that offer men’s cuts for $10 and the reality is that they'll always exist; someone will always try to highjack a sale in order to gain a customer. Ultimately, this gives you two specific options: 1) you target marketing to those specifically seeking your services or merchandise (which could limit the amount of income potential) or 2) it forces you to change the way you deliver your service or merchandise.
I still remember the summer that our local salesmen were having a 2 for $10 deal. When the competitors who were selling at other barbershops heard of this, they changed their pricing to a 2 for $8 deal. What eventually happened will blow your mind: all the "competitiveness" drove the pricing down to as little as $2 an item which made it very difficult for our team to make a profit. What would have been your approach here? For our guy, it boiled a desire to change his retail approach and ultimately brought him to add items to his retail business week by week which created a phenomenal bundle package (some of the items even stayed at that $2 per deal.) This not only made his customers happy but allowed him to mix some new methods along with older ones, letting him sell the old “item” coasters he would have had leftover.
It’s not always a bad thing to be at a lower price point but you have to have good reasoning that's supported by an action plan. There’s always a difference between smart lower pricing and well...not so smart lower pricing. Larger franchises offer discounted haircuts to attract new clients, but in most cases, they offset the cost with up-selling or retailing. The difference should be in the experience, but in most cases, they're taught to sell really well. If you could pay $29.99 for a service that included take-home products, would you? Of course, you would! Smart barbers will give you the $10 haircut but include a $19.99 bottled product to meet the minimal per person ticket price point. This is great, but think about how much more potential there is in adding additional experiences. Start with products and move on to improving the experience.
With barbershops undercutting services for minimal dollar gain, it would seem that this is a disadvantage, but that couldn't be further from the truth: this is an advantage to your focus. The best thing for you to do as an owner or professional is price match and then go above and beyond to show them what they're missing out on at that price point. Seems a little confusing? Let's clear it up. If you’re price matching, you’re in a position to show clients that you recognize what customers are already paying (meaning "the other guys pricing") but more than this, you’re in a position to show your client that the cost of the same haircut is slightly lower than your standard based off of the amenities you offer. For example, at our barber saloon, we only use high-quality fresh linen towels for all types of services rendered to our clients, including the conclusion of any service, so that our clients constantly feel the “freshness” they would feel as if they were on vacation or even home relaxing with fresh linen sheets, comfy PJs, etc. So now, even at the same price point, our experience is already better than the shops that use the non-washed per client, stinky neck dusters. The point is, this makes us more competitive without cutting costs.
Take the "salesmen" story as an example once again, what creative tactics did he add (or what kind can we even take away) to give the competitive edge? How do you make your clients remember your establishment or service positively, long after they leave? How can you offer your guests a unique experience that will offset the cost of a more expensive service? Things like techniques, remembering names, birthdays & conversations are great but what more should be done? You will never be competitive if you never update the way you operate. You may have asked yourself, what are people paying for haircutting services and how much should I charge? Although this is a great question to think about, the better question to ask, "What am I offering (or not offering) that will make people pay top dollar for me?" Take five minutes to write down some ideas and then turn them into actions.
Photo: Shutterstock | Jacob Lund
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At 15 years of age with an opportunity to apprentice, Cifrèdo's first assignment was tearing down & restoring every pair of clippers in the drawer of his barbering mentor. After 7 years of hands-on experience, Cifrèdo humbly ventured off to open his own first two chair location. Now in year twelve, Cifrèdo'zTM Barber Saloon offers world-class services for their diverse clientele with a fashionable standard of excellence & experience.
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