Beauty work is a skilled profession, and stylists are trained professionals. Most industries acknowledge this training by charging an hourly rate based on experience and ability to deliver. Salons, on the other hand, tend to bill by service — and this is where everything goes wrong. If you hire experienced stylists but assign service-based fees, payroll will eat into your profit margins sooner or later.
The simplest solution is to charge clients for stylist time or combine the pricing strategies. Simple services like blowouts can still have standard pricing rates, while complex tasks like color corrections, hair extensions, or event styling should use hourly rates. If your stylists need to be on location, owners must include travel time in their rates.
Planning your pricing structure is the first step, but you’ll also need to work with service providers to ensure they understand their financial responsibilities to the business. Communicate expectations clearly, in terms that make sense for them — rather than saying “bring in $1,000 of revenue,” you may say “book five highlight appointments.” That subtlety can make all the difference in getting everyone on the same page.