Going Pro? Here’s How to Price Your Bridal Hair & Makeup Services…
You’ve got the talent, you’ve learned the techniques from multi-award winning bridal hair and makeup artist Pam Wrigley so now all you need is to get those clients booked and start working.
The first step is to read our blog ‘Mastered Bridal Hair? Time to Get Paid! Our Top Tips on Going Pro’ where we take you through everything you need to know to get your bridal hair and makeup business up and running. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go. But hang on – time to get paid? That’s all very well and good, but how on earth do you even begin to figure out how much to charge?!
Valuing your bridal hair and makeup services (or any self-employed service for that matter) is a tricky one: too high and you’ll never get booked, too low and you’ll put clients off as well! And aside from that, there’s the old problem of your own self-worth at play. Are you really good enough to charge that much for your work?
If you’re ready to work but pricing your bridal hair and makeup services is leaving you stumped, read on…
Once you’ve trained with Create Beautiful Hair & Makeup Training and continued learning at home with our online bridal hair course, you can rest assured that your skills are up to scratch enough to go pro, if you’re willing to take the plunge.
It’s a scary prospect going ‘full time’ if you’re new to the industry but through hard work and perseverance you will get there!
Knowing how much to charge for your services is a tough call. Looking at comparables only works if you really know who to compare yourself to and more often than not, it’s hard to see your own talent from an outside perspective.
So where do you start?
At the very least, your pricing needs to cover your expenses and then have enough on top so that you’re making a profit too. Putting together a comprehensive makeup kit and buying all the hair products and styling tools you need is expensive, there’s no way around that and it also needs to be maintained. Aside from the kit itself, you also need to take into account the time you might spend working on a look outside of the wedding and trial, your travel costs, your own appearance (which needs to remain professional and well-kept at all time for a good impression) and of course any other business costs such as extra training, setting up a website, paying for your blogs to be written and advertising.
This may be overwhelming to see written out like this, but it’s better to do it now rather than later so that when you do start working, you don’t find yourself at a loss! Take some time to really think through what all of your business costs are and add them up to figure out your monthly needs. When you’ve done that, calculate how much you need to earn on top of that to make good and then divide the total between a realistic number of monthly clients to see how much you should be charging.
But of course, pricing yourself doesn’t (and shouldn’t, past a certain point) be only about making ends meet. Your pricing should also reflect the value of your services. The value of you and your time. This is where people start to struggle, as how can you objectively put a price on your own skills?
It’s difficult, but something that you’ll have to get used to as a self-employed bridal hair and makeup artist. Don’t sell yourself short and make clients think that your services aren’t worth much, but at the same time, don’t price yourself out of the market! It’s important to get this as right as you can from the get-go.
It’s in this instance that looking at comparables can be useful, so do your research. Start looking at other, established bridal hair and makeup artists working in your area and if you’re just starting out, price a little lower. It is really important to look at others near your location as where you are in the world will affect the price people are willing to pay. Don’t price your services at London heights if you live in a rural town and likewise, don’t sell yourself short if you live in a big city.
Don’t Price Too Low
A big mistake that new bridal hair and makeup artists make is pricing themselves too low.
Although it’s great to offer a competitive fee, a price tag that is way lower than the average will put people off. Believe it or not, if you value your services low, then so will your clients. When it comes to hair and makeup for their big day, brides don’t want a bargain – they want affordable and within their budget, but not cheap, as even if you’re incredibly talented it is likely that people who don’t know you will equate low pricing to low skills.
Also, even if you were able to pick up clients with low pricing, would this be feasible for you to work with and live off? As mentioned above, the cost of a hair and makeup kit is quite high so the fee you charge must cover this and your time. If you want to make it as a full-time hair and makeup artist, you’ve got to price your services realistically and it needs to be this way from the word go. You can increase your prices at a later date, but when you’re just starting to make a name for yourself, hopefully a lot of your work will come through word of mouth from happy clients referring their friends to you and the likelihood is that they will be interested in your services because they can afford the price their friend paid.
Know Your Fees & Be Upfront
Once you’ve figured out how much you want to charge, stick with it and make sure that you know your fees off the top of your head – no client wants to ask you how much something costs only to have you need to think about it. This is very unprofessional, unless it is a special request in which case you would be within your rights to say you will work it out and get back to them.
There’s no need to be secretive about your pricing, so go ahead and have a ‘prices’ page on your website where you lay out exactly how much your services cost, or at the very least a range or ‘prices from’. Most brides have a budget that they need to stick to, so leaving the money conversation to the end is pointless and can be a waste of time for both parties. Find out what the client wants and tell them how much it costs – simples!
Know What Your Price Includes
Hair and makeup – check. But what else? Does your fee include false lashes? Presumably so. How about hair extensions that you won’t get back? How much is the trial run? That needs to be separate too, but will the cost come off the final price if they book with you?
As a bridal hair and makeup artist, your job extends beyond making a bride look pretty on her big day and so do the costs. The time you spend with the bride is only the beginning – there is also travel time, setting up time and you may even be required to hang around for the reception (for an extra cost). When you take on a wedding, that’s you booked for the full day, even if the hair and makeup itself only takes a couple of hours, so keep that in mind and also remember to consider all the extras.
It’s OK to Work for Free
Obviously you’re not going to give your time away for nothing once you’re actually taking bookings, but working for free on projects or events that will further your skills or better your portfolio is worthwhile doing.
Before you take on paying clients, you want to be as confident as possible so offer to do hair and makeup for friends and family as practice. It’s also worth getting in touch with magazines, brands and other hair and makeup artists who inspire you to offer yourself up as an assistant – you never know what might come out of that and if you do well, this can often lead to paid work in the future.
It’s always good to keep your portfolio fresh too, so participate in photo-shoots with great photographers and models purely for the gorgeous images. Beautiful photos on your website and social media is one of the best ways to grab the attention of prospective clients, so every opportunity that comes up to do this, go for it!