When Should You Raise Your Rate?

hairstylists holding shears

Dasha Petrenko – stock.adobe.com

In creative professions, like cosmetology, hairstylists often deliberate when they should ask for a raise or start charging more for their services. It’s hard to know how much you should charge if there’s little to no transparency in the industry. So, if you think it’s time to raise your rates, don’t be afraid to talk to your colleagues. Ask some of your respected coworkers who’ve been in the industry for years how much they charge. Ask your coworkers who have been in the industry for as long as you have been.

Everyone values their work differently and hails from different backgrounds. You might find that your old schoolmate or coworker with the same skills and experience has already significantly raised their prices. That’s why it’s essential to have these conversations. 

People will pay good money to look good, especially if they know they’re in trusted and good hands. There’s a reason why beauty is a billion-dollar industry. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, hair stylists earn $14.27 per hour. If your hourly is your base pay, then you’ll likely also make a 20-percent tip for each appointment if your customer is satisfied. 

 hairstylist at register charging client

RomanR – stock.adobe.com

Depending on where you work, the cost of living can vary considerably, especially with the current rising inflation costs. Inflation can affect your living expenses, particularly if you live off a fixed income. If you live in a major city, like New York or Los Angeles, then your hourly wage should be significantly higher. If you’ve been in the business for a few years and have developed a style and steady client base, then this is also reason enough to earn more wages. 

Here are some signs that it’s time to raise your rates:

How will you know it’s time to raise your rate? You’ll notice when your appointments are no longer ebbing and flowing, and you get booked consistently; this is a big sign that you’re in demand. 

If you have answered yes to these questions, then it’s probably time to raise your rates. Raise your prices reasonably in the beginning. It can be off-putting to some clients to be charged $300 for a haircut from someone who is just starting out. Find out how much your services usually cost. You may have more leverage to spike your prices if you specialize in a specific style and brand yourself as the best shag hair stylist or highlights and color guru. 

Once you find your niche and style, you can build trust in your clients and reputation. Keep a hawkeye on your booking rate quarterly. Treat your work like a business, even if you work for a salon. If you have a consistently high booking rate, then you can hike up your cost for service quarterly; be cautious and do it incrementally, so you’re not losing clients. The goal is to retain and grow clients while not undervaluing your work. Start with a 10-percent increase in your rates. It may be noticeable to your clients but not enough to dissuade them from booking you if they are satisfied with your service. It’s a good practice to let your retainer clients know ahead of time that there’s been a slight increase in price. 

At Evergreen Beauty College, we value each of our students and teach them about building client trust and the business aspect of cosmetology and a comprehensive curriculum. Learn more about Evergreen Beauty College, what you will learn, and the philosophy of our staff and founders.



Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments