Costs go up. That’s one of the realities of running your spa or massage practice, or any business for that matter. To avoid a decline in your own profitability, a shortage in cash flow or failure to meet revenue targets, you need to raise prices for your services and products to meet the inevitable hikes in rent, utilities, wages, marketing, supplies and more.
Even though you need to raise your prices, you don’t want to lose clients. While many clients -- many of whom may have their own businesses – will understand that you need to raise prices to cover your rising operational costs; a price increase can potentially impact your business. Even a client who doesn’t look for an alternative provider may need to cut back on sessions. Instead of a massage on a weekly basis; a client may opt for a biweekly treatment.
You can’t control how a client will respond to a price increase. However you can manage how you communicate it, so that most clients will accept the change, unless their own financial circumstances dictate otherwise. For starters, you’ll want to give clients reasonable advance notice. A month is a minimum amount of time to let clients know your charges are going up; but not more than two months. You don’t want to advertise changes so far in advance that your clients start to comparison shop. In addition to telling clients in person, put up a notice by reception or in the treatment rooms indicating that prices will be going up and the effective date. This way, no one can say they didn’t see it.
Don’t forget to notify clients who don’t come in a regular basis and so may not see notices in your spa or massage practice. When they call to book, mention the increase so there are no surprises.
Be Prepared for Questions
Price hikes may not matter to some clients and others might even offer support by letting you know that you deserve every penny. Still you should be prepared for clients who will question why the increase, why now or why it is what it is.
Before you notify clients, write out in a few sentences addressing why you are raising your prices and what value you intend to continue to provide to clients. This way, you won’t find yourself groping for words when someone asks.
As you are writing out your remarks, emphasize that the increase is about your customers: Indicate that in order to continue to offer the best service in terms of the most experienced professional therapists and estheticians, range of service options, hours to accommodate client schedules, highest quality products, and more, you need to adjust pricing.
You may want to characterize the increase as a percentage. It may be that your increase is actually a small percentage compared to increases in the cost of running your spa or massage practice. For example, your rent could be increasing 25 percent but your cost increase for services might be just 10 percent. You don’t have to go into a lot of details about your financial situation, but sometimes just being honest about your rising costs makes your increase more credible.
Talk about your core values and how you want to continue to maintain the highest level of service and that the price increase enables your spa or massage practice to keep growing to meet client needs.
Get your Team Up-to-date and On-board
Train everyone on your team about the price changes. The training provides your team with an opportunity to ask questions so they fully understand the rationale. This way, there will be consistency in the message about the increase from every member of your staff.
You Have Options
Raising prices is generally not an option. You need to do it to keep your spa or massage practice growing. However, you may decide in the end to give current clients more time to adjust to price changes and bring in new clients under the new pricing schedule. Also if a long-standing client is particularly disappointed in the price increase, you also can offer a discount on a package to convey your appreciation for their business.
Be firm in your decision to raise prices but be flexible to maintain good will.