Guest blog: how to price your make-up services

Stephanie Burns applying make-upProfessional make-up artist Stephanie Burns, who won Professional Beauty’s Make-up Specialist of the Year 2017 award, reveals how you can price your make-up services to attract new clientele while also remaining competitive.

One of the things I struggled with most when starting out as a make-up artist was pricing my services. This type of service is dependent on so many different factors that it makes sense to do your homework and take your time figuring out what’s the appropriate price to charge.

Here’s what I did to make sure I was pricing my services correctly:

I researched my main competition

Whether you're a salon owner or a freelance MUA, check out your competitors and get a feel for the price range locally. If you set your rate too low to begin with it's very difficult to raise it later, regardless of how good you are, as clients will now associate you with that cost. When checking other make-up artist’s prices, take into account their location, years of experience and level of expertise.

I identified my target market

I thought about the type of service I would be offering and if it would suit the clientele I wanted to attract. Don't be afraid to ask your existing clients what type of packages they would like to choose from and what they would expect to pay for this, their answers may surprise you. 

From there you can work out which make-up services you'd like to offer, but bear in mind how much time will be spent and what skill level is required before setting a price for each. For example, bridal make-up application usually takes longer and requires more advanced skills than a straight-up beauty make-up, so you will need to show that in your pricing structure.

I made sure my expenses were covered

By this stage you should have a rough idea of what you will be charging but now you need to make sure it covers all your expenses. This is the aspect that most clients are unaware of when they’re paying for make-up, but if you don't factor it in then it just becomes a very expensive hobby.

Expenses can vary greatly – if you're a salon-owner you'll have rent, rates, insurance and wages to consider, and if you're mobile you’ll have vehicle costs, petrol expenses and so on. Not to mention kit replenishment, advertising, phone costs...the list goes on.

I review my prices regularly

And finally, don't forget to review your prices every once in a while. Your business expenses will rise due to inflation, but you’ll also want to upgrade your kit and need to pay for more training – your experience will grow as time passes. Your clients will value all of this and understand that as your ability to provide top quality, professional make-up services increases, so too will your pricing.

Image: Stephanie Burns with her Make-up Specialist of the Year trophy at the Professional Beauty 2017 Awards