Has the salon industry gone mad?

MaryAnnPNovember 18, 2003

I just called my salon to schedule a haircut and was told that my stylist has raised his prices. The cost of a haircut is now $70.00 - can this be right?

I am outraged at the cost that decent stylists are charging these days.

What really gets me going is the tip on top of this. If a stylist or even the salon is charging $70 for a 30 minute haircut then forget the tip...he's making his money in the cost of the cut. I mean really...why am I tipping him for a service that he charges me high prices for?

I've read in other places where people tip because of "good" service...isn't that what the $70 is for? If he is commission only - then wouldn't the $70 cover his fees. I'm just upset that this tipping thing has gotten so out of hand.

I'm a business owner and provide a service to my clients - but yet no one tips me and the reason is because I charge them for my services.

Sorry to vent - I'm just amazed that people pay this kind of money to get their haircut and they tip on top of it. Maybe I'm cheap or maybe the whole industry has gone mad.


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Marispel, it's supply and demand. The basic hairstylists around here charge $40-$45. Then the upper tier charges as much as they can. If you get popular and busy, why not raise your rates? I'm in the greater L.A. area, so for the best stylists you're paying hundreds of dollars. But you have the choice to stop going to him and go to someone else.

If I could find a good person close by who has talent I'd gladly pay $70-$100. As it is I cut and colored my own hair last time - frustrated at the lack of talented people in my area.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2003 at 4:00PM
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I need to hug my stylist next time I go...she charges $27.00 for a wash, cut and blowdry, and she is good. I've been going to her for 15 years. (oh crap...I'm so old!)

I always tip her 20%.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2003 at 7:37PM
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If price guaranteed a good haircut that's fine.. but I"ve had terrible cuts for $50 and great cuts at Super Cuts for $14 - go figure! Sometimes salons even charge extra for a conditioner, now come on, for a tablespoon of liquid they add another $5-- when that happens I don't go back. Now it's almost like going to a restaurant,, if they ask do you want a conditioner,,,better ask "how much will that cost".
But I agree, the Salon Industry has gone mad mad mad.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2003 at 4:30PM
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Well, I just got back from the salon and got my hair highlighted; cost $100.00. I decided not to get my haircut because that was $70.00.

So there I am getting my highlights rinsed out and the shampoo girl asks who do I go to next. I told her I didn't know - I didn't make an appointment for a haircut. So she spends the next few minutes at the appointment desk and comes back to me to say that someone can blowdry & "style" my hair for $25.

WHAT???? I told her I am not paying $25 for a blowdry and told her it was ridiculous. She then says...Have you not been to our salon before?

She finally directed me to this back area where I could blow dry my own hair for free....well thank god for that.

I'm over this - $100 for highlights and then they wanted to charge me to fix my hair. I'm writing a letter to the owner announcing my disgust. Yes, they do good hair - but rapping us for hundreds of dollars is just ridiculous!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2003 at 10:01PM
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Marispel, that sucks! Yes, charge us what you charge, but give us some service please. I've never seen what you describe but I sure can believe some salons do that.

It's like when you go to Charley Brown's - a chain steak restaurant. You order a steak for $20-something bucks, but if you want a baked potato or another vegetable they charge you extra. Excuse me!?

Highlights are expensive. I had them done earlier this year, along with cut. It cost a lot but at least the gal spent all her time with me and did everything and made sure I was happy.

The salon that stiffed you sounds like it pays staff a salary rather than the rent-a-station salons where you pay the stylists directly?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2003 at 2:28AM
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The 100 dollars for highlights should have included a blow dry for pete's sake....

    Bookmark   November 20, 2003 at 6:03AM
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It seems like high rent areas charge high prices. Just read in the paper this week about a high price stylist in the Hollywood area. She charges $5000 per cut!!!!!

My daughter, who lives in San Francisco, has found a dream stylist, who charges $70. This gal does something wonderful for her hair, and we feel she is well worth it. I expect a GREAT cut for $70, not same old same old.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2003 at 9:09PM
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Having been a hairdresser and a consumer, I see both sides.

Just something to consider: First you get your hairdressing license. States vary on the amount of hours necessary to begin with. However, for many that is just the beginning of education.

A top notch hairdresser most likely served as an apprentice for an additional 6 months to 2 years after completing beauty school. Then they take additional classes on a regular basis for more training. The classes they take aren't cheap, in fact some are quite pricey. Sometimes you need to travel to other parts of the country to get them as well. These are the people that deserve to charge these kind of prices in my opinion. After all it is our choice to pay these prices. If a hairdresser is exceptional they will be able to demand the price, and deserve it.

They are also paying their medical and retirement out of their wages. The only salons I am aware of that pay benefits are the chain salons that pay minimum wage.

People that are professioanl are paid accordingly, and I think that is right. It is kind of like a plastic surgeon with a great reputation. They can demand more because they have earned it.

I personally pay a high price to get my color done because I know not everyone is capable of doing what I want and I am very particular. However, I get my hair cut elsewhere save money on that because I can't afford it and am happy with a cheaper cut...I get a basic cut for that very reason. I dry my own hair too. I don't care if I dry it, I do care about the results in the end and that is what I'm paying for. I budget for every six weeks, and it isn't so bad. I could spend that much on coffee each week!

Just offering another perspective, so don't blast me!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 11:42PM
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I agree that you get what you pay for unless you stumble on a talented newcomer who is just beginning to build a following. If someone is charging outrageous fees, they are trying to weed out all but the most faithful and gullible.

I go to a woman who charges $20 for a haircut. I'm lucky, she does a great job. I used to pay $35. She doesn't do a great job with color, though. My last highlights were not great, too blond and splotchy. I think she has charged the same fee forever and must not need to raise it. It works for me becasue I am more likely to keep up my hair looking good if it's a bit more affordable. I don't stretch out my visits.

Honestly, I don't know how hairdressers do it. It's hard work on their feet and unless they are fast they can't make that much on haircuts. I guess they make their money on color, perms, andother things. They can have one in the chair and one under the drier that way.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 11:57PM
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There is truth to the fact that hairdressers weed out all but the faithful sometimes. When a stylist has a full clientelle and their is a waiting list they can afford to raise their prices and keep those willing to pay them, while others go elsewhere. Not saying it is right or wrong, just that it happens. I'm sure that is true in many professions.

Your also right about it being very hard work standing and bending for hours at a time, often without a lunch or break. Many of us get allergies like I did and have to stop doing what we love to early as well.

I'm glad you found someone reasonable to do what you like. Sometimes it's hard to communicate our likes at any price :-)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2003 at 12:17AM
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Maybe I have been around too long, but $70.00 for a haircut seems excessive to me.

I go to a local salon here in Los Angeles. Have been using the same hairdresser for quite a few years; and she "understands" my hair. I pay $13.00 for a good haircut and tip her well, because I appreciate her skill.

Thanks, KIM!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2003 at 1:29AM
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Tipping: Because I used to spend 85.00 for cut, weave, and style before the tip, when my current hairdresser gives me a bill for 50.00 for the same services I give her 10.00 for a tip. It still seems like a bargain.

I think almost every other hairdresser I've been to has developed allergies to the chemicals and they have to glove up to do anything but cut.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2003 at 2:15PM
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Wow - I feel lucky that my hair stylist "only" charges $35 for a cut! And she actually shampoos, conditions, and blow dries my hair, too! I get my hair cut every 6 weeks and there is no way I could also afford to get it colored and highlighted by my stylist. Because the cut is very important to me, that's where I spend the $$. I color my own hair and, if I do highlight, I do it myself. And then there are those who also get regular manicures and pedicures...talk about $$$$!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2003 at 2:51AM
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Pat, I can't believe you found a hair stylist in Los Angeles that charges $13!! The one I go to in Beverly Hills charges $40 (+$40 for color, if I get that too), and the ones in Venice are more expensive than BH. The last cut I got was spiked with black tips, and so it was $80, but I'm going to try something different next. I know a hairdresser in San Diego that makes housecalls for $75, and he's extremely good. He stopped by once on his way back from an emergency makeup call in Malibu, and cut my hair in exchange for lunch (Crab/Asparagus soup).

    Bookmark   December 8, 2003 at 5:51PM
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Depends on what they're doing to your hair... $70 for an inch off the bottom, or a china cut- you're jsut as well off going to a chain and getting the $20 version.

curly, fine, or very short hair- that I'd take to a higher end salon- often, they well 'touch up' a very short cut at the end of the month for a good customer at a cut rate- $20 or so.

the guy who trims MY ends trades me for dinner, but he gets $60 for a housecall, or $120 at the salon (and he has to really love you to make the house call) because he's a genuis with short hair...

and if you think the salon industry has ever been anything BUT insane... think about what they charged for a perm 30 years ago...and what the results usually were.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2003 at 12:15PM
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I recently received a $250 gift certificate from my husband for the Red Door Salon at Elizabeth Arden in New York. I plan on using it for a package spa day with a facial, massage, pedicure, manicue, and a haircut, style and blow dry as well as a spa lunch (a day of Beauty, Yeah!) Does anyone know what a tipping schedule would be for all the people involed? I don't want to look like a cheapskate but I have no clue as to what would would be reasonable for a place like that. Please help and advise. Thanks Karen Johnson (the gift certificate was from John-yeah!)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2004 at 7:13PM
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Hi Karen,

If you are concerned about it call the salon and tell them you don't know what the proper etiquette is for such a salon. They will be happy to advise.

Just to throw this in regarding a post above: everyone can't cut a straight line...I learned the hard way! Layers at the bottom can happen very easily, and it shows a lot in certain colors and textures. One would think anyone could cut this but it isn't so!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2004 at 5:57PM
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