So you’ve done all your lash training, got your qualifications and built up your experience, and now you're ready to start your own lash extension business! The most important thing you need to know is how to set up the pricing for your lash extension services to ensure your fledgling business takes off.
It’s essential to get it right - too high and you’ll never get any customers, too low and you won't turn a profit. The last thing you want is to end up essentially working for free, or worse, make a loss. You won’t find any wishy-washy advice here! Our knowledgeable team take you through all the costs and considerations you have to factor in.
Maths not your strong point? Don’t worry - we are going to show you how to a) calculate all of your expenses accurately so you know what you need to make to break even b) decide how far above your break-even price to set your prices based on your experience and location.
Factors to consider when setting lash extension prices
Various elements come into play here: your expenses, initial outgoings, work location, local market and your level of expertise. To begin with we’re going to focus on your outgoings - both upfront expenses and ongoing costs, to calculate your ‘break even amount.’
Break-even is the point at which your income covers all of your expenses/outgoings but no more, i.e. you're not in loss but you have not yet made any profit either.
Don’t just guess - take the time to account for everything thoroughly at the beginning to give yourself a realistic picture.
These are one-off costs that you need to try and recoup: eyelash extension training courses, competition entry costs, tools, salon furniture, lights, salon decor etc. Every time you purchase a new course, add it on. Consider upfront marketing costs as well such as logo design, website design and build, uniform, car decals etc.
Add it all up and aim to have the costs paid back within a fixed time frame - say a year. Divide the total upfront costs by 12 months and add this amount into your monthly expenses. Then you will know that everything you purchased for your business will be paid off in a year and after that, your monthly expenses will drop, and you will be able to make bigger profits.
Everyday / ongoing expenses
You need a number of things to keep your business going including products, utilities, business services and marketing. Let’s take a deeper look at what your ongoing expenses are. Because, even if you are working from your home-based studio, there are some costs to calculate.
All your everyday expenses can be divided into three main groups:
- General (water, gas, rent, insurance, internet, landline or mobile, transport, supplies)
The biggest of these is likely to be the cost of your workspace. Are you working from home, salon based self-employed or own your own salon? Each of these comes with a very different level of overheads.
It makes sense to go for a workspace that’s as inexpensive as possible while you're a beginner and charging less. Then as your skills and customer base increase, you can look for somewhere better knowing your costs are more easily covered.
- Service fees (bank account expenses, electronic booking system charges, accountant, mentoring, cleaning)
You won’t necessarily need all of these when you’re just starting out, but prepare for the fact that as you progressand become busier, you will likely need to invest some of your additional profits sucyh as these.
- Marketing (web domain and hosting, advertising, business cards, leaflets, uniform, photo app subscriptions etc.)
Don’t be tempted to think organic social media will be enough to get your name out there. If nobody knows about you, you aren’t going to get any clients.
A note on the cost of lash supplies
We have calculated that on average, a lash set costs you about £7-£8, or £5-£6 with 15% student discount, using products from Flawless Lashes.
And a lash infill cost to the artist is £5-£6, or £3-£4.50 with the 15% student discount.
From this, it’s easy to see that lash supplies are not your biggest expense. That’s why it is essential to look into your other expenses when defining your prices.
Factoring in tax for lash technicians
As a self-employed lash artist, you will have to pay National Insurance and Income Tax. Do your research / get professional advice and work out what percentage of your income you will need to put aside each month in preparation for your year-end tax bill.
Add the advised amount onto your monthly outgoings as an expense. Bear in mind that a lot of your business outgoings will be tax-deductible, so ensure you get advice on how to make the most of this in order to keep your tax bill (and how much you need to save for it each month) down.
If lash extensions are to be your only income (i.e. it’s not a side job), you won’t have to pay income tax on the first £12,571 of income (NB we’re talking income not profit). This means you may not have to pay income tax in your first year - or even at all if you don’t intend on making much money from lashing each year (and it’s your only income).
Real-world expenses examples
Let's say you hire a space in a hairdressing salon for £350 a month and all your bills are included. This is a nice, straightforward number for your calculations.
But say you work from your home-based studio. Is this a space that was previously unused and you were paying for anyway? If so, you do not need to add rent into your calculations, but you do need to factor in the additional heating and lighting bills that you will rack up on the number of days whilst you are working from home, as well as insurance for your beauty business.
If you have rented somewhere specifically to have a spare room to run your business from, it’s different. Let’s say you pay £1000 a monthly rent for a 3-bedroom house and you dedicate 1 room to your workplace. This means your treatment room costs you one third, so £333 a month. Do the same with all your other upfront and ongoing expenses as detailed in this article in order to arrive at the total monthly outgoings cost for your business.
Calculating your ‘break-even’ cost per treatment
Now – how many days a month do you work from this room? Let’s say you work 15 days a month, 5 hours a day (fitting in 2 classic full sets – something reasonable for a starter). It calculates to 75 hours a month.
Imagine that, after adding up all your expenses as detailed in this article, it comes out at £500 per month. Divide £500 by 15 days, this number will show you your expenses per day. In this example, £33.30 a day is your ‘break-even cost’. If you can only fit in 2 clients a day – your expenses are about £16.70 per client visit. So everything you make above £16.70 per client visit is your profit.
Lash extension pricing for beginner lash artists
Most lash artists work for friends and family for free for a little while to build up their confidence, experience - and Instagram portfolio! But when you’re ready to start charging, how should you set your prices for lash extensions?
You need to know how much mark-up to add on top of your ‘break even’ cost in order to earn a decent wage whilst also making your lash business a success. We’ll take you through the pricing strategy for beginner lash technicians.
National Minimum Wage
To begin with, take into account that you should not be working for less than the National Minimum Wage (£9.50 from April 2022). If it takes you 2h 30 min to do a classic set in (at the beginning), your wage for it must be at least £23.75.
To be in profit £23.40 you must first allow for your expenses (£16.70 per client in our dummy example above), which means you will need to charge at least £40.50 for your least expensive treatment, a classic full set. Anything you charge above this will increase your wage above the National Minimum Wage.
Prices in your area & your ability
You want to aim to be priced roughly on a par with artists at a similar standard to you in the same area, if it costs in with your expenses calculations as detailed earlier. If your overheads are low you may be able to start at a competitively low price in order to grow your customer base at the beginning, then increase them over time once you have a loyal following.
It’s time to really do your competitor research. People aren't likely to travel that far to have their lashes done, so do a full audit of all salons and artists within a few miles of where your business will be based.
Don’t just go off the menu pricing - find out what the experience and quality that customers receive is like and weigh it up against the standard you are able to offer, and be realistic about your current level of expertise. Are there added extras that bump up their pricing - and can you offer the same?
NB If you find that setting your prices in line with or slightly above the local market does not leave you with enough to live on after deducting your expense calculations, your business model is simply not cost effective. Therefore you need to look at reducing your monthly expenses. Can you work from a cheaper location?
When to raise your prices
Your prices must increase at least once a year. We recommend reviewing your prices after every single achievement, such as a competition win or training course completion. Set targets for yourself in terms of your standard and speed of work. How soon can you reach the next level?
As you raise your prices, you’ll be able to earn more for the same work, or do less work for the same money, giving you time to grow your clientele and business.
What is the average eyelash extension price?
Lash extension prices vary greatly throughout the UK, and it’s not simply a matter of the part of the world you live in. Prices in a large city-centre salon will be very different to at-home services in a less wealthy town, or a boutique beauty parlour in an affluent village.
However, we have done some research to provide you with a valuable starting point.
|£120 - £300
|North of England
|East of England
We hope you have found this information useful. Setting up your own lash extension business is hard work but extremely rewarding. And remember, the team at Flawless Lashes are here to help you in any way we can.
Article written with help of Julija B, Trainer in UK, Reading – https://www.lashesbyjuli.co.uk/