The hairdresser’s business – price war or quality?

If you take a look at German specialized press for hairdressers and take a peek into the market, you surely will get a feeling of “easy going” – nothing to seriously worry or to get upset about, nor anyhing to improve.

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A pity, isn’t it? Syoss and Pro Series are water under the bridge, and the retail sector is not really important to the hairdressers’ market, anyway. The few exceptions there are tend to confirm the rule, but are also no harbinger for any new rules.

So what’s happening on the hairdressers’ market, and what’s relevant in 2013?

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  • The biggest trend: a certainly increasing atomisation of hairdresser’s businesses towards small, one-man driven “haircare service providers”
  • The resulting and quite harsh price wars
  • A striking decline in prices for hairdressers’ services
  • A continually decreasing service quality
  • The lack of reliable, qualified personnel

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So, what can a motivated hairdresser and entrepreneur – who may have a business with employees – do to avoid such a vicious circle of depreciation? A fact that keeps striking me on my tours through Germany and other European countries is that successful salon owners tend to focus on high quality.

That precisely is the key point for the future: offering more quality while dealing with any kind of customer interaction. Customers want to perceive an authentic quality experience, which means:

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  • An increased well-being within the salon
  • A customer-oriented atmosphere
  • A higher level of individual consulting
  • A higher degree of service quality

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All this has to be perceptible for customers in terms of value, so they will pay the corresponding price willingly!

Hairdressers who have chosen this path do not regard their business “by the love of art”, but rather in a sober and analytic way, and with the critical eyes of their customers. Such an unsparing but realistic analysis is the only way to ensure a sustainable business. The truth can often be painful, but that’s part of the road to success!

There is, actually, support for this kind of choice on the market, but it’s the salon owner’s responsibility to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of his business and to develop a strategy of education and investment. This is not about a one-time program or training effort which can be accomplished in 4 weeks. It’s an ongoing task of sceptical self-analysis and personal challenge. The reward: success, growth, sustainability.

Unfortunately, this attitude is rather atypical amongst hairdressers. If one’s business goal is fixed on short-term results (service done, customer content, hairdresser happy), the realization of long-term developement projects becomes difficult. But trust me: the only way to secure income, preserve jobs and avoiding image impairing wage dumping situations is to implement a higher service quality standard.

Please leave the crazy price wars to the “pirates” amongst the hairdressers!

What are your thoughts?

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