December 2011

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


Pricing Your Add-on Services

My clients love it when I say, "I have something new that would be just perfect for you."

Alternatively, I might say, "I learned this new technique that I think would really benefit your skin." They usually want to try it even if it is a more expensive treatment. Clients love information.

They are attracted to the exciting, the new and the different. Don't you love it when your favorite manufacturer comes out with something new, something better? We can use this enthusiasm to enhance our practices.

When I have a new client, I always focus my treatment on meeting the need she had for seeking me out. Usually they have a skin issue they want resolved. It is important they feel their concern is recognized and dealt with. Similarly, I want to use some moments of our appointment to let her know I can assist her with additional needs she has, but may not be aware of.

For example, if the client comes in because of her inflamed Rosacea this will be the focus of the treatment. We will also discuss home care, lifestyle and cosmetics; as the choices she makes with these items will directly affect my ability to help her meet her goals.

I will do a calming, healing treatment, but we will also talk about what can be done at home to make the symptoms of Rosacea less troublesome. It is not about selling products, it is about educating the client in what she needs to do to achieve her goals. However, the result is the client will probably have more services and purchase what she needs.

If a client comes in with winter dehydrated skin and complaining about blackheads or milia, we will talk about how a super hydrating treatment would soften the skin and alleviate the other symptoms. I might recommend adding on a specialty-hydrating mask and serum or other unique service that will add moisture to her skin. I always give them the choice of whether to do it today or not. Something like "Next time I recommend we try this…it costs…this much." 80 percent of the time or more they will say something like, "Can't we do it today?" Certainly, we can.

If the client wants to look extra good for the holiday party coming up, offer to add on a specialty eye treatment to her services today or to show her the latest holiday makeup colors. Other great add-on services include, brow sculpturing, arm waxing, hand and / or foot hydrating moisture cream during the facial treatment. Offer services that do not extend the treatment time, especially if you are booked. We do not want to make ourselves late for the next client.

Clients, love makeup updates. Offer to add-on one of these services for clients at their next appointment. Just be sure you retail the products that you use on her because she will want to take them home.

If you want to increase your revenues, you have two choices. You can bring in new customers or you can offer more to your existing client base. It is far easier to take better care of existing clients by adding on more services and retail items.

Pricing add-on services or any service can be a challenge. Sometimes manufacturers will make suggestions. You need to base it on time plus the cost of supplies. It is back to the number crunching. Your overhead should be divided by the number of hours you work. Include your personal salary in this.

Be realistic about your hours. We are not generating revenue when dealing with management issues like ordering, cleaning and stocking. We have to generate enough when we are with clients to cover this time. Once you have come up with an hourly figure then add on the products that are used during the treatment.

A simple rule of thumb for estheticians is about $1.35 - $1.50 per minute plus product cost. Individual figures may be higher or lower than this depending on a host of factors. For those who think these figures may be a little high, we used $1.00 per minute in the early 1990's and prices of everything have gone up a lot since then.

The eye treatment may employ a specialty eye patch that costs $6.00 and it takes 15 minutes. Perhaps charge $30 for a stand-alone treatment or $20 as an add-on treatment. Stand-alone treatments are always higher. There is generally a time gap between them and the next client and there are room set-up costs not present in the add-on procedure. We can employ this same technique to price out any service.

Do not under price. If we set prices too low then there is no room to run specials or packages. Price a little higher and offer bonuses. Everyone loves to feel that they are getting a little extra.

Judith Culp, a CIDESCO Diplomat has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. A CPCP permanent makeup technician for over 18 years she served a 4-year term as a Director for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, two years as their president. She is president of Culp Enterprises Inc. and CEO of NW Institute of Esthetics. Judy Culp is available for consulting. For more information visit