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Costs for a variety of commodities are inching their way higher and in the not-to-distant future, sticker shock will be setting in for food, clothing (especially items made of cotton), and of course fuel. Be aware that some changes are coming for human hair extensions as well. How you manage those cost increases will be important in keeping loyal customers.

Of course, human hair is not manufactured like I-Pods or cell phones. There are limited resources for hair. But conditions in the world play an important role in dictating the price of human hair and the extensions that come from that hair. Here is just one example of how that happens. When unrest surfaces in the middle-east, oil prices spike. As oil prices increase, the cost to deliver human hair from India to factories in China jumps as well. And then transportation to the U.S. adds more to the cost of human hair extensions.

Human hair is not something that you should stockpile. That is one of the great advantages of working with Donna Bella Milan. You can have little or no inventory at your salon, and within days, order the exact amount of human hair that you need for your client. That arrangement keeps your cash in the bank and saves you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.

Many salons are reluctant to raise prices during economic downturns. When and how to increase prices is a matter of your local economy and clientele. You may want to start mentioning to customers how you’ve been able to hold prices down for three or four years and help your regular clients understand that the prices for your services may increase over the next few months. Every person sitting in your chair, grocery shops, buys gasoline, and will understand your need to bump things up a bit.

Start now, even though prices to you have not yet changed. Small, incremental increases will be less noticeable to your customers. If you get some push-back from your best clients, then consider performing an extra service to make up for the increases. Maybe you could throw in a shampoo as part of the hair extension application. Test the market. Talk to other stylists in your salon, and put together a plan that will keep your customers happy.

Make sure that your skills continue to improve. No one minds paying for a service when the provider is remarkably competent. The client gets what they pay for, so creative styling, color skills, and the finest human hair extensions in the marketplace goes a long way to satisfying a customer.

Be smart about increasing prices. If the salon’s wholesale prices go up 20%, that does not mean that the retail customer prices need to go up 20%. Perhaps all you should do initially is to raise the price of the extension service to cover your addition cost of the hair extensions. You still make the same amount of money as before by passing only the actual increases onto the client. That makes the increase painless for the customer.

Many of your salon products will be increasing in price. Think about where you make your money. Perhaps some of those products should be eliminated or the amount of inventory on-hand reduced. The price of your SERVICE is the key factor during any inflationary cycle. Don’t be afraid to raise prices. If you are as good a stylist as we think you are, then what you charge today or in the future will never be a problem.

Logan is founder of Donna Bella Milan hair extensions and lashes and author of the Donna Bella weblog.