Reposted from Salon magazine’s August 21, 2019 article.

In this era of balayage, colour corrections are often complex technical procedures. Here’s how to price them accordingly—and get paid your worth.

Blame it on the Balayage

“Before the balayage craze, colour corrections were easier to figure out because they were pretty straightforward,” says Ramsey Sayah, owner of Texture Hair Salon in Ottawa, L’Oréal Professionnel portfolio artist and brand ambassador. “Now we’re sometimes highlighting and doing a balayage at the same time, so everything is ultra- customized for the client. It takes a lot of time, a lot of extra colour, and it’s not an easy process.”

Yes, balayage is big business! “Creating this soft, natural look is often time-consuming and ends up including a colour correction “because we’re dealing with more coloured hair and don’t often know the colour history of each client,” says Marc Riese, creative director for La Biosthetique Canada. “Instagram shows clients what’s possible with colour, but leaves out the fact that we, as stylists, often need multiple steps to achieve those looks.”

Essentially, colour corrections have been elevated, and with that shift comes the certainty you’re going to be spending more time figuring out what your client wants and achieving that coveted look with the right colour mixes and application method. “It’s an opportunity to make more money, and the price of the ticket needs to be adjusted. You’re now also using more products to protect the hair so that it’s left in even better condition after you do a colour correction,” says Sayah.

Consultation Is Key

Before deciding on technique or pricing, the consultation is the absolute cornerstone of a successful colour correction. “I personally prefer to show photos of my own work, to demonstrate what I can do with their hair, and also to help build their confidence in my ability,” says Riese. “Colour corrections always need to allow room for some adjustments, based on what the hair situation reveals, and the result achieved during the process.”

According to Sayah, the consultation needs to be very descriptive and as exact as possible, so that the client knows what to expect. Sometimes the average client can be very surprised at the pricing, so make sure you’re very detailed about it to avoid issues later on. “That’s how we protect ourselves. The client has to verbally commit to paying the quoted price. We sometimes have a disclaimer agreement—a waiver that’s been drafted by our lawyer—that we make them sign, that releases us from being sued.”

How Many Bowls?

Instead of pricing colour correction services by the job or by the hour, consider how many bowls of colour you are using.

“Add up all these items and explain to your client what’s involved during the consultation and give them a rough estimate,” explains Sayah. Also remember to measure hair density. If you’re using more than one bowl, price for two. “As soon as you change something in your colour, you need to price it, and that includes sink- side treatments to correct hair damage from a previous colour job.”

Budget Breakdown

Riese’s approach to budget con- scious clients is the following: If a client has a fixed budget but still wants a colour correction, he first offers an achievable goal within that range. He then offers a quote on what the cost will entail for further steps in the future.

Some of the essential questions you need to ask:

— How would you describe your hair?

— How do you usually style your hair?

— What don’t you like about your current hair colour?

— Do you see a stylist in the salon on a regular basis?