Raising the prices that your business charges is more often the trickiest part of operating a business as it frequently requires uncomfortable conversations with customers -- especially when it comes to customers who were recommended to you or who are hiring you for a second, third, or even tenth job (such as when you work for an apartment managing company). You are also apt to have employees and vendors seeing you raise prices and wonder what they get out of it. You may feel like you don't deserve to raise prices or are afraid that even if you do, that you will lose out on future refinishing jobs.

All of these are valid concerns but there will come a time when raising prices becomes necessary. The following is a look at a few key signs that it's time for you to buckle up and start charging your clients more:

How to Know When It's Time to Raise Your Prices

  1. Your Business Costs are Rising. This is an obvious one but bears noting. If your vendors are raising their costs or other business costs are rising -- i.e. your rent is going up, you have to hire on more employees, group health care costs have increased -- then your response should be to likewise raise your own business rates.
  2. Your Demand is Increasing. Having more work is a great thing but don't sell yourself short. Too many refinishers delay raising their costs because they think that it's their prices that are getting them the high demand. While sure, prices are undoubtedly a part of it, if you are constantly in high demand then it’s probably because your work is good and there are more people in need of your work. So price yourself accordingly. More calls for work mean that you can afford to demand better rates and if you drop off a client or two a week, then the others ought to more than make up the difference.
  3. You Haven't Changed Prices in Some Time. If you have not changed your prices in over a year, then now is the time to step back and look around. Look at your competitors and consider what they are charging for their services as well as the quality of their services. Are your rates below theirs? Are they the same despite you offering higher quality products and results? If you answered yes to either (or both!) of these questions, then now is the time to re-evaluate and raise those rates.

Making the Change for Better Rates

Once you have determined that it is time to increase your prices, the next step is to consider how. We recommend testing the waters first by slowly rolling out the new rate platform. To do so, you might keep repeat, high-volume clients and referrals in at the old rate for a few more months while instituting the higher rate solely for new incoming clients. You can also test higher rates by individually adding them to new proposals and project quotes to see how your clients respond. Slowly, incrementally, raise your rates until they are the same across the board.

Never Be Afraid to Ask for What You're Worth -- Even During a Pandemic

Many refinishers are wary of raising prices as the nation still grapples with COVID-19. Our answer is, don't be. In fact, if anything, you should use this as a reason to raise prices as you have undoubtedly had to face and overcome challenges like increased shipping rates or delays and incorporating new costs related to new safety measures (i.e. masks for all employees and more time-off for sick employees).

Fortunately, having these tough conversations with your customers on what’s really considered a standard part of doing business over time can be manageable and not something to be afraid of. Keep these tips in mind as you give yourself a necessary (and well deserved) “bump up” on the bottom line if you feel it is time to do so.