As a makeup artist with a successful makeup studio in Chicago, I think this is the #1 question I get asked all.the.time by other makeup artists.

How do I set my prices for my wedding services?

Since I am honestly tired of writing 400 e-mails all the time, I have decided to do a post for I can stop cracking my head against the wall.

How to Price your Makeup Services
How to Price your Makeup Services

I have never "Sprayed & Prayed" when it comes to my makeup business. Everything I do for my business is a very well thought out plan. Sometimes I overthink it but I always am dissecting the shit out of everything. I mostly am afraid of the "What if scenarios".

While the "what if" curse has kept me from getting things to "market" faster than I would like, I think this curse has also been very beneficial for my business in the long run.

So why do I get so twisted when makeup artists ask me these questions?

Nothing peeves my ass out more than makeup artists who do this (Especially when makeup artists are in the same damn city)

  • When you copy someone's website design or logo.
  • When you copy someone's website copywriting
  • When you copy someone's prices


As a creative business owner you're supposed to be creative, dammit. Nothing screams "Lazy Makeup Artist" more than copying someone's site or business model because you are too lazy to do the work. Not only does it make you look lazy, it doesn't set you apart from your competition.

I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but "butter my ass and call me a biscuit," I'm so tired of folks who want to have this level of success but don't try to educate themselves on WHY they are doing what they are doing. Instead, many makeup artists want someone to do the work for them so it can be easy for them to be successful.

Newsflash! Running a business is not EASY. If it was, everyone would be successful at it.

Since the main objective of this post is to talk about ways to price your makeup services for brides, I hope it gets you to thinking like a biz owner and hopefully allowing you to get your head out of your own ass and think about your business in how it relates to you.

Pricing Your Makeup Services
Pricing Your Makeup Services

Many makeup artists don’t have a clue what they’re doing when it comes to evaluating the price of their services. While this article will talk mostly about pricing your bridal services, the purpose of this article is to get you thinking like a business owner and not like a child who whines and complains that so and so makeup artist down the street is cheaper than you.

Competition is fierce. Start thinking like a business person.

How to Price your Makeup Services
How to Price your Makeup Services

Listen up kitten bitches! Most brides don’t decide between two makeup artists by comparing the price tags on the services. Nor do the brides make comparisons based on the utility value offered by the two artists. So, how do these brides decide which artist to book?

They simply rely on:

  • Guesstimates and,
  • Vague recollections of what they assume these services should cost

In situations like these, what should you do to price your offerings appropriately? The solution lies in following behavioral psychology research. And when it comes to brides, well, it's hard to break down the psychology of brides entirely. Just kidding.

In a nutshell, don’t make the mistake of assuming this to be something entirely theoretical in nature, with little or no practical value. Instead, this research has emerged from in-depth and rigorous tests from all all the "pricing" experts. Therefore, you could ignore it at your own risk or you could take some advice here.

How to Price your Makeup Services
How to Price your Makeup Services

Here is a list of the some the worst pricing mistakes that makeup artists usually make:

  1. Ya'll Use Comparative Pricing: Girl please. Most makeup artists make the mistake of broadcasting the low prices of their products and services. They feel that this approach can convinces clients to buy book their services. However all it does is make you look like the "budget" makeup artist.

Why is that bad?

Research conducted by researchers from Stanford University discovered that by asking customers/clients to compare the prices of your products & services against those sold by a competitor could be counterproductive.

What does that mean?

That shit could actually hurt you! Your potential clients could end up wondering why they should make such a comparison. This could also reduce the level of trust your clients have in your skill and talent as a makeup artist.

When you resort to comparative pricing, your clients could end up:

  1. Minimizing their perceptions of a greater risk by booking you and therefore, booking services offered by your competitor or,
  2. Avoid making a purchase all together.

Well shitballs. That's not what you want, is it?

Bear in mind that this scenario is only applicable when you ask your customers to compare prices outright (i.e. explicit comparisons).

Clients & brides do make implicit comparisons of services, while evaluating their options when it comes to makeup. You must resist the urge to get clients to compare products based on the price of the services.

Takeaway: Make your customers want to purchase your services based on the value that you provide and why you are the better choice. What are you going to offer your bride (and I don't mean free stuff) to make her know you are "the one".

How to Price your Makeup Services
How to Price your Makeup Services

Stop using the same message for all your brides: According to a study conducted by the Wharton Business School, there are three kinds of customers.

These include:

  1. Tightwads (24 percent) – Comprising people with lower ceilings for spending
  2. Unconflicted (61 percent) – Comprising average spenders
  3. Spendthrifts (15 percent) – Comprising people with higher ceilings for spending

The price of your services will not make a difference to the spendthrifts brides. If it offers sufficient value for its price, you will find that the unconflicted brides will not think twice about purchasing your services.

So. This leaves you with the tightwads – comprising one out of every four of your customers. Convincing tightwads to purchase your services requires a different approach. If you can convince them, you would have succeeded in improving your revenue considerably. (And that is an art within itself).

Instead of getting insulted by the endless amounts of emails from tightwad clients or brides remember they can't help it. It's just the way they're wired.

According to the study, one way of convincing tightwads to part with their money lies in re-framing the value of your services.

For example, many bride's face difficulties in dealing with larger numbers, especially when it comes to wedding days. Tightwad brides face this more than others do. In addition, they usually have a number in their head, which represents the amount they can spend on their wedding day. If your service has a price greater than this number, you will need to convince them even more than was needed otherwise.

For example, if you offered them a service with a price tag of $1,000 for their party of 10, they will be hesitant to sign on the dotted line. However, if you mentioned that the price of the product was just $100 per person for a party of 10 they might debate whether the product had sufficient value to justify a purchase. By breaking the amount down, you make it easier for tightwad brides to assess whether they can purchase the product or not. By linking the price of your service to a smaller time span, you could have better chances of convincing your conservative brides or clients to book your services.

Since we are all visual creatures, let me paint you a picture.

Studies reveal that another successful approach to follow lies in emphasizing the value of your product constantly. Let's take, for an example "Early Morning Fee". Let's say you want to charge a $100 early morning fee" to a client for getting your ass out of bed at 4am. When you are approaching a tightwad bride which do you think is better?

  1. “A $50 Early Morning Fee”
  2. “A small $50 fee”

The study revealed that merely mentioning the word “small” alongside the price of the item, increased the response rate among tightwads by 20 percent. In short, tightwads focus on these seemingly minor details. Therefore, if the addition of a single word can boost your sales by 20 percent, it is well worth exploring the option.

Takeaway: Ensure that your price tags speak to tightwads by:

  1. Emphasizing small fees, when they are small and,
  2. Highlighting other details which present your product as being inexpensive

These simple gestures would be able to convince a greater number of tightwads to part with their money.

How to Price your Makeup Services
How to Price your Makeup Services

Now that I have shared some nuggets of knowledge with all of you about pricing your services as bridal makeup artists, ultimately booking the wedding is more on your talent, communication and personality. If you suck, well, I can't help you there. LOL!

When considering how to set your prices as a bridal makeup artists take this considerations in mind instead of "spraying & praying" and start earning a living doing what you love.

In our next "Business of Bridal" I will go over the "3 Burger Theory" when pricing bridal packages.

Burgers & Brides. That makes me hungry.

What did you think of this article? I would love to hear your feedback. I hope you have a little blister on your ass. But not too much. Tough love makes you a better person.