How to Save Money on Services By Spying on Business Owners

July 7, 2007

Business owners are always looking to maximize the amount of money they can earn from the services they provide.  Get inside their heads and you can save money on your next trip to their establishment.  Here is a quick example case study on how to save money on haircuts.

Hair Cut Savings
At the top of my last receipt from Sports Clips they offered $3 off my next haircut if I called an 800 number and answered some questions about the service I received.  At the end of the call they give you a four digit code you can redeem for a discount on your next visit.  The $3 off will be nice but what I learned from their questions was even more valuable.

Hair Cut Espionage
Below are some of the paraphrased questions the survey asked and what I took away from each one.

Did the stylist greet you? Rate their friendliness 1 – 5.
I called a local Sports Clips to find about more this one. It turns out if your stylist doesn’t smile and shake your hand during your haircut then you get your cut for free. 

Did the stylist offer you our Triple Play?
The standard men’s “Varsity” haircut runs $15.  If they can talk you into getting a “Triple Play” cut they can raise the amount they earn by 20% ($18).

Did the stylist offer you our MVP?
The MVP is a step up from the Triple Play. If the stylist convinces you to shell out for an “MVP” cut their earnings go up 33% ($20).

Did the stylist recommend any products you could use?
Another Sports Clips I called quoted me $10 – $25 for American Crew and Paul Mitchell shampoos they sell in the store.  They also offer a variety of styling gel, hairsprays, and mousse which I imagine aren’t cheap.

Bottom Line
The phone survey wanted to see how many things the stylists tried to upsell.  They know that if the stylist is persuasive enough to sell an MVP cut and two hair products they can raise their income from the basic $15 to approximately $55 ($20 cut + $20 product + $15 product). A huge increase in income for them, a big dent in your wallet.

Understand before you go for any type service what it is you need and what you’re willing to pay for it.  Know that the business will likely try to sell you additional products and services and be prepared to keep your hard earned money by just saying NO!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to How to Save Money on Services By Spying on Business Owners

  • Family Savings

    Try to only bring cash when you know you’re going to a have a service done that might try to upsell you. Can’t give in to temptation when you only have cash. Plus it’s an excuse you can use with the sales person. I only have $10 in my pocket for a hair cut so I guess I’m going to have to pass.


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