9 Discount Strategies and Tactics for Service Providers

If you’re like many service providers, the thought of discounting your rates could leave a bad taste in your mouth. You take a lot of pride in your work, so slashing your pricing feels like you’re giving clients permission to devalue your services. 

That being said, there are certain situations when implementing discount strategies and tactics may be beneficial.

Perhaps you’re looking to jump-start your sales and increase your revenues. Or maybe you’ve had some unexpected openings in your schedule and want to fill things up quickly

If the need for discounting arises in your business, you have to tread carefully. While lowering your prices (even temporarily) can drive sales in the short-term, you don’t want to train your clients to expect deals and promotions every time. 

So, how do you navigate the world of promotions as a service provider?

In this post, we shed light on 9 discount strategies and tactics that you can implement in your business. 

Check them out and see how you can apply them in your business!

Offer Seasonal Discounts

November and December are the perfect months to run discounts. 

There’s Thanksgiving…

Followed by Black Friday…

…Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday…

And THEN comes the Christmas season!

If you’re looking to capitalize these events or just want to drive more sales during the holidays, consider offering seasonal promotions. 

This past Halloween, for example, Vanity Studios ran a special offer  in which the company discounted select services and gave free eyebrow and lip sugaring when clients donated candy. 

Try to do something similar in your business, but for holidays like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Christmas. 

Just one caveat: you should only do it on an occasional basis. The last thing you want is for clients to get used to discounts and refuse to book without a special offer.

So, while seasonal discounts can be beneficial, you need to be strategic and have a plan for how to be profitable.

Celebrate Special Occasions and Milestones 

Not a fan of seasonal discount strategies and tactics?

Try this approach: celebrate holidays or milestones unique to your company. Doing so gives you an opportunity to run promotions without competing with too many businesses. 

You could, for example, celebrate your business’s birthday. That’s what the meal service provider, Ultimate Fit Meals did when the company turned 2 years old. 

To mark the special occasion, Ultimate Fit Meals ran a discount for the week, so clients can enjoy meal prep services at a lower rate. 

Run First-Time Specials 

First-time service offers are a great way to reel in new clients. 

If you’re a new business looking to make those first key sales, consider offering a special promotion to brand new clients. It could be anything from a quick discount (e.g., 20% off) or even a complimentary service. 

One example of this tip in action comes from Skin Laundry, a popular spa chain in the United States, which offers a free facial to new customers. 

The key to making this strategy work is to have a plan for how you can get first-time customers to come back. 

For starters, you need to wow your clients on their first visit. Make sure their entire experience — from the moment they walk into your business to the time they leave — is extraordinary. 

Here’s a quick checklist of what you can do to impress new customers:

  • Make it easy for them to book and manage their appointment [Hint: Genbook lets you do this with ease!]
  • Provide a warm welcome at the door
  • Consider offering them a drink
  • Get to know them before administering the service
  • Make the check-out process smooth and convenient
  • Follow-up after a visit by requesting for feedback and/or scheduling their next appointment

Another pro tip: collect their contact info.

Getting new clients to come back means staying on their radar. The only way to do that is to have their email or phone number so you can touch base with them with updates and invitations. 

Encourage Clients Bring a Companion 

You know what they say… the more the merrier. 

If it makes sense for your business, run a promotion that encourages clients to bring along their companions. 

Serenity Salon and Barber in Georgia, implemented this well. The salon ran a special where clients could take $10 off the price of their service if they bring a friend to the salon.  

Take a leaf out of Serenity’s playbook and see if you can encourage your customers to bring a companion. If you offer massages, for instance, why not run a couples massage promotion? Or if you run a nail spa, you could have a “girlfriends” offer, which encourages the ladies to bring their best gal pals.

Bundle and Package Your Services

Another way to strategically discount your services is to offer packages. 

Let’s say you’re a counselor who charges $200 per session. One thing you could do is create a package consisting of 5 sessions for $900 (instead of $1,000 when booked separately). 

This allows you to get paid upfront, and since clients are purchasing the sessions in advance, it pretty much guarantees they’ll show up. 

This type of strategy works well for nearly any type of service-based business. Salons can sell haircuts or hair treatment packages while spas can package up their massage offerings into 3 or 5 sessions at a time. 

Another way to package your services is to bundle different offerings. For instance, if you offer coloring services, why not throw in a cut for free? 

Volume Salon does just that with its Color & Cut Package. New customers who’d like to have their hair can get a complimentary haircut if they book with a specific stylist and mention the promotion at the time of booking. 

Offer Discounts to Select Groups of People (Military, Students, etc.)

One of the most popular discount strategies and tactics for service providers is to extend special rates for select groups of people.

It’s not uncommon for companies to give exclusive discounts to students and seniors, as well as customers who serve in the military or those who work as cops, firefighters, and the like. 

Check out what SmartStyle Hair Salons are doing. The company offers a Hero Appreciation discount of 10% off as a thank you to the services of military members, veterans, police officers, firefighters, and first responders. 

Run Check-In Offers 

Having a “check-in” offer is an excellent discount strategy because it gives your business more visibility on sites like Yelp.

Here’s how it works: when a client heads to your shop, you can offer them a discount in exchange for them checking in to your location on Facebook or Yelp. 

This creates a win-win situation for both you and your clients. Your customers enjoy a lower rate, while you get the opportunity to get in front of your clients’ network. 

Hair & Nail Artists, a salon in Southern California, is putting this tip to good use on Yelp. In the screenshot below, you’ll see that the company offers a 10% discount to customers who check-in via Yelp. 

Create Re-Engagement Discounts 

This is a good discount tactic if you raised your rates or if you’re looking to reconnect with clients that you haven’t seen in a while.

Go through your contacts list and identify customers who haven’t stopped by in say, the last six months. 

Then, get in touch with those clients and let them know that you’re offering a special discount if they book an appointment with you within the next week or month. 

If you’re a coach or counselor, for example, you could say something like:

Hi Jane! I haven’t seen you in a while. You mentioned that you found our coaching sessions valuable and I’d love for you to keep your momentum. I’m offering an exclusive special where existing clients get 20% off their session if they book an appointment with me this week. 

Let me know when you’d like to schedule your session or just book a time on my calendar: https://www.genbook.com/

Hope to see you soon!

Another approach could be to let your old clients know that you’ve recently raised your prices, but you’re willing to honor their old rate if they schedule their appointment soon.

Here’s a sample message:

Hi Jane! I’m not sure if you heard, but my rates have recently gone up to $xx per session. That said, you’re one of my oldest clients, so I want to honor your old rate of $xx per session. 

Let me know when you’d like to schedule your session or just book a time on my calendar: https://www.genbook.com/

Hope to see you soon!

Launch a Membership  

Another discount strategy is to launch a subscription model, in which you charge clients a recurring monthly subscription fee for your services. In exchange, members can enjoy perks like discounted rates, exclusive events, etc. 

The Sugar Cove, a business that offers hair removal and tanning, implements this discount strategy really well. The company has “COVE Club” a membership program that includes 1 selected sugaring service per month, plus 10% on all other services and products. 

Members also get complimentary services as well as exclusive invites to members-only events and deals. 

Think about offering a similar initiative. Launch a membership or subscription model within your business to give your clients a chance to save while creating a recurring revenue stream for yourself. 

Stay Profitable with the Right Discount Strategies and Tactics 

Discounts and promotions don’t have to be unprofitable for service providers. If you’re strategic about your offers, you can effectively drive sales without killing your margins. 

We gave you a bunch of ideas on how you can do just that, so hopefully, the pointers and examples point you in the right direction!

Did you know that Genbook lets you run offers with ease? Creating promotions takes just a few steps and you can configure your offers based on multiple parameters, including purchase limits, deadlines, appointment availability and more. 

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