Q: Why are the price ranges so drastically different between piercing shops? (Part Two) – Ethan
A: Last month, we talked about a shop’s purpose, sterilization practices, and materials as factors impacting price. This month, we will talk more about customer interactions, business practices, and on-going piercing education.
Customer interactions range from how counter staff answers the phone to how a piercer troubleshoots a question during the healing process. Every customer interaction with a member of the piercing studio should cause you to feel at ease, respected, and trusting of the individuals you encounter. The staff should educate you about every aspect of the piercing, including facts that may not always benefit the shop’s income. For example, if a requested piercing is unlikely to heal based upon the anatomy or other factors, the piercer should be honest about that, rather than lie to make a sale. Hiring staff who demonstrate this kind of integrity, respect, and a passion for customer experience can be a significant investment. This impacts the price of a piercing. Yet, this investment is worthwhile for you to get the quality piercing and experience you deserve.
The way a studio conducts its business is a huge contributor to price differences between establishments, and much of this depends upon ethics, rather than regulations. In Iowa, there are no state mandated body piercing regulations. This means that a piercing studio is free to do just about anything they wish. Yet, a quality studio will set its own high standards to provide the best for you. While this applies to safety and quality, it also ties to the policies and procedures of the business. Carrying insurance, paying taxes, standardizing processes, and providing employee manuals to cement ethical practices all matter greatly to the viability of the studio. These positive business practices are costly, but they protect you from unsafe and unethical practices.
The most obvious impact to your experience may be your piercer’s ongoing education. This includes knowledge of jewelry materials, piercing technique, anatomy, aftercare, safe practices, customer care, and piercing history. While some piercers will say things like, “I trained with the best,” or “I have years of experience,” this may mean nothing if they learned the wrong behaviors. There are just a few formal training options for piercers that provide current, well researched, and practical information. None of these opportunities exist in Iowa. Piercers must travel significant distances to attend training. They also can attend a week-long continuing education course each year hosted by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). Find out if your potential piercer is an APP member at www.safepiercing.org. Members not only demonstrate taking advantage of industry-recognized, ongoing education, they must also prove that the studio, jewelry, and sterilization practices meet the expectations of the organization.
Prices will vary, but doing a little research will go a long way to prevent you from making a regrettable and costly mistake. A piercing isn’t just a piercing, it’s an experience and investment in yourself. Remember, cheap quality piercings aren’t good, good quality piercings aren’t cheap. You’re worth it.
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