Business: Bid to end tension between locals, foreigners

2008-06-11 00:00

WHILE emotions in the country are high following attacks on foreigners, 85 local hair salons owned by South Africans and immigrants have come together to form the Pietermaritzburg Salon Owners’ Association in order to control prices salons charge clients.

However, The Witness understands that some hairdressers and clients reject the idea as price-fixing.

The formation of the association on May 21, was to avoid confrontations between local salon owners and their foreign business counterparts. This does not involve those running their businesses from tents at taxi ranks.

Local salon owners, according to the association’s chairman Sbu Busani, have been complaining about unfair business competition. They have accused their foreign counterparts of charging far less, which they said made their clients opt for the cheaper services.

“After forming the association, we engaged in a drive to mobilise every salon owner in the city to charge according to standards agreed upon. We are not saying people should charge similar prices, because we understand that in business, competition is part of the game,” said Busani.

He said that he is aware that there are hairdressers who are not complying.

“But we have also discovered that other owners display the prices agreed upon on their advertising boards outside, but inside they secretly reduce the price if the clients complain.”

Busani said local salon owners started to raise their concerns about prices charged by foreigners a few months ago. He made an example of a haircut, for which he said South Africans are charging R20 and immigrants only R10.

“Seeing these attacks on foreigners around the country we decided to move fast to launch our association in order to avoid a situation whereby South African owners would use the situation around the country to attack foreigners for business differences,” he said.

Busani said most of the salon owners are paying more than R6 000 rent, up to R4 000 for water and electricity and up to R15 000 for products a month. He said he personally spends R19 000 on staff salaries, and only collects a profit of up to R5 000, which he said might force him to close down.

Owner of the New Ghana Hair Salon in Theatre Lane, Boadi Yaw, has been threatened for rejecting the idea of the association. As a result, he was forced to increase his prices.

“In this business we have clients from different financial backgrounds. Also these people fail to understand that attracting clients is not only about prices, as clients are also attracted by good customer service, and advertising,” said Yaw.

Vina Zulu of Sunsilk Salon said that even fashion shops are not controlling each other’s prices.

“I have my own understanding of what my clients can afford. Sometimes I negotiate with my regular clients about how much I should charge them if they are struggling financially,” said Zulu.

A regular client of Zulu’s, who asked to remain anonymous, said competition has made businesses improve their customer service. “My relationship with my hairdresser has nothing to do with another hairdresser.”

Nontokozo Vilakazi, a client of Yaw, said she chooses to go to a cheaper salon with good customer service because money is always a concern.

bhans@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.