‘Our costs have not stopped increasing’: Some service providers in Singapore raising prices to stay afloat

It is a similar situation at gym chain Ritual, which will “most likely” increase its fees soon, according to chief executive officer Brad Robinson.

Packages range from S$199 to S$259 or S$280 to S$1,200, depending on the number of sessions or duration of the membership.

However, with the chain planning to open another four outlets by next year – bringing its total to nine – Mr Robinson said fees will have to be adjusted to match higher operating costs.

“It may cost us 25 to 30 per cent more to build a gym than it did two years ago based on what my contractors are saying and the current supply chain situation, so we will need to increase the prices to recoup our costs,” he said.

“It’s a balancing act because we do have to keep in mind that consumers are being pinched now with (the prices of) food, fuel, utilities and everything going up, so we don’t want to pour on the pain and we’ll try to do a reasonable and responsible price increase,” he said.

“TAKES ME A LOT OF COURAGE”

Business operators said the decision to raise prices is not an easy one.

Mr Ng, who runs the handyman business, said some people have asked why he added the additional marking fee. 

“You will still face the music of some customers (asking) why it is so expensive … It’s standard in Singapore,” he added. “(But my prices are such that) I believe I will give the (best) quality versus the price.”

But he is also mindful that to stay competitive and continue getting referrals, he needs to keep his prices affordable.

“I believe a lot of people are also struggling with earnings too … Everybody is also trying to make a living in Singapore (and) the standard of living is getting higher and higher,” he explained, noting that he has no plans to increase prices further.

“It takes me a lot of courage to increase (prices). Because I have a lot of regulars, and I have to explain to them also. If I can, I will try … not to increase.”

Meanwhile, Bee Choo Origin, the hair care company, said it began informing customers about possible price adjustments as early as January. While most “reacted well” to the decision, some questioned the need for a price hike now that the worst of the pandemic was over.

“We can only say that even though the Government has done a good job in managing COVID-19, our costs have not stopped increasing,” Ms Lim said. “Even up till now, some of our suppliers are still raising their prices.”

She added that the company has not had a major price increase in at least four to five years and has no plans to change prices “as much as (it) can” for the next two to three years, even with an impending hike in Goods and Services Tax.

The homegrown haircare brand said it feels the pressure of competing in an increasingly crowded field where newer firms have been trying to jostle for market share with much lower prices.

“Right now, my industry is in a bit of a price war,” said Ms Lim. “But we evaluated for a very long time … and (a price increase) is necessary to sustain our business for the longer run.”