10 Tips to a Successful Salon
Being in business isn't easy, but with some dedication and a sprinkling of hard work, it will all fall into place!
If you want to reach whole new levels of wealth in 2019 and earn more than you ever earned before, here are my top 10 tips for salon success.
1. Charge what you are worth.
Seems pretty obvious right? It surprises me still, how many businesses I see operating that are earning below minimum wage. Do not become a slave to your business. Therapists and hair stylists alike seem to have a fear of money. Often I hear how people become nervous when it's time to charge and often try to apologise in the way of offering money off, rounding down the payment or not charging for additional services. Does this sound like you?
Start to think like the top therapists and hair stylists in the world. Do they undercharge? Do they discount or give away free services? They are successful because they believe in their worth. They know that their skills and education are worth paying for and they charge according to them. They do not look at other local salons and see what they charge and match or undercut them, they charge what they know they are worth.
Get rid of your mindset that blocks your earning potential and start to raise your prices. Yes, clients will leave, but for each one that leaves, the increased revenue from other clients that stay will cover this shortfall. You will replace those that leave with clients that value your time.
If clients can buy Gucci shoes when shops sell footwear for a tenth of the price then there is a market for you also.
Clients that pay more are less demanding, more appreciative of your art, knowledge and time, and they are more loyal to your business.
Working less hours you will make more money off of fewer clients.
2. Create Unique Experiences and Individual Services.
One way to create your own pricing structure is to offer services and treatments that cannot be price matched against any other salon.
An example would be if you offer a Microdermabrasion facial for £35. As a client, they can see your service and they can see your price and then go away and shop around for other prices for the exact same treatment. They may find a salon that offers it for £15, saving them money and you lose out on a client.
Now, clients that shop on price ultimately are not the clients we really want in our salon. They will leave at the drop of a hat when they see a salon offering a cheaper service. However this is just an example to explain how creating unique services can work for your business.
As salon owners we probably know that the difference in service from our £35 facial will be greatly significant to that offered by a competitor for £15. We know our machine is better, our training and expertise in the treatment far outweighs that of the therapists offering the treatment for less. We know our surroundings and salon environment is better, our hygiene standards higher and our product line is far better. Yet our clients only see the treatment price and the name of the treatment and think both treatments will be exactly the same. This is why we create a service and treatment that no other salon can match, and we charge more for it!
We will now call our Microdermabrasion facial, Revitalise and Glow. Advertise on social media with amazing photos of glowing skin, along with snippets of reviews or client feedback such as 'my skin has never felt so amazing', 'my friends keep asking what my secret to flawless skin is' or 'my skin is still looking fresh and smooth weeks after my treatment'. Add in the treatment results and what the client will get for their money! For example; Beautiful, glowing skin for weeks, smaller pores, fewer outbreaks and smoother skin. Only available at (your salon name) our exclusive facial removes dead skin build up, unclogs pores, increases collagen and elastin to reduce the appearance of ageing and we enhance the power of red light therapy to heal and stimulate the skins natural resources to help it become more balanced and functioning properly. Our amazing treatment includes a full skin consultation with our expert skin therapists, who take into account lifestyle factors as well as your concerns to tailor our facial for the best outcome for you and your skin! No one size fits all type facials here! After our in-depth facial and skin analysis, our experts will get you comfy in our beautifully decorated aesthetic treatment room and we apply our many years of knowledge to make you look and feel wonderful while you relax. After your treatment our expert skin therapist will devise a home care regime to help you keep your skin maintained at home. So to re-cap you will sell a package that no other salon can match.
Unique tailored treatment individual to your client.
Unique skin analysis to create a treatment plan suitable for the client.
Tailored home care treatment plan
The idea is to create a package that the client cannot match at other salons.
3. Sell the Results NOT the Treatment!
Sell the treatment outcome not the treatment name or treatment modalities. Trust me when I say, clients have not got a clue most of the time what certain machines or peels etc are. All your clients care about is the outcome for their skin.
Titles to your adverts such as 'Achieve Flawless Skin', 'Reverse the Signs of Ageing' or 'Clearer, Smoother Skin in just one Session' sell the results the client is after.
Think about skin care cream adverts. Do you see them sell the product name and the purpose? For example: Super Skin Care Products - Ever Glow Night Serum. Would this alone sell the product to you? Take a look at adverts of skin care creams and look at what they actually sell, results!
These two above adverts are prime examples of selling the benefits, the end results and the outcome as opposed to selling the product.
If clients have dry skin, large pores, acne, acne scars, uneven skin tone or pigmentation, seeing a treatment advertisement will not work. However seeing an advert that claims they can see a 60% reduction in the appearance of enlarged pores or reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and they have this as their main concern, it will catch their eye. This has more chance of leading to a booking than promoting a particular treatment.
4. Clients are for Life, not just for Christmas!
To become successful you need to build up a loyal client fan base. The reason I use the term 'Fan base', is because customers will come and go, but fans last a lifetime.
Creating individual treatments that achieve results, unique to your salon will start to have a snowball effect. Clients will start wanting to come to you through word of mouth or your popularity on social media. As an individual therapist, you should be able to service an average of 40 clients every week. Whilst some of these clients may frequent more often than once a month, some may visit every 6-8 weeks. Thus meaning a therapist should ideally have 120 clients coming back every 4 weeks.
When you offer a treatment package or outcome that no other salon can match, teamed with exceptional customer service and a treatment plan that is tested and measured through a series of skin analysis sessions that shows the client results from their treatments. When you sell them the essential home care to keep results improving between treatments and then rebook them in every 4 weeks, you will have a steady and guaranteed flow of income.
The most important part of the salon process is to ensure clients come back regularly and not to leave the salon without booking another appointment. You can create packages that tie your client into the salon for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months and thus guaranteeing you a regular income and loyalty.
Clients should be getting results that they want to rave about online and to their friends. This creates a great social media buzz around your brand and more enquiries and bookings.
Clients that become fans of your business will essentially do all the hard work for you! They will stay loyal, because they love what you do, and they will promote you to everyone that listens! Clients with a large instagram following are your salons biggest asset as they may do a shoutout about your salon, or even tag you in an update when they have visited your premises.
Lost clients should also not be left unforgotten on your client list. Whether a clients rebooked or not, its great practice to call them a week post procedure to see how their skin is improving and how they are getting on with any home care products they have purchased. Not only is this great customer service, it keeps you on the clients mind and shows them you care about getting the results they want! It also allows the client to raise any concerns or complaints and allows you to iron these out and retaining your client. If the client hasn't rebooked their next appointment, now would be a great time to do it, or arrange to call them back nearer the time.
Clients that don't return for their follow up appointments, try to touch base and ask them how they feel they got on post treatment. See if they will rebook to keep up with the results and explain that regular treatments maintain beautiful skin. If the client hasn't returned after 8 weeks, send a handwritten 'we miss you' card and ask them for any feedback to improve your service. Whilst every client won't return for a number of reasons, from finances, job changes or house moves etc, around 60-90% of clients should be returning to you every 4-6 weeks. Reaching our regularly makes it easier for clients to return, it lets them know they are thought about and we care about their wellbeing and of course their business. It allows them to feel comfortable providing feedback about aspects they found to not be satisfactory to them and also prevents bad reviews online. After 3 months a final letter to the client, followed up by a phone call with an offer of free treatment upgrade if they return should be sent. If there is still no response, archive the client and only contact during your monthly mail shots.
The more a client returns to the business, the more likely they will stay!
5. Pre-Paid all the Way!
From taking booking fees for every appointment to selling packages and tying clients into a package is the key to business success.
As a therapist you will likely have 40 available appointments every week (basing this on you having and selling only 1 hour services, obviously this is more ideal than shorter, less profitable treatments). This means you need 40 clients to fill your diary. If you charge £50 per hour, thats a weekly turnover over of £2000. Some salons will charge a lot more for their expertise, and I really wouldn't recommend charging any less.
Now to guarantee you definitely earn £2000 a week, you need to be business tough! This means:
New clients pay 50% of the treatment cost upon booking in. This should be non-refundable.
Regular clients should pay the 50% of the final treatment bill and then 50% deposit for their next session.
Pre-sell treatments in packs of 3, 6, 9 or 12 and inform clients that missed bookings will be forfeited.
Salon owners and therapists are scared of introducing such penalties, but why? If the client booked a hotel, dentist appointment, gym memberships, flights and concert or event tickets, they will be expected to lose their money if they can't, don't or won't attend. I do give a certain amount of give and take, that if I can fill the slot, as good customer service, I will move loyal and regular clients to another date. However this is used at discretion. I also allow the client to move for free anytime before 7 days prior to their appointment with the salon, This allows the salon enough time to get the slot filled. Remember this is your only income and clients not turning up for appointments or cancelling last minute can greatly affect your turnover. As long as clients know your terms up front, they will also respect that you value your time and won't be taken advantage of. They are also grateful if they do have a genuine reason for non-attendance, if you are able to fill the slot to allow them to not lose their booking fee, or pre paid service.
It is important to remember this:
Clients are NOT your friends! When they become friends, they expect you to treat them as such!
Even if the client does not attend and complains they lost £25, you too have also lost £25 as you was unable to undertake the treatment and charge full price, nor was you able to fill the gap. You both take a loss!
Without taking a booking fee, if 6 clients fail to show up for their appointment or cancel last minute, you will lose £300 that you cannot get back! By charging a 50% fee for your time, then you still lose £150!
However, by the same stance, should I have to cancel a client with less than 7 days notice, I play fair and offer them a 50% discount when they reschedule. Your terms of trade should be fair to all parties!
Selling packages to clients like a course of 3, 6, 9 or 12 treatments guarantees you an income and the repeat business for that period of time. Especially for skin care treatments, packages like this, sold with relevant home care, is what will give your clients their desired results. I tell clients that there is no point only doing a facial once, and not maintaining their skin properly at home between treatments!
6. Look after the Pennies and the Pounds look after themselves!
In my eBook Brexit Proof your Salon Business in 2019 I discuss in detail how to save money within your business and how to increase client spend in more detail. A pound saved is worth more than a pound earned. This is because for every pound you save, that full pound is yours to keep. For every pound you earn, you need to take off tax, products, wages and overheads, leaving with you 20p profit for every £1.
Keeping a handle on your costs and outgoings allows your business to become more viable and gives it a better chance of survival. Savings can be made all across the board within your salon and a few simple processes can find you extra capital that you didn't have before.
Taking a set wage each week as well, and factoring that into your overheads allows you to work towards a set goal that you have to reach each week in order to not only pay the salon bills, but to also allow you a wage to support your home and family.
Saving money in every aspect of the salon, along with charging your worth and getting clients pre-paying, are all great ways to see an instant turn around in the success and profitability of your business.
7. Don't forget to Advertise!
The common problem many therapists face is their advertising. Most often it is sporadic, messy and desperate. When we are busy we simply stop advertising. When we are quiet, we panic and throw out ridiculous offers to try and bring in business for the following week.
Coca-cola is the number one soft drink in the world. Regardless of this fact, they still spend millions of pounds a year on advertising. Do you really think they need to? Yet still they do! Having an ongoing presence and an ongoing media campaign will allow you to always stay at the forefront of your customers minds. This means more re-bookings, more new clients and no panic offers as you won't have quiet weeks!
It is far better to turn away customers because you are too busy, than to get clients in when your diary is empty!
Some tips for an effortless marketing plan:
Design your plan a year in advance, this should cover offers, special days during the month i.e. mothers day, window themes, product/treatment launches, mail shot campaigns and competitions.
Design as many pictures in Canva or similar apps once a month, along with your email campaigns, window displays and product displays so they are ready to go!
Automate your mail-shots, prepare your competitions and use apps like Hootsuite to send regular and timed postings to all your social media accounts.
Set time to write at least one blog for your website each week to keep your site content fresh.
Engage personally with fans and followers on social media, like or comment on fans own pictures or statuses, reply to comments on your own posts and reply quickly to inbox messages.
Don't just use Hootsuite to post for you, as this lowers your engagement and visibility online. Post personal statuses, staff bios, treatments being undertaken and before and afters of results throughout the day.
Set your budget for advertising spend per year and do not exceed this, unless it proves fruitful.
Set aside 3-4 times throughout your day to attend to your marketing. 30 minutes a day will see you turning clients away in less than a year.
8. Staff are a Reflection of your Standards!
Whenever you walk into any business, you will interact with staff. Your relationship and experience with these staff members will give you a lasting impression of the business or brand. Regardless of how amazing a product or shop can be, if the staff are awful, customers will never return!
So I love Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Every other day I drove to their main shop in the area (with a convenient drive through window) and ordered two boxes of 12 doughnuts, one varied selection and one plain. Now before you all think, wow you fat cow haha, these were for my staff, as a treat. So every other day I rocked up, purchased 24 doughnuts and off I went!
One day they did an offer that allowed you to buy one box of 12 doughnuts and you got a box of 12 for free. There was no limitations and no terms and conditions. So every other day we rocked up to buy our 24 doughnuts and paid less, because 12 of them were free! Free doughnuts taste so much better right? We did this for a few weeks, only showing the voucher on our phone. Until one day we arrived, ordered the doughnuts and went to pay at the next week. Upon showing them the voucher, we were promptly told that the voucher had to be printed off in order to use it. We pointed out that we had used it in this way several times previously with no issues, and the voucher in the book never stated that we needed to print it out, just stating 'show a copy of this voucher to the shop'. The voucher by the way was downloaded onto our phone. No matter how much we protested they refused to budge. I explained that they should state in the terms that the voucher should be printed, and they should never had accepted the voucher on my phone previously (and only 2 days earlier). I explained that next visit we would print it off, but we are here now, and can they honour the voucher this one time.
Obviously the saving was minimal for the doughnuts, maybe £4-6 and we could easily have paid it and walked away, but the attitude from the staff, teamed with the ignorance that the voucher was totally valid they lost the full sale. Yup, I drove off, having caused a pile up of 30+ cars during the discussion, minus any doughnuts. I wrote to Krispy Kremes and left a very unhappy review on their page, and never received any form of response. To this day (4 years later) I have never been back to Krispy Kremes.
Some may argue that I should have printed the voucher off, but the points stood valid, that the voucher was a downloadable voucher to a phone, it never said we had to print the voucher off, and it had been accepted numerous times before. They basically decided on that day, they would add new terms to the vouchers use. Let me add, that the terms on the voucher also never said that these terms were liable to be changed without notice, nor did they say the voucher may be refused.
For the sake of maybe £6, Krispy Kreme lost a regular and long term customer spending over £60-£80 a week on doughnuts. Ok, for a large chain, with a large customer base this may not hit them where it hurts, but this is the same effect customers can have on a smaller business, with detrimental effects.
I am not saying you should let your clients take advantage (as maybe we did with our free doughnuts voucher), but how you handle a situation can make or break the client experience.
This is why staff training is key! In a large chain of stores, systems are often exactly the same, the process is exactly the same and thus the experience you are likely to have in say one McDonalds will be the same as that you will experience in another. This should apply to your own staff. The experience that a client has with you as the salon owner, should be the exact same as they have with any member of your team.
The recruitment process is essential, as this is the time you can find the staff that meet the same standards and passion as you have for your business. From here, they should be taken on a journey of induction, so they are aware of all the terms of your business, the health and safety and systems you have in place, as well as undertaking full training in all treatments and procedures, customer care and salon set up!
Training your staff in how to deal with complaints is vital. Complaints come in all forms and can escalate very quickly. Ensuring staff are able and aware to handle the situation well, will be a deciding factor for the client whether their business and money is important to you. At the same stance, it is also important to know when to let clients go! If a client makes your staff tense, if they make the atmosphere awkward with their presence, if they complain and nit pick and cause a fuss at every appointment, cut them loose! Some clients can take up all your time and very often for little return.
9. Get your Systems into Place!
Are you a salon that is organised and legally compliant? Do you have systems in place for health and safety awareness, fire evacuations, staff training, stock control and Job roles?
Having systems in place keeps your business up to date and organised before or after problems arise. Having these in place before employing staff, saves you the headaches later down the line, when you're running a full column, trying to train a new team member AND trying to get your paperwork in order.
Having a front of desk, Salon Bible, also provides a quick reference guide for you and staff to ensure the day to day running of the salon, or quick access to vital information that you may need in a day. It also helps when you take on juniors or work experience staff, so they can see at a glance what is expected of them, without you finding the time to do this out your diary.
An organised salon, runs smoothly, looks more professional and is more successful. For more information on setting your paperwork up in your salon watch this video by clicking on this link here.
10. Theres more than one way to make MONEY!
Really, I am pointing out the very obvious here, but I find many salons become blinkered and only service their clients for the treatments the clients book in for. Here are a few ways to explode your profits from your salon:
Suggest other services and upgrades to your clients at the time of booking or during their appointment. How many times have you been somewhere and they add on upgrades to food, or little extra purchases for a few pounds here and there. Add on extra components to a facial, nail art to a manicure, even an eyebrow shape to other services. Think that by adding just £5 to each client per day - increases your revenue by £200 every week!
Retail, Retail, Retail! This is essential to your success. Clients do not have the time to shop as much as they used too, and have to rely on quick purchases and online purchases to replenish their products. Offering retail in salon not only provides an easy convenience for your clients, it also increases your profits! If you have continually full columns, there are only 3 ways to increase revenue without working longer hours. Keep increasing your prices every 6 months, sell on add-on services and treatments to your clients when they are booked in and sell them retail! Look at the things clients buy and use on a regular basis and stock up. More importantly remember your client is buying moisturisers, cleansers, shampoo and body wash from somewhere else, it might as well be you!
Create workshops for clients or new potential customers and run these once or twice a week but an extra revenue boost. Workshops can vary from self care, makeup application workshops to maintaining skin at home through to craft and empowerment events. A couple of hours can easily see you earn a few hundred pounds and setting your salon apart from your competitors. Take a look at our workshops for profit eBook available here.
When you have refined your skills and want to share your knowledge, the wonderful world of teaching awaits. With academies and trainers earning in excess of a £1000 a day, teaching is a great add on to any salon business. This also has the added benefit of increasing your respect from potential clients as they will expect you to have more knowledge that regular stand alone salons. For more information on how to set up a training academy, have a look at our eBook here.
From here the amazing world of distribution or product development is open to you. Having your own line of skin care, or selling a well known brand to trade buyers, is an amazing way to increase revenue and have a steady flow of income throughout the year.
I hope this has given you some new ways to push your business to new limits and to start seeing profits like never before.
I am available on facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy to try and answer any questions you may have.
Have a wonderful day, Namaste.