How to make your salon more profitable | Salons Direct

The National Hairdressers Federation runs workshops on how to make your salon more profitable, how to manage yourself and your team more effectively, and how to deliver a great client experience ( Here are the key challenges and how to deal with them.

The challenge – finding the right quality of staff

Hairdressing remains popular, but it’s often seen as an underpaid and low status profession – by schools and parents – and this puts young people off from going into the industry. Salons don’t help themselves either by using apprentices as “shampoo fodder” and not putting in the time and effort required to train young people properly.

So what’s the solution?
Grow your own – capture those little superstars early. So, run play nights for kids to come in and practise with hair; engage parents to show that hairdressing is a valuable and rewarding career for their children; show how our industry really is dynamic, creative and fun. Also, go to schools and get teachers into your salon so they can see how your salon can help if a child expresses an interest in hairdressing.

The challenge – making a profit

All too often we hear stories of salon owners earning less than their stylists or even not taking a salary at all! So many salon owners are fantastic hairdressers – that’s their passion – but they take little interest in the business side of things.

So, what’s the solution?
Get business minded. To be successful you need regular and practical business education and you must make sure your salon is watertight when it comes to employment law, tax, VAT, National Minimum Wage and so on. Don’t just leave your finances to your accountant – you need to understand your figures so you know exactly what your income is, what your costs are, and whether you’re making a profit. You also need to spend less time working behind your chair (no matter how much you love it!) to make time for looking at your figures, managing your team, strategic thinking and business planning.

The challenge – giving clients what they want

Client expectations have risen massively! And competition comes in all shapes and sizes – it’s not just coming from other salons either. Clients have to decide how they’re going to spend their hard-earned cash – and a new pair of shoes or a night out, or even just paying their household bills may rank higher than having their hair done.

So, what’s the solution?
Consistency. Every single customer visit is an experience, and “small things done consistently every day create extraordinary results”. So, it’s the little things that make the difference: asking the right questions in a consultation; a great hair service, a fantastic blow-dry, thoughtful extra touches, all delivered in an outstanding way.

The challenge – how do I use social media to boost business?

Social media can be a great addition to your marketing but it isn’t enough by itself. Word-of-mouth is more important than anything else and that’s what will take your business to the next level. Getting your clients to talk about your salon is much more important than you talking ‘at’ your clients.

So, what’s the solution?
Decide what you want from social media for your salon and then how much time and budget you’re going to spend on it. Be prepared to put in regular time and effort, so make schedules and stick to them. Keep your message on track, vary what you do, make it interesting and valuable to your clients. Never post anything personal – if you wouldn’t be happy to broadcast it across the salon floor, don’t say it – and protect who has access.

The challenge – should I rent chairs?

Chair renting is a great solution for some, but for others it just doesn’t work. It’s difficult to create a great team ethic in a chair renting salon. When everyone is looking out for themselves who gets the new clients, who greets the client, who answers the phone? But if you can get the right agreements and individuals in place, and everybody understands their roles within the salon, chair renting can work.

So, what’s the solution?
Show your team they can earn more money by working for you. Share your figures with your team – they often only see money coming into the salon and don’t realise just how much is going out in costs and overheads like rents and rates. If you’ve got your prices right, and your wage structures are clear, including how bonuses or commission are earned, a stylist won’t want to rent a chair.

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