Everything from your salon staff not behaving professionally, to untidy and cluttered areas of your salon – Your clients have eyes everywhere. This is especially the case when they are sat relaxing in your salon, flicking through a magazine in reception, or having a lengthy treatment such as their nails done. Your clients are guaranteed to notice things in your salon that you probably haven’t spotted, or didn’t realise were even happening.

Here at Salons Direct, we don’t want you to get caught out by these things, so in today’s article, we’re speaking to the team from Pastille Beauty bar, as well as Katie Barnes, founder of the Katie Barnes Nail Academy to discover what really puts clients off from returning to your salon business.

Hi Katie, if you were to step into your client’s shoes, what is something that would put you off returning to a salon?

One of the most off-putting first impressions in a salon is a group of therapists gathered around reception chatting or talking about their personal lives as the customer enters.

It can be quite intimidating and looks unprofessional, especially for first-time customers. No more than two therapists should be gathered at a reception area at any one time.

Related: The importance of creating an inviting client reception area

What first impression can be the most off putting to clients?

As the first impression, salon cleanliness is more off-putting and can prevent a client from even booking their first appointment. If salon staff cannot take care and ensure a clean working environment then it gives the impression the same sloppy attitude will be taken in their work too. Over time, unprofessional behaviour and poor work can be off-putting and make a client not want to return.

What do you think are the small things clients notice, but salon staff perhaps miss?

When you become familiar with an area, you can often overlook some of the hidden areas, which are the most important. Your salon staff may always have an immaculate desk but when they open their drawers they are extremely untidy or unsanitary.

The client will notice this and also be aware that these dirty tools and products will be used on them. Salon staff must also ensure cleanliness throughout the whole salon, even when self-employed including small things like if the towel in the bathroom is soggy, it needs changing. This reflects on the salon and workers as a whole and every worker is responsible for ensuring these small things are kept on top of.

When I go to a salon I will always check hidden areas, such as on top of shelves. If salon workers take care of these little things, then their work is also likely to be tip top too.

The team at Pastille beauty bar share their thoughts also…


From a client perspective, what would put you off a beauty salon?Feeling you’re not being looked after, which can be anything from being ignored or sitting in an untidy salon. We’re always appalled when clients say this has happened somewhere else.

Is behaviour or salon cleanliness more off-putting?Both are awful, but uncleanliness is worse as beyond your time in the salon you’re not assured that you won’t have any issues linked to the health of your skin and nails. A manicure should never include the risk of infection!

What do you think are the small things clients notice, but salon workers don’t?Getting a manicure is an intimate treatment as you’re sat directly opposite someone who is holding your hands for an hour, so the tiniest things on how you’re handled physically and the Technician’s behaviour can have a big impact.

Clients respond to the smallest gestures especially if they are anxious about having someone looking at their bitten nails, or being in an unfamiliar salon.

And finally…

A team built on trust is essential for working safely and professionally. We provide a positive environment for Technicians and clients – we’d hate for anyone to feel unwelcome or under-appreciated. We often get feedback and use this to keep our standards high.

Discover Small things clients notice, but you don’t!

Time for more from Salons Direct? Our exclusive survey reveals shocking client stories told to stylists! | Is it beneficial to include a mobile nail service within your beauty salon business? | Brand Spotlight: Nails Inc