The 3 simple secrets of making more money from your salon/beauty business: Part 2

Note: This blog is Part 2 of a 2-part series: The 3 simple secrets of making more money from your salon/beauty business

In Part A: Increasing your revenue, we talked about what are the three core ways to make more money in your salon, business metrics that are used to measure this, and how to boost these numbers.

Further in this blog:

Part B: Taking care of your expenses talks about two simple business metrics, how they can help track your business growth, and how to deduce them.

Part C: Making sure you don’t run out of money talks about cash flow in the salon business, what it means, why maintaining a steady cash flow is important, and how to pump up your cash flow.

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Part B: Managing your expenses

This part involves looking at the your monthly expenses and finding out whether they match up the industry standard to make your business profitable or not.

This is important because numerous times salon owners are unaware of little-yet-crucial facts like what is the optimum price setting, or how much an employee is supposed to work in order to stay productive for the business.

Below are the three metrics to monitor your expenses and make sure your business is, and stays profitable.

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1. Net Profits or Profitability

Net Profits are calculated by deducting the total expenses from total sales. Net profits can be calculated as:

Net Profits = Net sales – Net expenses

Net profit margin is the percent revenue left after deducting total expenses from total sales. This reveals the amount of profit that you can extract from your total sales. It is calculated as:

Net profit margin = [Net profits/Net sales]*100%

If the net sales generated at the end of the month in your salon is $8000, and your expenses are somewhere around $7000 (rent, salary, taxes, etc.).

That means, your net profit is $1000 per month.

And, you net profit margin is 12.5% per month.

Or, 12.5% of your sales is converted to profit.

When we need to compare salons of any size or scale for profitability, percentage net profit margin gives an accurate number. Even if the actual figures for total sales and expenses differ, you can easily compare net profit margin percentage and understand which business is more profitable.


  • Industry Standard

As far as the industry standard is considered, there’s no magic number for salon profitability. Profits in the industry range from 4%-18%. But for a medium-tier salon, anything close to 8%-9% is considered a decent number.


  • Tips to increase Profitability

  1. One obvious way to increase profitability is by increasing the revenue. There are three core ways to make money with your current setup. These are further elaborated in the previous part of this post, Part A: Making more money.
  2. Increase your prices: This is pretty straightforward. Every time a client comes in, and pay a little more for your services, it means more net profits.
  3. Put up a live deal offer for walk-ins during no shows: No shows suck. In order to engage the idle staff, put out a live deal offer board to attract walk-ins.
  4. By reducing your costs: Another way to increase your net profits is by cutting some of your expenses. You can do this by:
    • Investing in a scheduling software instead of paying for a receptionist. The software provides numerous additional features that are beyond the work of a receptionist, in a fraction of the salary cost.
    • Being energy efficient: Turn off high energy consuming equipments when not in use. Involve your team in this too. Encourage and educate them about the importance of energy saving and seek their support.

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2. Revenue Per Employee

Revenue per employee is the total revenue generated divided by total number of hours.

This is a very crucial metrics to understand how efficiently you’re utilising your employees to make your salon profitable. A high revenue per employee suggests that you’re operating efficiently. While a low revenue per employee suggests that you can find ways to squeeze more sales from your employees.

  • Industry standard

For most businesses to be profitable, an employee should be generating a revenue worth 2-3x his salary.

But that again depends on various factors like overheads, location of the salon, and the type of establishment that your salon is.

For ex: Consider a salon in a very expensive area of the town. For this salon, the rent and other overheads will be higher compared to its competitor in a relatively cheaper neighbourhood. Hence, in order for the salon to be profitable, its stylists might have to generate a revenue worth 3-3.5x their salary.

While the other salon might be able to break even at just 1.5-2x its stylists’ salaries.

 

Tips on increasing revenue per employee

  • Cash incentives to staff for achieving targets: This might sound counter-productive at first, but think about it;

Imagine an offer to reward an employee with $250 per month for completion of an additional 20 services throughout the month.

If the average service cost at your salon is $35, then the additional revenue generated will be $700.

Your net benefit will be $450. That’s a whopping 180% return on investment.

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  • Increase your prices: Increasing prices not only helps in boosting your profits, but also increases the revenue per employee. Increased prices mean increased sales, and with the same number of employees, it means an increased revenue per employee.
  • Fill up lean times by sending out deals and discounts. During cancelled appointments, and no-shows, don’t let your staff sit idle. Send out deals in targeted texts/emails with you salon scheduling software, and fill up empty time slots in advance.
  • Avoid no shows by sending timely notifications to your customers in order to improve productivity. This is another feature that you can find in your booking software.

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Part C: Making sure you have enough money

Do you know that up to 80 percent of all new small businesses fail within 18 months?

And more than half of them fail because of not having enough cash reserves.

The key to this problem is Cash flow. Your end of the year Profit and Loss sheet has nothing to do with this. The point is having enough cash to sustain you expenses on a month by month basis.

Let’s dig in some more.

Cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your salon every month.

The inflow of cash is via channels such as payments for services, retail sales, or gift certificates. (Ah! the good times).

While, cash flows out when spent in salaries, inventory, rent, taxes, employee training, marketing efforts, etc. (Meh!)

Two important points to note in reference of cash flow:

  • Don’t confuse the term ‘cash’ here with the routine use of the term. The ‘cash’ in cash flow can mean both physical money in hand, and the money in your bank account.
  • Credits and loans don’t add up in the inflow of cash. Only money in the pocket counts. For example, the payment amount that clients owe you (if any), doesn’t add up in the cash in flow for that month. It only adds up when you actually receive the payments.

Why monitoring cash flow is important?

  • Because expenses are to be paid in lumps but earnings occur distributed over time.

At the beginning of the month, you know you’ll earn enough through the next 30 days to pay all your dues and sustain your business. But that’s the point. The earnings will come in over 30 days. On the other hand, most expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) are required to be paid in lumps.

Hence, it’s crucial that you have a cash reserve to sustain your next month’s worth of expenses. It can only happen via regularly monitoring your cash flow.

  • It helps you plan your expenses.

What if you need to buy a new manicure chair? Or invest in an attendance system for the salon? How do you know in if you have enough money to spend a little extra while sustaining your business?

Cash flow sheet shows how much money you have left, and your expenses for the past month. This information helps you understand whether you can afford a new expense that month or not.

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  • How to pump up your cash flow?

    Cash flow management is a simple concept. You need to take as long as possible to pay your bills and collect earnings as soon as possible.

In other words, the debtor days, or how quickly cash is collected by you need to be less. And, the creditor days, or how late you’re paying your dues need to be more.

A few ways to do this are:

  1. Gift certificates: Gift certificates are great. They’re basically money paid in advance for a particular service.
  2. Try to push dates for paying rent, or your staff’s salaries. This increases your creditor days and gives a window for cash to pile up before you need to spend it.
  3. Don’t stock up on inventory. Since it has to be pre-paid for, it decreases your creditor days. Instead, replenish every month. You may also try buying from the same vendors to get the products at negotiated prices.
  4. Accept full/partial pre-payments for your service, if you allow customers to book online. This helps in getting a partial/full payment in advance, and also reduces no shows.

Running your own business requires you to take care of different things, to be at multiple places, and to learn something new everyday.

Back in the day, it was never meant to be a one-person task. But today, with the Internet, and cloud-based services expanding everyday, anyone who aspires to run their own business can.

There are business solutions for marketing, staff management, online scheduling, pre-payments, and what not. A few minutes worth of Google search will tell you the enormous number of salon software out there. But you need to choose one that fits both your needs, and your budget.


Appointy is an online scheduling software that is trusted by 5000+ salon owners across the world. It provides a complete solution for all your business needs. Equipped to serve salons of every scope and size, Appointy comes with a free plan too!

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Request a demo today. Or try Appointy right now!

The 3 simple secrets of making more money from your salon/beauty business

Admit it. Most business owners wouldn’t say no to making more money from their current setup.

But only a few are aware of (or pay much heed to) the basic business mechanics of running a salon. With numerous guides available on the Internet, and advice from fellow business-owners, you could easily get confused about what to do in order to earn more from your business.

Should you…

Focus on getting new customers through the door?

Or getting existing customers to come back more often?

Or knowing if you’re earning enough?

Or start selling more retail products?

How do you know what’s right?

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In order to know what’s right, it’s important to understand the three basic fundamentals of running a profitable salon business:

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  1. Increasing your revenue

  2. Taking care of your expenses

  3. Making sure you don’t run out of money

Based on these three fundamentals, this blog is divided into three parts where,

Part A: Increasing your revenue talks about three core ways that can help you make more money from your business. It further defines three business metrics that quantify these growth channels and elaborates on them.

Part B: Taking care of your expenses talks about two simple business metrics, how they can help track your business growth, how to deduce them, and what are the industry standards for them.

Part C: Making sure you don’t run out of money talks about cash flow in the salon business, what it means, and why maintaining a steady cash flow is important?
The first section is covered in this post, and the remaining sections are continued in the next post. You can find its link at the bottom or visit it from here.

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Part A: Increasing your revenue

First things first. Understanding what’s right for your business

Different businesses have different needs. Before deciding to venture into finding new customers, or increasing your prices, you need to understand what’s going to work best for your business. There are two major factors at play:

  • Employee and resource utilisation percentage, Or how busy your employees ( like stylists) and resources (like manicure chairs) are. This will affect your decision about which channel to opt in order to earn more.

Consider this,

What if your employees are already working full time, and all your appointment slots are full. Launching a marketing strategy to get new customers doesn’t really make sense for this scenario, does it?
Instead, you might want to focus more on retaining your customers, increasing your service prices, or hiring more staff members.
This is actually an example of a business that doesn’t need new customers in its current state.

You can calculate Employee Utilisation Percentage by,

Utilisation Percentage = [Average hours worked by the employee/Available hours]*100%

There’s no fixed standard for staff utilisation levels in the salon/beauty standard. But according to an overall industry standard, 80% utilisation is the magic number for most service industries. It roughly translates into a 40 hour work-week with 32 hours logged in for providing services.

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  • Another factor is your business type.

Take the case of a bridal salon. While client retention may be a sure shot growth hack for other salons, the same trick won’t work for them. It’s the kind of business that (most) people visit just once.


Once you’ve looked into all your business variables, and decided what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be ready to pick a channel to increase your revenue.
In salon business, everything around making more money rounds up to these three core ways:

  1. Getting existing customers to come back
  2. Getting new customers
  3. Earning more from each customer

The basic equation goes something like this:

[(Existing customers coming back + New customers)]* (More money from each customer) = Happy salon owner! 😍

Let’s dig in some more!


1. Getting existing customers to come back

Your existing customers are your most valuable assets. They’ve already been to your business once, there’s a certain level of trust, and chances are they’re probably already thinking of booking an appointment with you.
In fact, according to a recent fact by BIAKelsey, 61% of SMBs report that more than half their revenue comes from repeat customers.

Business metrics to measure this: Repeat Customer Percentage

  • Repeat Customer Percentage is the number of repeat customers that you get in a month as a percentage of total paying customers you receive in that month.
  • It gives a measure of how many of your existing customers re-visited your salon in a particular month.
  • Repeat customers are people who have visited your salon at least twice. While total paying customers are people who have visited your salon once or more.
  • You can calculate Repeat Customer Percentage as:

Repeat Customer Percentage = [Repeat customers in the month/Total paying customers in the month] * 100%

Numerous salons report an 80% repeat customer percentage.

Tips for increasing Repeat Customer Percentage

  • Provide a good service experience. The most crucial aspect of getting your customers to come back is providing high-quality service in the first place. To achieve this, you need to clearly understand your customers’ needs and provide a distraction-free, focussed service experience to your client.
  • Don’t wait for your customers to come back to you. You need to invite them over regularly by sending emails and texts. To increase your chances of success, tailor the email/text according to any personal information that you might have about their preferences. Like a particular shade of hair colour, or a special product that’s back in stock.

Tailoring personalised emails manually can be a tiresome task, but there are numerous tech-solutions that can help you do this. Online scheduling software give you an option to collect and save information about customers in the form of notes. You and your stylists can make quick notes right after providing a service and use them while drafting emails to send your customers.

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  • Additionally, use referral discounts, and loyalty programs also help in bringing back repeat customers more often.
  • Stay connected to customers by creating a dedicated Facebook page for your salon. Keep adding more customers to it and post regular updates so that you’re always in your customers’ field of sight.
  • Create convenience. Customers need to be able to know when you’re free. No one wants to walk into a salon and wait in a long queue. Neither do they want to wait for you to pick up the phone in order to make an appointment. Give your customers an option to schedule their appointment online prior to their visit, and any time they want.

2. Getting new customers

If you think your appointment book isn’t full, and staff utilisation levels are low, you should definitely try getting more customers coming in.

Business metrics to measure this: Net New Customers

Net New Customers is the number of new customers as a percentage of total customers received in a month. It’s a measure of how many new customers are visiting you every month. If there’s anything new that you’re trying, like starting a marketing campaign, or a referral program, monitoring this metrics becomes crucial to determine how well your strategy is working and which one’s working better for your business.

You can calculate Net New Revenue by:

Net New Revenue = Number of new customers in the month/Total paying customers in the month

How to increase Net New Customers?

  • Getting more customers through the door requires an increase in the visibility of your salon among the right kind of audience, or your target audience. One brilliant new way to do this is by getting listed on Reserve with Google. It a search-and-book platform by Google that allows your customers to search and book your services directly from Google search, Google maps, and a dedicated website.

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  • You can also increase your online bookings by integrating a ‘Book Now’ button to your website and your Facebook page.
  • By using salon marketing tactics like selling gift certificates, creating deals and discounts, and social promotion.
  • Try running an affiliate program with local businesses that your target customers might be visiting. For ex: bridal salons can make the local wedding planners their affiliates, or a popular bridal clothing store.
  • Referral programs are another great way of getting new customers by leveraging your existing customers’ loyalty. For example: you can reward any customer who refers your salon to a new customer by giving them both a $10-$15 discount on their next service.

3. Earning more from each customer

This particular method requires a little more effort than the first one but gives whopping returns. You can earn more from each customer either by cross-selling, up-selling, or increasing the average service price.
Most of the effort that goes into the process at this stage is in the analysis that is required to either recreate your pricing, or training employees to communicate better and with tact.

Business metrics to measure this: Average Revenue Per User [ARPU]

  • Average Revenue Per User is the sum of revenue generated from all users divided by the total number of customers that you received in a month.
  • It gives a measure of how much money a single customer makes for your business.

You can calculate Average Revenue Per User by:

Average revenue per employee = Total Revenue/ Total customers

How to increase ARPU?

  • Cross-selling refers to the art of selling an additional service to a customer. For example: pitching someone to get a pedicure while getting a manicure is cross-selling.
  • Up-selling, on the other hand, is the art of convincing the customer to purchase a comparable high-end service. For example: pitching someone to get a full length blow-dry instead of a partial blow-dry.
  • Increasing your service pricing. Most salons dread raising their pricing due to the fear of losing their customer base. But in reality, only a slight increase ($5-10) can change yearly numbers by a great deal without losing you any customers.
  • Another, and very important channel to increase ARPU is by retail sales. Customers have a tendency to look upto their stylists for recommendations about their hair/skin. This can usually be leveraged to recommend and sell retail products to them. In fact, the industry standard says that 20% of your total sales should be via retail.

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All these three metrics, and how they help in increasing your revenue are related as:

[Repeat Customer Percentage ⬆️ + Net New Revenue ⬆️] * [Average Revenue Per User ⬆️] = More money 💲

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This was Part 1 of the 2-part series, The 3 simple secrets of making more from your existing salon/beauty business. The remaining two sections of the blog talk about:

  1. Managing your expenses: Two simple business metrics, how they can help track your business growth, and how to deduce them.
  2. Making sure you don’t run out of money: Cash flow in the salon business, what it means, and why maintaining a steady cash flow is important?

    Click here to go to Part 2 and understand the rest of the equation to start making more money from your salon/beauty business today.  

Happy fourth of July! 🎆

Travel, food, and entertainment take the spotlight on Independence day. For business owners, big and small,  it’s time to retire for a long weekend and be with friends and family.

This fourth of July, we are celebrating the fact that we bring people together with businesses from industries across the US on a daily basis.

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A hundred thousand businesses grow everyday with Appointy by giving their clients the freedom to choose when they want their services. With a significant presence in the American market, we would like to wish all our customers a very happy Fourth of July.

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We are hard at work so that as and when you get back from putting back the covers on your grill and bidding farewell to guests, you’ve no missed appointments or lost business. With Appointy, you’ll be able to return to your daily schedule, just like you left.

Just one more thing…

We know this isn’t really a gift-giving holiday, but we still have a little something for you.

For the past six months, our tech team has been busy in creating a new interface for Appointy that is faster, more intuitive, and looks fabulous. We’re in the final stage of development, and the update will be ready soon.

There’s a great story behind this update that we’re calling Appointy 9. Read it here!

As of now, just sit back and relax!

After all, it’s a time to take a break, be with family, enjoy barbecues, and get dazzled by fireworks.

Have a safe evening and a great Fourth of July.

🙂

 

3 tricks that pros are using to increase their salon sales this spring

Winters, especially for salons mean slow business. But spring can be your elixir. Post-surviving another midwest winter, people come to salons anxious to make a change and try on new spring colors for their hair and nails as they get ready for vacations, prom nights and graduations.

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This blog is the money-making guide to make your pedicure chairs and hair studio a happy spring destination for clients. It includes:

PART 1:

  • Why getting inspiration for a new season is important and where to get it?
  • The why and how of keeping up-to-date with industry trends.
  • How to keep your staff trained and high on energy?

PART 2:

  • Marketing tips for your business
  • Your money making guide before the prom season.
  • Free email templates for your email marketing campaign
  • Free text templates to send deals and discounts.

PART 3:

  • Where to get new customers this spring?
  • How to create a credible social media standing?

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PART 1:  Get you & your staff in the spring mood

  • Take inspiration

Why is this important?

Because you’re an artist! Redefining someone’s appearance is a piece of art and art requires inspiration. In order to keep new ideas coming in, you need to feed your creative cravings.

Where to get inspiration from?

Fashion events-big or small are the best way to bring back knowledge and get inspiration for the upcoming season. There are so many events lined up at this time of the year that they can keep your calendar packed for weeks. Here is a list of top events to attend before spring:

Beauty events in New York

Beauty events in San Francisco 

Beauty events in Los Angeles

Beauty events in Miami

Beauty events in Chicago

Beauty events in San Diego

Beauty events in Atlanta

Beauty events in Austin

Find the list of beauty events in your city here.

To fuel inspiration, all you need to do is look around you. Here’s what Alan Labos mentions in his blog,

“Street fashion, interior design, local musicians and artists, can be as much a source of inspiration as the latest collection from a major fashion house or a new product line from a beauty empire. Whether it is by reading the most recent issue of Vogue or taking time to notice fresh graffiti on the city streets, you never know where or when inspiration will strike!”

 What next?

You need to ensure that  your inspired styles look good on people in real life, i.e., on your customers. Runway looks often lead people into thinking “Who are they kidding? I’m never going to wear my hair or makeup like that.” People easily get intimidated by the way fashion is presented; with the model, the clothes and the lighting.

You need a real life example of how the inspired styles will look on your customers. You can try it on a staff or invite regular customers to come and experiment with their look on a discounted price. This will:

  • give you a better idea of how a certain trend looks on different face cuts, compleixions, with varied hair colors, and on people of different ages.
  • encourage other customers to try these styles on.

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  • Stay up-to-date

Why is this important?

Hairstyles, makeup, and nails change with every season. And you, as a professional need to be updated with them because:

  1.  Your customers always know what’s trending. They’ll hear it from a friend or see it on a celebrity and instantly want to try.
  2. It’s a position of trust. Your customers look up to you for expert opinion. To be able to give that, you need to know what’s going on in the industry around you.
  3. It helps you stay on the cutting edge of business.

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How to do it?

  1. Look out for what’s hot and who’s trending

“New trends come from an array of areas, which goes hand in hand with the latest technology. Public figures, stars, models, reality shows, magazines, in-house and distributor classes are some of the paths that have always worked. Recently, we added social networks like Facebook and Twitter to the list.”

MIKE O’NEILL
HAIR STUDIO 322
GLENMOORE, PENNSYLVANIA


2. Learn from your staff

“Several team members travel to Fashion Week, working backstage with various product lines. When they come back they share the top tips on hair, make-up and all the exciting stories with the rest of the team and our clients. This ensures that we are moving in front of trends and not behind them.”

D SCOTT BALL
THE CUT & COLOR ROOM
ORLANDO, FLORIDA


3. The Internet to the rescue!

Because we live in a small, relatively isolated town, the internet provides a huge amount of information regarding trends and new techniques as do trade magazines and DVDs, which can be purchased through stylist websites.”

KAREN ROBERTS
STUDIO K
LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO


4. Follow famous fashion blogs.

Blogs are produced by the most respected magazines which also have the biggest online presence in their countries so you usually get the latest and most up to date information for what is going on in the professional beauty industry through them.

Grant  Romundt

Founder, ScissorBoy.com


5. Keep an eye on your competitors.

Think you spotted a trend but aren’t sure if it’s anything that will catch on? By observing what your competitors are doing, you can capitalise on emerging news, trends, and opportunities. Sure, staying ahead of the competition is key, but knowing what they’re up to is one part of coming out on top.

  • Train staff

Your staff is your business’s workforce. These are the people who interact with clients behind the chair. They are your sales people, your culture, your service. Equip them with the current trends and hands-on tutorials before the season kicks in to ensure exceptional service for the clients every time. It is important they know how to greet clients, understand the treatments that are offered, and can suggest appropriate upgrade treatments when booking appointments.

You can either develop an in-salon training program or find one online.

Pro tip: Throw an office party to bond and get the excitement going:

Post-winter you might need to lift up your team’s spirits. Do that by throwing a staff party. Or simply invite them over for drinks. Right before you all set to work, it’d help you bond with your staff and be an energy boost for the next season.

Don’t worry. We know you’ve a lot going on. So here’s your cheat sheet to throw a fabulous salon party!

How to throw great salon parties: by Nailsmag.com

1000+ ideas for salon party on Pinterest

Throwing a salon party: by Salon Today

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PART 2: Market like a pro

  • Act in time: Offer occasion-specific deals

Timing is important. Always pay attention to what big event is due in the coming weeks and prepare for that.


Case Study: Money-making guide for Prom

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 Prom season is in full swing right now. That means stylists will be curling young ladies’ hair and putting on shimmery eyeshadows on them soon. Here is some crucial advice about prom preparation from Jenni Kanski, owner of Jenni’s Salon and Spa, 109 Wexford Court, Normal.
  • The afternoon slots go first. Getting a fancy up-do at 9 a.m. means a long time before the evening’s prom, and afternoon hours also fit better with teens’ busy schedules
  • Weekends can be busy. You might have to ask your staff to stay back on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Every year brings new trends for prom hair-dos. Encourage girls to bring a photo of what they want to be done with their hair.

Pro tip: Giving a combo facial and hair styling offer or a one-on-one free offer before prom can be a good idea to attract teens.


  • Reach out to your regulars

Why?

Your regulars are happy, satisfied people who trust your services and visit you regularly on a monthly or even weekly basis. These are the people to target first as you already have their trust.

How?

1. Start an email campaign:

Shoot an email to them announcing what’s new this season in business and inviting them over for a service.

Here’s a sample from mailget

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 2. Send out deals via texts:

Offer discounts and deals by sending texts to these clients.

Why?

Around 90% of text messages are read within three minutes. That’s because mobile devices are everywhere and people tend to keep them with them at all times and regularly check them. In fact, 90% of Millennials sleep with their phones within arm’s reach.

How?

Ready to use text templates:

  1. [Salon Name] – Today only! Get a FREE [service 1]  with any [service 2]
  2. Keep the feet happy this spring with [discount]% discounts on pedicures at the [salon name]
  3. Be the first to know about discounts and offers at [salon name]! Click here to subscribe: [link]

Find 42 more ready-to-use text templates here.

3. Offer referral discounts

Word of mouth publicity is huge. According to some studies, about 80 percent of salon owners say most of their clients are from referrals. Ask these satisfied clients for more referrals and reward them for the same.

Incentives for customers for referral program:

  1. Offer a discount on certain services or offering a free service after a fixed number of referrals.
  2. Give a small gift bag of salon products after fixed number of referrals or after their first referral.
  3.  Give the existing client a free salon product or service or a discount on their next visit, and you can give the new customer a discount on a certain service or product.

4. Learn from the best

Following successful industry leaders and learning from them can go a long way. They must be doing something right that you can put to use for your business too.

Here’s Vogue’s list of best salons for 2016. Watch the pros at work and learn.

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PART 3: Get new customers

  1. Get listed on Online directories:

    Getting more customers directly peaks up your salon’s revenue. And which salon owner doesn’t like more profits and revenue. Stay up to date with ways that different salons are employing to get new customers. Recently salons have started getting listed on Reserve with Google to grow their business in their neighbourhood. It is a new search and book platform by Google that allows your customers to book your services directly from Google search. To know more, click here.

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2. Increase reach via Social media

  • On social media, your FB page or twitter profile or Pinterest board represents your business. Make sure these profiles are killer. Ask customers to post before after pictures, reviews, etc. on these pages to create a good impression of your salon on other customers.
  • Start a blog. Provide your customers with valuable and intriguing content. They’re sure to come back for more.
  • Engage with them online. Start discussions. Provide deals and interact with your customers. Social media is where customers share their true viewpoints. You can get reviews, honest feedback and complaints.

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Next read: Want to increase sales this spring by getting more customers? Get listed on Reserve with Google now! 

Trying some new ways to increase salon sales this spring? Do share in the comments below. 🙂


References:

  1. http://www.mikal-salon-software.com/apps/blog/show/43812300
  2. http://www.singleplatform.com/blog/2016/3/11/spring-your-salon-spa-into-success
  3. https://www.paulhylandsalon.com/there-s-something-magical-about-spring
  4. http://www.nailsmag.com/article/95728/how-to-throw-great-salon-parties
  5. http://www.salontoday.com/article/22926/how-does-your-staff-translate-trends-into-new-services-for-your-clientele
  6. http://www.lydiasarfati.com/the-importance-of-in-salon-training.php
  7. http://www.pantagraph.com/business/local/prom-season-a-busy-time-for-twin-city-hair-salons/article_6039ae62-57d1-11df-8e21-001cc4c03286.html
  8. https://simpletexting.com/industry-guide/sms-marketing-for-spas-and-salons/
  9. https://www.signs.com/blog/implementing-referral-program-increasing-referrals-salon/
  10. http://ironworksartscentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/pagebreak.png
  11. https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/CardDigital/13550641/chop_it_like_it_s_hot_printable_art_funny_salon_wall_decor_printable_d
  12. http://www.youbeauty.com/beauty/the-reality-of-runway-hair/

The impact of Trump’s immigrant policies on Salon-Spa industry in the USA: and steps you need to take NOW!

Disclaimer: So this isn’t a political blog. No matter which side of the fence you sit, there can be no denying that we are in a time when there are some pretty extreme views. And some very strong emotions. yoda-2As business owners, we all need to think about what Donald Trump’s immigrant policies mean for our business. The challenges, the opportunities, the emotions. All of it. In this blog, we discuss:

  1. Can Donald Trump’s immigration policies really impact the US beauty & wellness industry
  2. What challenges can a small business owner face?
  3. How to verify the immigration status of your employees?
  4. Can this be an opportunity to grow your business?

Can there really be a major impact?

Think beyond the luxury beauty chains, hotel spas, and resorts. Think hair braiding shops, beauty salons, nail salons, barbers, and massage parlors.

 

These local businesses commonly employ immigrants and the ethnic specialization dominates: nail salons draw on Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian women, and increasingly Latina women; African women specialize in hair braiding; South Asian women specialize in eyebrow threading, and Chinese and Russian workers specialize in massage.

Here are some statistics:

  • 21% of businesses in the salon/spa industry are African-American owned.

  • 17% of salon businesses are owned by Asians.

  • 9% of salon businesses are owned by people of Hispanic origins.

  • Nails magazine estimates that Vietnamese hold 40% of the nail spa licenses nationally.

Evidently, these businesses make a big chunk of the industry and are doing quite well indeed. In fact, some of Appointy’s most successful clients are businesses that are run by first/ second generation immigrants.

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We took this picture in the summer of 2016. This picture is with the owner of LEK Spa along with the founders of Appointy. LEK Spa is on a roll in NY and with our latest integration, Reserve with Google, their business can now be directly booked from Google search.

What challenges might a small business owner face?

Labour shortage: An acute shortage of untrained workers can arise. Most U.S. citizens are unwilling to perform the sorts of manual labor that immigrants actively seek out. 

“If I was to put an ad in the paper looking for a manager or accountant, I’d have a hundred replies. But if I put out an ad for a manual laborer or a pool cleaner, I’d only get about five.”

-John Tortorella, president of J. Tortorella Swimming Pools Inc. in Southampton, N.Y.

Loss of highly specialized workers: The cast of manicurists, aestheticians, waxers, and massage therapists vary in their experience and background but their skills have become the invisible engine of the US beauty and wellness industry. If they go down, the industry goes down with them.

An increase in wages leading to an increase in service cost: The shortage of labor in the industry will increase the labor wage in the long run. This will mean a sudden peak in the cost of personal services. The current industry average of $10 nail manicures will cease to exist.

What does this mean for you?

Well, here’s the thing. The root of the problem isn’t all immigrants. The government is selectively trying to deal with the illegal and undocumented immigrants.

Being a salon or spa owner, you need to be extra cautious that your current or future employees have the required work authorization to take up paid work in the US.

What can you do now?

Step 1. Understand the difference between Legal and Illegal Immigrants

Illegal Immigrants: Someone who is living in the United States without the correct legal documentation or by violating the terms of documentation, such as overstaying the time period specified on a tourist or student visa. 

Legal Immigrants: Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant is called a Legal Immigrant. They’re also known as “Permanent Resident Alien,” “Resident Alien Permit Holder,” and “Green Card Holder.”

Step 2. Make sure you are aware of the immigrant status of your current employees and be cautious while hiring new employees

Here’s your complete guide to finding out whether someone is entitled to work in the US legally.

When you hire a new employee, ask them to fill out the employee’s section of USCIS Form I-9 by the end of their first day on the job. Then they have three business days to present you with documents proving that:

  • they are who they say they are, and
  • they are legally authorized to work in the United States.
  1. The Proof of Work in the United States:

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS) periodically updates the list of documents sufficient to prove both identity and eligibility to be employed in the United States. Any one of the following documents is sufficient, on its own, to meet the requirements:

  • an unexpired United States passport
  • an unexpired foreign passport with an I-551 stamp
  • an alien registration receipt card or permanent resident card
  • an unexpired employment authorization card
  • an unexpired employment authorization document, issued by USCIS, which contains a photograph, or
  • an unexpired foreign passport with Form I-94 containing an endorsement of nonimmigrant status.

An employee who does not have one of the documents listed above must produce two documents: one establishing that he or she is authorized to work in the United States and another verifying identity.

To prove employment authorization, USCIS will accept:

  • a Social Security card
  • a U.S. birth or birth abroad certificate
  • a Native American tribal document
  • a U.S. citizen ID card
  • a resident citizen ID card, or
  • unexpired employment authorization documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

As proof of identity, USCIS will accept:

  • a current U.S. or Canadian driver’s license that contains a photograph or description of personal characteristics
  • a federal, state, or local identification card with a photograph on it
  • a school ID card with a photograph
  • a voter’s registration card
  • a U.S. military card or draft record
  • a military dependent’s ID card
  • a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card, or
  • a Native American tribal document.

For workers age 16 and younger, USCIS considers a school report card, daycare or nursery school record, or a hospital record (such as a birth certificate) acceptable as proof of identity.

*Caution: Always make a copy and keep the forms. Note the type of documents produced and any expiration dates on Form I-9. Although you are not required to photocopy such documents, you have the right to do so. If you do, the copies must be kept on file with Form I-9.

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2. E-verify

  • Visit the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and sign up for E-Verify. This service is the easiest and most effective way to verify the legal working status of a potential employee, which is done through the Department of Homeland Security. To use E-Verify, you will have to enroll your company in the program; however, there is no charge to do so.
  • Enroll your company in E-Verify. To do this, you will have to answer a few simple questions about your business and why you will be verifying your employees’ information.
  • Post a notice at your business site to advise your employees of your participation in E-Verify before you use the program. You may not utilize the program unless your employees are aware of the fact that you are verifying their legal status.
  • Check the legal status of the person in question. Doing this through E-Verify means the individual’s social security number is first run through the Social Security Administration to verify the accuracy of the number provided. Then, the Department of Homeland Security provides the employment eligibility of the individual.
  • Review the preliminary report within seconds of the inquiry. A more detailed report is provided within three days by the Department of Homeland Security.

Step 3. Consider alternatives for work where you outsource

You might be employing some third party vendors like cleaning and maintenance contractors who further outsource work. In this case, if you have the slightest doubt, start considering alternatives already.

Can this be an opportunity to grow your business?

I know this blog post is quite taxing. But this is the best part. Are you still with me?

Well, emotions are high, and many people are highly motivated. This definitely throws up some opportunities for your business. All you need to do is think like a businessman.

OK, we know this might be slightly controversial. You don’t want to be seen as profiting on the back of what many consider a very emotional topic. But just maybe, there can be a way for you to get many new customers to try your service without ruffling any feathers.

1. Want to build relationships with your customers? Here’s your chance.

Nurturing healthy relationships with your customers can go a long way. We’ve all heard about it, read about it and want to do it. So here’s an opportunity to do that. Right now you can easily understand what your customers believe in and act accordingly. Here’s how:

  • You might choose to do it at cost (or free), and make no money but you can get many first time customers, who can be repeat customers or spread the good word: 

Example: Spas can offer free foot massages to people participating in rallies. Or just wear your business Tee while doing a good gesture for people like distributing water bottles in protest marathons.

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  • You may even be able to use social media to amplify the impact (with due caution to people’s sensitivities)

Social media marketing is the best way to go about because:

1. It’s easy: Anyone can do it

2. It doesn’t require much time: Publish posts even while having your morning Latte

3. It has immense reach: Every post you put up will reach thousands of members who are part of the group.

Here’s how to find target groups on social media channels:

  1. Facebook: Join relevant Facebook groups and like similar pages. Offer relevant discounts to the members and promote a healthy image of your business using pictures and videos.
  2. Twitter: Find trending hashtags and follow relevant Twitter handles. Use the same hashtags while posting an offer or retweet a popular tweet and start a discussion in the comments.
  3. Reddit: Join discussion forums. Follow the most shared threads regularly and comment to promote your business whenever you find it appropriate.
  • You can create means for people to make a contribution.

Put up a link to donate online on your site. Or maybe build a donation box? Be ready to answer any questions about how the money reaches to those in need. Using authentic documents conveys that the money is being put to right use.

2. Create a positive image of your business 

Putting up friendly banners, wearing badges to work or simply hanging a poster that says you care will create a warm and welcoming image. People who believe in it will see you as a tolerant and progressive business. I’d like to stress here again whatever your personal political inclination is, it’s important that you’re sensitive to everyone’s beliefs.

You need to decide what is good for you and your potential customers. 🙂


Agree or disagree with the impacts of immigration policies on the Salon & Spa industry? Shoot your answers in the comments below. We love exciting discussions.

What next?

Do you know what else might have a big impact on the Spa-Salon industry? Reserve with Google is the new IN thing by Google. Read more about it here: Appointy + Google = More Customers!

References & External links:

Everything we know about Microsoft Bookings so far!

First of all, we would like to welcome Microsoft to the online appointment scheduling world. Having spent the last 5 years helping more than 100,000 small business owners schedule online, we feel like the bigger (older is probably more accurate) brother, though these guys are the ‘big boys’ of the IT world. So how do these new players compare with the established bunch? We thought it was time to take a closer look.

Microsoft bookings is a part of Office 365 (premium plan only, all others including Enterprise (E1, E2 … E5) wait in queue please!!)  While you may eventually get access, you will need to get the complete Office 365 package. It is designed to work with Microsoft products after all. Need access now? Like Google calendar or Gmail better? Probably looking at other online scheduling software is a better option. On the other hand, if you love Microsoft products, and are an existing Office 365 (premium) customer, you should definitely check them out. One thing that you should keep in mind is that upgrading your Office 365 plan might get you to lose access. But we are sure Microsoft will plug this discrepancy shortly.

Many of the other details are sketchy right now, but we would love to see what payment platforms (Stripe, PayPal etc.)  they integrate with as well as third party social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The reality today is that most customer like the flexibility to be able to choose from a competing set of products, and Microsoft bookings focus on their own products may prove to be a long term hurdle. We may well be wrong on this, and time will tell. However, the overall direction seems pretty evident from the initial blogs and announcements coming out Redmond, WA (Microsoft global headquarters for the uninitiated :))  

If there is one thing that we have learnt over the last 4 years, it is that no single formula works for all. Every customer is unique, and requires tremendous configuration ability in the software for it to truly eliminate the receptionist. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft keeps this as a niche product, or truly goes after the masses with a high level of customization. Initial observations point at the former, but we will reserve our judgement till next year once the product matures and rolls out for everyone.  Microsoft, a word of advice (if you guys are reading this): Consider resource scheduling, gift certificates, multi-language support, deals & discount, reviews, conditional opening of time slots and intelligent allocation of staff (We could go on, but it might get a bit boring!).

Only time will tell how Microsoft Bookings evolves and we wish them good luck. We feel it is great that the larger players are focusing on online scheduling as an industry segment.

In the meanwhile, if you are interested in a free online scheduling software that has been in the business and trusted by hundreds of thousands of business owners, do try out Appointy. We promise you won’t regret your choice!

Good Customer Service is the New Black for Hair Businesses By Kerry Hines

We all have stories and thoughts to share. This one is by one of our customers – Kerry Hines, who talks about how customer service is the differentiator when it comes to adding profits.This article is taken from Kerry Hines blog post.

Kerry Hines has written the definitive book on How to Get Rich in the Hair Business.  He also hosts the radio broadcast about hair, “The Hair Radio Morning Show”.  

When we say Good Customer Service is the New Black, ‘the new black’.. is referring to being ‘in the black’ as in making a profit to your bottom line. Not being in the red.  This really boils down to professionalism at the highest degree and good customer service is really born out of that. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that good customer service is the true cornerstone for any successful business, hair or otherwise.

You would think this is a no-brainer, wouldn’t you?  If you care about your business and want it to thrive than you have to not only invest in the physicality of your business, ie. buildings, chairs, etc. and the best staffing but also cultivating a great customer relationship.  This can be a challenge in a busy bustling hair salon or barbershop.  And if you agree with me, let’s also say that just because it’s a busy shop does not excuse the fact of providing poor customer service.  The good news is that if it’s a busy shop that’s usually reflective of the fact that they are doing something right!

My favorite correlation of good customer service and the professional hair technician is being on-time for clients’ hair appointments.  Also, the hair technician should be in welcoming position at least thirty minutes prior to early morning appointments.  My secret to success is using an appointment service. They’ve helped me craft an air of greatness with the clients.  It’s been a big affordable help and I’ve got a great referral.

There are many components that figure into a successful hair business that is ‘the new black  Good Customer Service is Always in Fashion!  Can’t we can also say that when it comes to the awful feeling that poor customer service creates, you can always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.   As I mentioned earlier, the lack of professionalism and poor customer service usually go hand in hand.  The problem, though, is the feeling of  poor treatment is seems so pervasive, we don’t even bother to expect anything else.  Have we become a very jaded society?  Do we not believe that we should expect a certain level of kindness when it comes to business exchanges?  Have we just given up and should we just throw our hands in the air?  Absolutely not!  We must continue to fight the good fight!

We must create the kind of service that we desire?  Here are a few steps that we can share with our hair technician.  First, have discussions built around service excellence.  Each hair facility should declare their commitment to customer service with a bullhorn or wall posting.  They should also offer loyalty programs and have regular surprise ideas that will keep the clients feeling engaged.  And, of course, you should expect recognition on your birthday and or other milestones in your life.  The hair facility should have all of that information on file.

The second point should be to let your feelings be known.  If you feel like you’ve been slighted, let your hair technician know.  I completely understand, I had been going to a shop for many years and somehow I started to feel like I was being taken for granted.  No one wants to feel like they are part of the wallpaper.

Third, you should be engaged, as we mentioned earlier.  You should not only be revealing layers of your own personality to the hair technician but also he or she should be doing the same.  The objective is to get to know each other as that is what creates the bond.

How do these ideas translate to being the new black?  Well, unless we can get all of the folks out there to read this article, unfortunately, there will be another brush with poor customer service but think in your mind that you’re unhappy now (in that moment) and they will be unhappy later when they see the bottom line.  Good customer service IS the new black.

I promised I’d always take a moment to let the companies that I interact with know when they’ve missed the mark and to rush to acknowledge when they’ve knocked good customer service out of the ballpark.

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Appointy.com from us at HaiRadio.com and http://www.KerryHinesCommunications.com. Amazing service!