Hair or beauty products to play with all day, free treatments whenever you want them from your team of happy, productive staff or hard, really hard work?
Mar 1, 2020 · 7 min read
Being a salon owner sounds like heaps of fun, right? All those hair or beauty products to play with all day, free treatments whenever you want them from your team of happy, productive staff, evenings spent at the most fabulous events and social activities, full of beautiful people like yourself…
… And once you’ve woken up from this amazing dream and decided to open your own salon, you’ll realize that it was (mostly) just a dream!
Running a salon is hard work. Really hard work. Even at the end of the day when the doors have closed and the rest of your team are happily back home, there’s work to be done. Sometimes, it feels as though it never stops, especially in those early years. And if you are lucky enough to get a day away from the salon? Some of the time it will almost certainly be marketing and bills, not Netflix and chill.
That’s not to say it can’t also be the most rewarding thing you’ll have ever done. There’s the buzz of working in an ever-changing industry with a great team of people that you’ve curated and regular clients who love coming to your place to see you all. There’s the satisfaction of making all those people’s days just a little bit better as you’ve helped them look and feel great. And *that *is what makes it all worthwhile.
As a salon owner, whether or not you’re actually working on the shop floor or not (because to get a business off the ground, extra staff are a luxury that most can’t afford), you need to be first through the door, to set an example to the other members of your team. Even if you have a salon manager, breezing into work mid-morning does not show your team that you too, are invested in your business.
Wax pots need to be switched on, massage oil warmed, heated blankets turned on for treatment beds, with rooms checked and ready at least half an hour before clients come through the door. Of course, you can have a rota for people to take turns to do this, but it’s important you lead by example and take your turn in doing this too.
This is also the time of the day where any of your team are going to call in sick if they are ill that day — always one of the most dreaded things for salon owners to deal with. Each client needs to be personally called and either rescheduled or moved to a different therapist, if it’s possible. Diaries need juggling and any problems the absence has caused must be smoothed over.
Any latecomers today? Is everyone looking presentable and ready for the day?
Finally, you are ready to open.
Then it’s time for the real work to start.
So, how’s your day going to be? Well, there will likely be meetings that need to happen to keep the business running. They could be meetings with existing suppliers, with brands that you hope to work with in the future, discussing new ranges for the season ahead, or simply for stocking up on supplies. Conversations need to be had, and relationships need to be built.
Once they are over, it’s back on to the shop floor. Is everyone running to time? Are clients being greeted properly? Is anyone being kept waiting too long? (Nobody likes to be kept hanging around if a therapist is running late, and if they are, the client needs to be told how long she can expect to wait).
Then, you have a cancellation come in for a big block of time at the end of the day. What do you do? Send out a last-minute SMS offer through your salon software, of course, and thank your lucky stars that salon management software can do that for you at the touch of a button! Back in the old days it would have meant manning the phones and calling round clients, or waving goodbye to lost revenue.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a manager (not all salons are — you may be ‘it’), you’ll likely need a meeting with them to catch up and see what they need from you for the week ahead and to discuss any plans you have for staff, training, hiring, marketing… the list goes on. How are team performing? Who is over-delivering and needs praise? Any issues that you need to know about? You may have potential team members to interview or trade test or new starters to mentor.
Then it’s lunch… for some, at least. If the front desk needs cover for their breaks, how do you handle it? Are you going to take a therapist out of treatments to cover (and pay them for it, whilst also waving goodbye to precious lost treatment time), or are you going to step in? No prizes for guessing which option most salon owners choose. If you are fortunate enough to grab a quick sandwich at your desk once everyone else has had their break, it’s the time to catch up on what’s going on in the industry, what the new trends are going to be, or catch up with key influencers on social media. And, if you have a spare second between bites of your sandwich, maybe put up a social media post or two yourself, or share some of your latest great reviews. There’s great salon management software out there these days that can automate sharing reviews, schedule social media posts and even salon chatbots that can handle social media inquiries automatically, so perhaps you can get to enjoy that sandwich, after all…
Then, in the afternoon, there are stock levels to check and orders to place, checks to see the salon is still looking its best, and lending a hand with any washing, drying and towel folding that needs to be done. Perhaps you have a therapist who is booked back-to-back, and needs her rooms set up for treatments so she can keep to her appointment times? Lend a hand! After all, teamwork makes the dream work!
Then, it’s time for some paperwork. Salon management software needs to be looked at and reports pulled to check and make sure that any comments or reviews are handled correctly (both the good and the bad), what the retail sales are looking like that week, how many future bookings you have coming in. Can anyone even bear to imagine what a drag that used to be, before salon management tools took the pain out of trying to understand what the data said? Thankfully, it’s so, so much easier these days, with so many chores, such as appointment reminders, birthday messages, coupons and offers all being able to be scheduled and sent without human intervention.
Do you have any marketing plans that need working on? Are there taxes and invoices to be paid? What about your employee pensions and payroll? If you do have a manager, be sure to delegate what you can. It’s so easy for some salon owners to forget they have a team who are ready and waiting to help if you let them.
If you get a moment, it’s always good to grab a coffee and a quick chat with the team members too, to see how they are doing individually and hear any feedback or ideas they may have before you get stuck in to helping unbox that delivery that’s just come in and adding the stock to your inventory.
As the day starts to wind down, there’s the event that evening that you need to be at — time to glam up — after all, a salon owner can’t show up looking scruffy! Hair, makeup, nails — all need to be on point, but with your team all fully booked, nine times out of ten, you’ll end up doing it yourself — so much for having treatments on tap!
Finally, it’s time to close down the salon for the evening, check that everything is ready to go for the morning, nothing is left switched on overnight that shouldn’t be (this keeps salon owners awake at night with worry), before you head out of the door, locking up as you go.
Time to rock those killer heels and shine, shine, shine! You network like crazy into the evening with the local movers and shakers, handing out business cards like they were confetti at a wedding. But you’ll be grateful that you went, when all those new clients start coming in to see the beautiful business you’ve created.
Then, and only then, is it time to leave and finally head home. You’re tired and exhausted and find yourself wondering why you ever thought running a salon would be easy, but nothing can take away the immense satisfaction you feel from knowing this is *your *baby that *you *created and how proud you are knowing that it’s yours. And it’s that thought that will keep you going when it’s time to open up again tomorrow…
Co-Founder/Customer Happiness Manager at RetentionForce