Salon management can be extremely rewarding but it’s not without challenges. There are a lot of moving parts and running a salon requires you to constantly deal with people — both your staff and customers.
“Winging it” is not a tactic to keep things running smoothly. Salon managers need to be aware of all the plates they have spinning and remain one step ahead of anything that could send them crashing down.
Whether you’re a first-time salon manager or an experienced owner wanting to gain better control of your business, getting a grip on all things salon management is critical.
This post will shed light on how you can accomplish that. Specifically, we’ll discuss the 3 essential areas of salon management:
- Salon processes and technology
Exploring these sections, we have uncovered 10 key steps to keep your salon running smoothly.
Managing the day-to-day operations of your salon
Strive to methodically manage your daily activities and get into a steady rhythm. This will help ground your days and keep things from getting out of hand.
1. Stay on top of calendar management
A well-managed salon stems from effective calendar management. As a business that runs on appointments, how you and your team members spend each day will depend on what’s on the schedule.
For this reason, it’s important to stay on top of your (and your staff’s) calendars. Some general best practices for how to do this include:
- Automating appointment scheduling using an online booking system
- Integrating all your calendars so you can view everything in one place
- Color coding different calendar entries and categories
- Making sure there are enough lead times and buffers between appointments to avoid overwhelm
Make it a habit to view your calendar at the start and end of each workday. In doing so, you’ll have a solid handle on the tasks and appointments that you and your team have for the day. Keeping an eye on your calendar also helps you be more proactive with staff scheduling, promotions, and more.
For instance, if there are several free time slots, you can take that as a cue to run a promotion on social media to try and fill some extra spots. Or, if the day is looking particularly busy, you can take steps to ensure that you don’t get too bogged down.
Whatever the case, keeping a clear vision of what’s ahead allows you to preempt situations and deal with them as smoothly as possible.
2. Conduct regular staff meetings
The individuals you have working in the salon are the backbone of the business. If they’re unhappy, unwell or uninterested, this is going to impact your operations.
Take 15-30 minutes before opening the doors every morning to check in with your team. Make this a safe space where you encourage your staff to share what their day looks like and if they have any concerns. Ask if they have everything they need to have a smooth day and take action on what they need (within reason).
In some cases, you can even use these daily meetings as brainstorming sessions. If the salon is having a slow period, for instance, see if you can get your employees to share ideas. Dealing with difficult clients? Discuss them in the meeting so your team can share ways on how to handle those customers.
Every meeting will look different, but here are a few things you could bring up:
- Outline what the day looks like for each staff member
- Talk about any campaigns or promotions that you’re running or are planning to run
- Discuss results from the previous day or month
- Have each employee share their ideas, questions, and concerns
3. Keep stock in steady supply
Salon managers are responsible for keeping products in supply. In your weekly calendar, schedule a time to review stock and check for anything that needs to be ordered immediately or anything to keep an eye on for next week.
Your morning meetings can also help you stay on top of this by asking the staff if there is anything that requires your immediate attention.
4. Review supplier relationships
More than ordering products and furniture, the role of a salon manager is to manage relationships with suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best deals and the best products.
Take meetings with other vendors from time to time to get an idea of what they have to offer and speak to your current suppliers about whether their current offer is as competitive as it could be.
5. Maintain effective marketing
Salon manager duties include handling the marketing for the salon. This could be a full-blown marketing campaign or the simple management of your social pages.
Whatever it is for your salon, marketing is a crucial tool to keep business running smoothly. Downtimes happen. But when you know (through your pre-planning above) that you’re in a slow period, you can come up with tactics to attract more customers and help to fill the gaps.
Further reading: Need inspiration for your next marketing campaign? These 10 salon marketing tips will get your creative juices flowing!
Staff can make or break a business. As such, attracting the best people, treating them well and managing them effectively is by far one of the most important roles of a salon manager.
6. Attract and hire the best talent
Perhaps the toughest of all the duties is to hire the best staff. You need to decide whether you pay a salary, per hour, by commission or whether you charge them a monthly fee to rent a space (in which case they will not work for you, and you cannot enforce too much onto them).
Hiring the best staff starts with having an attractive place to work. Money is one part, the environment and the reputation of your salon are another. Create an authentic culture in your salon and strive to bring in people who are a natural fit for your brand.
“When you start a barbershop, I think it’s important to hire people that fit into the established barbershop culture and people who share similar values. Unity and synergy is very important to us at The Rich Barber. Also, I like people who are ambitious and ready to learn and grow. I like when they fit with the culture, share similar values and are ambitious they usually work out,” he says.
7. Check in with each staff member
In addition to your daily group meetings, try to have monthly or bi-monthly individual meetings so that you can be aware of how each employee is doing.
Your staff members likely have different goals and needs. As their manager, part of your role means helping your team members achieve their objectives. Accomplishing that starts with getting to know them at an individual level.
At The Rich Barber, Chuka says that regular check-ins have been extremely beneficial. According to him, they have check-ins and meetings with their barbers, and while they aren’t mandatory, they’ve found these check-ins to be “very uplifting, so barbers don’t mind and they participate.” Their meetings also promote harmony and unity in the shop. That’s even more crucial when you start a barbershop and need to create your work culture.
8. Celebrate and recognize your team
Research from the John Templeton Foundation found that 70% of workers would feel better about themselves if their boss were more appreciative of their work. The same study found that 81% of respondents would work harder if their boss were more grateful.
Unfortunately, it seems that employers aren’t doing a great job in expressing their gratitude to their workers. According to the study, only “10% expressed gratitude to their colleagues every day,” and “60% say they either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.”
Don’t let your salon be part of those statistics. Foster a culture in which expressing gratitude and recognizing employees are the norm. Here are some ideas:
- Make it a point to thank or recognize a team member during your regular staff meetings.
- Encourage peer-to-peer recognition by letting your staff express their gratitude and admiration for each other’s work.
- Offer staff treats — free food, gift cards, etc. — to celebrate milestones, sales targets, etc.
Salon management technology
Technology can make salon management enormously easier. You just have to arm yourself with the right tools. Below are a couple of quick pointers to help you do that.
9. Select the right appointment scheduling software
The right appointment scheduling solution can make the difference between a well-run salon and one that’s constantly in chaos. As a salon manager, it’s critical that you choose the best system for the business.
The precise solution will depend on your needs, but generally, you should set your sights on solutions that have the following capabilities:
- Online scheduling – Letting clients book appointments through your website, social media, etc.
- Calendar management – Bookings should be visible on your calendar so you can track and manage them with ease.
- Reporting – Your system should have data and analytics features so you can gain insights into what’s working well in your business (and what isn’t).
- Marketing – Find a solution that allows you to run marketing initiatives — i.e., offers, social media campaigns — effectively.
10. Configure the system for your salon’s specific needs
Once you’ve selected a solution, make sure it’s configured to your business’ needs and processes. Doing that involves:
- Setting up your booking page — complete with the right business information
- Adding your services to the system
- Adding your staff members to the system
- Creating a booking button/link then sharing it with clients
- Integrating the software with your existing systems and workflows
For best results, consult with your vendor or use their resources (help center, user guides, etc.) to ensure that your salon management is set up for success.
Salon management doesn’t have to be a pain!
Managing a salon takes work, but it doesn’t have to cost you your sanity. When you have the right people, processes, and technologies, you’ll find that keeping your salon running smoothly isn’t just doable — it can actually be fun and rewarding!