We all like to make people feel beautiful and make money! To make money we sometimes double, even triple book ourselves. But is that really the best? Now, before you get all huffy puffy, hear me out. I am not saying you are 100% going to be losing money if you double book. I am just going to share some experiences, thoughts, & tips on double booking.
I currently work at a spa & salon. We literally do everything from nails, cavi-lipo, massage, spray tans, customize makeup, to medical services when our medical director is on site and everything in between. Seriously, we do it all & I believe we do it well. One reason I believe it do it well is because we allow time. For a women’s shampoo, cut, & style (blow out), we book one hour. We typically book 2 hours for cut and color. Some instances we book more time depending on the client and the desired look. I do not typically double book anymore. Though, there are times I do, under the right circumstances. More on that later. But first, let’s talk about why I believe SOME, not all, stylists are losing money by booking more in their day.
I’ve had new clients come to me (and to my co-worker) stating “I love my stylist but I am leaving him/her because he/she always does 1-4 people while I process. Sometimes my color comes out wrong and when I mention it, he/she just kinda brushes it off because he/she is TOO busy.” Stylists are too busy and are losing clients because of it. Their clients feel neglected. I’ve heard from clients that their stylist only works 2-3 days a week and tries to squeeze everyone in. I’ve heard that the stylist was cheap and that is why he/she is always busy but the client is not happy (typically the client will spend the money if they get what they are looking for, quality).
How can you double book yourself and still maintain quality? First do not book during a bleaching process. It’s never a good idea to keep bleach waiting. You may know that it takes Sally 35 minutes to process her highlights, and that it takes you 25 minutes to cut Steve, but this day Steve is a few minutes late, & wants to change up his cut. It takes you longer to cut his hair and now Sally has over processed. Try to keep your double bookings matching time wise. And try to have your 2nd client come in about 15 minutes after the first. Explain they may have to wait a few minutes, but better if they wait than you having to wait and risking running over.
Do not book 2-4 people during a process time. You will lose clients. That is the number one reason why clients leave. Not only do the clients feel that they are being over processed and forgotten, but their services takes double, if not triple the amount of time, they can’t plan their day around their hair service, and they feel like a number instead of a human.
If you are having to squeeze everyone in because you have shortened your weekly hours, hire an assistant. An assistant can rinse your clients and help out cleaning up, helping you keep on track and clients are still being attended to.
Raise your prices. Yes, you will lose some clients, but it typically all comes out in the wash. If you have a co-worker who can take on the clients who do not or can not pay your new prices, then refer those clients to the co-worker. Better the clients stay with the business than go elsewhere and your stress level is lowered.
If you are working limited hours but are willing and can open up some extra hours then do it. So if you are working 2-3 days a week to build and you’ve become overwhelmed by the demand, open up another day. Even if its just for 4 hours to start. Or if you notice that your mornings are bare but you are packed in the evenings, try opening up another evening. Come in later on that day, but stay later.
Block yourself a lunch when double booking. It’s typically an Olympic sport getting lunch in our business, so please do yourself and literally everyone else a favor and block a lunch. If you are doing hair between process times there is no way you can eat as well. No one likes a hangry hair stylist.
I do not believe that double booking is bad. I believe that there are some stylists who are taking on way too much, and/or not educated on how to properly double book. When I double book, I make sure I have time to eat somewhere in that time, because when Kari gets hangry, Kari gets HANGRY! I also make sure that the one I am squeezing in is a good client. Meaning, not a client who just calls and demands to be seen whenever he/she feels like it regardless of my time and my other clients’ time. If it is a client who is constantly rude, no shows, etc, I absolutely do not work them in. If it is a good client who has an emergency or had to cancel his/her last appointment and is needing in, is willing to work around my availability, understands that his/her appointment may take longer because I am squeezing him/her into another client’s time, and he/she may not receive all the fluff (hot towel, arm massage), then I am ok with it. I understand that every stylist has different views and booking process. I am only sharing what I have experienced, how I handle booking, and what clients have told me.
Double booking takes time to learn.. You have to get to know your clients and yourself. Do not starve yourself. Do not hold your bladder until you are crying urine. DO NOT throw yourself through hell. But at the same time do not make your clients wait for you. They give you money. So don’t make Sally wait an hour and half because you want to squeeze in 2 colors and a men’s cut. Be respectful to yourself and your clients.
I hope this post finds you well. I hope you gain some insight as to why you may be losing clients (if you are losing clients) and tips on how to better double book!