Is Double Booking Hurting Your Bottom Line?

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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!


Color Consultations: Why The Swatch Book Is Important!

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I know there is a lot of discussion & opinions about using the swatch book in your consultations.  There is always the view of “You will never get a 100% true to swatch color on a client! That is why you need pictures!” I believe in using both pictures and the swatch book! Sometimes clients have a hard time picking out one or two colors from a picture. Or they get very upset that they don’t look exactly like the picture. I am not against using pitures but I am a firm believer in using the swatch book! Let me explain why & how!

Showing a new client or a current client who is wanting a color change the swatch book allows you to determine if the client likes warm or cool colors.  I always bring the book out and say “Ok, we are going to go through this book and when you see a color you like, even if you do not want to see it on your head, let me know. You can even say ‘I like this but I don’t want it on me because…. (insert reason why)”. This allows me to see what colors the client is attracted to. In some cases what level the client is attracted to.  Most cases you will find the client is attracted to either warm or cool tones and even more specifically what tones in that category. Your client may be drawn more to golden tones or copper browns.

Another way to use your swatch book is to determine what your client perceives as warm and cool tones.  I once had a new client walk into the salon complaining that she just had her hair done the day prior and it was still too brassy and she HATES brassy and no one can get her hair right and she wants a cool blonde!  We’ve all been there. Her hair was most certainly not brassy. It was about as cool blonde as one could be. Before dismissing her as a crazy person who forgot her meds, I sat her in my chair pulled out my swatch book and said “Let’s look at some swatches and when you get to the colors that you want to see on you let me know.” We start flipping through the book. We get to the cool colors and she hates them.  However, when we arrived to the golds she loved them! Golds are what she considered cool colors.  Now, all the previous stylists did nothing wrong formulation wise. She just needed someone to listen and take the reigns on her color issue.  I did professionally inform her that the reason she was having issues with stylists was because her definition of brassy is the opposite of what it actually is and that is likes golden blondes.  It was a simple toning fix.  I’ve had clients inform me they hate red & everyone makes them red.  Turns out red to them is gold.  Some consider copper to be red.

Another way to utilize the swatch book is to determine how dark is dark to your client.  A level 6 or 7 can be black to a very platinum blonde client. While the same level 6-7 can be considered platinum to someone who is a level 3.

I never promise the client that they will turn out exactly like a 7.3 (7g).  Typically, clients don’t end up liking just one swatch. I usually say “I really like this color for you but I can tell that it is a little much, so I am going to mix this color and this color to customize your look!” Clients usually love that explanation! They don’t want to necessarily be in the dark, nor do they 100% understand what it will end up looking like.  They like to have a ball park in my experience!

At the end of the day color is all about perception with clients! It is our job as the professional to determine what the perception is with each and every client! My goal with this blog post is to give you some tips on how to utilize a tool that you already have, the swatch book, give you another way to unravel the mystery of the client, & help you!

Hair Cut Consultation Questions/Tips

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You may be asking yourself “Why are these questions important?”.  They all you, the stylist, to gather information to best recommend your client a cut/style, products, & services.  Some of these questions may seem like simple no brainer questions, but when put together they give you an array of information to help you deliver better results to your clients.  Let’s dive deeper into each question.

*What do you dislike about your hair?
The answers to this question will inform you what to CHANGE & in some cases what NOT to change.  “I do not like how it flips up.” This is a common complaint.  The hair usually is sitting on the shoulders to cause the flip.  A client may be asking for his/her length at this length but not liking the flip.  It’s a perfect time to explain why the flip happens & to offer solutions (letting it grow or going a little shorter). A client may respond with “I hate my bangs. They are too short.” In this instance, the answer tells you what NOT to do.  The purpose of this question is to find out what the client dislikes about his/her hair so that you do not give the client something he/she does not want.

*What do you like about your hair?
This answer will tell you what NOT to change.  A client may respond with “I LOVE my bangs!”, if so you may need to clarify if the client wants to trim them up or leave them alone. Some times a client had bangs cut too short & though it is time for a trim up, the bangs do not need to be trimmed for they have grown out to the perfect length.  ALWAYS clarify.  This question allows the client to inform you of what she likes & does not want to necessarily change.

*If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your hair?
This question allows the client to be authentically honest with you.  Maybe your client with the short pixie would love to have hair down to the middle of her back but does not want to go through the grow out process.  If this is the case, you can simply inform her how to best grow it out & at what length you can do extensions.  This questions lets you see what the client’s DESIRE style would be if the client didn’t have any restrictions on waiting for hair to grow, the texture of hair, or amount of hair.  A client may say “I’d love to have thicker hair!”. This is the PERFECT opportunity for you to recommend a thickening mousse, cream, or serum & a root lifter! What you are looking for with this question is not just the desired style but also how to get your client to that desired styled rather it be with products or other services!

*What would you like your hair to do?
This question is usually answered in the above questions, but it is still important to ask because you may not get the answer from any other question or not a thorough answer. It allows the client to better articulate exactly what he/she wants his/her hair to do. ” I want it to stand up on the top.” “I want it to flow from the front to the back.” I want it to move more.” “I want it to go under.” Sometimes the solution is educating the client how to use hot tools and/or products. Most of the time it is explaining to the client how you plan on cutting their hair. “You want it to stick up on the top. I am going to cut it long enough it still lays down, but short enough that you can style it the way you described.” It’s about gaining more information about the client’s desires.

*How would you like to style your hair?
Does the client want to use hot tools, put it up in a pony tail, braids? If she desires a short pixie but wants to flat iron or curl it you need to explain why the 2 desires do not fit & offer a solution. ” I can always cut it shorter so let’s cut it at a shorter bob, that way it is shorter than you have now, but long enough for you to style with your desired hot tools.” Sometimes how clients want to style their hair & their desired look do not match.  you may have a client who wants to put everything into a pony tail but desires it to be a short bob.

*How do you normally style your hair?
This tells you exactly how the client wears it. Pulled back, down, to the side.  Sometimes clients come in parted on the wrong side.  It is important to know so that you can understand if this is the way the client has always styled his/her hair.  If they have always styled it a certain way & plan on to continue to style this way, then the desired cut may not be the best option.  Also, if the client rarely uses hot tools & the desired style will require hot tools, you will need to explain how the style will look air dried.

*How much time do you want spend styling your hair?
This is crucial. The client’s desired style may not fit his/her time frame. If a client wants to spend no more than 5 minutes then a sleek bob (depending on client’s thickness & texture) may not be the best option.  You can create the best cut for the client’s facial features & bone structure but if the client can not re-create the look at home he/she will become frustrated and will consider it a mediocre style at best.  Clients need to be able to re-create the style with ease at home.

*Do you want to use product?
If the answer is no then you must inform the client that his/her desired style will not be doable. If he/she uses a lot of heat but does not want to use a heat proctectant then more than likely the desired style is not achievable.  One can not use a lot of heat without protection and expect healthy hair.

You must unravel the mystery that is the client & his/her desires.  You must know how much time & product the client wants to put into the style that he/she desires.  If the desired style & time to style it do not match up, the client will have to forfeit either the time or the desired look.  If the client desires the style more than time than he/she will wake up sooner to style the look.  If the client desires his/her time more than the style, then the client will choose a different style.  The questions are to help you, the stylist, to unravel the mystery & make sure you are giving the client the style that fits his/her desires & lifestyle the best.

How To Have A Consultation When Looking For The Right Stylist!

Looking for a new stylist can be frustrating. Will he/she listen to my wants? Will I be able to get my wants in one appointment? Will things be explained? Will he/she be nice? Hopefully the following tips will help you with

When looking for a the right new stylist it is important to discuss your chemical service history, your current complaints about your hair, your end goal, pricing, and how often you desire to come into the salon. These things will impact your end goal and possibly change your end goal.
-Some chemical services can not/ should not be done if other chemical services have been done in a certain time frame. You do not want to put bleach on your hair same day you relax or perm. Depending on the health of your hair, bleach may not be an option for you changing your end goal to a different look. If your stylist is not informed of your chemical history, your stylist can accidently cause more damage.  Think of your chemical history as informing your new doctor of all the medications you are on.  Just like certain medications can not be taken at the same time because of interactions, chemical services can not always be done in the same appointment or ever.
-Your current hair complaints about the color being too gold, too red, too ashy, too heavy, too flat, lifeless, etc gives your stylist a direction where to take your color and/or cut.
Your end goal may be achievable in one appointment or it make take multiple appointments.  If the end goal is achievable in multiple appointments your stylist should take notes on what you currently have, your chemical history, your current complaints, your end goal, and a plan of action.  Of course your stylist will inform you of the plan of action.
-Price.  It is okay to ask about pricing. Sometimes we stylists get wrapped up in our plan of action thoughts that we forget to talk price.  If you are set on paying a certain price please let your stylist know.  You may pay a higher price upon your first appointment because your color may be a color correction, but appointments after the first may be less.  Ask your stylist how much it will cost to maintain the color you are wanting.  How often you desire to come to the salon and the price range you are looking for may result in considering a new style.
-Discuss how often you are wanting to come into the salon to maintain the color or cut. If you desire to come to the salon once every 5-6 months your price (depending on your look) may be the same higher price of your first appointment.  If you have long hair and desire a color with 3+ colors as well as coming in to maintain every 5-6 months you will be paying a higher price.
After all has been discussed you may feel that you’ve really connected with this stylist and proceed to schedule your service.  Or you may feel that you did not connect but you really enjoy the salon so you may want to schedule a consultation with a different stylist in the same salon and that is ok! If you did not make a connection with the stylist or feel that he/she is on the same page as you and you do not enjoy the salon enough to try another stylist, it’s ok to go elsewhere.  Finding the right stylist can be a challenge.  If you are moving to another area, ask your current style for your color formula or at least permission to give his/her number to your new stylist so the two of them can discuss your color and cut.  Sometimes this is best as things can get lost in translation or if the new stylist is not familiar with your other stylist’s color line and has some questions.

I hope these tips are helpful!