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Last updated: January 26, 2023

4 Salon Policy Changes To Update ASAP

rusk gina bianca bookings business and no show cancellation policy changes to make to improve your salon business
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Photo Credit: Instagram via @iamginabianca

How To Take Control Of Your Books, Boundaries & Business

The biggest problem holding your salon business back? Old policies that you have outgrown. It’s time to revisit your booking strategies, boundaries with clients (or the lack thereof) and start implementing changes that will maximize your business. Easy enough, right? We know it can be difficult to break out of old ways, so we tapped industry experts Gina Bianca (@iamginabianca) and Matt Swinney (@matt.swinney)


These RUSK® Directors, business experts and seasoned salon owners shared their best advice in an exclusive interview with BTC. Keep reading for your official guide to leveling up this year. 


1. Flexible Booking: How It Works & Why You Should Try It

“Having time standards and pricing that works really well for you, being priced correctly and not feeling like you have to squeeze someone in to pay your bills, that’s a huge thing,” says Gina. Whether you’re an independent stylist or a salon owner, listen up. 


– Booth Renters/Independent Stylists: Set boundaries and limit yourself.

  • If you know that you do your best in the mornings/afternoons/evenings, use that time to book more complicated services, says Gina.
  • If you have a hard time waking up early, you don’t need to be in everyday at 9AM. Maximize value with a schedule that allows you to do your best work. 


How to start booking off weekends: Watch this video!

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A post shared by Gina Sicard ✨ CT Salon Owner 🫶🏽RUSK (@iamginabianca)


– Commission-Based Salon Owners: Evolve your thought process and the way you work with stylists to maximize their time behind the chair, says Matt. By following these steps, Matt was able to cultivate an environment that improved his employees’ schedule and output.  


  • Sit down with stylists and ask them what their optimal schedule is. Listen to them and adjust their books accordingly.  
  • “The level of happiness inside of them which ultimately showed in the work they were doing, communication and action with their clients completely changed,” says Matt.  
  • This allowed Matt’s salon to move from a traditional pricing structure to charging hourly. The salon didn’t lose clients because the stylists were happy to communicate the schedule they had curated for themselves within the commission-based model. 


“Some people work great with three 12-hour days and the rest off. Some people want to work five-hour days, six days a week,” Matt explains. Work with stylists to determine what’s going to give maximum value to them, and ultimately to you as the salon owner. 


rusk gina bianca bookings business and no show cancellation policy changes to make to improve your salon business
Photo Credit: Instagram via @iamginabianca


Pro Tip: If a stylist is 85 to 90 percent booked, give them 40 hours to fill in based on their desired schedule, suggests Gina. This gives them the flexibility to succeed. 


How will the pandemic, inflation and supply chain change your business? Watch this class with @iamginabianca on BTC-University!


2. Be More Protective of Your Books

Picture this: You’re waiting in the breakroom and 20 or 30 minutes go by. It’s a client no-show—the worst. The easiest way to avoid no-shows and last-minute cancellations this year, or fill them? Adjust your confirmation system. Do everything you can to not let your books control you, says Gina. 


Be proactive. Check your confirmation system regularly, whether it’s automated or a call/text/email. Gina’s advice? If a client doesn’t confirm, reach out to them. If you don’t hear from them, let them know their appointment is canceled. Then, call your client who has that time slot the following week and see if they’d like to move their appointment up. 


Keep a card on file. If a client is a no-show, they are charged for the services they were booked for, suggests Matt. If it’s an emergency situation, the client is still charged but that money will go directly to their ticket for their next appointment. That way, you’re not losing money. 


Boundary check! Client red flags to look out for… 

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A post shared by Gina Sicard ✨ CT Salon Owner 🫶🏽RUSK (@iamginabianca)


3. Build Healthy Relationships With Boundaries 

“We’re in the relationship business,” Gina explains. “You don’t need a billion friends. How many clients do you really need to be successful?” Reevaluate your client relationships. Do you feel obligated to give discounts or treat them differently? They make up your client book, you don’t need a million people to make a great business. 


The biggest boundary: Your schedule. 

You can still be flexible without losing value. For example: A client asks you to accommodate their schedule. Let’s say you charge hourly and you don’t typically work Saturdays, but that day works best for them—tell them you can see them at an hour and a half rate, says Matt. 


rusk gina bianca bookings business and no show cancellation policy changes to make to improve your salon business
Photo Credit: Instagram via @iamginabianca


4. Build Your Demand & Your Books 

“Don’t niche yourself out of a job,” says Matt. “So if you focus in and you narrow in on just one part of our industry, what happens when the demand for hair shifts?”


“If you’re 80 to 90 percent booked [for a speciality], that’s one thing. If you’re brand new in the industry and you’re dead set on specializing, I would give yourself ten years of doing it all,” adds Gina.


During that time, put out the services you want to do the most because your content is your marketing, says Gina. “The niche comes from demand,” she explains. “Build your demand, build your relationships, and you will have more freedom to do whatever you want to do, so start with the basics.”


Focus on process, habits and actions, says Matt. Watch his “real talk” advice for setting goals below. 

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A post shared by Matt.swinney (@matt.swinney)


Grow your business with on-demand education and tools in The Backroom by RUSK.


Watch The Full Interview Below

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