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Last updated: November 29, 2022

5 Top Salon Management Mistakes You Might Be Making

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Level Up Your Salon Management With These 5 Tips

You’ve opened your own salon—congratulations! But is everything running as smoothly as it could? Are there areas that could use some improvement? Perhaps you would like to bring in more clients or bring your retail sales to new heights. Whatever your goal may be, it’s important to avoid some common roadblocks that can prevent your salon from being successful!


According to SalonBooker, the top five most common salon mistakes include: Offering discounts without a strategy, not using communication tools to drive revenue, letting a receptionist do all the selling, not sweating the numbers and, finally, resisting online booking.


Work smarter, not harder!

In today’s tech savvy world, there are a multitude of software programs available to help you organize all aspects of your salon business, including: Online booking, client management, point of sale, eCommerce, social marketing and more.


Identifying mistakes early and learning what you can do to avoid them can make all the difference. Salon software can help you organize your business so you have more time to focus on what you truly love…hair!


Mistake #1: Offering discounts without a strategy

Salons offer discounts to do right by their clients and give them reasons to come back or purchase premium services. The idea is simple: Give a discount and get something in return—more clients, client loyalty, higher profits or increased revenue.


Having the time and resources to accurately measure the impact of discounting is a common challenge. Given the number of elements it takes to get it right—an organized pricing system, a good business analyst and reporting tools, for example—it’s not surprising that salon owners struggle with discounts.


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What you can do!

Figure out the “something” first. Define what you hope to get in return and measure the outcomes of your promotions. Here is what a good salon management system will do:


  1. Run reports to identify best-selling and most profitable services.
  2. Manage service pricing in one place and keep it organized for management and staff.
  3. Regularly review your client flow to determine an optimal off-peak discount strategy.
  4. Send notifications about last-minute appointments and distribute openings across the web.
  5. Track client history so receptionists can upsell and recommend the best services and offers.


Mistake #2: Not using communication tools to drive revenue

Communication is the most important tool you can utilize in your salon—it helps build a relationship with your clients and tailors your salon experience to their needs. Client communication can be challenging for salon owners when staffing is low and resources are limited. Plus, many salons don’t have a simple way to collect client information or manage scheduling, email marketing and social media.


What you can do!

Clients have long lives. There are many points in the client lifecycle where effective communication can improve their experience and increase your revenue. Here are some tips to make communication flow freely:


  1. Store client, scheduling and inventory information in one accessible database that can be utilized in marketing campaigns. 
  2. Send automated emails based on client activity, including appointment reminders, surveys, promotions on previously purchased items and last minute openings.
  3. Publish updates to multiple channels at once, including email, website and social media. 
  4. Analyze the outcomes of each campaign and make improvements based on open rates and the number of appointments scheduled.


Mistake #3: Letting a receptionist do all the selling

It’s great if your receptionist can work some sales magic, but we know how busy the front desk can be. Hiring a team of receptionists can be expensive, so we recommend using your website. It works 24/7, costs a lot less and never calls in sick. This means entering the world of eCommerce. 


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What you can do!

Selling products online opens an untapped revenue stream. Clients love convenience, including being able to visit an eCommerce site at any time and shop to their hearts’ content. Here are a few ways salons can benefit from eCommerce:


  1. Use built-in tools to add eCommerce to a website without technical skills.
  2. Link credit card processing to eCommerce sites and inventory management systems.
  3. Tie online sales to inventory levels and reporting.
  4. Have an instant gift certificate page where clients can purchase and email gift certificates from home.
  5. Use online client accounts to track orders without calling the salon.


Mistake #4: Not sweating the numbers

Managing a salon using accurate financial performance reporting is absolutely critical for success. Extra credit goes to salon owners who use the numbers to guide their growth strategy, not just to check the performance of the business.


What you can do!

Reports don’t need to be confusing or hard to use. Web-based software automatically collects details from every transaction and a range of other useful data. Here are some tricks to help make reporting more beneficial:


  1. Record data in one system so salon managers can understand client spending trends over time.
  2. Make sure data can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and can be exported in multiple formats (Excel, etc.). 
  3. Keep reporting in sync with your appointment book so performance data is always up to date.
  4. Use a system that can measure the impact of price changes and enable ongoing fine-tuning.


Mistake #5: Resisting online booking

Think about the last time you booked a hotel room, made a reservation or scheduled a doctor’s appointment. Chances are you booked online and were done in a matter of minutes. There’s no reason why a salon shouldn’t offer the same convenience for scheduling appointments. Allowing clients to book online can create substantial growth in sales and relieve numerous stresses on the salon and its staff.


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What you can do!

Jump on the booking bandwagon. Online booking isn’t scary, especially when you can add it for a trial period without a big time or cash investment. Here’s how online booking can simplify and benefit your business:


  1. Give clients the ability to book appointments from any device at any time, even when the salon is closed.
  2. Control primetime bookings by only showing selected times and services.
  3. Avoid double-bookings since the calendar is updated in real time and synced with staff schedules.
  4. Make it easy for clients to book quickly instead of waiting to speak to the receptionist.
  5. Measure marking campaigns by actual booked appointments and revenue in addition to clicks and open rates.