Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Timing A Balayage Or Ombré Service
Last updated: May 10, 2022

What Would You Do: Timing A Balayage Or Ombré Service

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You’ve been there—a new client was booked with you for an hour, and when she sits in your chair, she pulls up her Pinterest page and shows you the heavily-balayaged look she wants right NOW. And there’s no way that’s happening. Recently, a member of the BTC community wanted to know the ideal way to book for services like ombré and balayage, and you all gave some amazing advice. Read on to see how others handle these situations!

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Here’s the original question: I’m hoping all the stylists that follow you can help! I have recently been experiencing some issues with booking chemical services, specifically balayage and ombré services. There seems to be too be too much time booked, or not enough time booked. As we all know, time is money. I am curious what have you been doing to book services accurately. What would you recommend?

Timing Is Everything
When you find yourself stressing about time, here’s what you all said you do:

@daysha_j: “Basically I stress myself out for a minute, then make some sort of rockstar move and make it happen, because I’d rather make the money than lose it. If it causes me to run behind, I have a receptionist call my next client to have them come in later and explain what happened. I’ll usually give them a free conditioning service for the inconvenience.”

@saralouise5210: “Have a whole day for ombré and a whole day for balayage each week. Have the juniors help and learn with you if you’re overbooked.”

@hayli_brown: “I book new clients as my last appointment, so I essentially have an indefinite amount of time.”

@paigekitty: “I like to book three hours. I’ve timed myself and I average 45 minutes to apply the balayage/ombré. So start timing yourself all the time so you know consistently how long the process takes on average.”

@rockpapersalonandstore: “I book at least 2.5 hours. The extra time can be used to style her up like she’s never been before, or to sell some product and rebook—maybe a little bathroom break. Never less than 2.5.”

@hollscarter79: “Usually my full foil is about three hours from start to finish (trim, blow-dry, curl), unless their hair is seriously long. Then I schedule three to four hours. Anything over three hours I sometimes charge by the hour—usually $35 to $45 an hour.”

@tashadoesyourhair: “For balayage or ombré and a cut, I book two hours as opposed to my 2.25 hours for a full foil. If I’m behind, I tell the receptionist and they can call my next client. Wear a watch and make sure you’re on time—if you’re behind, don’t chat, because that’s usually the reason. And don’t worry about running ahead—consider it a blessing as you will be done and you can clean up, have a snack or a drink or prep yourself for your next client.”

@lizzofrizzo: “Never over-promise or under-deliver… If it is a surprise request or ‘blind date,’ politely tell them there isn’t enough time booked and you can rebook them in another time spot.”

Increase Front Desk Communication
Whether you book your own appointments or you have a receptionist who books them for you, the questions you ask clients when booking are crucial. Make sure your receptionist knows how to handle these appointments.

@lilyrosecoleman: “Over the phone, I try to dig a little deeper. If they ask for balayage, I ask if they’ve had it done before and just want a touch-up, or if they’re converting from highlights to balayage.”

@t.dudeck: “Clients call and say they want a color…meanwhile what they really want is color, balayage and a cut with an eyebrow wax. When they say ‘I want my hair colored,’ ask them, ‘OK, so just one all-over color?’ They will elaborate usually. Communication is one of the most important aspects to making a salon work well.”

@jacqui.swan: “Ask questions and get pictures. Anyone I book through Facebook, Instagram or text has to send me pictures.”

@lvecas01: “I tell the receptionist to book a balayage as a full head of highlights…then add the time for the blow-dry, cut, treatment or whatever else the client wants. This gives me more than enough time.”

@whitney_ablin: “Have the front desk ask what service the client is looking for and have them speak with you directly. That way you can book accordingly based on what they want and what their hair type is. Book all of your fashion color, balayage and ombré services on your own.”

@amy.cherryyy: “New clients either come in for a consultation prior to the appoint or email photos of their current hair and chemical history with photos of what they’d like to achieve. However, sometimes it does slip through the cracks and they don’t consult. I either have extra time—in which case you can upsell them a full Olaplex treatment or a conditioning treatment most of the time—or if there is not enough time, I am either upfront and reschedule or let them know I’ll have to work them in with clients throughout the day, so plan on being there a while.”

Book A Free Consultation
And of course, this is when the consultation becomes more important than ever.

@salonspruce: “We require all new color service clients to come in for a 10-minute, complimentary consultation. It weeds out the clients who aren’t serious about their hair, and it gives you a chance to get your client excited about their upcoming appointment. Our stylists can feel the hair, look through hair inspiration photos and really gain a sense of what the client is looking for. Our stylists also go over price point so the client isn’t shocked when it’s time to check out. We haven’t had any probems with this!”

@jessicaniedbala: “Ask as many questions as possible! If it’s a regular client and you know their hair, ask for photos prior to the appointment. Be honest as well—sometimes multiple sessions are needed to achieve the look. If it’s a new client…ask about hair length, texture and history.”

@hairbyashmo: “I absolutely do not book a color unless they come in and we sit down first. With that 15 minutes you can save or add the time you need, create a game plan, see what technique to use, see what their hair is now…there’s no guesswork. It has saved me.”

@chickirivera: “With first-time clients, it’s easier to have an in-person consultation before performing the service. Then I’ll block off time as if I was doing a foil. This covers me for anything unexpected. If I end up with extra time, that’s fine the first time around. I’ll make a note on the client record as to the exact amount of time used so I’ll know what I need for next time. This has been almost foolproof for me.”

@melanniemillan: “Consultation, consultation, consultation. This way you know the density and what timing the process will be like. Do a test strand to see how long it takes, then go back and alter the timing.”