WWYD: How Long Is Too Long For A Haircut?
Quality Over Quantity: Here’s Why Quicker Haircuts Aren’t The Answer
In beauty school, curriculum is based off standard, technique-based cutting. When you onboard at your first salon, it can be hard to manage cramming your step-by-step learnings into a 45-minute or less appointment—wash and style included. On the flip side, salon owners might see this as a necessity; more clients equals more money and more security for their business. But we’re not so sure that quicker appointment times is necessarily the key to increasing revenue, especially with clients requesting highly personalized cuts.
Keep reading to hear how stylists and salon owners in your hairdressing community are weighing in on this debate, from raising prices to considering independent work.
1. Haircutting 101: There’s no such thing as a “simple, layered” cut.
If there’s anything the latest trends have taught us, it’s that personalization is in and one-size-fits-all cut, color and style is out. Trust us, that’s good news: If you take your time on your client’s cut and give them a look that really suits them, you won’t need to worry about turning your chair into a revolving door. Customer loyalty will carry you where you want to go.
Here’s how these hairdressers feel about booking 45 minutes or more on a haircut:
“…Success to me personally isn’t in the amount of haircuts or clients I book. Success to me is if the client I booked (no matter how many) is happy with their look and if I’m growing over the course of my career. Many people will come for the experience and for the way you treat them and, believe it or not, will pay more instead of being rushed out.” – @hairbyallykondratyev
“I book every cut on the hour.” – @jacobhkhan
“I have some clients with so much hair it literally takes me 45 minutes to just blow-dry! I will not leave anyone without the final style. The appointments for long hair can be anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. I’m not sure why [anyone would want to rush phenomenal work.] I’m 37 years a stylist and I will never ever compromise quality for quantity! You shouldn’t ask anyone to do that.” – @melissa.krebbs
Is 45 minutes too long? “NOPE!” – @ahappyjustin
“[If a popular and excellent hairdresser takes 45+ minutes for a haircut, leave them alone.} Not everyone wants to be done and dusted in just 20 to 30 minutes. Yes, time is money, but you can’t rush great haircuts. And since when is hair cutting ‘just a simple layered’ haircut? It only appears simple if the hairdresser is excellent because they makes it look easy.” – @emma.jane1974
Longer haircuts? It might be time to raise your prices to charge your worth.
If your salon owner is concerned about the time frame of your haircuts, the solution might be raising your prices rather than rushing clients out the door. Even though salon owners are rightfully concerned about the wellbeing of their business, clients come to the salon to be pampered. And many of them are willing to pay more for that experience. In short, any money that is lost from incoming clients will be gained by an increase in price.
“As salon owners, it’s our job to guide and mentor. I wouldn’t want to discourage someone’s artistry or the client experience. Their clients come to them because of the time and effort they’re putting out there. Maybe a discussion on hourly vs. a la carte pricing to match the time he spends with his clients is the solution!” – @natalieruzgis
“Hmm… they’re talented and popular and take their time with clients? Sounds like a price increase would solve your problems. 😋” – @kayhelene
“…If the stylist is commission and does phenomenal work, up their prices and both [stylist and salon owner will] get paid more.” – @whitney.fringe.hair.studio
“….The days of a wash, condition, haircut and blow-dry in 45 minutes doesn’t exist anymore because the standards of professional hairdressing have changed. This is why more consumers are now going independent stylists; they are not being rushed and can get a customized hair experience…Stylists can change other variables to make up for minutes—like price!” – @dieselmaurice
“I think there is no longer any such thing as a ‘simple layered’ cut. Do you have tiered pricing in your salon based on newer stylists vs. senior stylists? Or is it possible to charge clients a per hour fee?” – @mrsyt31
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An amicable agreement must be reached between salon owner & stylist.
No matter what the end goal is, it’s critical that this discussion between salon owners and stylists is respectful and open-minded. While salon owners are concerned about the wellbeing of their business, stylists are often aiming for client retention and skill growth. It’s when these two goals coincide that both parties see the most progress.
Here’s some advice for salon owners concerned about a stylist’s service time:
“…I’d completely skip the ‘needs of the business’ conversation, as it often leads to resentment. I’d collaborate with them on a time frame they think they can consistently complete a wash, cut and blow-dry… and charge accordingly. If a stylists demand is high, I see a compromise from the salon as a necessity.” – @lorenlifka
“Do your due diligence beforehand and come to the meeting prepared to express your expectations in a calm, positive and thoughtful way. Also be prepared to offer training and teaching on how this employee can meet those expectations…If this stylist truly wants to learn and grow, they will respond appropriately.” – @meagan_mac211
“…Being a leader is difficult because you have so many different personalities and skill sets to deal with. Work with your staff individually to find out what their needs are. They will be less likely to leave if you help them, lift them up and encourage positive change beneficial to all.” – @72kate
Looking for more advice? Click here to read the rest of our responses!