Are you ready?
Salons will soon be allowed to reopen and get back to business as usual, so journalist Charisse Kenion spoke with some of the best in the industry to find out how they will be adjusting.
Work smarter, not harder
Pricing is probably one of the most talked-about issues when it comes to reopening post-lockdown. It’s so easy to feel anxious about how your clients might accept a price increase. But Caroline Sanderson, known as The Salon Jedi and Owner of Ego Hair Design in Inverness, says it’s simple: as your expenses go up so should your price.
“Don’t be scared of losing clients due to a price increase; it won’t happen if they are happy clients who love your service. But, let’s say you did lose 10 percent, and dropped from 100 clients paying £50 on average (£5,000 per month) to 90 clients paying on average £55 that would be £4950? That’s just £50 less a month, which you can easily make up with upgrades.
“Plus, you will have less clients to serve, so you’re working smarter not harder,” says Caroline.
The key thing to focus on if you choose to increase your prices, is your service. You must ensure that it’s nothing less than amazing.
Caroline advises: “If you aren’t offering extra value, you will more than likely get some grumbles, so think about giving a free treatment or free shampoo with a service you offer, while still making profit because of the new increased price of the service!
“Another good example could be adding in a nice head massage whilst a treatment is developing. This costs nothing but enriches the client experience, making the service worth more. Write a list of all the little extras you can give. These small bonuses add value and in turn, your clients are more than happy to pay the new prices.”
But not everyone agrees that now is the time to increase your prices. Phil Smith, founder of Smith England says:
“Although it’s understandable, given the position we are in, I would strongly advise against a price increase.
“You need to remember that people have got a choice and will be shopping around for their next appointment. Stay true to your brand and deliver a great service, great haircut, great chat and those clients will come back. If you are seen to be exploiting your position it could have an adverse reaction. This is not a quick fix – we are in for a year of very hard work.”
For more in-depth information on reopening, read this blog on how to reopen with ease.
For freelancer Sarah Satchell, work post-Covid is going to take some adjustment, especially considering the very close bond that a mobile stylist can have with their clients. As Sarah, an FHA member, says, there will be no more accepting of hot drinks or snacks from her clients. “Instead we will be spending more time sanitising our kit and PPE in between clients, wearing a clean gown for each appointment, and using disinfectant wipes on the steering wheel as we head to the next client,” says Sarah.
As Sarah rightly points out, even the consultation aspect of hairdressing will change, with much of it being done virtually and in advance, either by an email thread and photographs or a friendly video chat. She also points out that, for the time being at least, many of the services she will offer will be more corrective than maintenance.
“We will be removing the remains of box dyes, covering extra-long regrowth and cutting off inches, rather than the usual trim,” says Sarah.
Sarah also feels that lengthy appointments could be unworkable:
“Instead fast ‘face framing’ techniques and speedy ‘glossing services’ will help give clients a much needed revamp in a short and safe appointment time,” says Sarah.
When to up-sell
For Phil Smith, it’s about paying attention to the little things:
“We have replaced all the magazines in the salon and given our clients the opportunity to take advantage of our subscription with www.digi-mags.net. Then they can access a variety of magazines simply by scanning the QR Code on the salon iPads.”
Phil also says everyone should have the best product knowledge and be ready to up-sell, but only by suggestion.
“Don’t push the sale,” says Phil. “These are difficult times for the consumer as much as they are for the retailer. Pushy sales are a total turn-off and we don’t need to give clients a reason not to return.”
For Caroline Sanderson it’s about adding incentives, such as different levels of experiences or bundling services together. This way you can maximise profits while also truly spoiling those clients who have been missing the salon experience.
She explains: “The idea is ‘stack value’: let’s say shampoo and conditioner is £30. An up-serve (serving your client with more value) could be that they buy a £15 treatment or ritual to get their shampoo and conditioner for half the price. You still get £30 in your till for your shampoo and conditioner, and you just gave away the backwash treatment for free, which potentially is a very low cost to you.
“You can also ask your suppliers for free treatments if you buy a set amount of shampoo and conditioner. That means you could sell shampoo and conditioner full price but give a free ritual voucher for their next visit as the up-serve."