How to make the most of the holiday season in the salon

Wow it feels like the year has just flown by! And once again holiday season is approaching. Before we know it, we will be knee-deep in appointments. ’Tis the season for haircuts, facials, glammed-up nails, gift sets and more.

The struggle becomes all too real when we book ourselves silly, deal with no-shows, struggle with keeping our schedule organized and being unprepared. It happens—we get caught up in the daily grind and before we know it, the holiday season has crept up and we find ourselves running around trying to get ourselves prepared for the madness that awaits us. Ready or not, my fellow hairstylists and barbers, it’s time to get ready for the holidays. Below are a few tips to help.

1. First, check your calendar and prioritize any time off.

The further in advance you can do this, the better. I know, I know, we tend to not take any time off during the holiday season, but we all need a day (or two) off to collect ourselves and do what we need to do. If you can, schedule your personal or vacation time a few months in advance.

2. Prebook, prebook, prebook!

Now is the time to start booking your loyal clients. It happens—we have last-minute walk-ins and appointments, and as accommodating as we try to be, we also need to ensure we are also taking the time to serve our loyal guests. Before they walk out the door, book that holiday appointment with them so they can be sure to get in with you before you are all booked up. After all, we can thank our loyal clients for keeping us busy throughout the year and during our slow periods.

3. Make your no-show policy clear.Barber

Don’t have one? Now is a great time to roll one out. Have you ever had a fully booked day, been ready for the awesomeness that awaits you, had all of your equipment ready to go and the color bar and product stocked—and then half your day cancels on you last minute? Worst feeling ever, right? And you realize the color appointment you couldn’t fit in because you were booked could have filled that time, the haircut that walked in and was turned away could have been serviced—you get the idea. Putting a cancellation policy in place can help alleviate the stress of not having someone in your chair. It isn’t uncommon to put a cancellation policy in place that charges 50% of the service amount on the credit card used to reserve the booking. That is one way to ensure partial income of time lost by a cancellation. And although it’s normal to require cancellations at least 24 hours in advance, it might be smart to enact a 48-hour advance cancellation policy during the high-traffic holiday season to give you time to fill those open slots.

4. Make gift buying easy.

Stocking up on products and gift cards can go a long way to increasing revenue. Every year before the holidays I would stock up on liters of shampoo, conditioner, styling products, brushes, oils, lotions, face masks, you name it. I’d make baskets and special gift sets customized to short hair, long hair, dry hair, thinning hair, at-home spa package—you get the idea—and they would fly off the shelves. I would even put some on my station with a little tent note stating what it was perfect for. You’d be surprised how fast they would sell out. I would mention a gift card as a perfect add-on to a premade package. Starting this idea right before Thanksgiving and really marketing it for a Black Friday deal brought many customers in. Stocking stuffers are also sure things. A gift card with a travel-size shampoo and conditioner (or any mini-size product) is an easy grab-and-go last-minute gift or stocking stuffer.

5. Keep in touch with your clients.

If you have a text-messaging system, send a bulk message reminding them of your holiday hours, and for those that you have not seen in a while, to book their appointment now while there is still availability. Still have those few who haven’t come in by Christmas? Then here’s your chance to send a message to book a “New Year, New You” appointment.

Taking a step back before your head starts to spin develop ideas to introduce some holiday cheer while bringing in more revenue will help you feel in control of the holiday season. Starting with tangible things such as stocking up on gift cards or creating your own gift sets is a great way to start the process of making more income with little effort. While you are making people look great for the holiday season, why not let the holiday season work for you?

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