Prebook to make $15,000 more a year — with the clients you already have!

prebook your clients to make $15000 more a year

“You may not always have a lot of control over how busy you will be today, but you have total control over how busy you will be in the future!”
Antony Whitaker, Grow

Prebooking – It’s not magic, it’s not even hard.

The most effective way to increase your income (besides being an amazing stylist) is to prebook your clients for their next appointment(s) before they leave the salon.

Seriously, it’s that easy.

And prebooking is a win-win because, at the same time that it ups your earnings, it’s also making your clients’ lives easier.

By booking clients in for their next service at the end of their appointment, you’re helping them maintain the look they love — the look you created — so they can have great hair every day.

And they’ll never again have to put “make a hair appointment” on their to-do list.

Done, dusted, and blowdried to perfection.

Really? Prebooking sounds so boring

We know, prebooking doesn’t sound sexy. But it’s the fastest way to increase your earnings with no extra work.

Your dentist probably prebooks your next check-up before you leave their office.

And most successful stylists prebook their clients, pretty much guaranteeing that their books will be filled six weeks or more in advance. Super stylists rebook around 80% of their clients. Aim for your salon to rebook at least 60% of your clients at a minimum.

OK, so you know what prebooking is — but are you actually doing it?

Let’s review: prebooking not only increases your income, it makes both hair care and scheduling easier for your clients.

Kind of a no-brainer, right? Yet, many stylists, especially beginners, aren’t doing it.

If you’re not prebooking, what are you giving up?

3 ways you lose when you don’t prebook

Clients want what they want when they want it.

To look their best, clients generally need a haircut every 6 weeks. But many clients will let that 6 weeks slip by and then suddenly realize, oh no, I need to get my hair done!

But then most clients get distracted and wait another week before booking.

Now we’re at week 7 and they discover that you’re booked at their preferred times, bringing us up to 8 weeks.

So, what happens next? Well, usually one (or a combination) of these three things:

  1. You lose money — About 80% of clients need a haircut every 6 weeks, but most wait 7 weeks to book and get in around 8 weeks (see the numbers, below).
  2. You lose a little of your client’s respect — Hey, you weren’t available when they needed you.
  3. Your lose your client — They waited until the last minute, and now their hair is unbearable and they can’t get in to see you for at least a week or two. So, they go to a walk-in salon and get a cut from someone else.

Show me the money

The numbers don’t lie: prebooking makes you more money without having to find a single new client. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say a client named Angela likes to come in every 6 weeks for her cut and colour. This adds up to about 8½ services each year.

If Angela ends up coming in every every 8 weeks because you don’t prebook her, she will only come in for 6½ services a year.

Uh-oh, that’s 2 lost appointments.

If she is paying you $100 per service, you just left $200 on the table because you didn’t prebook.

If you do prebook Angela to make sure she comes in every 6 weeks, that extra $200 is yours.

Now, let’s say you have a client list of 75 clients. Multiply that $200 by 75, and you get an extra $15,000 per year — like magic!

Oh, except it’s not magic, it’s just the numbers. You’ve increased your income by a whopping 33% without adding a single new client to your roster!

10 reasons prebooking is good for you

  1. Having your schedule filled in advance is motivating for you
  2. A full schedule allows you to run a cancellation list
  3. You’ll have recurring clients to rely on while building clientele and during slow times
  4. Slow times happen less often when you have enough prebookings
  5. You can easily justify raising your prices once you are prebooked a couple of months in advance
  6. Gives the impression that you’re in demand
  7. Creates a sense of scarcity
  8. Makes clients aware that your time is valuable
  9. Converts first-time clients into long-term clients
  10. The more often you see your clients, the more loyal they feel

8 reasons prebooking is good for your clients

  1. Takes “book an appointment” off their to-do list
  2. Guarantees them their preferred appointment days and times
  3. No more bad hair days while they wait for an appointment
  4. Gives clients a welcome island of “me time” in their busy lives
  5. Scheduling in hair care is an empowering act of self-care, especially for those who spend most of their time caring for others
  6. Assures them of appointments during your busy seasons and around your vacations
  7. Builds their trust in you
  8. Budgeting for hair care is easier with regular appointments

Tips for talking to clients about prebooking

If you avoid prebooking because it feels too pushy or “salesy,” you’re not alone.

Many stylists, especially newbies, hesitate when it comes time to ask a client to prebook.

Others simply don’t know how to open the conversation. What works best depends on personalities — yours and your client’s. Here are some suggestions. Experiment to find what feels right for you.

Take a holiday — Veteran stylists confirm that one of the easiest ways to get your clients on the prebooking bandwagon is to book your own vacation.

But before you head for the beach, give your clients an insider tip: “I’m going on vacation, and I’m booking up quickly. Would you like to book now to make sure you get the time you want before/after my trip?”

Celebrate the season — Festive seasons are another good rallying point: “I get really busy in December, so how about we book you in now, so you’ve got first pick for the time you want.”

Make it about them — Don’t ask clients “would you like to pre-book your next appointment?” because they’re more likely to say “No, I’ll call,” or “I’m not sure what my schedule will be.”

Instead, give them a reason to prebook, and make it about their needs. For example:

“I know you prefer to come in on Friday mornings. I’m getting booked quite far in advance so I’d recommend we book you in today so we can get you the most convenient time.”

“You’ve got your daughter’s wedding coming up in June. Should we book you in now, while I’ve still got room?”

Educate your clients — Don’t assume they know how often their hair needs to be cut or coloured. Share your expertise, they’re counting on you for it.

Let them know how long their precision cut will keep its edges. “If you want to keep your cut looking sharp, let’s book you for about 6 weeks.”

Explain to them that chemical services require more maintenance and lend themselves well to prebooking: “Since you don’t like your roots to show, how about we book you in for a root touch-up in 4 weeks?”

When in doubt, ask — You can always start by asking, “how often do you like to come in?” and listen for clues about what to say next. They might ask what you recommend.

Or, maybe they’ll tell you they don’t want to prebook because they don’t know their schedule in advance, but they would like to be reminded.

“Your hair will need to be cut again in 6 weeks. Shall I give you a call in about 4 weeks and see what time works for you?”

Recurring appointments and automated reminders

If prebooking is good, then recurring appointments are the bee’s knees. All good salon apps (salonMonster most definitely included) allow you to set up recurring or standing appointments for your clients so everything is done for you.

Once a client is prebooked, it’s essential that you remind them of their appointment. Clients can easily forget an appointment they made weeks ago. Any good online booking software (like salonMonster) will do this for you automatically, just set it and forget it.

Reminders are great for your client because they make scheduling effortless. And they’re great for you because they insure that your client will show up.

Get the prebooking habit

Don’t expect to get all your clients prebooking from day 1.

It might take you some time to find your best approach and get your clients used to the idea. Keep offering and you will eventually reach a tipping point where most of your clients are booking before they leave the salon.

To help you get into the prebooking habit, salonMonster has a built-in reminder that asks you to prebook each client before checking out their current service.

If you’re not a salonMonster client, get creative and find another way to make prebooking a habit at the end of every appointment.

We wish you all the best as you give your income a significant boost and make life easier for you and your clients — all with the simple habit of prebooking!

P.S. Looking to read some more about prebooking? Check out these resources:

Grow 1: Super Stylist by Antony Whitaker

BusyBus by Marion Shaw

A Little More Off the Top by Michael Cole and Mary Cole

The Naked Salon by Lisa Conway


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