Salon Business – All Booked Up And Nowhere To Go

Yeah the bus is full! You have lots of clients in your chairs, your stylists are predominantly booked 80+% of their time, yet that bottom line is still not healthy, the average ticket price needs to grow and you have no more stations to add service providers. What do you do? Where do you go when there is not enough time to upsell services?

Some may think this is a great problem to have but it can be a dilemma as you look at those Profit and Loss statements and the growth is just not there.

There are really only 2 ways to grow in this situation. Either you upsell specific items, or you increase your prices.

“But”, I hear you say, “we are fully booked with back to back clients, there is no time for extra services.” Okay, I heard that, however now is the time to get creative and figure out services that can be done at the same time as the appointment with little product outlay or time needed. Get your team together and start a list of all those little things that can add up to big dollars.

  • How about an eyebrow tint, done at the same time that the color is processing. Mix a demi permanent formula using the same formulation as the original tint. It will take a tiny amount of product, about 1 minute to apply with either a Q tip or angle eyeshadow brush and “Voila”  a $10 add on.
  • A color glaze between those foils – it will all be done at the same time and give that great bright new look that your client saw in the picture.
  • Face framing with a few foils around the front hairline – once again, takes about 5 mintes, maybe 1/2 oz of lightener with a low volume developer, but can add $25 to the bill.
  • Again, treatments to the ends of the hair while a color is processing,  add $15  –  $20 to the bill.
  • A 10 minute glossing treatment, once again, between foils.
  • If you have someone to do eyebrow shaping, (or get fancy and call it sculpting) that’s a great add on. Little product, little time, $15  –  $20 on the bill.
  • Ear and Nose piercing, fabulous money maker for the salon, also brings in lots of new clients if you are using the right system, (e-mail [email protected] and I’ll tell you which one to use.)

Are you getting the picture.

So, the second way to increase the bottom line, of course, is to raise prices. Hopefully you have my pricing project – if not, go to the website and pick it up, that will give you a starting point, so you can go up from there. Think about your market – where is your price point right now? As beauty professionals, we are masters at underpricing ourselves. We get so afraid that all of our clients will leave us if we increase our prices, when the fact is that is you raise your prices by 10% you will lose a few clients, however statistics tell us that you will still be at an 8% increase if you do not increase your client base. Also, if  clients leave, then that gives you time to upsell more services with that extra time.

Another way to increase that bottom line is to grow your retail. This is your most profitable department in the salon and needs to be constantly promoted, tweaked and updated. Are your stylists recommending product to every client? Do they know how to close a sale, and if they are not comfortable with it, can your front desk person close it for them. There are always those who can talk about product, but just can’t ask. Make sure you have a system that they can communicate the information and product that has been discussed with the client, so that they can be asked to purchase before they leave. A prescription pad system works well for this.

There are always ways to grow. Think of all the services you could be doing, all those little niche products, simple add ons. It’s just a case of focusing on what you have or could offer and get your team on board to increase their average service ticket. Being stuck is not fun. Being profitable is!

Have a great week.

P.S. check out the “SHOW ME THE MONEY” program in South Surrey, British Columbia. Monday, May 14th. Everything your stylists need to know to be more profitable and productive behind the chair. Register now by e-mailing [email protected].


 Marion Shaw is a salon business coach and consultant with  Salon Biz Essentials and owner of Busy Bus Publications. Also check her out on Facebook and you can read more of her blogs at

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