My tools for staying on time and retaining more clients as a hairstylist

How many times have you said "Alex, I'll be just another 20 minutes if you want to run to Starbucks or just read a magazine for a little bit"?  How about "I'm going to treat you to a free deep conditioning mask today.  It just needs to sit on for 30 minutes and then we'll start your haircut".  We've all done it!  How about the saying "we are running on hairstylist time around here".  I swear somebody makes the joke at every single class I attend.

Our biggest enemy as hairstylists is the freaking clock! I swear that time runs so much faster as soon as I set foot in the salon and those hands keep spinning until I leave at the end of the night.  The issue is that our clients shouldn't pay the price for our time management issues. I have helped stylists and salons to survey their lost clientele and I see time management coming up as an issue over and over.  Our clients have busy personal lives and eventually they get fed up waiting around on hairstylist time.   

I've learned to put tools in place to keep stylists running on time.  There are different tricks for different stylists working different systems so I hope some of these help you out!  I'll be Periscoping about this all week so join my Periscope party if you want more ideas and visual aids.  

  1. Schedule for specific services, not blocks of time-Gone are the days where you can just write your clients name in your appointment book at your 3:00pm spot.  The client shows up and wants a root touch up, great.  She decides to add hi lights? no problem.  You'll just make your 4:00 client wait a little longer and it'll all still get done at some point.  Our clients HATE this system.  The pace of life is different now than it used to be.  Clients want to know when their appointment starts and when they'll be done because they have other things to do in their lives too.  It is important to book for specific services and stick to the booking so that you stay on time.
  2. Determine your service timing and stick to it-If it takes you 60 minutes to do a haircut and blowdry then you can't cram a haircut client into a 30 minute gap.  Be honest and make a list of all of your services and how long it takes to do each one.  This is now your service standard and by sticking to it your day should run very on time.  Will it always be perfect? Of course not, nothing is perfect, but you'll run way closer to being on time than just guessing with each appointment.
  3. Block plenty of time for big projects-If you are doing a color correction or trying a new color line or bleach for the first time, give yourself a buffer.  You know it'll take longer than normal so expect the unexpected and give yourself some breathing room.  Worst case scenario is you'll finish a little earlier than you expected and you'll have a little time to take some amazing pictures of your client to add to your Instagram!
  4. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit-If my partial hi light client is running late and I have somebody scheduled to come right after her, guess what, she's now getting a mini hi light instead.  If my haircut is 20 minutes late, now I can cut her but I can't finish her blow-dry.  Sounds harsh?  By doing hair this way you are setting the standard for clients to respect your time for the professional you are.  Do you think your client shows up 20 minutes late to her dentist appointment? Of course not, so why should it be okay when she is late to you?
  5. Ditch the written appointment books-Welcome to 2015!  Actually, welcome to the year 2005 when online booking systems hit the industry.  I bet you don't leave home without your smartphone( ie. the mini computer that happens to make phone calls), so why are you still handwriting appointments in a glorified notebook?  Streamline your business and take advantage of budget friendly computer systems.  Your clients will actually respect your business more and the impact on your business will be unbelievable.

Take your business by the horns and get organized this week.  Focus on creating structure for yourself and watch the stress melt away and your client retention will soar through the roof!


Britt Seva