We all want to make more money. In fact we all need to make more money. The cost of living has gone way up in the last few years and as hairdressers, we tend to not always be at the higher end of the earnings average.
I have trained and developed hundreds of stylists over the years and I have watched new talent stylists with no clientele absolutely skyrocket past stylists with years of experience working in the same location, and with a solid clientele. The ones that get there fast are the ones that control their careers by doing all the little things right. They are the ones who understand why they are at work and are not interested in taking a decade to do what can be done in just 2 short years.
If you are earning the money you want, you don’t need this list. But if you are not there yet or feel like you need a push, this is the entire blueprint to success as a hairdresser.
We are in a unique position in that we can give ourselves a raise whenever we choose to. Here’s the 2 ways you can give yourself a raise today:
Step 1: Fill your chair and every available hour you have.
Step 2: If your chair is already full, raise your prices.
The first one is the harder one to do, but it becomes really easy if you do a couple of things. Well, 10 things. And all of them can be done today and will make a huge impact immediately and start you on the road to higher earnings and to Step 2.
1. Get motivated, inspired, and current!
Get up early and peruse Instagram and celebrity/ fashion blogs, get (and stay) heavily inspired and caffeinated and do your hair and makeup beautifully. And dress. All black is easiest and cheapest.
2. Show up at work a little early and evaluate your day.
Think about each client you have booked and how excited you are that they have chosen to spend their time and money with you. Tell yourself and make it your mission that you are going to give them the best hair and salon experience they have ever had.
3. Phone every client booked over the next week or two if you have a cancellation.
Your goal is to fill today! Billable hours lost today are lost to you forever. Fill today and worry about tomorrow later.
4. Do not look at your past formulas.
Never do this unless it’s Mrs Wilson who comes in for her 3 week 8/03 and 20 vol grey coverage. And you should have her memorized anyway. Stop looking at past formulas because they can immediately derail your creativity and vision.
5. Look at each client with a fresh perspective
No baggage or pre-conceived ideas of who you think they are. Things likely have changed in the 3 months since you last saw her. Tell them as you approach, that you saw they were coming in and have been thinking about what to do with their hair. If she looks amazing walking in, tell her. But even more important than you talking is that you are LISTENING. Your client loves that you are inspired by them and many will trust you to just create your vision, but many also have a clear vision as to what they want so make sure you understand what that is.
6. Tell her that what you are going to do is going to make her hair look amazing
Act excited, be a true professional, and be dialed in to her hair and her experience today. Step 6 will dictate the rest of the visit because you will now work harder to elevate your performance and her experience because you have committed to an amazing result. Just watch how every thing you do becomes better than normal.
7. Take a “Before” image.
If the work you are about to do is going to create change, taking the “before” sets you up for your best performance as an artist.
8. Tell her briefly about the products you are using in her hair as you are using them and why they work.
And you better be using the same line in your own hair. You must be passionate about the products and services your salon provides.
9. While you are performing each step of your service, plant the seed for her next visit.
As you apply her root colour, mention that it should last her 4 or 5 weeks. As you are cutting her bangs, tell her to come in in 2 weeks for a complimentary bang trim. As you are giving her that big haircut, tell her she should be able to last about 10 weeks.
10. Take an “After” image.
By forcing yourself to take a photo of your finished work, you will style better, not rush, and make sure you love what you have created. Not everything needs to go on your social media but by shooting your work, you will work harder and improve as a stylist. And if you aren’t using social media to promote yourself, you are crazy.
11. When you walk her to the desk…
Tell reception that she will need to book her next appointment for 5 weeks for a colour or whatever it is you discussed.
Bonus Step: Ask her to send in her friends.
In the 3 hour visit, she’s going to talk about people; family, co-workers, friends. Tell her you want to do all of their hair. Make it clear you want to take care of her entire circle. Say it whenever she talks about people and then remind her when you thank her and say goodbye.
But Michael! How does this give me a raise today? I promise you your client will be receptive to whatever service is needed to take her there. She will buy at least one of the products you used on her and will leave you a larger gratuity. Then she will go out feeling amazing and people who leave the salon after a great experience with a present, empathetic and inspired stylist rave to their friends about it and you. This gives you the raise into the future and will get that chair full.
Every day, every client. Perform at your highest level. Have fun, talk nonsense, but be an expert in your client’s hair. So your chair is already full and you are afraid to raise your prices. Read all of the above and do everything listed. And raise your prices, just a little. Maybe $5. You will see your performance become much better as you improve your level of service to exceed the price increase. I wholeheartedly believe in regular 6 month price increases if you are fully booked. If nobody can get in and you can’t do more hair in a day, a small increase every 6 months keeps you on your toes and consistently earning more money.
You don’t deserve to raise your prices until your chair is full. If not enough people see value in sitting with you at $40, they certainly won’t at $50. Elevate your performance and fill that chair with bodies that leave the salon feeling like you love working with them and you are inspired by them.
Right now, you are earning exactly what you deserve. Put your best hairdresser face on each day and put yourself in a position where you deserve to earn more.
Michael Levine is a salon owner and hairstylist in Vancouver. This article was originally published on his blog, My Life as a Hairstylist.