How do some salons staff and schedule their services during the busy holiday season and into the slow January slump? We’ve got the pros and cons of each so you can make the right decision for your salon.
PRO: While most salons don’t often need to exercise their cancellation policies with regular and devout clients, they’re a necessary evil during peak times. As Timothy Kuo, co-owner of Salon Haze in Vancouver, explains, “The salon has a 48-hour cancellation policy for services that are two hours or more. We inform clients of this policy and take down their credit card information and if they cancel within that time or are a ‘no-show,’ we charge them $100.” Kuo adds that it helps “weed out clients who aren’t serious about their appointments.”
CON: While you hope you won’t have to use the cancellation policy, especially on your loyal clientele, it could have repercussions if you’re not willing to budge and deal with each client on a case-by-case basis. If a regular client has something come up but is willing to reschedule within the week, consider letting it slide instead of potentially driving away your steady business.
PRO: With an influx of clients coming in for colour touch-ups and pre-party hairstyles, having some wiggle room for walk-ins and potential new clients is always a good idea. Kuo says, “We will extend our hours during the holiday season and have a full staff on the schedule every day for the two weeks leading up to the Christmas break.”
CON: “We find some clients avoid getting their hair done during the holiday season and prefer to come after because it’s quieter in the salon,” says Kuo. This helps spread out the business more evenly into the slower January months. While adding extra hours during the busy season can be good for walk-in clients, sometimes it can amount to overstaffing. Instead of sending stylists home or changing the schedule around, Kuo will take this time (both in December and January) to take advantage of doing other things in the salon: “If there’s some downtime, there’s always something that can be done in the salon, such as organizing, cleaning or practising on mannequins to improve their skills.”
Closing Up Shop
PRO: Frédérick Russo, co-owner of Panache in Montreal, is one of the salons that closes for five to 10 days after the busy holiday season. While it’s not a conventional choice, it works for this space: “After the rush of [the holidays], this gives our stylists a break so they can spend more time relaxing with friends and family.” He also adds that this gives the salon an opportunity to take on other projects, explaining that “by closing just a few days in January, we can focus on small maintenance projects like flooring and painting, which would not be possible otherwise.”
CON: The downside to closing your salon for a few days is the toll not only on business but also on your stylists. As Russo explains, “We noticed that a hiatus that’s too long becomes an irritant for stylists who don’t want the time off,” mostly because they’d rather work and get their paycheques. He reiterates that this is usually only possible for smaller salons, but it also depends on how many clients you have coming through in the slower months.