There are just four main ways renters can make more money. Here’s how they work:
Whether you are new to suite renting or have been doing it for years, financial success depends on your confidence, client connectedness and ability to solve problems. That’s true for employees, too, but renters have the upper hand.
Notes Gina Rivera, the founder of Phenix Salon Suites, who worked for 25-plus years behind a chair herself, “When salon professionals are in complete control of their business, the opportunity to make more money is endless.”
Many renters get lost in the marketing maze but there are really four primary ways to boost your income, and all can be measured.
1. Increase Frequency of Visits
The most cost-effective way to make more money is with current clients. How often do they visit your suite? According to one survey, every ninety days is the salon industry average but that’s just 4 times a year.
If you have 200 clients who see you every 13 weeks (4 times a year) and spend $50 every visit, that’s 800 client visits or $40,000 at that ticket average. But if your 200 clients come back every 8 weeks (6.4 times a year), that’s 1,280 client visits, which represent $64,000.
Pre-booking is the most obvious way to get clients to come back sooner but it’s not the only one.
“Clients are always struggling with something,” says Patricia Lynn Laas, whose Patricia Lynn Laas HairCo is within Salon Republic in Beverly Hills, CA. “With inconsistent blow-out bars on every corner, offer consistent high-quality blow-outs, and clients will come to you for the service. Suggest clients to come in for an Olaplex Stand Alone Treatment in-between color services. Another way to get clients to visit more often involves toning.”
Blondes in particular will return for toning in-between color retouches, says Laas, because hard water or certain products can make delicate blonde shift tones. Loyalty programs and text messages or push notifications are other ways to increase client turns.
2. Upsell More
Increasing your average ticket is another great way to work your current client base. Meet real needs, retail more, get creative with customized conditioning treatments and master higher-earning services, such as double-process blonding and hair extensions. Says Rivera, “You can also throw in a few highlights for someone who is not ready to make the commitment to all-over color. Or, offer an eyebrow wax along with an eyebrow tint. Packages can work well, too. Offer your client a one-time free bottle of conditioner with any chemical treatment. I found this to be great, especially given the fact that shampoo, conditioner and hairspray will become a residual income for you.
“Be forward thinking of their needs. Also, don’t assume that your client can’t afford a specific item or treatment. Ask questions and make suggestions.”
For non-hair pros, says Lash, nail art is a great add-on to a manicure. Estheticians can offer lash extensions or upsell customized facials with added specialty ingredients. Also, calculate your average total sales per week, per day and per client. Remember, what you are really selling is your time and expertise, and you’ll make more per hour with retail add-ons and service upselling.
3. Get More Clients
Downtime is an income killer but a mistake many new renters make is not being in the suite if there’s no pre-scheduled service.
“I learned very quickly that early in your career you can’t have set hours,” says Rivera. “Be prepared to make yourself available to your clients. Be flexible, on time and ready with a good attitude. I am not a fan of cancellation fees. To me this is a huge turnoff. Stay fresh with new techniques and services that you can offer.”
Rivera highly recommends getting on Yelp and asking clients for reviews. Referral-reward programs that immediately reward both the client and the person she referred are the most effective, so text your client about her reward the minute someone she referred books an appointment. And don’t forget to ask fellow suite renters who have different specialties for cross-referrals. Give one another a free service to see if you’re a good fit. If you still have openings, network everywhere you can.
By now you’ve noticed that the biggest income builders are inter-related: If you offer more specialty services (hair extensions, brow shaping ), you’ll attract more clients who will come back more often. Invest in education, says Lash, she spent 3 years researching smoothing treatments and now offers two versions that bring in $350, attract new clients and act as great upsells.
4. Increase Your Prices
The old salon standard for raising prices said that when your available hours are 80% booked and your request rate is 80%, you should raise prices by 10%. A loose rental translation would say that if your book is 80-90% full for 2 to 3 weeks in advance, it’s time to increase prices. But the rental reality is that a 10% increase is rare.
“I personally would not go over 3-to-4 percent,” says Rivera. “It’s much easier to keep a client that you already have than to try to find one who has to pay more.”
However, don’t let “one-in-the-hand thinking” make you afraid to raise prices. Your expenses increase yearly, so your prices should, too. Otherwise, you could end up making more money but less profit. One way to fix that is to keep more money in the first place. Cut fixed expenses and reduce waste. Measure your color, buy in bulk by going in with other renters and don’t pay for salon apps with high monthly fees.