Before beginning to manage a hair salon you need to understand how they work and function. Depending on the hair salon and the services offered, you could have several different services or events going on at once. This is why it’s important to do your research and understand the type of hair salon you are running.
Think of your salon as a sports team. You are the coach per se, running the show, making schedules, and figuring out how everything functions and works daily. While your employees are your offensive and defensive players. Meaning that you will need to figure out their strengths, weaknesses, who is reliable, where to place each person, and more. This will allow the salon to be functional and sustainable for everyone involved and allow the owner to be happy.
The best tips for managing a hair salon include team building activities to build a strong team, hire quality employees, don’t rush through the process, communication is essential to a functioning team, cleanliness is important for a hair salon, and last, take input and stay up-to-date on new salon topics.
If any of these tips sound familiar to you, that’s because they probably are. These tips are the basis of managing any successful business because they apply to any industry. So, keep reading to learn about how to manage a business.
1. Team Building Is Key
No salon can be successful if the employees do not get along while they are working. This means that the employees should be familiar with one another, issues should be addressed when they are noticed, and favoritism should not be tolerated.
As a manager, it is your job to ensure that you are addressing any issues that are noted between employees during business hours. Whether that be people gossiping about one another, comments being made, or behaviors becoming an issue. There is no need to bring personal issues into the workplace and when employees are in the salon, they should be professional and cordial to one another.
One of the most used exercises is team building activities. Whether this is a yearly activity that everyone in the salon is invited to participate in or is made mandatory for them to attend, such as a picnic or an overnight retreat. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it should allow everyone to work together over a common goal and become familiar with one another. It will also allow you to see how employees perform in different situations and access them.
This means that there will be no awkward interactions between employees if someone needs to fill in during a different shift. Another useful idea is monthly or bimonthly meetings with everyone. This would allow everyone to catch up, meet any new employees, and just know who they are working with. Between different days and shifts, some people never know half of their coworkers which is crazy to think about.
2. Quality Employees Are Worth The Wait
Another major consideration that every manager has to keep in mind, is what type of employees they are looking for. Most of the time, quality employees will take longer to find but they tend to provide better results and stay with the business longer than subpar employees would.
Especially when running a hair salon, good employees are a must. Haircuts are one of the most unforgiving services offered so there is little to no room for error. This means that your hairstylists have to know what they are doing, they have to listen to the client and understand what’s going on.
Otherwise, you can lose a customer for good, not to mention the customers friends and family when they tell others about the poor service they received. This means that spending an extra week or two interviewing and observing hairstylists is worth the extra time when it comes to managing a hair salon.
Check out these important qualities you should look for in a hairdresser!
3. Communication Is A Must
A manager has to have good communication skills and be able to communicate effectively with others. This means maintaining the balance of being a boss but also being a coworker at the same time. If you appear superior and don’t act like a member of the team daily no employees will come to you with issues or let you know about improvements needed.
Whereas a reliable boss, can joke around with their employees, and is seen as a member of the team is seen as being more approachable. This means that people will come to you early on if there are scheduling issues, an emergency arises, or there are improvements needed. Having an open line of communication with employees can only help to make the workplace a better environment for everyone.
Monthly meetings could also be a good time to discuss any suggestions that employees have for the salon, issues that have arisen that were not time-sensitive or answer any questions. This allows everyone to be on the same page and be given the same information at once. That also ensures that nothing can get misconstrued as it travels from person to person.
4. Cleaning Must Be Done
While it may not be an enjoyable task for most, cleaning is essential for any hair salon. Between haircuts, foils from dyeing hair, and water from giving shampoos a hair salon can get dirty and dangerous quickly. This means that sweeping in-between haircuts, ensuring that the floor is fully dried after hair washes, and materials are thrown away after use is a must.
No one will trust a salon that leaves used foils around, especially since they typically have bleach and chemicals on them from lifting color out of hair. Or if there are hairs all over the floor when you go to sit down in the chair. Leaving a water mess could result in someone having an accident which can harm them and result in action being taken against the salon.
This means that clarifying the importance of cleaning and ensuring that your employees know what to do daily, or even after each haircut or wash is essential to avoid issues.
5. Take Suggestions
A good manager shows up and is an active team member, a great manager does both but also listens to their employees. This is when communication comes up again, when people feel comfortable around you, they will offer suggestions and new ideas for the salon. Ensure that you validate each one and genuinely consider them before giving a response.
This means listening to the employee’s full suggestion, researching it, seeing how it could be effective or profitable, and what could come from it. An example would be that the salon has become quite popular on Fridays, and they feel as though a third worker is needed to answer phones, help with hair washes, and clean up in between clients.
You could observe a Friday shift at the time mentioned and see if the tasks do require another person, whether they are scheduled or on call. This will allow them to feel heard and recognized when voicing concerns and offering ideas. You never want to shut down someone before hearing them out or fully considering their suggestion.
These are our top five tips for anyone hoping to manage a hair salon or someone in a general management position. Keeping an open line of communication, taking suggestions, building a quality team, ensuring that cleaning protocols are in place and known, and hosting team-building exercises can help any manager to be successful at their role.
1. How do I know if an applicant will be a quality employee or not?
The majority of the time you can get a decent read on someone during the interview process. You can ask them situational questions surrounding the job to gauge their answers and how they would handle different situations. Such as, what they would do if a scheduling conflict arose or how they would handle clients being double booked. Their answers should reveal their work ethic and how they perform under pressure. You can also test their knowledge on haircuts, coloring, and more to see what they know.
2. What general skills would a hair salon manager need to have?
A salon manager is expected to have excellent people skills since it is a service-based position. They should be punctual, good at communicating, meticulous with scheduling, organized as they will deal with inventory and people scheduling off, and flexible if people call off to name a few different skills.
3. What is typically required of a hair salon manager on a day-to-day basis?
This answer can vary depending upon the salon but there is a general list of duties that managers will typically be responsible for. This includes scheduling, training, hiring and firing employees, opening and/or closing the salon depending upon who’s working each shift, and handling customer complaints. The list could be more or less depending upon the salon though and how involved the owner is.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Shawn Chun is an entrepreneur who has owned several types of businesses from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now creates online resources for those interested in starting a salon business. It is demanding work he loves to do it. Shawn says “I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive.”
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