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The 7 pillars of beauty salon management

Salon management is challenging, but strengthening these foundational pillars can help streamline tasks and avoid burnout.

The 7 pillars of beauty salon management

Whether you are a seasoned salon manager or just getting started, it is helpful to return to the foundational pillars of salon management. Proactive considerations can help you avoid burnout and keep your salon running at its best.

Let’s explore more about salon management and how you can avoid burning out while doing it all as a salon manager.

What is salon management?

Salon management is the process of managing the administrative work of a salon’s operations. The salon manager may be the salon owner, a dedicated management professional, or a stylist in charge of management tasks. Salon management processes are found in hair salons, beauty salons, and nail salons. However, their principles, tools, and best practices also apply to other health and beauty businesses — like spas, dog groomers, medical spas, barbershops, and tattoo studios.

7 pillars of salon management

Pillar 1: Staff — finding and supporting the perfect salon team

Your team can make or break your salon — determining the quality of service, customer experience, and the overall vibe of your salon. So, how do you find the right stylists for a beauty salon? Ensure you trust new staff members to maintain your brand indentity, deliver high-quality work, and create the customer experience of your standards.

  • Finding staff members: You can find new talent on LinkedIn, Indeed, or by reaching out on your social channels.

  • Ensuring they’re a fit: Speak with new staff members during the interview process to gauge how well they will mesh with your team. Additionally, consider trialing potential staff members. After an initial interview, observe them during appointments to see how they interact with clients and complete services.

  • Training, training, training: Chances are slim that even an experienced new hire will walk through the door knowing everything about your salon’s requirements. Proper training materials and processes can ensure their success and the ongoing success of your salon.

  • Keeping staff engaged: For your salon to grow and thrive, your staff will need to do the same. How do you motivate and excite your staff? Can you encourage them to learn new skills or grow within their salon areas of interest?

Once you get high-quality staff members through the door, it is essential to keep them around. Stay attuned to competitor rates as well as the individual needs of your staff members. To keep them fully booked, staff management features will let you create individual accounts for every staff member to view and control their own schedules. In addition to financial compensation, you may consider checking in on staff members’ personal and professional goals to understand how your salon can support their long-term vision.

Pillar 2: Finances and budgeting — making your money work for you

Beauty salon budgeting

Careful budgeting can help your salon make the most of each dollar. You will want to keep track of your business’s expenses, including:

  • Rent or mortgage: The monthly cost of your space.

  • Bills and other expenses: Water, energy, Wi-Fi, insurance, software, and other monthly fees.

  • Payroll: How much you pay out to employees.

Once all of the expenses are added up against your profits, you might consider checking in on your finances. Are you happy and comfortable with the financial state of your business? If not, it may be time to raise your service prices. Click here for our guide to raising salon service prices.

Accepting beauty salon payments

When it comes to accepting client payments, there are a few considerations for salon managers.

Do you accept the most preferred payment options? The payment industry seems to change daily, continuously introducing new offerings — with the most recent including mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. According to research from PayPal, 46% of digital wallet users will likely drop during online scheduling if the checkout screen does not include their preferred payment method. While it might feel impossible to keep up with ever-evolving payment options, an integrated salon POS should help you stay up-to-date.

Should you offer cash discounting? As credit card transaction fees rise, it can take its toll on small businesses. Salons may be tempted to implement a cash discounting process. While you know what is best for your business, we have found that cash discounting rarely works for salons. Instead, we recommend raising your service prices to reflect your quality of service and your expenses — including transaction fees.

Payroll and tax management

Paying your employees should be a top priority for your business. So, how do you track how much your employees should make and distribute payroll? Unlike other expenses — which offer fixed pricing and auto-draft payments — payroll can require some heavy lifting on your end. It is helpful to find an intelligent salon software with payroll to handle the calculations, staff payments, and filings for you.

Payroll is also one of your most significant tax expenses to report. Keeping track of this data can help you at the end of the year. You can unlock a seamless experience using a report from your salon management system.

Pillar 3: Mindset — thinking like a leader

Beauty salon management involves using your creative thinking to solve problems and promote growth within the salon. These high-level tasks can be challenging when a doubting mindset holds you back.

Beauty salon professionals must embrace their strengths and confidence to thrive in management roles. It is helpful to check in with your mental health and the stress you are carrying. Which biases, negative thoughts, or bad habits can you work to let go of? Instead, embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from mistakes to achieve your ideal leadership mindset.

Pillar 4: Systems — keeping the right salon management tools on your side

How do beauty salon managers do it all? Many of them have salon management software helping them along the way. Some streamlined processes and automation features can help ease your overhead load, including:

  • Online booking and scheduling: Online booking lets clients do the work of getting appointments secured. This system should be customizable to your business, services, and resources. Your salon scheduling software should also support your policies, like deposit requirements, cancellation fees, and more.

  • Self-checkout: You can save money on front desk support with the client self-checkout feature, which lets customers pay directly from their mobile devices at the end of their appointment.

  • Express Booking™: Salon managers often do their work behind the front desk — leaving you to answer calls and book appointments. The Express Booking™ feature makes it easier than ever by texting clients a link to enter their necessary information independently.

  • Virtual Waiting Room: The Virtual Waiting Room lets clients check themselves in upon arrival and sends a notice to your staff that the client is ready.

  • Inventory management: It is vital to keep your beauty salon stocked with everything it needs to thrive — including backbar products and sales inventory. A salon inventory management system can help you keep track of this information.

  • Intelligent Waitlist: The Intelligent Waitlist can help you seamlessly match appointment openings with clients who are waiting for an appointment.

Pillar 5: Services — keeping clients coming back for more

Is your salon offering the latest service trends? Are there any gaps in your service offerings?

It is essential you maintain a service menu — online and in-store. You should update your service menu continuously to match the latest trends, new stylist certifications, and your latest prices.

  • Online salon service menu: Keep your menu up-to-date on your website and within your booking system. Ensure you make every possible add-on and upgrade readily available to seamlessly increase your average ticket price.

  • In-store service menu: Keep an attractive and detailed service menu in your studio. Remember, your services are likely to change over time. You want a flexible format to adapt and grow with your business.

When you notice any popular services missing from your menu, prioritize training and certification for your team. This process makes it easier to avoid falling behind the local competition.

Pillar 6: Operations and processes — running a well-oiled machine

From inventory restocking to sanitation and opening/closing, there are a variety of processes a salon manager may oversee on a given day. The efficiency and efficacy of your processes can directly impact your daily success as a salon manager. However, it is easy to “set and forget” these routines — which potentially misses opportunities for valuable streamlining and improvement. Consider asking yourself a few operational questions, including:

  • Which processes are most important to your business? Are they prioritized accordingly within your salon’s routine?

  • Do staff members know, with certainty, which of these tasks or routines they are responsible for?

  • Are there any tasks that can be automated or improved to save you time?

  • How are you ensuring nothing slips through the cracks?

  • Are your processes, like sanitation and booking requirements, clearly communicated to staff members?

Pillar 7: Marketing — helping your business grow

Promotions and marketing efforts can help your business grow. You can find marketing approaches and outlets that fit your business’s preferences. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Referral programs: Word-of-mouth marketing through salon referral programs can help get new clients through your doors while rewarding existing clients.

  • Email marketing campaigns: You can run email campaigns and promotions to encourage existing and previous clients to book with your business. You can find creative marketing ideas for spas and salons to help you along the way.

  • Community events and opportunities: Whether you are sponsoring a local sports team or attending community events, these programs are an easy way to connect with potential clients in your area on a deeper level.

  • Google My Business (GMB): Posting and updating your GMB profile can help you reach local clients searching for your services.

  • Social media: Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook can be easy ways to connect with customers.

  • Promotions: Service bundles, gift card discounts, and other promotions can move sales along when business is slow going.

  • Memberships and packages: You can keep clients coming back with memberships and packages that reward loyalty and earn more for your business.

5 Tips for mastering salon management without burnout

Checking in on each of these pillars routinely (whether it be monthly or quarterly) can help you keep your business running smoothly. However, it is clear why so many salon managers are burned out. Here are some tips to help you thrive within your role without burning out.

Tip 1: Work on the business, not just in the business

If you are still working behind the chair on top of managing your salon, it can be easy to quickly burn out. Prioritize your tasks to ensure you are working only on the projects most deserving of your time.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to delegate

Delegating can be a challenge for salon managers — as you have mastered the most efficient and effective ways to get everything done. It can be painful to watch salon staff taking a slower approach. However, this mindset will likely put you in the position to do more than is achievable. It is vital to delegate when possible. Start with the smallest tasks and work your way up. As you train staff members in these processes, you might find your next salon leadership member.

Tip 3: Vocalize your concerns

If you are a salon manager who is not also the owner, you will need to be vocal when the workload is growing beyond your capacity. The sooner you address these concerns, the more time your salon owner will have to enact a solution.

Tip 4: Make the most of your tools

Salon software systems are constantly releasing new features for you to take advantage of. Ask your customer support specialist to see if there is a more efficient way you could solve a problem. If your salon management software system is not constantly improving, consider switching to a new platform.

Tip 5: Stay connected in your community

It is vital to maintain a robust support system in your life. Lean on your friends and family, when possible, for help along the way. You can also continue to grow your support system through online groups (such as those on Facebook and Reddit) and events for salon owners.

How Mangomint supports salon owners and managers

Mangomint has the tools salon owners and managers need to support their small businesses. If you are thinking about switching to Mangomint, we encourage you to launch a free trial or schedule a demo to get started today!

Emily Holzer
Emily Holzer is a Content Marketing Manager at Mangomint. She has a master’s degree in English and a passion for helping salons, spas, and other local beauty businesses thrive. When she is not writing, you can find her playing chess or tending to her houseplants. Fun fact: Emily has donated 8 ponytails (so far) across 5 hair loss charities in the U.S.

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