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Lifestyles changed dramatically during lockdown and have still not returned to ‘normal’. Working from home has given many people far greater flexibility, including less time spent on commuting.

Is this a business opportunity for your salon? Should your hair or beauty business offer more or different opening hours to suit these new lifestyles? As ever, the answer isn’t always straightforward.

Think about it carefully before making any decisions about your salon opening hours. I’ll take you through some of the main things you’ll need to consider:

 

Professional Beauty magazine research in late 2021 found hybrid working patterns have altered the times clients are booking in for salon appointments.

Which times are being now booked most?

5pm–7pm 43%
9am–12pm 31%
1pm–4pm 23%
8pm–10pm 3%

 

#1. Do your market research on new opening hours

There’s no point in planning different salon opening hours if your team aren’t happy about it and your clients aren’t interested.

That’s why it’s vital to do your market research:

Ask salon clients which times appeal to them

Ask your clients if they would like, for example, early, late or Sunday appointments. You can do this informally and also run a client survey.

Even if you get a lukewarm response, it may still be worth experimenting with different hours as a way to attract new hair or beauty clients.

Get your team’s thoughts on different trading hours

Get feedback from your salon team. Find out if they are interested in working different hours and if they think it would work. They may have some interesting ideas to contribute and might welcome the opportunity to work more flexibly.

What hours are your local competitors open?

Find out what other hair and beauty businesses in the local area are doing. Do they offer different or longer salon opening hours? Does it seem to be working for them?

Check your salon software or appointment book

Have a look at your salon software data or your appointment book. Which are the most popular appointment times?

Clients who regularly choose the first or last appointments of the day might welcome earlier or later appointments. If your Saturday appointments are often fully booked out in advance, some Sunday appointments could prove popular.

Opening times across multi-site salons groups

If you run two or more salons, should your new opening hours be the same across all your sites, or will you need to tailor them to suit local demand?

 

#2. Pros & cons: changing your salon opening hours

You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of changing or extending your business opening hours.

Pro: Salon profitability

Your fixed costs stay the same whether or not you are open, so different or extended opening hours could be profitable if you can pull in enough salon clients.

Pro: Attract new clients

Offering new appointment times could help to attract new beauty or hair clients as well as keep existing ones who are finding it difficult to make your usual appointment slots.

Learn & Grow

This guide looks at eight ways to find new clients for your salon, spa or clinic.

Pro: Change your salon vibe

Opening at different times is an exciting business proposition with the opportunity to make positive changes in your whole approach, for example, by creating a different vibe at different times of the day.

Pro: Vary opening hours in busy periods

This is a flexible option, so you could choose to keep your usual opening hours most of the time but make a splash at certain times of the year with extended hours, for example, around Valentine’s, during December and on Mother’s Day and during the festive holiday season.

Pro: Small changes work

Even a small adjustment in your salon opening times could make a big difference. For example, opening late one day a week, or on a Sunday or Monday once a month.

However:

Cons: Higher salon overheads

You need to be careful. Your profits may go down if a client simply moves from an afternoon to an evening appointment but you can’t fill in your daytime gaps. Or a Saturday client opts for Sunday instead. Both of these outcomes would simply mean an increase in your operating costs and no additional income.

Cons: All work no play

Sunday opening may sound like a good idea in theory, but in practice, regular Sunday working may cut into valuable family and leisure time for you and your salon team, leaving little opportunity to recharge batteries after a busy working week.

Cons: Firm salon hours

Be firm with hair or beauty clients who think that because you are offering a wider range of appointment times you won’t mind ‘staying on an extra half hour’ or ‘coming in 20 minutes earlier’ to accommodate them. Decide on your new opening times and stick to them.

 

#3. Marketing your new salon opening hours

You’ll need to publicise and promote your new opening hours to ensure both new and existing clients know about them and make the most of your different appointment times from day one.

Here’s how:

Salon social media

Make the most of your social media channels to promote your new appointment times including regular reminders.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GLOW Beauty (@glow_beauty_)

Why not pin your announcement on Facebook or create an Instagram Highlight for a Story on your new trading hours.

Learn & Grow

Want to give your salon social a marketing makeover? Start by creating a social media marketing plan for your hair, beauty or aesthetic business – this blog walks you through the seven steps.

Promote on your salon website

Make a big splash on your website about your new opening hours. Remember to update your chatbot if you have one.

In-salon

Create some eye-catching notices for use in your salon and window displays.

And remind team members to talk to their clients about your new hours.

Email marketing

Talk about your new appointment times in your e-news to spread the word.

Appointment reminders

Add information about your new salon opening hours to your text and email appointment reminders.

Include details about your longer hours in your voicemail or ‘on hold’ messages.

Market on Google My Business

Make sure you update your Google My Business and other business listing sites.

Learn & Grow

Not sure how to update your opening hours on Google My Business? It’s easy. Head to this blog where I walk you through it.

Remember: as well as announcing the launch of your new opening hours you’ll need to regularly post reminders across all your marketing channels.

 

#4. Ensuring lone salon workers are safe

Opening for different or longer hours may mean that members of your team could end up working alone in your beauty or hair salon.

Remember: you are responsible for making sure your lone workers are safe and well. The UK law says you must think about all the possible health and safety risks of working alone and deal with them before you allow any team member to be on their own in your salon.

Just as a starting point, any lone therapist/stylist should not be put at more risk than other employees.

So what must you consider?

Offer training sessions

Cover, for example, what should they do if they become ill when alone, or face physical or verbal abuse or sexual harassment from clients (or even someone who just walks into the salon while they are working). This is particularly important for female and younger, less experienced team members.

Check everyone’s suitability for lone working

Make sure none of your team members have a medical condition or other vulnerability which means they should not be working alone.

Check your salon insurance (important)

Give your insurer a quick call to make sure your policy covers lone working. Some policies impose strict requirements for lone working or don’t offer cover at all.

Which clients your lone stylist or therapists is seeing?

If your team member is seeing someone new or a client you’re unfamiliar with, it’s best to arrange for a second staff member to be there.

Provide emergency numbers

Make sure your lone stylist/therapist knows who to call if there is a problem, for example, if they or their client need medical care, or if they are being threatened or harassed.

Provide clear written instructions with telephone numbers, your postcode and other details in case an ambulance has to be called (don’t forget, a client may also need this information if their stylist/therapist falls ill).

Arrange regular contact during a lone worker’s shift

For example, an hourly phone call or text message. If they’re working a late shift, ask them to call or text when they have arrived home, especially if they use public transport.

The bottom line? In my view, try to avoid situations where team members are working alone in your salon, especially after dark. Safety in numbers is always a good rule of thumb.

Find more information from the Health and Safety Executive about how to protect lone workers.

 

#5. Tailor your client’s salon experience

Are you thinking of offering early morning, late evening or weekend appointments? If so, think about how you can tailor the client experience to keep them coming back for more.

For example:

Your salon playlist

Choose music that’s suitable for different times of the day. Clients who have a day of homeworking ahead probably won’t want to listen to a playlist of chilled late-night music.

Salon lighting

Think about changing your mood lighting depending on what time of day it is – softer for the evening and brighter for the daytime.

Switch up your drinks and refreshments

Offer appropriate refreshments depending on appointment times. Fresh coffee and croissants for morning clients and fizz and mocktails during the evening.

Don’t forget – in the UK if you serve alcohol, even if you don’t charge for it, you will need to be licensed. Ask your local council for advice.

Offer express hair and beauty appointments over lunch

Consider offering lunchtime appointments for express services that last no longer than 45 minutes – great for those working from home who can now pop out to a local salon during the day. But make sure you stay on schedule!

 

#6. Wrap up

Extending your salon or clinic’s opening hours may be a shrewd business move with hybrid working becoming mainstream. Before you rush to do so take time to:

  1. Do your market research.
  2. Weigh up the pros and cons.
  3. Decide how to market and promote your new appointments.
  4. Ensure that any stylist or therapist working alone is safe
  5. Tailor your client experience.

 

Disclaimer

This blog post is not a substitute for legal advice and you should not rely on the information it contains or take any action based on it. Always get professional legal advice if you are unsure about the law in relation to your business.

Lockhart Meyer Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the contents of this guide.

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