11 Biggest Mistakes Salon Owners Make & How to Avoid Them

Find out what the 10 most common mistakes of hair salon owners are and learn how to avoid them with the help of this comprehensive guide!

In the hair salon business, there are always plenty of chances to slip up and make a mistake for both novice and experienced entrepreneurs. Errors can result in revenue loss, bad client reviews, and a ruined reputation. Besides, recovering from such instances can be difficult and, sometimes, even impossible due to budget limitations, loss of consumer trust, and multiple other factors.

It is always easier to prevent mistakes from occurring rather than dealing with their consequences. That’s why we collected critical errors modern salon owners tend to make and listed practical tips on how to avoid them. Read ahead for valuable business insights!

Common Mistakes Every Salon Business Owner Should Avoid

Running a hair salon isn’t easy - after all, you have to keep so many things under control! The list below will help you in this endeavor by pointing out the key oversights to avoid in your business operations.

  1. Failing to Strike a Balance When It Comes to Design

The days when one could find a commercial space in a high-traffic location, hang a sign on the door,  and wait for the clients to roll in are long gone. Today, in the highly competitive salon environment, it takes a lot more to achieve long-term success and stand out from the rest of the hair studios.

This applies to every aspect of your salon, including:

  • Interior design

  • Outdoor sign

  • Window display

  • Service list

  • Promotions

When it comes to design and decor, picking a theme and implementing it in a creative way is a great solution. Think about it: even if there are two hair studios on the same street, the one with an unusual design is going to attract way more attention. 

However, the striving to stand out from the competition often results in over-the-top salon interior design that lacks functionality.

To avoid this mistake, ask yourself the following questions before picking a design piece:

  1. Does it match my budget?

  2. Can it be used for multiple purposes?

  3. Is it comfortable? (for furniture)

  4. Does it fit the interior?

  5. Will its dimensions work for my salon?

  6. What are the downsides to it?

If the item checks every box and its cons don’t outweigh the pros, you can rest assured that you’re making the right choice.

  1. Poor Marketing Strategy or Lack Thereof

A lot of salon owners keep making the same mistake - they try to grow their business intuitively, having to go through lots of trials and errors before they find what works. While this approach might get you somewhere, it is highly likely to be very time-consuming and expensive.

A carefully thought-out marketing strategy is the solution to such uncertainty. It is a long-term plan that makes a salon business more resilient to difficult periods and helps it make the most out of the successful ones.

Here is what the process of creating a marketing strategy for a hair salon looks like in a nutshell:

  1. Understand what your target audience is and reflect on what its needs are.

  2. If your salon has a history of operation, assess its performance over the past months.

  3. Using the insights gained during the previous steps, set realistic short-term and long-term goals for aspects such as salon revenue, the number of new clients, retention figures, social media followers, and so on.

  4. Set the budget you are willing to invest in achieving those goals.

  5. Fill up all your marketing channels with consistent and up-to-date information.

  6. Build an advertising plan for the upcoming year, focusing on the channels used by your target audience.

  7. Think through the ways of generating revenue even in extreme circumstances (one example is the COVID-19 pandemic).

After going through these steps, you will have a clear direction for your marketing efforts and stay on track even when things don’t go as planned.

  1. Not Taking Community Building Seriously

Even if your hair studio and the services it offers are great, you might not be getting a lot of returns if community building isn’t on your list of priorities. After all, the most successful hair salons are those that have earned a good reputation among their local audiences.

Here are some things you can do for your salon to gain prominence on the local scene:

  • Attend community events and talk about your salon

  • Support high school or community college plays by creating hairstyles for the actors

  • Advertise in local media, such as newspapers and magazines

  • Organize master classes

By participating in such activities, you will ensure that your salon will be the first place to come to mind when a member of the local community needs a haircut.

  1. Underestimating the Importance of Client Reviews

If your salon has few or no client reviews or if the comments are very sporadic, it certainly has to change. Customer feedback is one of the most effective marketing tools, as potential clients often check it when picking a salon. 

It is usually helpful to encourage your staff members to remind clients to leave feedback. You can also reward first-time clients who leave reviews with bonus treatments or discounts.

  1. Failing to Keep Up With Appointments 

Another mistake that is way too common among salon owners is not being able to keep up with the appointments, which often leaves the customers disappointed. Additionally, how you handle having to move or cancel appointments is critical. It’s normal that things come up but if this isn’t communicated well, it might drive away some clients. 

Software is a large part of a hair studio’s operations, responsible for such aspects as:

  • Bookings

  • Appointment reminders

  • Client history

  • Announcements 

  • Data security and insights

  • Cash flow management

As you can see, a salon requires more than just a database, but rather a set of tools that support the business in a variety of ways. However, going for multiple programs to match these needs can be costly and result in confusion when switching between them.

Noona can help you address this issue. It is a free appointment scheduling app that enables you to optimize your business processes, from making bookings to performing back office tasks, from a single dashboard. Click here to get started!

  1. Being a “Star” of Your Own Salon

Many salon business owners started off as hairstylists, which explains why it is so tempting for them to build up a reputation as the “star” of the salon so that the customers would feel privileged to have an appointment booked with them. However, this approach often leads to the salon not being able to run smoothly when the star of the show is not around.

Thus, instead of trying to build up your image as an irreplaceable element of your hair studio, it’s best to focus on ensuring your staff members know how to work as a team, as it is one of the main pillars of a salon’s success. 

It is highly advisable not to skimp on team-building activities and encourage a friendly working environment for everyone to feel motivated and comfortable. Besides, conducting technique master classes for hair stylists and business operations training for customer service personnel will ensure an efficient work process and yield higher income for you in the long run.

  1. Not Using Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities Right

Upselling is the act of convincing a customer to get a more expensive version of a product or service, while cross-selling encourages them to add related items to their purchase.

These techniques are used in a variety of spheres, yet many salon owners neglect this opportunity or, on the other hand, push it too aggressively. This error often leads to appointments during which the visitors don’t feel like they are getting a personalized treatment, as well as to missed revenues.

Thus, it’s important not to forget to offer extra services to a client. Yet, the employee should also be sure that the customer would benefit from these add-ons and be able to explain why they are suggesting them.

You can also list treatment combo packages directly on your price list. You can learn more about this technique from this guide!

  1. Offering the Wrong Products

Many salon owners think that using big hair product brands in their operations is best. However, here’s the truth: when clients see the same brand names as are sold in stores on your retail shelf at a higher price, you lose credibility. The same applies to the supplies you use for the services and treatments your hair studio offers.

To avoid this issue, try to find a brand that caters strictly to professionals and is unique to your salon in the area where you operate. Besides, it’s crucial that the products you use and sell match your salon’s philosophy. So, if you claim to be an eco-friendly business, it only makes sense to opt for products that are vegan, Fairtrade-certified, and come in recyclable packaging.

  1. Not Focusing on Customer Retention

Many business owners mistakenly assume that a high level of service is enough to win the clients’ loyalty. While great hair stylists and outstanding customer service are fundamental to a salon’s success, it’s essential to remember that modern consumers have plenty of top-notch salon options to choose from.

One simple way to boost customer loyalty is to offer booking subsequent appointments to clients before they leave your salon. Another effective solution is to offer loyalty programs. However, don’t forget that such bonuses should be available only to select returning customers for you to avoid earning a reputation as an “offers” salon.

  1. Forgetting to Keep Up With the Trends

Even if you have a very successful hair salon that is being effectively promoted through word-of-mouth, it is still important to keep up with the latest trends. Neglecting them could leave you behind the competitors in a blink of an eye.

One such trend is the use of social media. A hair studio with a prominent online presence is sure to attract a lot more potential customers than one that is only relying on its website and existing customer base.

  1. Missing the Deeper Meaning of the Hair Salon Business

The busy routine of a hair studio owner makes it easy to forget what the salon business is really about. While transforming the clients’ style and making their hair look better is what is seen on the surface, the deeper goal of a hair salon is to make its visitors feel amazing about themselves.

So, when focusing on the skills of the staff members you hire and the quality of products you stock up on, remember that creating an inviting atmosphere and ensuring outstanding customer service is equally as important.

Implement an individual approach to every person and keep in mind that even the small details matter and can make a huge difference in your visitors’ hair salon experience and satisfaction levels!

Can Salon Business Mistakes Be Avoided Completely?

All in all, it’s important to keep in mind that no one is 100% safe from making mistakes in the salon business. Remember that learning from your errors, putting your best effort to avoid repeating them, and improving business resilience are the key factors to ensure your hair salon’s long-term success.

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  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards

Talk to a human

See Noona HQ for yourself through a guided tour

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 15 mins

Get more bookings with less scheduling

  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards

Talk to a human

See Noona HQ for yourself through a guided tour

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 15 mins

Get more bookings with less scheduling

  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards