How to Run a Successful Hair Salon

There are many factors involved in running a successful hair salon. Learn how to juggle these responsibilities effectively with the help of this detailed guide!

Running a successful hair salon is a demanding task that requires the management to be organized, agile, and creative. After all, to be truly excelling, a salon has to stand out from the harsh competition in the beauty services industry, keep up with the changing customer preferences, and effectively grow its brand.

With that many important aspects to keep in mind, it is easy to overlook some details that could have a critical influence on the hair studio’s future development. This guide was created to help you avoid such unwanted consequences. Read ahead to find out the key focal points every salon owner and manager should concentrate on when running the business to ensure its five-star performance.

11 Key Focal Points for Running an Excellent Hair Salon

Below you’ll find the best practices in the salon industry that will help you ensure your hair studio’s success both in the short and long term.

  1. Select a Niche

It is common knowledge that the more services you offer, the wider the audience to which your salon can cater. However, there are many hair studios nowadays that offer the full spectrum of cuts, colorings, and treatments, making the competition in some areas close to extreme. So how to make your hair salon stand out from the rest?

While there are many strategies to address it, one of the most effective methods is selecting a specific service niche, such as:

  • Hairstyles for events

  • African hair braiding

  • Curly hair services

  • Hair coloring

Note that choosing a niche doesn’t mean that you can’t provide multiple services! Your salon menu can have as many options as you like, yet it’s important to focus on promoting your specialty in the first place.

In the beginning, the salon’s visitors you’ll be receiving could be limited to those interested in the niche service. Not to worry! These customers will form a loyal client base, adding up to your reputation in the beauty services industry. With time, as your salon gains recognition, the audience is sure to expand. See more information on creating more regulars for your salon!

Also, it’s crucial to remember that you don’t necessarily have to opt for the niche market no one is working with in your area. What’s important is that there is demand for such services and that your salon can provide them better than the rest.

  1. Develop Your Brand

It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of a salon’s branding. You can think of it as your hair studio’s personality that should be recognizable and unforgettable for every visitor.

What happens if your salon business doesn’t have a strong brand?

  • It’s not competitive, as it blends in with the rest of the salon businesses without standing out

  • There is no clarity in marketing, as there is no defined tone of voice, design guidelines, and target audience.

  • The potential customers are confused or even deterred due to inconsistent styling and communications.

As you can see, putting effort into branding your salon is absolutely essential. Here’s an effective formula for it:

Strong Hair Salon Brand = Perfect Client Profile + Salon Personality 

Here are a few tips to help you ensure the process of building a brand goes smoothly:

  • Know your target audience. You must understand who your customers are, what they expect when coming to a salon, what their income level is, and which attitudes and beliefs they have. In short, you should think through the customer personas in as much detail as possible.

  • Make your salon stand out visually. This entails choosing the brand colors, creating the salon’s logo, and deciding on its overall style. One way to make your salon’s looks stand out is to pick a theme for your hair salon and stick to it. You can check out our extensive interior design guide for inspiration!

  • Define your unique selling points. Your salon’s USPs play a massive part in brand recognition. Think about what sets you aside from other hair studios. It could be a unique loyalty program, a rare product line, or an extra convenient booking process

  • Find your brand voice. Developing a tone of voice that is unique to your brand’s marketing communications is equally as important. Make sure your salon’s brand voice is in sync with the points mentioned previously.

Once the hard work of developing your brand image is done, remember to keep it consistent in every aspect of your salon.

  1. Be Clear About Your Mission and Values

There is a big trend for conscious consumption, especially among younger audiences nowadays. But what does it mean for your salon business? In short, it signifies that simply providing hair services is most likely not enough to win clients - there must be something behind your brand.

Thus, it’s important to have a clear idea of what your business’s mission and values are and reflect them in everything you do. For instance, you could be running an eco-friendly hair studio with the goal of causing as little harmful impact to the planet as possible. In this case, opt for a natural interior design and introduce sustainable salon practices.

Or, perhaps, you want to provide affordable hair services to all? In this case, make sure your salon participates in community initiatives and charity events. 

If you want to know how to earn more from your salon by changing the world, make sure you don’t miss out on all the valuable insights listed in the linked blog post.

  1. Invest In Marketing

Marketing should have a dedicated part of your salon’s budget from day one. After all, how would potential customers find out about your salon if you don’t promote it?

If you have followed the previous points closely and have an idea of what your perfect customer personas are, it will be easy to identify which marketing channels will be the most effective in reaching out to your target audience.

For instance, younger generations spend more time on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, while older people typically prefer Facebook.

Apart from SMM, you can promote your business through such channels as:

  • Google and Bing ads

  • Local newspapers

  • Radio stations

  • Billboards

Besides, you can also have free promotion by giving clients bonuses for referrals and encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations. You can also organize big discount programs for local businesses.

  1. Keep Things Organized

All the prominent salon mentors would agree that chaos in a hair studio is unacceptable, as it negatively affects the workflow and, in turn, decreases customer satisfaction. It’s extremely important to stay organized in every sphere, from ensuring your inventory and supplies are stocked properly to being able to keep up with the appointments without haste.

A smart layout and a beautiful yet functional hair salon interior design are extremely helpful in keeping the space organized. Check out our guide for some design inspiration and ideas!

You should also have a clear plan of action to run your salon effectively. The AOR framework is an excellent way to list the activities, objectives, and results for your hair studio in an organized way.

  1. Opt for the Right Software

There are plenty of salon software variations to choose from nowadays, from free apps to the ones with recurring monthly payments. Considering the number of options, trying to find a program that matches your business needs the best can get confusing.

Below is a list of features you should look for to ensure you’re making the right software choice:

  • Straightforward schedule management

  • Automated appointment reminders

  • Trackable client history

  • Salon performance insights

  • Simplified repeat bookings

  • Responsive technical support

  • Advanced data protection

Noona is the ultimate salon management and appointment booking tool used by hundreds of businesses. Our software combines all the characteristics listed above, which makes it convenient for your clients as well as for the employees.

Sign up for free or get access to advanced functionalities with one of our affordable subscription plans!

  1. Focus on Customer Retention

Ensuring continuous revenues is a goal of every salon. One of the best ways to achieve it is to create a base of loyal customers that will keep returning to your salon.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Provide outstanding customer service

  • Have an individual approach to every customer

  • Create a loyalty program for returning clients

  • Offer your customers to book the next appointment before they leave

Aside from this, it’s also important not to forget about the basics. Keep the salon space neat and clean at all times, use and sell only high-quality products, ensure that all the equipment functions properly, and keep the appointment booking process fast and simple.

  1. Take Care of Your Employees’ Wellbeing at Work

The professionals employed at your salon are equally as important for its profit as customers are, so it’s critical to ensure they are content with their work conditions. You can encourage employee retention by the following means:

  • Efficient communication - It’s essential to formulate your expectations and wishes as an employer as clearly as possible to ensure mutual understanding between you and the staff.

  • Team-building activities - Having team-building events outside of work is a great way to praise your employees for their good work and boost team spirit.

  • Employee training - An excellent hairstylist knows that there’s always something they can learn to upgrade their skills. Organizing master classes will help you promote professional growth and boost your employees’ motivation.

  • Feedback sessions - Checking in with your employees one-one every once in a while is an excellent practice. Promote a friendly atmosphere where the staff feels safe to share honest feedback about their work with you and vice-versa.

  • Attentiveness to staff needs - When purchasing a new piece of furniture or equipment, it’s useful to consult with your employees and hear their opinion on the matter. For instance, a salon chair that seems best for you can be not as great from the hair stylist’s point of view. Asking your personnel for input will demonstrate that their expertise is valued and ensure their work needs are met.

Remember that your business is only as strong as its weakest team member, so continuous improvement is a must. For more inspiration on understanding your employees’ needs and being a great salon leader, take a moment to read this guide on salon leadership.

  1. Keep Track of the KPIs

Leaving your business operations to chance hardly ever works out well. It is your responsibility as a salon owner to stay on top of things and understand what exactly your business is going through at a given period to be able to build an effective strategy for it.

You can get valuable insights by tracking the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These are metrics through which you can determine your hair salon’s strong and weak points and evaluate its overall performance.

Some of the main KPIs in the salon industry are:

  • Sales: Total Sales, Salon Services Sales, Retail Sales, Progress Toward Monthly Sales Targets, Current Sales Period vs. Prior Period.

  • Services: Service Revenue per Square Foot, Services Delivered per Hour, Average Ticket, Average Margins, Add-ons Attachment Rate.

  • Retail: Retail Items Sold per Hour, Retail Items Sold per Appointment, Retail Profit Percentage.

  • Costs: Salon Costs per Minute, Staff Costs vs. Revenue.

  • Staff: Clients Served per Staff Member, Productivity Rate, Rebooking Rate, Staff Customer Satisfaction, Sales vs. Wages.

  • Customer Retention: Number of Customers, Clients Served per Day, First-Time Customers, Returning Customers, Visit Frequency, Client Satisfaction, Churn Rate, Pre-Booking Ratio.

While all these KPIs might seem useful, tracking all of them simultaneously would be overwhelming. The best tactic is to select the metrics that align with your current business goals, monitor their dynamics, and make the necessary adjustments.

  1. Have Fair Pricing

Another factor that is critical to a salon’s success is transparent and fair pricing. Here are some things you can do to ensure it:

  • Before creating a price list, conduct market research to find out how much local hair studios charge for their services.

  • Estimate the costs involved in providing the services and make sure the margin you are getting is adequate.

  • Make sure the way your price list is designed is not confusing the clients, and they understand the final cost of a treatment or product straight away.

If you need more tips and ideas checkout our guide to creating an effective hair salon price list!

Also, remember that fair pricing is not only about the customers but also about the salon’s employees. It should reflect the level of skill the hairstylists working for you have and enable you to pay them the wages they deserve.

  1. Be Smart With the Budget

Knowing how to use funds wisely for the good of a business is critical for a salon’s successful growth. This concerns investing money in the right purchases and knowing where it’s possible to save up without compromising on the quality of services.

Make financial planning your habit and try to have a preliminary estimate of the upcoming expenses for at least the following three months.

  1. Remember the Importance of Upselling

In our overview of the biggest mistakes salon owners make, we mention the lack of upselling and cross-selling.

Indeed, selling beauty products, as well as offering your clients additional services, are a big part of your salon’s revenue and overall success. To do it effectively, the first step is to encourage and train your employees to sell more.

The personnel should be able to promote products and services in a way that the customers don’t feel pressured. Besides, your staff should be able to explain why exactly a client would benefit from the offered item or treatment.

For even more tips on boosting sales at your salon, check out this step-by-step guide!

Bottom Line: Never Stop Improving

It is very tempting to rest on your laurels once the hair studio has gained a certain level of success. However, remember that the competition is always there, and while your business is stagnant, other salons are actively striving to excel.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t praise yourself for the hard work you and your staff members have done and the results you’ve achieved. The point is to always stay open to innovation, keep up with industry trends, and seek opportunities for improvement.

All in all, the answer to the question “how to run a successful hair salon?” isn’t just one thing. It is a combination of efforts directed at striking the perfect balance between customer and employee satisfaction, staying true to your values and vision while keeping in step with the times, and continuously aiming to exceed expectations while being strategic and practical.

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  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

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    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards

Talk to a human

Schedule a guided walkthrough of Noona HQ

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 30 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

Schedule a guided walkthrough of Noona HQ

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 30 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