By Miki Wright, Beauty Superstars
The days are getting shorter, and the leaves are changing (or already gone, depending on where you live), which is all a sure sign that we are gearing up for the busiest time of the year for most Hairstylists, Barbers, and Nail Techs. Holiday parties and family gatherings make it so that people want to look and feel festive. They are also usually in a spending mood this time of year. They’re ready to buy gifts, redecorate the house and look their best for the in-laws and other events where they may see people they haven’t seen all year (or maybe a couple of years), which is all a good thing for us. If you’ve read my September and October To-Do Lists, your salon, your appointment book (online or off), and your pricing should all be in place. So what’s left to do this month?
Pack Your Patience - You will likely be busier than normal. That means more personalities to deal with, possible requests for services you don’t do all the time, like updos or lashes, and clients who may have more on their plates and may feel like they want or need to get out of the salon sooner. Any one of those things can make you feel stressed. Remember to breathe, drink your water, get plenty of rest each night and keep in mind you are not a machine. Work with one person at a time. Even if you double-book, that’s all you can do.
Take Your Lunch - Why do I suggest this? You already know, lol. 1) you’re going to need some nourishment to fuel your busy days, and 2, you may not get a chance to run out to grab something. 3) If someone runs out for you, there’s no telling what the choices may be. Fried this, burgers, chips and soda, etc. Take a little time to do meal prep for the week, make a quick sandwich, or maybe even a frozen dinner you can pop in the microwave. Maybe even cut up some fruit. It may not be your norm, but you can thank me later.
Protect Your Profit - Avoid Scammers - It’s sad to say, but these days, even on regular days, many clients are plotting how to get their hair done without paying for it. Whether it’s claiming fraud on credit card services, like they didn’t get the services, saying they don’t like a huge color transformation a day or two after, and that they want a full refund and any other number of ways. During the holidays, multiply that. And don’t forget any shows and/or late cancellations. So how can you protect yourself? a) If a client reports to their credit card or payment processor that you didn’t perform a service, you will need proof. If you have cameras in your salon that record people coming and going and how their hair was before and after, that’s great. Save your recordings, just in case. If you don’t, be sure to take before and after photos. b) Use a paper sign-in sheet or release form with date and time slots - and their signature (which should coincide with their appointment of your book). c) For any services that will block more than 2 hours, require a nonrefundable deposit (that will be credited to their service once they’re there), but will be forfeited in the event of a less than 24-48 hour cancellation or no show. d) For big transformation services, i.e., color correction, big chop, balayage, and extensions, use a clear release form that outlines all of the possibilities that you’ve gone over with them and have them print, sign and date it, stating that they understand and that there are no refunds. e) Don’t do ‘big’ services for new clients. Schedule a Consultation appointment and a Hair Prep appointment so you’ve seen them at least 2 times before their transformation, and you can make sure they’re also committed to the process. f) Only take referrals as new clients until the first of the year.
Hold to Your Boundaries - With more people, more requests are bound to be made. More requests from people who want you to do something that will improve their lives. While we are in the customer service business, that doesn’t mean we have to be a doormat and say yes to every request. What about your body, your family, and your commitments? If it works for you, absolutely say yes. But if it doesn’t, you’ll have to say no. Trust me, if you give in to your ‘gotta hustle’ fear of ‘I better catch this money while it’s coming, you may have more money short term, but on top of being tired, you’ll end up feeling like a beat up rag doll with nothing left to give. And you still won’t have a business that will bring you the money you can count on every month of the year. (If you need help with that, check out my signature course, Beauty Biz U.)
Have Compassion - Holding onto your boundaries doesn’t mean you have to operate without compassion. For so many, the holidays are a time of sadness or grief. Especially after the last few years. Many have lost loved ones, and some families are closer, but some didn’t make it and ended in separation or divorce. While we’re moving around more, some may not be able to visit relatives who live out of town. In other words, this is why I suggest #1, packing your patience. Some clients may visibly be sad, but sometimes that emotion can show up as demanding, sometimes rude, or even withdrawn or unconcerned about what you do to them. This is when you need to be as whole as possible to help diffuse the situation or be extra attentive to the needs of others.
Rebook EVERYONE for their Christmas or New Year’s Eve appointment BEFORE they leave - if you’re not already booked. And for January, while you’re at it, lol.
Get Your Own Christmas or Holiday Shopping Done - Do it this month and breath easy next month! Your schedule will be your friend. Not only your client appointment schedule but your own personal schedule. If you struggle with planning ahead, grab a copy of my brand-new mini-course for a special intro price! It's called Plan to Win Now! The Hairstylist's Guide to Getting Out of Overwhelm. With all of that said, have a Happy Thanksgiving! And Black Friday. And Small Business Saturday. And Cyber Monday. See you next month for December’s To Do List!