DEPOSITS, IT’S A NO-BRAINER
In the world of professional hairdressing, where creativity meets craftsmanship, the importance of taking deposits cannot be overstated, and in my opinion, should be a given. However, if you browse most professional hairdressing forums on Facebook, you’ll find that it’s a question that keeps popping up and repeating itself. So, in my humble attempt to influence this incredible industry, I thought I would address this hot topic through an article, especially as deposits are an absolute given for us at The Hair Movement Salon. We believe that it’s imperative to protect the income of our stylists, set the professional tone for our guests (aka clients) and of course safeguard our business as a whole.
While the artistry of transforming hair and creating stunning styles in combination with creating an exceptional atmosphere is 100% at the forefront of every salon experience, the business side of what we do plays an equally crucial role. It might not be as fun, or ‘sexy’, but savvy business practices are crucial in a time when there is a real culling taking place in our industry.
One key aspect that ‘on-the-ball’ salons have embraced as a no-nonsense principal is the practice of taking deposits, a strategy that not only benefits the salon and it’s hero stylists, but also ensures a smoother, more reliable experience for clients. Today, with advancement of the salon booking systems, it’s a very fluid, non intrusive experience for clients and salons alike, both in the communication and execution of taking an appointment deposit.
So let’s break it down as to why it should be a no-brainer.
Commitment and Accountability
When booking a table to a nice restaurant, deposits are often taken. In reality it’s a few pounds, but they are in-fact storing card details incase of a no-show. If on a Saturday night, a smaller restaurant would have four no-shows, that’s a real blow to their bottom line. Everyone understands and respects this. So why would it be any different for a salon. Taking a deposit establishes a level of commitment from our clients. In an industry where time is money, ensuring that clients are serious about their appointments is absolutely paramount. Deposits act as a commitment fee, signalling to you as the stylist that your client is dedicated to their scheduled time and values the expertise of the salon. It’s like everything in life, if you don’t set a value on your time, then why would anyone else.
Time is Precious
For you as a professional, time is what we call a non-renewable resource. A salon column and the time slots structured within, must be protected. Unfilled appointments, last-minute cancellations or last-minute service changes can be detrimental to your livelihood and the salon business alike. By taking a deposit, we protect ourselves from potential revenue loss due to no-shows or sudden cancellations. This practice encourages clients to honour their appointments and be punctual, respecting the time and effort you put into providing exceptional service. That level of respect is crucial if you want to run a no-drama consistent business.
Professionalism and Trust
The act of taking a deposit communicates professionalism and instills a sense of trust between the salon and client. It demonstrates that the salon values its time and expertise, and in return, clients can trust that their appointments will be honoured and receive the attention they deserve. It sets a professional tone. It also protects the investment that has been made getting that client into the salon.
Fair Compensation for Consultation and Preparation
Many of our appointments involve a preliminary consultation and prep-work before the actual appointment. By taking a deposit, we also ensure that the time and effort put into understanding the client’s needs and preparing for that appointment is compensated, even if unforeseen circumstances lead to a cancellation.
The Deposit and Communication around it
How a salon chooses to structure its deposit scheme varies, a lot. Some salons have a sliding scale, perhaps taking 50% for all new clients, and 10% for existing. But with the latest salon software, like Phorest, this can be further automated where card details can be stored, and if they are a no-show, some salons take full payment, if they are unable to fill the slot. No matter which deposit structure you choose, communication with clients is key. Clear terms and conditions must be stated on the salon website, reiterated in confirmation emails or other in-salon notices. This point is crucial. Transparency is an absolute must in order to run a seamless deposit scheme. You must also never feel a need to justify or apologise for having this scheme in place, or for being paid when someone is a no-show. Time is your livelihood, and as covered earlier, it’s a non-renewable resource. Once a deposit scheme is implemented, and run through the first client visit cycle, it simply becomes a matter of fact, and going into 2024, clients almost expect it. It’s just simply become a way of life.
There will be Exceptions
There will always be clients that are an exception to the rule. In a hypothetical, they might be a long standing client who’s sadly fallen ill, perhaps being admitted to hospital. It’s then up to you to make the commercial, humanistic and customer facing decision whether or not the deposit payment should be honoured. By having the scheme in place, the decision now sits firmly in your hands, instead of you being forced to submit to a situation that was previously entirely out of your control. This level of commercial control results in a happier, and stronger working environment, which in turn increases the customer experience as well as your artistic creativity, as you get to focus on what you are passionate about, without worry.
A quick recap …
The importance of taking deposits cannot be overstated. It is a practice that not only safeguards the business interests of your salon, but also fosters a sense of commitment, accountability, and trust between you, as the stylist, and your client. As the industry continues to evolve, the integration of such business practices ensures that both artistic expression and economic stability can coexist harmoniously in the world of beauty and style. It also gives you ease of mind, knowing that your income is consistent, stable and secure.
Benjamin has a behavioural psychology and retail background, working with several high-end global brands. Following two generations before him, he has for the past 14 years been working in the haircare industry and is today co-owner and marketing director for Kasho UK and The Hair Movement brand. He also manages The Hair Movement Salon, the brands five star concept salon located in South East London.
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