Who Owns the Salon/Spa Client?

June 5, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

FACT 1: No one owns the client. Clients give their business and loyalty to those that earn it.

FACT 2: The traditional salon/spa business model is built on service providers building their own followings.

The question of who “owns” the client is central to the thinking of most stylists and technicians — because they want to own as many as possible.

This is especially prevalent in commission salons/spas where income is based solely on individual service and retail sales. In such circumstances, more clients equal more money. But this mentality builds those invisible barriers within the salon.

  • When salon stylists and technicians become more concerned with the quantity of clients they serve than with their quality of service, the finer points of customer relations easily fall through the cracks.

Who “owns” the clients in your salon or spa? If the business model is based on individual book building, service providers naturally assume that clients belong to them. This is the way many owners “train” new staff members to think and act.... Read More

Superstar Salon & Spa Employees: Blessing or Curse?

November 14, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

It’s truly magical when talent, determination, integrity, relationship building, innovation, and personality, perfectly blend into one high-performance individual.

What emerges is a powerhouse employee that routinely shatters performance benchmarks with ease.

Maybe you were one of these powerhouse employees before striking out to build your own salon/spa and chase your dreams.

Superstars emerge in all aspects of work and life. They break records. They inspire and mentor others. They set new standards. They create and maintain a sense of urgency.

More than anything, it’s inspiring, and a privilege, to work on the same team as a superstar. That is, as long as the superstar is a team player and doesn’t fall victim to self-perceived delusions of grandeur and privilege.

That’s when a superstar performer goes from a blessing to a curse. Inflated egos, toxic spewing, rule-breaking, and negative attitudes infect and degrade an otherwise pristine company culture.... Read More

How to Fix Today’s Salon/Spa Recruiting Challenge

May 16, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

“The great resignation is coming,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article.

According to Klotz, who studied the exits of hundreds of workers, “When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.”

Klotz cites the pandemic-related epiphanies employees, in general, had about work/life balance, family time, work schedule flexibility, life and death, and what it all means — including creating a new future.

The good news is that Klotz’s forecast doesn’t mean employees will be quitting en masse. Many employees are happy with their jobs and the companies they work for.

However, owners should regard Klotz’s findings as a major wake-up call. More turnover in a tight labor market is the last thing salon/spa owners need.

What to do about the recruiting challenge?... Read More

How to Recruit Salon/Spa Employees in the Post Pandemic

May 2, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

From the day I entered the professional salon/spa industry in 1970, recruiting new and experienced employees has been a serious challenge.

Add pandemic-related disruptions into the mix, and the process of recruiting new employees has gotten more and more difficult.

Then, there’s the industry’s long history of high employee turnover. The more turnover you have, the more pressure on your recruiting efforts — especially in today’s tight labor market.

Many owners blame turnover and recruitment challenges on the growth of booth rental and suites — but even businesses that cater to independents are having difficulty renting/leasing space.

FACT: You can’t grow a service business if you can’t recruit new
employees.

Yes, the pandemic seriously rattled the economy and our industry. In the process, it proved that the days of “business as usual” are long gone.

So, what’s a salon/spa owner to do when want ads, online recruitment sites, and visits to schools, barely get a trickle of applicants — or no applicants at all?... Read More

The Great Salon/Spa Tipping Debate

March 21, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Tipping in salons/spas has always been an emotional topic.

When doing business seminars, I would ask attendees, “How many of you feel there is something unprofessional about tipping in salons/spas?” Just about all hands would go up.

Then I would say, “Keep your hand raised if you would eliminate
tipping in your business to be recognized as truly professional.”
Every hand would go down.

Tipping becomes super emotional when it comes to tip processing, proper reporting of tip income, professionalism, and especially, the thought of going no tipping.

There are many owners and employees that believe that tip income should be tax-free. Or that only reporting a small percent of service revenue is good enough. Or that only tips on credit cards should be reported and taxed. Sorry, all tip income is taxable.

And then there are salons/spas that try to eliminate the processing
fees on credit card tips by implementing “no tips on credit cards”
policies. Some even install ATMs. Many say, “Clients don’t complain,” but in those situations, clients really don’t have a choice.... Read More

Why “Who Gets the Credit” Hurts Your Salon/Spa Culture

February 21, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

The salon/spa industry’s longstanding approach to compensation is built on one seriously simple method: If a service provider delivers a service, or sells a product, he or she gets a piece.

In order to get that “piece,” the salon/spa must determine “who gets the credit” for the service or product sale.

Here are the four most common “who gets the credit” challenges:

  1. One or more service providers work on one client and each expects to get “a piece” of the ticket.
  2. A front desk/guest services employee sells a retail item to client at checkout. The service provider has a fit because he/she didn’t get the credit.
  3. Front desk/guest services employees disengage from closing or selling retail because the credit and commission automatically goes to the service provider.
  4. A service provider says, “I’m not doing [insert service/product sale] unless I get a piece.”

These four challenges may seem extremely basic, but they’re far from it. Why? Because the moment an employee feels short-changed or cheated, it contaminates your culture and spreads like wildfire.... Read More

Your Salon/Spa Culture is Defined by Its Values

February 14, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

When you admire any company’s culture, commitment to quality and relentless customer service, you’re admiring its values-based behavior.

That level of refined values-based behavior doesn’t just happen. It’s designed and meticulously cared for. Most importantly, it begins at the top.

The structure, discipline, values and guiding principles are the granite blocks that a salon/spa culture is built on.

That doesn’t mean a salon/spa is so rigid that it’s incapable of
changing. It just means its core behaviors are deeply rooted in its values.

Tampering with the values of your salon/spa is much like tampering with the forces of nature. When the owner or leader compromises your company’s values, it can cause a tidal wave of otherwise avoidable issues, problems, and drama.... Read More

10 Reasons for Salon/Spa Owners to Stay Positive

January 31, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments

For owners, staying positive in these uncertain times is something you need to keep working at. 

Of course, you’re weary of dealing with this pandemic. It’s been a tough ten months and COVID-19 is going to be with us a while longer.

When you’re dealing with cancellations, no shows, reduced capacity, client fears, employee quarantines, and tight cash flow, staying positive is a challenge. 

As an owner, your ability to stay positive cannot be underestimated or ignored. Why? Because the owner’s positivity establishes the company’s sense of urgency and performance expectations. So much so that the culture and performance of a salon/spa business is a direct reflection of the owner’s level of positivity.... Read More

Retaining Salon/Spa Employees is an Earned Outcome

December 6, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Strategies definition of Staff Retention: “The staff retention business outcome is all about creating a dynamic and empowering culture to attract and retain the best employees — and doing so with no-compromise leadership, open communication, integrity, and respect.”

FACT: Employees come and go. However, the “employees just don’t stay with salons/spas very long anymore,” or, “Why train them if they’re just going leave,” thinking is doing more to encourage turnover than improve it.

  • Excellent employee retention doesn’t just happen.
  • Paying high commission doesn’t improve retention.
  • Allowing employees to do as they please doesn’t improve retention.

Building an integrity-based culture with a team that’s committing to growing the salon/spa is what retains employees.

This year’s winner of the 2020 Team-Based Pay Staff Retention Award is…... Read More

How to Deal with Problem Salon/Spa Employees

October 25, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

No one becomes an owner for the thrill and excitement of dealing with problem employees. In fact, dealing with problem employees is probably the most disliked of all ownership responsibilities. It’s stressful, exhausting and, next to financial stress, a major contributor to owner burnout.

FACT: There’s no secret training camp that prepares problem employees to infiltrate your business, wreck your culture and stress you out.

There are three primary reasons that problem employees find their way into your business:

  1. Bad fit: A potential employee may appear to be a good fit through the interviewing process but lack the necessary thinking and behavior to fit into your culture. Examples: Attendance, teamwork, following rules, attitude, mutual respect, etc..
  2. Evolved over time: A good employee can become a problem employee due to the work environment. This includes lack of or indifferent leadership, broken trust/promises, lack of opportunity, lack of appreciation, etc..
  3. Personal issues: Life challenges, personal relationships, drugs/alcohol, and other factors that have nothing to do with work can turn a good employee into a problem employee.

If you own an employee-based salon or spa, you will have to deal with problem employees. To what extent really depends on you and your approach to leadership.... Read More

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