Terri Cowan, co-founder of distributorship Professional Salon Concepts, coaches her salons on Prime Time hours, a concept of restructuring a salon’s hours to stay open during hours with the highest demand and to close during hours that offer the least profit potential. Bella Salon in Davenport, Iowa, made the shift to prime time several years ago when they worked with the Cowans to implement new business systems in the salon. They evaluated 12 weeks’ worth of data, including booking trends, service dollars per guest, retail dollars per guest and number of guests per week, and created new “acceptable service standards” for the business and the staff. “Instead of raising prices just to raise prices, we raise them when we meet our acceptable standards for 12 weeks. It’s a celebration for the stylists as well as the guests,” said Katherine Newberry, who co-owns Bella with Amy Ruggeberg.
They moved from the typical 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule by trimming both morning and evening hours, and Newberry reports that “it takes care of that little bit of dead space you sometimes have in the middle of the afternoon.” She says their books are essentially full from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Other rewards follow the change in hours.“My rescheduling rate when I rst started was probably 35 percent,” said Newberry.“Now it’s at 98 percent and we book out anywhere from six to seven months.” She also says the reduced hours give her more time for education, staff development and meetings. Rather than asking employees to come in on their off time, she now schedules monthly meetings with each one to review their performance and set goals.
When Yeager made the transition to prime time at her salon one year ago, she shaved eight full hours off her weekly operations without sacrificing business. Closed Sundays and Mondays, Studio Wish Salon is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 8 to 5 or 6 on Friday and Saturday. “The majority of people we’re trying to attract are working people who want evening hours or Saturdays. We’re much more productive having these particular hours,” she reports.
Like Stokes and Newberry, Yeager says she first ran reports through her salon software to identify times of high productivity and hone in on those times, rather than opening early and closing late “trying to grasp business at all hours.” In conjunction with the alteration in operating hours, Yeager implemented a program to develop her new employees, called Sweet Tweet Tuesdays. “We made Tuesdays a special day where we offer a color/cut, highlight/cut or partial highlight/ cut at a slightly discounted price. We have it on our Facebook, our website, in the salon,” she says. She took all her new stylists and put them on the Tuesday schedule. “A lot of time the clients will say, ‘Oh, do you (the stylist) work that day?’ and we’ll say, ‘No, I don’t work that day, but Kim works that day or Courtney works that day, so why don’t you come in with one of them,’” Yeager explains, adding, “It’s really helped build the books for our new talent and helped our productivity because before, our Tuesdays weren’t that busy.”