When the feedback Jennifer Baudier received from her team at Bella Style Salon near New Orleans pretty much boiled down to “I feel like I’m always here,” the owner finally said: “I hear you!” The team watched Neill’s “Serious Business” in 2019 and learned about a salon framed around a four-day workweek. They thought that they could borrow this idea.
Then Covid paused everything. For the two months the salon was closed, Baudier and her team met often through Zoom and dove deeply into what they wanted their salon business to look like when it reopened. Baudier committed to the shorter workweek, and switching to that type of shift structure made it easier to keep the salon open longer hours and six days instead of five. The schedule she devised also gave staffers a 5-day weekend every three weeks. But she didn’t want to stop there.
Fearless Price Hikes
When she took PIP University’s four-month “Rich Life CEO” course, Baudier had to figure out how much it cost per hour to run her salon. That reality check led her to increase prices by 20%, and just like that she set her salon apart in the tiny town of Slidell, Louisiana.
“We’re surrounded by salons offering $35 haircuts,” Baudier explains. “When we raised our rates to $68 per hour for a level-one cut and $200 per hour for color, we created our own little niche. That would frighten most owners, but you just have to walk through some fear. Set your prices and don’t look back. That’s the only way we can pay our teams what they’re worth so they’ll stay. Now I have very little turnover. I get lifers!”
With the new focus on hourly earnings, Baudier changed compensation to hourly as well. Team members are paid for the time they’re at the salon whether they have guests or not. This provides them with a consistent, anticipated income.
Baudier credits an investment in a facial machine and new skincare line with a $40,000 increase in revenue in just the first nine months of 2021. Hiring a specialist in extensions, along with implementing a payment plan making it easier for guests to afford the extensions, added another $122,000 in yearly revenue and positioned Bella Style as Louisiana’s leading extensions salon.
With this influx in cash, the owner could expand benefits, so now adding to the feeling of stability are perks including life insurance, dental, vision, short- and long-term disability insurance, 401K and paid time off (PTO).
In addition, Baudier puts 1% of total revenue into a “team sharing” account that she splits among the team members when they hit quarterly goals. If the team has to wait more than one quarter to hit the mark, the money continues to grow.
“I want to distribute this money,” Baudier says. “I’m trying to breed a culture full of ‘team,’ not ‘me’ and ‘my.’ Team members who are strong at prebooking, retailing or upselling help younger stylists to earn more for everyone. There’s no ‘mean girl’ aspect. We’re loving and supportive of each other.”
Employees fill out an annual survey, and the owner takes their responses to heart.
“Our culture is ‘ask,’” Baudier says. “What would you like to see? If it’s important to the team, eventually we’ll say ‘yes.’ We will figure it out.”
Team members were right about how much they’d appreciate the four-day week with a five-day weekend every three weeks. This gives them more family and travel time. Now they can show up for important occasions even for out-of-state family.
“We’re flexible,” Baudier says. “We don’t tell them ‘no’ if it’s the wrong weekend. We just ask them to be responsible and not abuse it. Flexibility, money, and autonomy are the top reasons people stay.”
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