In partnership with Neill Corporation, Imaginal Marketing recently brainstormed on ideas they've helped salons execute that can generate cash flow quickly. Some ideas are free, others take just a little time and budget, and some are bigger investments. But all of them produced results. 

1. Retail Deals to Stock Up On

We all know guests love a good deal on retail. But how do you push them to spend MORE to make a major impact on your profits?

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Tangerine Salon in Dallas created a promotion for the holiday season that gave guests a $30 voucher when they purchased $150 in retail.

The voucher was redeemable through January 31 on services or products, bringing guests back into the salon in the slow post-holiday weeks. When booking services with the voucher, guests were also more likely to schedule a more expensive or new service.

During November and December, Tangerine sold a total of $35,340 in retail alone.

2. Easy Upselling Tools

At Trios in Fort Collins, Colorado, something as simple as a notepad helped generate major cash flow quickly.

The salon implemented Upsell Pads that asked guests which value-added service they’d like to experience, as well as offering add-ons like brow waxes and lashes.

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In just six weeks, add-on services totaled over $10,000.

All those guests said yes, when asked—but asking regularly is the key. Look for a tool that integrates with your guest flow easily. (Digital versions are also popular).

3. Online Offers (Click to Buy)

There’s nothing simpler than clicking a button to purchase when browsing. Online deal systems pay for themselves quickly, giving instant gratification to the guest– and instant cash to the salon.

Here are some examples (from Holiday 2022):

Pavo Salon in Memphis offered a $200 gift card for $170, including one special Cyber Week sale that upped the ante to $400 gift card for $300. Total result: $135,663 in sales.

Mango Salon in Richmond, Virginia, did a one day deal only–offering guests to purchase $400 in gift cards and get $100 free . Total result: $33,950 in sales.

Stay selective with your timing and frequency—and deals like this can drive cash year round.

4. Tap into Texting

With an average 96 percent open rate, texts have proven effective when it comes to reaching your guests with important information.

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At Jon Alan in Nashville, they utilize texting to give guests information on seasonal promotions and important deals guests don’t want to miss. For example, within 5 minutes of texting out a reminder on their 20% Off Aveda Essentials Event, guests were walking in asking about it.

Texting can also easily—and cost-effectively—blast out those in-salon events to ensure attendance.

Don’t want another monthly cost? Imaginal offers texting services without contracts.

5. Get Terms from Your Product Vendor

Are your product vendors giving you terms that benefit your business?

Things to ask for: Terms on special purchases like opening orders, domain expansions, holiday orders and other stock up opportunities. Ideally length of terms vary based on size of order and credit history of the customer. Is zero percent financing available? Do they charge interest?

If you’re not benefiting from the terms your vendors are offering, it may be time to renegotiate or look for those opportunities. 

6. High-Threshold Gift Card Promos

Gift cards are a major player in the salon cash flow system, so capitalize on their popularity with a high-dollar deal your guests can’t pass up. (Bonus, it’s also loyalty reinforcement).

In their 2022 Holiday campaign, Breeze upped the ante with guests, offering them the opportunity to buy a $300 gift card and get a $100 gift card bonus ($400 value). This yielded $118,235 in gift card sales across 3 locations.

As a comparison- the year prior they sold $54,000 in gift cards. The difference maker in incoming cash is all in the purchase threshold. (The previous offer was a $25 product gift with a $150 gift card purchase.)

Guests were willing to spend WAY more to get more.

7. Focus on Consultations

Valencia Muñoz at Aurea Salon upgrades guests’ services with Aveda’s powerhouse treatments: Botanical Repair Strengthening Treatment, Shine Treatments and the new Scalp Solutions Scalp Treatment.

Muñoz is an Aveda Culture and Leadership Purefessional, and led her team through a course on effective consultations in January. Since adopting a more thorough consultation, the salon has seen:

  • 46% increase in service upgrades compared to last year
  • 43% increase in Botanical Repair Treatments
  • 65% increase in Shine Treatments
  • 100% increase in Scalp Solutions Scalp Treatments (compared to Pramasana).

8. Host an Easy Event

Sometimes, opportunities are sitting right under your nose. Three Aveda salons recently offered makeup touchups with Smashbox makeup. There was no commitment to purchase makeup, but you’ll see from the results below, most guests did. Imagine your overall impact on sales if you did this regularly?

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How it worked: The 20-minute appointments were focused on the guests already in the salon. (Guests either prebooked for the event, or they were pulled while processing– guests with at least 30 minutes of processing time were targeted so they didn’t feel rushed).

Josephine's Salons + Spas: Houston Texas

  • Event time: 12 pm-5 pm
  • Customers: 0 prebooked, 9 pulled
  • Product Sold: $435

Alan Murphy Salon: Houston, Texas

  • Event time: 10 a.m-2 p.m.
  • Customers: 2 prebooked, 4 pulled
  • Product Sold: $438

Embody Salon: Houston, Texas

  • Event time: 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • Customers: 5 prebooked
  • Product Sold: $347

9. Well-timed Series Offers

At Ruiz Salon in Austin, Texas, a membership program is available for guests to save big on blow drys and treatments every month for six months, available in standard and premium options:

  • M(e) Membership: $330 ($575 value) includes a standard blowdry
  • M(e) Premium: $480 ($725 value) includes a premium blowdry
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Strategically enrolling ONLY in the slower months of May and November, the memberships give Ruiz’s bottom line a boost just when it needs it—and keeps guests coming back.

Ruiz’s strategy can work with any series of services, including spa.

Many salons are using a series approach to Hydrafacial (also boosting underutilized services).

10. Promote Underutilized Services

Does your salon menu have services that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve? Focus on these services and pump some profit into your bottom line.

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The team of six at Surreal in Nashville put a strong focus on Vomor tape-in extensions and saw results. During the three summer months, their retail business in extensions was $9,139 and service was $12,554 for a total of $21,693.

All Eyes on ROI

Yes it’s cliche, it takes money to make money. Often there’s a hard cost involved. But how much is the right amount to invest? What’s worth the effort (and expense)?

The rule of thumb in business is you want a 6x Return on Investment for it to be considered successful.

Hold your team (and yourself) accountable to measure each opportunity– what did it cost vs. what did it make.

When you win ROI, you have more than cash flow. You have long-term success.

Want help with any of the above. Contact Neill or Imaginal

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