"We started looking at expenses that were under-utilized, any and all items in the salon that were not being used to full potential, as well as areas we had not expensed in a while. At the back bar, we looked at the colors we used the most of and maximized those while decreasing others (ex. more 6N vs. 1N), we reorganized our charity budget to support our current and loyal guests who have fundraisers, and we encouraged staff to direct deposit instead of paper checks, and we now e-mail pay stubs, which has cut our paper supply tremendously."

-Ginger Pendley, Anazao Salon, Snellville, GA

"We're going over all hourly employees' hours that could be reduced instead of laying off anyone, so we all share in the hours cut. We're examining each expense and calling the sources to ask if we can get a better rate. Also, our holiday party was at our manager's home and we made all the food ourselves, which was less expensive than a restaurant."

-Emily Wilson, The Cachet Salon, Columbus, OH

"We are more hawkish on our inventory levels-cutting slow movers and even watching that we don't over-carry top sellers. We are consolidating the back bar inventory as well. Our budget for wages has been trimmed, so no more overtime."

-Michael Randazzo, Harmony Salon, Charlotte, NC

"This year is all about one key drive: productivity. We changed our hours of operation-we now have all team members arriving and departing at the same time. This allows us to also have a five-minute huddle with all team members so everyone has a clear concept of "where we are." Adjusting the hours has led to cost savings in payroll and energy sources." 
-Sharon Thompson, Ambience Salon Spa, West Chester, OH

"As a colorist, I love to see my color pantry fully stocked. Today, I'm not ordering in abundance. I'm mixing more and loving the new combinations I never would have tried. I don't stock high-end tools anymore. It's money on the shelf I prefer to use for marketing or education. If a client wants a particular tool, I take a deposit and order it for them. I only work with companies that allow me to purchase one or two products at a time instead of a box of six. I always ask the distributor about the latest promos and take advantage of them for products I use. My salon retails more than 20 percent, but I prefer to order what we need, and not over-stock."
-Barbara Forgione, Barbara Forgione Salon, Tampa, FL

"As a new salon owner, we've invested a lot of money to revitalize the salon we purchased one year ago. Our focus has been on customer service and improving the ambiance of the salon. We've repainted the entire salon, removed old antiquated furniture and replaced it with more comfortable pieces.Our focus this year will be on cleanliness and improving customer service. We'll also review our pricing to ensure we maintain the right balance for our market."
-David A. Lauer, Before and After Salons and Spa, Dania Beach, FL 

"We pride ourselves on our customer service and keep that as our main focus. We acknowledge all of our customers personally-it doesn't require an increase in expenses to make sure our clients feel at home and pampered. Instead of limiting our services and taking away from the customer, we have chosen to review our finances in other areas such as merchant fees, bank fees, credit card fees, etc. Keeping these costs to a minimum has helped to successfully keep our salon prospering. We have chosen to eliminate the products and services we found didn't necessarily enhance our business but wouldn't affect the service of our clients. Price shopping and marketing online has helped to keep our costs down as well." 

-Barbara Page, The Experience Salon and Spa, Wheeling, IL

Trimming your ExpensesAlison Shipley is Associate Editor & Production Editor of SALON TODAY magazine.

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