What Appointment S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G Costs You

It’s common knowledge that prebooking keeps the salon schedule full months in advance and helps stylists and owners project income.

Yet owners often still struggle with consistency. Stylists are reluctant to bring up prebooking, and the front desk staff occasionally forgets to enforce the conversation.

At a recent Eufora Salon Owner Network meeting, owners were shown exactly how powerful retention is and why prebooking is vital to the bottom line:

The average technician works 50 weeks a year. If you service 100 guests at an average of $50 per service ticket, you get $5,000. If your clients come in:

  • Every five weeks, that’s 10 visits per year x $5,000 = $50,000
  • Every six weeks, that’s eight visits per year x $5,000 = $40,000
  • Every seven weeks, that’s seven visits per year x $5,000 = $35,000
  • Every eight weeks, that’s six visits per year x $5,000 = $30,000 (a $20,000 loss of income compared to visiting every five weeks)

Retail is also affected by how often the client visits. If a guest purchases one unit of retail at $25 each visit, that’s another $10,000 loss of income when the clients return every eight weeks instead of five weeks.

Breaking down these numbers and regularly sharing them with stylists gives a vivid picture of the importance of prebooking.

These statistics are why Joanne Magana, Eufora Salon Owner Network lead, advises stylists and owners to “build the customer, not the sale.”

She says, “We need to focus on LOYAL guests with systems in place. People have a choice where to spend their money, and we need to spend more time on building relationships and having a feed forward system.”
Magana suggests providing stylists with a script so the conversation is always about the guest:

“Our goal today was to create your personal style, so we should see each other in X weeks to ensure your hair stays looking its best. I want to make sure that you get taken care of and we reserve your special time just for you. I know that you prefer Saturdays so I will reserve your desired time at 11 a.m. unless you would like a different time.”

The initial conversation isn’t always the problem, though. Stylists back down when a client replies with, “I don’t know my schedule right now; I will have to call.”

Magana says the response should be:

“I know how busy you are and I want to make sure that you get taken care of and your hair stays beautiful, so I will go ahead and reserve a time for you. That way we have something down and if you find a conflict in your schedule, call and we will make another reservation for you.”

Magana also recommends addressing prebooking in the consultation.

“Look at each client as a journey and get them excited about something to come for in the next visit,” she says. “Plant the seed during the consultation and use very specific dialogue.”

She also has recommendations for the front desk to continue the prebooking conversation.
“They should first compliment the client,” Magana says. “And they should never say the stylist gets really busy as a reason to prebook. The dialogue should be, ‘I know how busy YOUR schedule is, let’s pick a time that works for you.’ Make it all about the guest.”

Owners should use 70 percent as a good rule of thumb for prebooking, Magana says.

“I would post those numbers for everyone to see,” she says. “Talk about them in team huddles and meetings, and don’t assume people are comfortable. Role play in a trusted, safe environment.”
Incentives and goal setting for both stylists and the front desk can also help boost prebooking numbers.

“Stylists have control of their income right there in their book,” Magana says. “If they’re busy, it creates a demand and they can raise their prices.”

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