Managing a beauty salon is no easy feat. A lot of responsibilities go into being an effective salon manager, and it takes a special kind of person to be effective in the role. But even when you find that person, they need to be supported by the right tools. Enter salon management software.
Salon management software solutions are key to saving time and sanity for salon managers. They can automate processes, cut repetitive tasks, and give salon managers more time to focus on other important tasks.
Let’s take a deeper look at what salon management is all about and how salon management software solutions can help you streamline your business and take some stress out of salon management.
What is salon management?
Salon management is a broad term encompassing the various tasks and responsibilities of running a successful beauty salon. It includes all the operational functions required of a salon, including managing bookings, attracting new clientele, and hiring and maintaining open communication with staff.
What’s the role of a salon manager?
Salon managers take an active role in staffing by handling scheduling, hiring new employees, and keeping lines of communication open between all employees. They’re also responsible for the in-salon experience for clientele, inventory management, marketing, and other day-to-day operational tasks, including dealing with client feedback.
What makes managing a salon different from other businesses?
In the beauty industry, a few factors make managing a salon very different from managing a restaurant or retail store, for example. But if you’re aware of the differences, you can use them to your advantage—here are four aspects of running a salon that can impact its success and how it’s managed.
1. You can incorporate multiple revenue streams
One of the wonderful things about running a salon is that you can bring in more than one revenue stream. While services like haircuts, highlights, manicures, and pedicures may be your salon’s primary source of revenue, you might also have everything from shampoos to hair tools available in a retail area to add extra income without the overhead costs of needing staff to provide a service.
2. There’s more than one kind of salon
There’s more than one kind of salon—and we’re not talking about the difference between a hair salon and a nail salon. There are many business models for salons that each come with unique management challenges.
- A traditional salon operates on a commercial property owned or rented by the owner. Owners can hire full or part-time employees, or have stylists rent a booth from them to increase revenue.
- A home-based salon operates from, you guessed it, your home. While having employees in a home-based salon isn’t impossible, it’s less common due to space limitations.
- A mobile salon is a salon that’s run out of a truck or other mobile unit, like a trailer. Depending on the state and city laws, a mobile salon goes to its clients where they are and offers their services on their premises or may be located in a permanent location where they provide services.
3. Employees are artists—and your best marketing tool
Yes, some people will come to your salon because they’ve seen you on social media or walked by your location. But more often than not, your clientele will primarily be driven by stylists bringing their personal clientele into your salon.
Many stylists and beauty professionals have spent years studying and honing their craft. While newer stylists are still developing their skills and finding a personal niche, most experienced stylists have developed a style and see themselves as artists—and many stylists know that where they go, their clients will follow. These two factors make it important to provide employees with a positive work environment that supports their happiness.
4. Pay structures can vary
Because of the unique nature of salon work, there are various ways to pay stylists and other salon professionals. Each structure comes with different pros and cons, but they can all be easily managed with the right salon payroll software to make things easier and compliant. Let’s explore the four most common pay structures:
- Hourly: An hourly pay structure is the most common way to pay stylists. Hourly wages ensure stylists are paid even if they don’t bring in clients on a particular day. It also covers all the other tasks outside client services—cleaning, answering phones, posting to the salon’s social media, etc.
- Salary: While many think annual salaries are reserved for desk jobs, salon owners can consider yearly employee wages.
- Booth rentals: Booth renters pay a monthly fee to the salon but are essentially self-employed and control their own business—they accept their payments, bring in their clients, pay themselves, and manage their own taxes.
- Commission-based: Commission-based stylists get a commission based on the client they bring in and the retail products they sell. You can structure commissions in many ways, some involving a base hourly or annual pay.
These factors make managing a salon different from running a retail store. Still, if you understand these differences, they can help you find the right tools to manage your salon.
5 salon management software solutions to streamline operations and keep your staff happy
Finding the right salon management software tools to simplify processes for you, your staff, and your clientele not only keeps everyone happy, it can also improve your business practices. The right salon management software solutions can transform your salon, making it more profitable and a coveted destination for stylists to work.
1. Client scheduling software
Clients are essential to running any business. After all, it’s kind of hard to have a salon to manage if you don’t have any customers. That’s why finding a simple-to-use client booking system or tool should be a priority for all salons.
In decades past, a large calendar and pencil was all you needed to book a client for a service. But it’s time to get with the times: in 2023, salon customers expect to be able to book, cancel, and reschedule their appointments online. Not only does this make the booking process much more enjoyable for your clients, it streamlines things on your end. Your team can easily review their schedule from anywhere without having to call in to get their appointments for the next day, and clients can book anytime they want instead of waiting for business hours.
In fact, 46% of bookings happen in the morning or evening outside of typical salon hours, meaning if you’re not using automatic booking software, you’re missing out on almost half your potential business.
Choosing modern booking systems
You can choose an online booking system that allows clients to book with their favorite stylist at a date and time that works for them from their phone or computer. Or, you can have a digital booking solution to input the information into your system after someone calls in. The best salon booking systems combine these two options, giving your clients the most booking freedom.
|Did you know? 32% of salon clients prefer to book their appointments online, meaning if you don’t have the right tools for them to book, your clients may take their business elsewhere. (Salon Daily)|
A digital client booking system sends automated reminders to clients ahead of their appointment. It can even send reminders when it’s time to rebook, all through personalized emails or text messages. Not only does this ensure your clients are getting their reminders, it also means you’re freeing up employees from spending time making endless phone calls each day. And, if your clients consent, you’ve now got their email and/or cell number to send marketing updates, like a sale on services, or holiday closure hours.
You can save even more employee time with an online booking system so clients can book, reschedule, or cancel their appointments without needing to call in. It frees up employees and the salon manager to tackle more critical roles within the salon.
2. Team communication tool
Salons are a hub of community and communication. From stylists and clients sharing stories during an appointment to staff members chatting in the break room, friendships and social connections flourish in a salon setting.
Effectively communicating with your team and championing good salon communication is the cornerstone of good salon management. Team communication ensures everyone’s on board with your policies and salon processes and helps resolve conflicts between staff members or even between stylists and clients. Great communication also plays a massive role in keeping staff members happy in their roles.
Here are some ways to communicate with your staff and create a culture of transparency in your salon.
- Daily communication: Communicating with your staff about scheduling, special offers or promotions, and day-to-day logistics.
- One-on-one meetings: While you may not need to schedule monthly one-on-ones with your staff, consider running them quarterly. And make yourself available to meet one-on-one with your team when they need it, too. Track the goals and outcome of each performance meeting so you can address concerns or celebrate milestones at the next one.
- Policies and procedures: Make sure all staff members have a copy of your policies. Create an employee handbook and deliver it during onboarding.
- Regular meetings: Whether it’s weekly or monthly, having a set team meeting gives employees a time when they can ask non-urgent questions, share their wins, get salon-wide updates, and raise any concerns about rules or policies.
To effectively use these communication tactics, it’s important to foster a company culture that welcomes communication from everyone. Staff need to feel comfortable expressing their ideas, voicing potential criticism, and asking questions.
Three tips can help you foster open communication in your salon
- Lead by example: The salon owner and manager should set an example by always being open, honest, and transparent when communicating with staff.
- Two-way communication: It should be clear through policies and processes and verbal reminders that communication does not come from the top down—encourage staff and managers to communicate with each other, especially when issues arise.
- Open-door policy: The salon manager or owner should have an open-door policy that ensures employees feel comfortable coming to speak to them.
A communication tool—like a dedicated messaging system—can help keep communication open and simplify the daily communication required to manage a salon successfully.
3. Payroll software
As mentioned above, salon pay structures can vary. But one thing that stays the same across the board is that stylists need to get paid.
Payroll is a time-consuming process, often at the mercy of human error. In fact, nearly 70% of small businesses say payroll is a significant burden when it comes to running their business. Add to that the abundance of payroll errors that occur each year and it seems clear that a payroll solution is best for your business.
|Did you know? 54% of Americans have had a paycheck problem. And hourly workers bear the brunt, with 26% of hourly workers saying they’ve been shortchanged on their paycheck, and another 15% saying they’ve been paid late. (The Workforce Institute)|
A payroll software system for your salon that helps you manage all things payroll can be a real game changer for salon managers. You can automate employee pay and reduce paycheck errors which leads to happier employees and more time for salon managers to handle their other important tasks.
4. Staff scheduling software
Scheduling a salon comes with unique challenges for salon managers to navigate. When creating the schedule, you need to have enough stylists to handle walk-ins, but not so many that you have people who spend most of their time hoping someone comes in for a cut and color.
And if someone calls in sick—which happens—you have to find ways to rebook clients, which can be complicated because clients tend to book appointments with the stylist they’re committed to.
With smart scheduling software, you can easily create and share schedules, edit them on the fly, and even allow employees to trade shifts and coordinate covers. Easily keep track of black-out dates, time-off requests, and your team’s changing availability.
Staff scheduling software helps save time by automating the scheduling process and giving team members more control over their schedules. 87% of hourly workers identify “having control over my work schedule” as extremely important, and 55% said they would leave a job if they lacked control over their schedules.
You can easily manage all scheduling aspects with a staff scheduling software that lets you create and adjust employee schedules.
5. Time clock app
If you pay your salon staff hourly, keeping track of their hours, breaks, overtime, and paid time off is key. And while you can manually track all this information, using a time clock app can automate and streamline the process saving you and the salon—you guessed it—time.
A time clock app can accurately track hours to help you stay compliant with break and overtime laws. Plus, it gives you more control over your labor costs by reducing time theft and preventing overtime.
As a salon manager, time clock apps give you more transparency on days you may not be in the salon. Staff can clock in and out, and you’ll be able to see it all in the app without needing to be in the salon at all times.
To save even more time, look for a time clock app that integrates with your payroll software to pull in hours worked directly into your payroll. This saves you time and reduces the risk of human error.
Homebase: the all-in-one salon management solution
With so many different needs for salon management software, it’s a real win when you find something that ticks most of your “must-have” boxes. That’s exactly what Homebase does.
Homebase is your all-in-one salon management solution, keeping you covered for scheduling, payroll, time clocking, and team communication.
Stressing over schedules is a thing of the past with the Homebase scheduling app. Build, share, and optimize your salon schedule using a template or the auto-scheduling feature that bases your schedule on team availability, sales forecasts, and labor targets.
“As a small business, it’s vital that we have multi-purpose tools that assist with our daily operations. We use Homebase for scheduling time away, payroll and team communication.” — Joi and Val Jackson, owners of Hairizon
Homebase is a solution built for hourly employees. It’s all about making payroll painless for salon owners and managers. No more double data entry or worrying about compliance—Homebase automates your payroll process and helps you check all the boxes to stay compliant with taxes and FLSA record-keeping rules.
Tracking employee hours is as easy as opening an app with our free time clock app. Add your time clock to (almost) any device, and employees can clock in and out right from a phone, tablet, or computer.
Our free communication app gets you and your stylists in sync and makes communicating everything from sales to promotions to shifts that need to be covered as simple as sending a message to your entire team.
Best of all, Homebase integrates all these solutions. You can automatically send alerts for upcoming shifts and scheduling changes, and communicate important updates with your stylists all in one place. Your time clock entries automatically turn into timesheets to make payroll easier. That way, you’re not spending unnecessary time on data entry and potentially introducing errors.
Take control of your salon management with Homebase.
Salon management software FAQS
Why is salon management important?
Salon management is important because good salon management will help keep high-quality staff and existing clients, attract new clients, and increase revenue while improving your bottom line.
What does a salon manager do?
A salon manager handles running the salon’s day-to-day operational tasks. They oversee all aspects of the staffing, including scheduling, hiring new employees, and communicating with the salon team. They’re also responsible for inventory management, marketing, and maintaining the in-salon experience for clientele.
What kinds of management software do salons need?
There are different salon management software that salons can invest in to streamline their processes and improve client and staff satisfaction. These include (but aren’t limited to):
- A payroll system
- An online client booking system
- A team communication tool like a messaging app
- A scheduling software or app that integrates with payroll system
- A time clock app to track hours, overtime, breaks, and paid time off