We are almost there. This is the final installment in our Starting from Scratch series. If you have already settled on the hours of operation for your salon business, you will now want to start thinking about the optimal scheduling of your salon workers. Pay close attention to this one. This will save you frustration, headaches, and loss of productivity.
Most salon owners want to hire as many stylists as they have chairs. Some even have station sharing. This can be a good idea for a bustling seasoned business. However, you are most likely not going to start off this way. Take it from someone who started off right where you are at right now!
Scheduling Tips From a Seasoned Salon Professional
One of the most important things I learned from my corporate background in the salon business was from a very specific salon program. We used these guidelines and benchmarks every day. At first, I was skeptical, to say the least. We let go of ALL full-time employees. What? Why? Who does that? What were they thinking?
I was asking all these questions in my own mind while I was a witness to the process. You see, they were implementing a new program. In order to gain complete compliance, they needed to start fresh. All those who had been functioning the old way would be defiant, buck the system, and cause a distraction to the new process. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
How to Schedule Salon Employee Hours
When you look at the hours of operation, you need to schedule your new staff for no more than 20 hours. I know this sounds counterproductive, but let me explain.
The hours that will be the most requested will be first thing in the morning and the fewest hours that will be requested will be from 3pm-6pm. The hours in between will be very quiet. Why would you want to schedule an employee for 8 hours when they will only be productive for 3-4 of the 8 hours? Your employees will wander around, read magazines, hang out on social media or just be a mosquito buzzing around your head while they are bored.
Salon Business Employee Schedule Example
Let me show you how I scheduled my employees starting with my own hours for myself:
- Tuesday: 9am-3pm
- Wednesday: off
- Thursday: 9am-2pm
- Friday: 4pm-8pm
- Saturday: 8am-2pm
- Tuesday: 3pm-8pm
- Wednesday: 9am-3pm
- Thursday: off
- Friday: 9am-2pm
- Saturday: 11am-4pm
- Tuesday: off
- Wednesday: 3pm-8pm
- Thursday: 2pm-6pm
- Friday: 11am-3pm
- Saturday: 9am-4pm
- Tuesday: 11am-4pm
- Wednesday: 12pm-5pm
- Thursday: off
- Friday: 2pm-6pm
- Saturday: 12pm-5pm
- Tuesday: 4pm-8pm
- Wednesday: off
- Thursday: 11am-4pm
- Friday: 10am-2pm
- Saturday: 1pm-5pm
Scheduling Strategy for Salon Workers
As you can see, I only schedule 5-6 hour shifts max. As your stylists grow their business, you can add hours here and there. Taking a closer look at the scheduling strategy I am using here, the basis is to only schedule your team members when they are more prone to have appointments scheduled, or would be open for walk-ins.
Many salons have hours that have less traffic. Dinner time is slower. Lunchtime can be busy. First thing in the morning will be busy. Your downtime hours will be more mid-day, early afternoon, and later in the days on Saturdays. Most salons will be winding down Saturday around 3-4pm unless you are in a busy retail center or shopping mall. The first day you are open after the weekend will be busier. Make sure you take these things into consideration when planning your scheduling.
Take Note of a Booked Schedule
Plan ahead — let your employees know if they are fully booked during the hours they are scheduled. Let them know they can add more hours in those cases. Employees must be fully booked for three months in a row before adding to their hours on a permanent basis. Three months is a good indicator that they are building and it’s not just a fluke.
If they are fully booked before the 3-month mark, do not be afraid to add an hour or two to their schedule once in a while to accommodate any referrals or walk-in business. You can be a little flexible. You do not want to discourage your employees from growing or turn clients away because of any strict scheduling rules.
You may have to offer your clients an incentive to book appointments for less busy hours — something we will address in a future blog post. There are things you can do as a business owner to entice clients to book on quieter days and hours.
Ask Employees About Scheduling
When I was scheduling my staff, I gave each staff member a blank schedule form and asked them to put down their dream schedule. To my surprise, my staff was realistic — they wanted to work the days they knew would be busier. This included Saturdays. We even worked out a rotating Saturday schedule.
Every team member got 2 Saturdays a month off. So twice a month, my team members got Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off to recharge their batteries, spend quality time with their families, and pursue their hobbies and other interests.
There is something to be said about work-life balance. If your team members are busily working with a good quality life, they will be more inclined to stay with your salon. They will feel valued and appreciated. Always remember to check with your team from time to time. Make sure you are keeping up with the things that are working for them and for your business.
When you think it may be time to add staff, be sure to take a hard look at the hours you need to be covered. Start there.
So, lets recap:
Decide on the Hours of Operation for Staff
When deciding on hours of operation for your staff, follow this guideline:
- Think about how many staff members you will be scheduling.
- Start with 20-24 hour schedules to reduce the downtime that creates boredom and mischief.
- Schedule the hours that you will be busiest first. (first thing in the morning and early evening.)
- Fill in the gaps, giving each employee an hour in their schedule for downtime — this spreads out the downtime to all staff members.
- Think about rotating Saturdays, giving your team some quality of life work and home balance.
This is meant to serve as a guideline to help you get off to a good start. You will need about 6-8 months into your business to see what trends are developing in your area.
Adjust Hours Based on Demand
I worked in an area that was heavily populated with 55+ age group. I had to adjust my hours to accommodate their needs. These ladies are up at dawns first light. They want to be home and off the streets by 3:00pm. That was an eye opener for me. I was used to a younger crowd that didn’t get their motors running until early evening. I made the adjustments and now I am early to work.
Take your area’s schedule in mind when you are deciding on hours of operation for your salon.
Start Your Salon Business!
We hope you enjoyed this Starting From Scratch series! If you didn’t catch all of the installments of this series, check out all of the salon business advice here on the Glad Lash blog! Share this with anyone you know that is excited to start their own salon business! If you need any GladGirl salon equipment or products to get started, feel free to browse our inventory online!