As any salon owner knows, running a business successfully means juggling a lot of different priorities all at the same time. You need to build and maintain your team. You need to be selective about what inventory you stock and sell. You need to foster a salon culture that attracts the right employees and the right customers.
However different all of these priorities may sound, in reality they are all working toward the same general goal: Making your business more profitable so that you and your team can enjoy the financial stability that you all deserve.
One strategy that many salon’s pursue in order to boost their profit is a practice known as double booking. But is it really as beneficial as many salon owners think that it is? Is it the most effective means of increasing your revenue? Or is it actually doing your staff more harm than good, leading to burnout, employee turnover, and lower profits over time?
Below, we take a look at what double booking is, and the arguments both for and against it.
What is double booking?
Double booking is a term that refers to the practice of booking more than one client at a time and working on them simultaneously. For example, if a stylist will be performing a full balayage service on a client, they might book a second client with a smaller service, such as a haircut or root touch up, that can be completed while the first client is processing. The thinking behind double booking is that it lets the stylist get more done instead of simply waiting for the first client to process.
Advantages of Double Booking Appointments
The primary argument in favor of double booking, if you were to ask salons or stylists who follow the practice, is that it lets you make more money in the same amount of time because you are completing multiple services simultaneously. This lets you attend to more clients in a given day and week, potentially doubling your output or letting you cut back on the number of days or hours that you’re working in a week.
Disadvantages of Double Booking Appointments
At least, that’s how the thinking goes. In practice, however, we typically find that double booking rarely works out to be as beneficial as many stylists or salon owners think that it will be.
The misconception about double booking is that you are able to make more money in the same amount of time. Though this isn’t completely false, when you are focusing on more than one client at a time, it can really affect the client experience for the negative. This can make it difficult to retain clients, who might not want to return to you or your salon because they felt neglected during their last appointment.
Because double booking affects both how much time you spend with each client and the overall client experience, it can also make it more difficult to raise your prices and charge what you know you’re worth. You can’t argue that your time is worth the money, since you’re splitting your time between multiple clients; and you can’t argue that your client experience is worth the money, because you aren’t giving your undivided attention to each guest.
Double booking also makes it harder for you to upsell your clients on related services, which are typically higher margin (and quicker to perform) than a full service. After all, you can’t upsell if you don’t have the time or bandwidth for additional services.
Finally, double booking can also cause a stylist a lot of stress and ultimately burnout. Think about it: You’re not giving yourself any downtime between clients or during your day. It’s go, go, go, the whole time. And that makes work a whole lot less fun and less fulfilling.
Our Approach to Double Booking
Here at SALT Hair, we don’t double book for the simple reason that we believe the client experience should come before everything else.
When you give your full attention to a guest, it allows you to build a relationship with them that is made from trust and good communication. This is the case especially if the client has gone through some type of hair trauma with past stylists. These guests are one that need extra attention that they wouldn’t be able to receive if you were working on another client at the same time. By taking the time to do this, you are drastically improving their salon experience.
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