If you’re thinking about opening your own salon, congratulations! This is a tremendous accomplishment and an exciting time.
Many factors will influence your success, including your vision, determination, discipline, and drive. But there is so much more that goes into running a salon than a willingness to work hard. It also takes a lot of thought, planning, and execution.
One area that we often see aspiring salon owners struggle is in creating their salon’s policies. While they might not be the most exciting aspect of running your own salon, the truth is that they play an important role in protecting your business, your stylists, and your time. That’s why it’s so important that you take the time to nail down your salon’s policies before you open your doors.
(Already open? These same tips apply to you too! It’s never too late to pivot!)
Below, we outline eight of the most important salon policies that you should be focused on creating and offer a number of tips that will help you implement these policies in your salon. This includes policies aimed at both your staff as well as your clients.
Salon Staff Policies
1. Dress Code
Your stylists and employees are representatives of your business and culture, so it’s important that they dress the part. Settling your dress code policy (what’s allowed, what isn’t, etc.) and communicating it to all new hires right from the start will be much easier than trying to implement a dress code after not having one.
For example, here at SALT, we believe that it’s important to dress for the career that you want. If you want to be able to charge a higher price for your services, then you need to look the part! That doesn’t mean you can’t express your individuality; we encourage our stylists to always be themselves. But it should be done in a professional way.
2. Company Communication Policy
This specifically refers to company communication with clients. Do you want your stylists to be able to book their own appointments, or do you want all communications to go through the front desk? Do you want your stylists to handle client disputes, or will you have a specified employee for those issues? There are no right or wrong answers here, but it’s important to have a clear idea of how you want communication to flow in your salon.
At SALT, we’re a commission salon. With that in mind, we require that all client communication is handled through our front desk, meaning our stylists are not allowed to book their own appointments.
3. Social Media Policies
Having a clear social media strategy is an incredibly important part of running a modern salon. So is having a social media policy for your employees! Try to answer the following questions so that all of your employees know what your policies are:
- Do employees need to have their own social media accounts?
- What types of content are not allowed on these accounts?
- What are the repercussions for breaking the policy?
For example, here at SALT we require all of our stylists to have their own professional social media account to market their work and the salon in general. This policy also assures that all content posted is appropriate, work related, and can be reposted by our salon accounts.
4. Time-Off Requests
Scheduling is everything when it comes to running a business. Without a clear schedule of who will be working and when they’ll be working, it’s impossible to book appointments and keep your salon operating smoothly. That’s why having a clear policy for time-off requests is so important. In this policy, seek to address:
- Time frame: How far in advance do your employees need to request time off? When does paid time off (if offered) kick in?
- Limits: How many days off per month/year are your employees allowed?
- Emergencies: We all know that emergencies come up. What kind of situations would your salon consider an emergency that would allow an employee to go against these policies (example: a death in the family) and how will you address them as a team?
- Repercussions: What are the repercussions your staff can expect if they break the policy?
5. Cancellation Policy
Unless your salon is powered entirely by walk-ins, you need to have a cancellation policy in place to protect your time and your ability to make money. This should outline a number of key pieces of information, including:
- How far in advance of the appointment your client can cancel
- Whether or not there is a cancellation fee and what that fee is
- How many chances a client gets before they are no longer able to make an appointment
Remember, if you’ve booked an appointment and they cancel at the last minute, you’ve lost your ability to book another appointment to make money. It’s only natural that an action like this would come with some kind of a cost!
6. Card Holding Policy
This is actually secondary to the cancellation policy, and might even be included in that policy. Simply put, this is a policy which requires that all clients must have their card on file in order to finalize their appointment.
Like an insurance policy, it holds clients accountable for last minute cancelled appointments or worse, no shows. It allows you to automatically charge the cancellation fee regardless of whether or not the client fights back. This will help you keep your clients dependable and prevents your stylists from losing all income that service would have brought in.
7. Rescheduling Policy
There will always be an exception to every rule, and that holds true for the cancellation policy. If a client calls on the day of an appointment and needs to reschedule due to a true emergency, you might choose not to charge them the cancellation fee so long as they reschedule for another time and date. (This is especially true for long-time, loyal clients.)
It’s important, however, to outline a policy for what exactly constitutes an emergency and when a last-minute cancellation will be tolerated. Without these guidelines, it’s possible that your leniency could be taken advantage of.
8. No-Show Policy
Finally, and related to the above, you should have a policy for what happens if a client simply doesn’t show for an appointment without attempting to communicate with you about it.
Many salons charge no-shows a percentage of the fee they would have paid for whatever service they had booked. Usually, this translates into a percentage of the final price based on the amount of time that the salon lost.
Remember to communicate with the client so they know that they are going to be charged, and to hopefully convince them to reschedule for a future time. You may want to institute a policy of removing clients from your books if they no-show multiple times.
Depending on the scenario, you might also find your salon in need of other special policies from time to time. For example, most salons are currently operating with special COVID-19 policies in place regarding mask wearing, sanitization practices, capacity limits, etc. These policies should always align with the laws and regulations passed by your locality.
Implementing Effective Salon Policies
Having your policies outlined is only one part of the process. You must also take the time to communicate these policies to your staff and clients.
From an employee standpoint, we recommend creating an employee handbook and contract that states all of these policies. During hiring and training of a new employee, these policies should be reviewed in detail and signed by the employee ensuring they understand and agree to the terms of the handbook.
From a client standpoint, it’s critical that you actually stand by your policies. Not all clients respect the salon industry and can very easily take advantage of your team's time. This affects the stylists and your bottom line as a salon owner. Communicating these policies from the very beginning and sticking to them is one of the best things you can do for your business. Any time a new client books an appointment, take the time to go over your policies. Consider doing this by phone as well as email.
The Keys to Running Your Salon Smoothly
Defining and executing your salon’s policies are one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the success of your salon, so it’s important to get it right. Download our Salon Business Policies PDF below for more advice and tips! If you’re in the process of starting or revamping your salon, you might also consider signing up for our Salon Consulting Program where we answer all of your business-related questions!