The bulk of a salon’s revenue may come from core menu items including cuts and color, but there’s no question that add-on services make for profitable perks. Expanding beyond the basics shows clients you’re current with top trends while also helping boost your business’ bottom line.
Hair extensions, strand smoothers and eyelash extensions are recommended add-on options because they don’t always require too much extra time. Further, it follows that a conversation regarding a smoothing hair treatment, for example, may naturally arise with a client already lamenting her frizzy tresses. In other words, the suggestion of an add-on treatment should never feel forced—hard sells are a sure way to lose customers. Here’s what you need to know about incorporating these three meaningful services into daily repertoires.
Expert: Andrea Adams, stylist at LifeSpa in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and international trainer for easihairpro.
Break the Ice: To start the add-on conversation, think show, not tell. Avoid turning off a client by suggesting an expensive extra service, and instead illustrate how hair extensions can infuse va-va-voom volume and length by sporting them on your own head. “Wear it to share it is my best piece of advice,” says Adams. “When you specialize in hair additions, you gain credibility by acting as a model.” Get the person in your chair to ask how you achieved fab hair, and the service is as good as booked. “Our guests look to us for advice on hot trends,” continues Adams. Staying in the know is part of a stylist’s job.
What to Charge: Consider a formula based on client need plus the look she hopes to achieve. Many companies (like easihairpo) take the guesswork out of pricing by providing fixed amounts for each specific style, along with à la carte options.
How to Plan: Extension application times run the gamut, anywhere from five minutes (clip-ins) to upwards of four hours (keratin hot fusion), with prices varying accordingly. Generally speaking, think simple if you’re suggesting add-ons, as most guests won’t have extra chair hours to spare. Tape-in and clip-in wefts (15 to 45 minutes) are best bets. “I also pride myself on being on time for clients, so I know well in advance if I’m falling behind and can adjust my options accordingly,” shares Adams.
Marketing Matter: Signage is a great conversation-starter, but in this case, less is more. “Too much signage feels overwhelming,” warns Adams. She further advocates for contests that require online engagement. “It’s 2019, and if you’re not marketing yourself on social media, you’re killing your business,” she adds. As an inherently visual platform, Instagram is a useful tool—especially for weft-assisted hairstyles.
Expert: Rachel Chambers, owner of Identity Salon in Stanwood, Washington.
Break the Ice: “Clients are there for your knowledge,” says Chambers. “As professionals, it’s our job to provide authentic solutions to tress problems.” Don’t be shy—most non-pros crave a glimpse inside your expert head. A solid consultation is the foundation of this relationship, when customers ask questions and hairdressers deliver tips.
What to Charge: There are as many smoothing treatment options as individual strand issues, so it won’t make sense to establish a single, universal price. Instead, Chambers suggests creating a guide that follows this equation: hair type (texture, porosity, condition; with higher costs for damaged hair) plus product price plus time investment equals price point.
How to Plan: Suggest the hair smoother that most specifically addresses each guest’s need. For example, Chambers loves to recommend a Keratin Complex Express Blowout or Vitalshot Bond Rebuilder to color clients. “I can complete that treatment in only 15 minutes, while also ensuring a smooth finish and locking in color,” she explains. If the solution to a problem is a smoothing treatment that requires too much additional time, she offers a discount for a later date.
Marketing Matters: Promotions are effective ways of retaining clientele. “I include the cost of the retail component into the treatment cost, then send clients home with an aftercare product,” says Chambers. “This ensures longevity and supports the next retail purchase.” Stylists are the ones who close each sale behind the chair, so educate staff (or stay up to date) on upcoming salon offers, goals and overarching plans. And strengthen your caché as a pro with your regulars; they’ll be your walking advertisements. “It’s easier to suggest extra services to an existing client, rather than pitch a brand-new customer,” shares Chambers.
Expert: Brittany Wilson, stylist at Nicole Marie’s Salon in Syracuse, New York.
Break the Ice: “Guests should feel like they’re coming to the salon to get pampered, not because it’s an obligation,” says Wilson. Building trust opens the door to organic communication about how customers might get even more out of their beauty experience. Wilson likes this follow-up: “I think you would look gorgeous with lash extensions, and I know the perfect look to flatter your eye shape.”
What to Charge: A new, full set runs from $150 to $400 for both eyes. “I like to offer a small deal if clients book their hair and lash appointments with me on the same day,” says Wilson. Ten percent off a service won’t break the salon bank, but may go a long way toward helping clients feel better about costs.
How to Plan: Full (as opposed to partial) lash applications generally take two hours to complete. (Most can be maintained with regular monthly touch-ups that require half the time.) Combined with a hair service, however, this same-day add-on might be too much to take on. “I’m a balayage specialist, so clients may already be spending more than three hours in my chair,” shares Wilson. As a compromise, she schedules extensions to coincide with glossing appointments that typically take place five weeks out. Urge guests to consider this a day of pampering that will result in refreshed color plus eye- popping lashes.
Marketing Matters: Make this service readily available on booking apps and list it as a business card item. The power of visual aids can’t be overestimated: Post before-and-after photos on social media. Wilson further advertises verbally to existing clients, but twice is the max amount of times to have that talk. “I bring up eyelash extensions during a hair service, then once more when scheduling follow-up appointments,” she says. After two “nos,” Wilson wraps up by saying, “Okay! If you’re ever interested, here’s how to book online.”
[Images: Getty Images]