Why, When and How Not to Accept New Hair Clients

You’ve doubtless seen it on many Instagram profiles, and maybe even considered stating it yourself: “No longer accepting new clients.” Why—and moreover, when—should you consider broadcasting this information? We spoke to Amy McManus (@camouflageandbalayage) and Danielle Canseco (@danielleemilie) about their experiences to shed some light. 

Danielle Canseco closed her books to new clients to manage her timeBoth women are seasoned stylists and educators, and both have successful IG pages—McManus has more than 223,000 followers and Canseco has 16,000-plus followers on her own page, plus another 26,500-plus followers on her education page, @three_coloreducation. In other words, they’re both very busy. But in Canseco’s case, it wasn’t until she opted to move to a new salon that she realized the scope of the problem. “I decided I should make the move on a slow week,” remembers Canseco. “But when I looked at my books, I realized I was booked solid for many months—solid meaning 10- to 12-hour days.” Many, including Canseco, would argue this is a good problem to have, but when you’re consulting via text and communicating with new clients through IG direct messages, the tedium can take a toll. 

Amy McManus reopened her books to new clients after decreasing her traveling scheduleMcManus experienced a similar situation. “I couldn’t keep up with the amount of messages I was receiving and I was traveling a ton,” she recalls. “I wasn’t in the salon as much since I was on a plane most weekends traveling to teach. I book only through DM on Instagram, so the messages were getting daunting.”

Many leaders argue that when your client list becomes overbooked, rather than closing your books, the best way to free up some time is to raise prices. However, increasing their service prices didn’t curtail the amount of messaging both stylists received, so they opted to put “No longer accepting new clients” in their IG bios. And yes, even though they ran the risk of losing out on potentially higher-paying clients, they decided that their education commitments and spending less time responding to queries was worth it. 

However, when McManus decided to curtail her education responsibilities, she resolved to again welcome new clients. “I opened my books back up when I stopped traveling,” she relates. “My clients don’t come in that often due to the ease of their grow-out so I need more clients to fill my books. I’d say I now take about five to six new clients a month.”

And while Canseco originally thought that not accepting new clients would be a temporary fix, she’s happy with how her life is more balanced now. Additionally, she realizes that this may not be for everyone. “I had a fairly busy schedule prior to gaining attention on IG, so I was confident about still having enough clientele to keep my books in a comfortable place,” she explains. “My goal with these changes was to work less but not see a decrease in pay. So far, I’m happy with the results.”

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