When venturing out into the salon industry in your own business as a stylist and salon owner, especially in a studio setting, you have the opportunity to create a unique salon experience tailored to your brand and clientele. Along with that experience and freedom we must put policies in place to set boundaries with clients, both new and tenured, to ensure you are setting the expectations from the beginning to protect not only yourself and your clients, but the longevity and financial success of your business.
I opened Daicy//Figueiredo in 2013 inside Sola Salons in Prairie Village, Kansas. Coming directly from a commission salon, I had no idea how to begin to operate a studio because it was so new to the industry and because of the way I was trained in a traditional commission based salon environment. I used the knowledge and practices I had learned while working in my previous salons to get started while introducing this new type of salon experience to my existing clientele.
In my early days just starting out, I would say I was much more lax on policies as I was just concerned about getting clients in the door and paying bills, so I would work as long and as hard as needed for all clients due to the fear of losing them. There were some incidents I recall where clients would expect me to bend over backwards for them and when I was unable to do so, they took that as their reason to leave. I used to get so offended when clients did this, because I thought my clients were my “friends."
What I learned is there are going to be clients that look for a reason to leave and go elsewhere and you have to just accept that and move on. You have to set those boundaries to ensure your own health and well being in your business to be able to provide the best service for your clients as well. You have to set those “work hours” so clients know you are not available 24/7 for them.
Over time as Daicy//Figueiredo grew, we built a branded website, created formal policies and procedures, lessened my work hours and began to hold clients accountable for missing appointments or late cancellations as I valued my time in the salon more as I gained more confidence and experience working for myself. Once you change your mindset to value your time, your experience and your business, that is when you really start thriving as a salon/ business owner.
You learn to say no and set those boundaries for clients to show them you are running a business and with that comes policies that are implemented to ensure clients follow them and you are able to grow your business. One missed appointment a day then multiplied weekly, monthly, annually can have a huge impact on your losses for the year if you don’t have policies in place to combat that.
Some of our policies we have laid out to provide the best experience for all clients in the studio are as follows:
• Cancellation Policies: Each client receives an email/text reminder 48 hours in advance. If they are unable to keep the appointment we ask them to contact us to reschedule/cancel 48 hours in advance to allow us time to get the spot filled by another client. Should the client cancel less than 48 hours, or no-show an appointment, we do charge a 100% service cancellation. This policy is laid out on our website as well as in our email reminders and email newsletter communications. We will invoice the client for the cancellation fee unless we are in fact able to get the spot filled. Of course, exceptions may be made if there are extenuating circumstances.
• Covid Policies: During the pandemic we were very transparent about our ever changing policies with Covid trying to follow state/local guidelines after reopening. Our clients were very understanding. We required masks, no additional guests, no beverages being offered, contactless payments, extra sanitizing of the salon, etc. Even as we went through the year it was an ever-changing landscape and we would add/remove policies as we felt fit at the time, our #1 priority was to provide a safe salon environment for both our clients and myself. Now we meet our clients where they are, comfort wise. If they choose to wear a mask, I will wear a mask to make them feel comfortable in my chair.
• Scheduling Policies: Due to the way I book, online booking just isn’t a feature I offer for clients. I am fortunate to have help with client scheduling; I am behind the chair all day it is too hard for me to get back to my clients in a timely manner. For all of our client communications, we ask our clients to contact my husband directly for any assistance in scheduling or rescheduling appointments. My clients have adapted well to contacting him with their appointment needs, and he is always working a running waitlist to get clients back in, fill cancellations when possible or contact clients that have not been in for some time.
• Experience Policy: At Daicy//Figueiredo we operate an inclusive salon, welcoming all guests no matter how they identify. We pride ourselves on creating a one-of-a-kind premiere experience with unparalleled customer service, which begins the moment you walk through our door. While guests are in the salon we ask that they respect other clients in the salon at the same time to be sure everyone leaves having a great experience in the studio.
• New Client Policy: Since we do not have an ongoing relationship with new clients, once they contact us to inquire about an appointment (generally through our website new client form) upon contacting them to find out their needs, once we proceed with booking we do ask for a credit card to add to their customer profile to ensure we are covered if they do not show up for their appointment, along with advising them on our cancellation policies. As far as accepting new clients, we let them know during the holiday season (Nov-Dec) we do not schedule new clients as that holiday season rush is reserved for existing clients we want to be sure are serviced first.
• Payment Policies: We accept all forms of payment-- Cash, Venmo, Credit Card, Contactless, Apple Pay, and checks (with a return check fee policy). New clients must have a credit card on file, missed appointments/cancellations more than two times will require a credit card on file to reschedule, any missed appointments/late cancels will be invoiced for the cancellation fee for their service.
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