When Is It Financially Viable To Step Out From Behind The Chair?

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This question comes up all the time, but because it all depends on where you’re at with your business, no answer will ever fit all situations. If, though, you were to be asked about your desire and plans for stepping out from behind the chair, the answer would probably be something like: “never unless I want to retire!”

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As an ex-hairdresser, I’m still passionate about hair. I still have some hairdressing clients. If you’re like me, being behind the chair is probably something you thoroughly enjoy and want to keep your hand in – at least with your favourite clients.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cut down on your hours, or concentrate on building your business instead of being on the floor.

Before anything else, I strongly recommend you take the time to discuss any plans with your team. Suddenly dropping your hours could create a panic. Call a team meeting, explain what you’re doing and why. If you want to retire, then you might have to tell them you want to work fewer hours to spend time with your family!

If You Want To Step Out Or Lessen Your Time Behind The Chair, Make Sure You Know Your Numbers

First things first, get cashflow projections drawn up (or do it yourself), so you can keep a close eye on income and expenses.

Next, you need to have a good handle on your numbers. How much income do you personally generate in the salon?

Say you put up your prices by just 20%; you could lose 20% of your client base and still make more profit. If you have favourite clients and are worried they might leave, tell them your prices are going up, but that you can offer a transition option (if you wish, and of your choosing… just not 20%).

Staff Utilisation

Make sure you know how busy each employee has been over the past year, and look at trends. If you have an employee on your payroll who steadily hasn’t been growing their clientele, figure out why and speak to them about it. If the situation doesn’t change and isn’t caused by not having enough new clients through the door, then you should let them go. Unfortunately, they become a liability to your business and without any signs of improvement, the situation won’t be sustainable as you grow.

If You Don’t Have One, Hire A Manager

If you don’t already have one, you will need a manager to step out or reduce your time behind the chair. Promote or hire someone who shares your values, can make sure daily targets are met, and that standards don’t slip. Don’t pick your manager based on how much money they generate for you! Just because they are a good producer doesn’t mean they’re great at managing.

Listen to Phorest FM Episode 28, in which Salon Manager Kristina Malone discusses how to provide customers & prospective clients with the best possible customer service and experience before, during and after their appointments:

Start by giving your manager more responsibility. If you’re not going to be in the salon as much, can they inherit the responsibility of ordering stock, checking up on sales targets and other key day-to-day operations and issues (like staff utilisation)? A clear job description allows you to put KPIs in place, which you can look at with them each month.

Remember: delegate, don’t abdicate.

If you have questions about finance, business numbers or are looking for other business advice you can join my Facebook group Knowing Your Numbers. It’s a safe place to ask questions and find out more about numbers in a supportive environment. 


Gloria Murray is also on the Salon Mentorship Hub! If you’d like to discuss a specific topic, you can click here and book a free 15 to 30 minute consultation with her. Got feedback? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us @ThePhorestWord! (Pssst! We’re on Instagram too!)

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow


Featured imaged shot on location of Aviary Lane. © Phorest Salon Software.

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