Your Blueprint for Success…Behind the Chair

One of the greatest things about this business is that to a large degree,

you are in charge of your own income.


I have never heard of a salon owner saying: “No, you can’t do any more customers this week,” or “Do not hand out any more of your business cards,” or “I wish you wouldn’t work such long hours”.

Now, as you read through the following, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. I am not advocating that anyone become a workaholic or take away precious quality time from family. But if you have financial concerns or if you would like to buy a new car, house or put your kids through college, you will easily be able to do it by following this Blueprint for “Behind the Chair Success” Formula.

Learn & Enjoy!


The Beginning:

There are only four ways to make more money servicing clients from behind a chair. (NOTE: You can also make money on retail but here we are talking about services)

#1-Do More Clients
#2-Increase Your Average Ticket Amount
#3-Generate More Client Visits Per Year
#4-Increase Your Prices

#1—Doing More Clients

Doing more clients can be done in several ways.

#1– Work Longer Hours

If you charge $40 for a basic single process touchup and add one more hour to your day at five days per week, it will increase your total sales by $200 per week or $800 per month or $9,600 per year.

Assuming you get paid 50% commission, you would take home $4,800 more per year.

That would easily pay for a new car.

#2 – Work More Days Per Week

If you presently work part-time but are wishing you had more money at the end of the month, you could easily add a few more hours per week.

#3 – Work A Couple Extra Days Per Month

Even if you are presently working full time, many salons are now open seven days per week. If you just added two half-days or an extra full day per month, you would be able to increase your income by an average of:

8 clients per day (your extra day per month) X the average price of $50 per client. At the end of the year you would have $4,800 in sales and at 50% commission you would increase your salary by $2,400 per year.

#2–Increase Your Average Ticket Price

Before you read this section, please understand that I am in no way shape or form suggesting that you sell add-on services to clients that they either don’t need or don’t want.

Over the years I have seen hairdressers engage in unscrupulous practices selling services to clients without the client even knowing exactly what they were paying for, such as color washes, glosser’s, glazes, etc.

However, if a client requests a certain color service or if you have a color enhancement service to offer your client from which you feel she would definitely benefit, by all means, it is your job and your duty, as her haircolorist and advisor, to make her aware of the product or the process. But you must let her make up her own logical decision whether or not she would like to buy it or try it.

I have never been a great retail person. But if there is a color enhancement service or product in which I truly believe, I can promote and sell that product or service without any problem.

We all sell in different ways. Because I am not a great retail person, I found the best way for me to sell a product or service, is to suggest a new product or service to a client, not sell a new product or service.

Then I back up my suggestion with education. This means that I educate my client about the product or service and, during my educational talk, I’ll explain to them why I think this product or service will be good for them. (Remember, sell on benefits, not features).

I find that the power of suggestion is amazing. Remember the credibility factor. My clients are receiving this suggestion from someone they know and trust.

They know that I am not the type of hairdresser that tries to sell them something every time they walk in the door. So when I do have something that I really believe would benefit them, they usually listen to me and try it.

Never, never abuse the power you have as their professional beauty advisor. Sooner or later you will be found out and you will lose your client and all of her friends or relatives.

#3–More Client Visits Per Year

Obviously, it stands to reason that a client will spend more money in your salon, if she came to you once per month (12 times per year) versus every six weeks (8 times per year). But what are the determining factors that require a client to commit more often?

As I have already stated, do not succumb to unscrupulous practices. It’s not worth telling a client that she should come more often than reasonably necessary. However, there are some real reasons why it may be necessary for a certain client to come in to see you more often than others.

1 – Double Process Blondes

As I have stated in my book, Stunning Double Process Blondes, I will only take on a double process blonde client, if she agrees to be in my chair every 3-5 weeks (usually it’s about four weeks) depending on her rate of growth.

The reason for this is obvious. I don’t want to have to deal with gold bands or uneven bleach-outs that can occur with this type of process. For more information on double process blondes check out the aforementioned book.

2 – Aging Baby Boomers

As I have spoken about in my book, Great Gray Coverage, a major portion of your business as a haircolor specialist is going to be serving aging baby boomers who are rapidly turning gray.

Over the years I have had many clients start out every six or eight weeks as gray coverage clients and, within a few short years, become 3 to 4 week touch up applications all because they hated to see the gray roots.

The really great news for us haircolor specialists is that there is no stopping this trend. The “Graying of America” (and the rest of the world, for that matter) will continue for the rest of our lives. As haircolor specialists, we are in what I call the “Golden Age of Haircolor Opportunity”.

That is to say, we are in a prime position, as haircolor specialists, to reap the profits of an aging generation of people who cherish looking more youthful and are willing to pay for it.

3 – Clients Willing to Experiment with more Dramatic Haircolor Changes

The experienced haircolor client (this could be a teenager, baby boomer or senior) is the one that is daring and always wants to try something different with her haircolor.

Now, at first you may be thinking, “What do dramatic haircolor changes have to do with frequency of visits?”

And here’s the secret:

The further away you take a client from her natural haircolor, the more dramatic the look and the more obvious the regrowth is going to be.

This is what I call “high-maintenance clients.”

And, once a client as been bit by the “Color Change Bug”, she will be among some of your most profitable clients.

4 — Increase Your Prices

If you are a new colorist, your prices will probably be lower than most other colorists in the salon. But as you gain experience, simultaneously, your prices will go up. As your prices increase, so will your income.

However, on the other hand, having more seniority than others in the salon does not automatically mean that you are able to, or should, charge more.

In my salon, price increases have to be warranted and are not entitled.

Let me explain.

It all has to do with the quality of work and supply and demand.
Quality of Work
Obviously, quality of work means that, before a colorist is allowed to raise his/her prices, I must agree that his/her work is worth the extra charge.

I have to feel confident that those colorists are very reliable and capable of tackling any haircolor situation they will encounter, without any help from me or another senior colorist.

Services such as color correction, double process blonding, gray coverage and double process redheads should be second nature to them.

Once a colorist has proven to me that he/she is capable and competent in those scenarios, he/she will then be allowed to raise his/her prices based on supply and demand.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand means how much time is available on their book (the supply) and how many clients are requesting that time (the demand).

Before a colorist is allowed to raise his/her prices (even if the quality of work is great), he/she has to be booked at least 80% of the time with request clients.

Any less than 80%, the colorist does not qualify for a price increase unless the salon as a whole has an automatic price increase.

What this means is that I don’t care how many years of experience someone has or what kind of advanced training he/she has had, if he/she cannot prove to me that he/she can create an 80% request book, he/she will not be eligible to increase prices.

However, on the other hand, even if you are a relatively new colorist (say only 1 or 2 years on the floor), through your quality of work and over 80% client request demand, you would be eligible to receive a price increase.

The way this business works, in general, is the higher in demand you are, the more you can charge.

I have actually had young 22-24 year-old colorists make more money than colorists that have been at it for over 30 years.

This concept is not new. Just to give you a bit of advice, if I was a young colorist starting out today, I would practice my skills, techniques and timing every chance I got and also promote myself like crazy to everyone I meet.

I would read books on self-promotion and give business cards to all of my acquaintances and family to give to their friends and relatives.

I would use social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Linkedin as my online portfolios.

I call this the “One-two Punch”.

I would not wait around for the salon to give me clients (although when they do, it would be greatly appreciated), like I see so many hairdressers do. Instead, I would (and have) take charge of my own income and my future by learning to promote my skills and myself.

Using this one-two punch, I have had hairdressers go from zero to booked solid in six months or less, and this concept will work for you regardless of your age or years in the business… it’s never too late to make a new start.

How do I know?

Because I have moved several times throughout my life and had to start all over from scratch and rebuild my entire clientele four times.

1. 1974 started in my hometown, Tampa Florida
2. 1976 moved to London, England
3. 1978 moved to New York City
4. 1998 moved to Pennsylvania

Using a one-two punch (The Blueprint for Success), anyone can become successful in this business if they are willing to put in the effort.

Please leave a comment below, thanks, David


Comments are closed.