You may have started your salon business with just a few chairs operating, and a hand-picked team. Between equipment, and product choices, employee training, client marketing, and all of the other details, salon software might have been the last thing on your mind. You have been managing without computers to book appointments and to ring clients up. No harm done, right? Or have you?
It’s true that you can operate without software, and it may seem more convenient than buying a computer and learning how to use the program. Sometimes, the front desk staff pushes back against having to learn new technology, preferring a paper and pencil appointment book, white-out and all. However, salon software presents many advantages and efficiencies, both in daily operations and for management evaluation.
If you don’t currently use salon software, you probably still have a good idea of how much revenue constitutes a good day for your hair salon. You may know your break-even number for the week or even for the day, and can relax when the till fills up. However, if you wanted to replicate those results tomorrow, how would you do it? You need more information about HOW those sales were created, and that is something that software provides. Which of your stylists has the highest average ticket? Who has the highest client retention? Who sells the most retail? The answers to these questions don’t come from counting your revenues, they come from the statistics you collect through your software.
Using salon software is not an all-or-nothing option, so if you’re not currently using computers, you don’t have to go from 0-60. In fact, deploying software is often best done in stages. The priority would be to begin with the point-of-sale function essentially, the sales register. In order to do this, you would need to enter all of your services, technicians, products and prices into the system, but then you’re good to go. Ringing up sales of services and products will provide you with detailed daily reports on who is selling what, which can be very illuminating. You’ll also be collecting information on who is buying what, which can help you with your marketing efforts.
Once your staff is comfortable using the point-of-sale, you can start tracking inventory with the software, especially retail. You may be losing money right now, between shrinkage and inefficient purchasing, and the sooner you know that, the sooner you can fix it. Gift card and certificate sales are also easily generated with your software; tracking is seamless and you will have ready access to details such as your outstanding gift card liability.
Appointment booking is often the last piece that is put into place, and it may go more smoothly once staff is familiar with the program. Look ahead at your books, and pick a date in the future, maybe six or eight weeks from now, after which all appointments should be booked in the computer, not the paper book. then work backward from that date. Many salons continue to keep a paper book along with the computerized appointments for the first couple of weeks, but once the integration is complete the paper book needs to disappear; keeping two appointment books is a recipe for mistakes down the road.
Perhaps you are content just having your business generate whatever revenues come easily. But if you are looking to grow or expand, using salon software will help you to be more strategic with your plans. Salon software provides data and systems, which lead to consistency and structure for your business performance, all of which are crucial to creating a long-lasting enterprise. Remember the old adage, “You can’t improve what you don’t know!”
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