Salon & Spa Recovery Checklist

Salon & Spa RECOVERY Checklist
Christopher Brazy
Salon & Spa Recovery Checklist on
This “Quick-Fix & Turnaround” Salon & Spa marketing and compensation recovery plan comes from a recent question a member asked who had to save her business and fast!

This plan also works for those who really don’t know where to start or what to do. Here are the top areas of concern and progression you should consider taking ASAP.

1st Look at your numbers. Know what your monthly fixed, variable and periodic expenses are so you know what you need to do. A simple “plus” and “minus” column for each sale and each expense will be a good start.

2nd Set a goal using specific numbers and write it down. Keep this DAILY goal in view, up front. We even write what we need to do daily down so we can keep track throughout the day where we are.

3rd FIX your highest expense (compensation) immediately. Are you paying over 42% for your staffs’ pay (massage therapists, aestheticians, front desk and management WITH taxes included)? If so it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see a penny for yourself. MANY of our members HAVE made the switchover and are now profitable. Tackle it on your own, solicit help from the forums, hire us and our “compensation switchover” package, whatever, just do it!

4th Look at other expenses and fix them. MANY of your expenses can be lowered. Renegotiate your rent. Get smart with your advertising. Do you need 3 phone lines? What can and should you do about your open hours?

5th Look at other places your leaving money on the table (rescheduling, retail and esthetics). This takes implementing systems and training (do you have our dvds?). Put a system in place on how to answer the phone, book clients, handle upsells and add-ons, recommend retail and reschedule.

6th Only making money with half of your sales? Retail should be a high markup line like Alexandra. If 50% pay for staff leaves you with nothing, why do we think 50% for skin and bodycare (plus 10% commission & 5% shipping) will work?

NOW that your machine is well oiled, running smoothly and not leaving money on the table, it’s time to ramp up the marketing. Some of these items can begin immediately, but the more expensive advertising should wait until you’ve cleaned house with the above items.

Work your back-end existing clients first ( for new and regular clients, open houses, special events, etc).
Utilize to collect emails and send updates automatically. Call me when you sign up so I can help you get it setup right (if you miss one step you’ll regret it for life) … you should do this TODAY.
Send direct mail via to attract new clients.
Setup PPC campaigns on google, yahoo, bing and facebook.
Create a google/lbc listing.
Revamp your website so it’s web 2.0 using our services.
Start gathering video testimonials, and smother youtube with them.
Implement a HUGE referral program.
TV is great if you’ve got a budget, it ALWAYS pays for itself month after month with us (call for details).
Social media is good (youtube, facebook, twitter and a blog).

LASTLY? Consider joining our VIP program. The movers and shakers on there are making a BIG difference in their business.
So print this out and begin where you feel would be most beneficial for your salon or day spa.

“Take Action”

How To Get More Repeat Salon Spa Clients

How To Get More Repeat Salon Spa Clients
Christopher Brazy
repeat salon clients
Rebooking a client is CRUCIAL to any spas survival. Services are where the bulk of our money is and with all the costs associated with getting a new client in, we let them walk out without rescheduling them. We probably won’t see them again for another year, if they haven’t been stolen away by another spa that’s more on the ball by then. No wonder so many spas are having a tough time at it.

Importance of Regulars
Let’s start with some motivation and what a “regular” means. Most spa visitors come what, once a year or once a quarter if we’re lucky. And it often costs us $$$ to get that new client into the door. Imagine how much we’d $ave if we got a client to visit sooner instead of finding a new one. Well, we’d first save on that $$$ to get them in the door and if they came 4x as often, that’s 4 times the income! Could you imagine if we took all our yearly clients (probably 80% of your list) and made them into regulars that came 4 to 12 times/year? A spa that would normally do $240,000/year would be doing $800,000/year. That’s a jump! So how do you turn a yearly visitor to a monthly regular (our lifeblood!)? Much of it is done BEFORE the service even starts.

The Three P’s
A consultation in advance will help you achieve your rebooking goals. DO NOT hand a new client a pile of forms and ask them to fill them out. That’s a waste of their time and an insult when the caregiver walks in and asks the same questions they just took 15 minutes writing down answers to. INSTEAD, try this:
Have the receptionist get all the basic info (name, addy, phone, credit info, etc) upon booking the appointment.
Have the caregiver’s consultation focus on three things. Finding out their preferences, uncovering their problem/concerns and preparing a plan to fix it.

A consultation that focuses on the three P’s (preferences, problem & plan) will help the client take action on achieving their health care goals instead of procrastinating them away. People rarely take care of themselves so we need to help them prioritize their health care goals. After all, why are they getting a service anyway? Because their skin/body NEEDS it. The thing is we’re lucky that they’re here at all, let alone back in a month to continue working on their needs. Find their concern/problem AND GET THEM INVOLVED WITH IT and you’ll find a new regular. Nothing has a magical fix that can be taken care of in one treatment and then ignored. Multiple visits are required. But that will never happen if the client isn’t emotionally involved. They don’t just come in and say “oh my God! I hate my skin, please fix me!” They come in and say “oh I just got a gift certificate and thought this would be nice.” It’s up to you to find out their real concerns which takes some probing… actually, a lot of probing. We’ll go over this deeper in our “consultation” article.

Exclusive, Limited & Yummy!
What if the client just didn’t open up and your staff can’t get people on board with a treatment plan to meet their goals? Try something else. Sell to the “yummy-ness!” People love the personal touch spas offer and if you can give them a good enough excuse to be back in, they will. Setup a series of limited, exotic treatments that are just to die for. Since they’re only available for a month or two you should have good luck getting them back in to try them out. When the client is checking out have a little promo/sign by the register and mention “Ohhhh, you’ve GOT to get back in to try this. It’s only here until next month.” Since you’ve got to order special product in just for a limited time you could price it $20 more and then hand out $20 coupons for it. People take action better with deadlines.

What if they say there are money issues? Really, that means we didn’t educate them enough to create enough desire, but we can still work with it. We’ll work with their desire of money by setting up a membership plan or series special. Offer a steep discount for a year commitment on a plan or a series of “buy 5 get 1 free.” You could also have a reward program in place. Let them know that they get X for their visit(s) and even for rescheduling before they leave. People love these things, Jennia will drive across town to get a gas stamp in her book for free milk.

Lastly, ATTITUDE IS KEY. Here you can tag-team with the receptionist (just like with retail sales) to take the pressure off the caregiver. Have the caregiver walk the client up, recommend the product, ask for referrals/pass out their card, mention they’ll touch base with them shortly to see how their doing and TO GET BACK ON THE BOOK IN 4 WEEKS SO WE CAN CONTINUE WORKING ON THAT PROBLEM. Now the caregiver can WALK AWAY.

The receptionist picks up the ball and ASSUMES THE SALE. That is she says “same time 4 weeks out?” or “is 4 weeks good for you?” Or if you don’t have luck with that try “Isn’t she just awesome! She books up well in advance. When did she say to come back in?”

By following these steps, this simple routine, you’ll see a nice increase in pre-bookings.
YOU MUST TRAIN your staff.
YOU MUST EVALUATE them performing it.
IF you fail to instruct them, practice or check up on them they will take the easier of roads and just say “goodbye” which is the last time they’ll get to speak to that client again.

Now, write up your training plan, schedule it, demonstrate it, practice it, evaluate it …and be the one to reap the rewards for your persistence in completing it.

Remember, you have to TAKE ACTION to make change.

Salon Spa Custom Treatment Checklist [DOWNLOAD]

DOWNLOAD: Salon Spa Customer Service Checklist
Christopher Brazy
Salon Spa Customer Service Checklist
This simple how to walks you through the questions you need to answer to create your own high-end service that you can then create buzz around and create a feeding frenzy for.

*** Remember, selling is not about the service, it’s about the HYPE. Whatever you talk about will come to be. Our lead-esty booked herself solid with waxing and never did facials because that’s all she would ever talk about. Having a unique service is a good way to not only get an upsell (what’s the point of booking yourself solid with mini-manicures all day!), but get staff on board with hyping it up. ***

Go to Download/documents on the left or follow this link directly to it

Front Desk Scheduling Checklist [DOWNLOAD]

DOWNLOAD: Scheduling Checklist
Christopher Brazy
Front Desk Scheduling Checklis
Scheduling is more art than science, but with these easy to follow steps the blandest receptionist can turn into a scheduling machine.

Your receptionist should be knowledgeable about the importance of their job and how much it took to get that phone to ring. Follow these steps to best utilize your schedule times, provide top client service, offer add-ons and keep Satrudays open for our regulars.

Vist our download area or use the link below to go straight to it.

Proper Salon Spa Compensation Plan

Compensation Must-Do
Christopher Brazy

You KNOW you should stop overpaying your staff. You know you NEED to if you ever hope of making a penny for yourself. Now when times are tough is the best time to make the dreaded switch-over with your staff. Do it and thrive. Fail to do so and go under with the other spas that pay out more than they bring in.

Get Ready
First off, if you happen to be on a high percentage, you will lose your staff, BUT THAT’S OK. Really, it is. It really, really is. It’s a shame, but it necessary. THAT PAY IS PUTTING YOU OUT OF BUSINESS. And changing pay will worry staff and they will leave (even if it’s just a different way of doing basically the same thing). Please, realize your worth, realize your situation, and realize you HAVE to make a change.

Bringing new staff in, or having them ready in case everyone “jumps ship” wouldn’t be a bad idea. Again, you need to watch for staff talking, old ones that are against the idea and plan on leaving will spoil the new ones in about 1 minute.

Common Sense
You would think that someone should be concerned with how much their paycheck IS. In our industry they’re concerned with how much of the pie they’re getting (what %). I try to educate people and be very straightforward with them. With new hires, people tell me they made 60% …I ask “how much was your paycheck?” They say $280 per 40 hour week (tips included). I show them that they were working for $7/hour ($280 divided by 40). So this setup (hourly, fee per service, whatever) is more. They ALWAYS get stuck on the percentage (they’ll even figure out the percentage if you’re on a fee/service setup). YOU need to keep educating them and showing them what they are making HOURLY (on average), tips and retail commission included.

Attitude is KEY
You must have confidence and believe in your compensation plan. If you don’t buy it they won’t. They will SMELL your fear, your uncertainty, your desperation. That’s why we spoke on the philosophy of it for a bit in “stop being the lowest paid person in your spa,” to get your mindset in the proper place. But if you’re an owner in todays economy that shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.

Don’t get too technical
We initially moved from a % to a fee/service and explained all the benefits. Instead of figuring out the money that came in, deducting coupons, deducting package discounts, etc. we figured staff was really making about $20/hour, so we setup a fee/service plan based on that and now they don’t have to worry about who has a discount or who is in a package, it’s always the same pay. Some staff stayed, some quit (we went into too much detail and it looked like we were defending our position), then the ones that stayed quit. However anyone new that came on, and wasn’t aware of the previous setup they had no problem with it at all.

When new hires ask about pay, just say this is our compensation plan and we’re very happy with it. Don’t be too defensive or explain too much, it’ll make you look desperate and make them think something is fishy. Like accepting tips (you should say “thank you” and that’s it), just say “here it is and we feel it’s very fair.” That’s it.

Baby Steps
IF you feel you can’t accomplish this move but need to do something, try this for a baby step in the right direction.
The least you can do if you’re on a percentage deal is to deduct any discounts/promotions before figuring out their cut.
Or you can keep your staffs pay but instead of figuring it out as a percentage, set it up as a fixed fee. So instead of 50% for an $80 massage, just pay $40/massage. Now you can do a few things. First, raise your prices. Since your staff isn’t tied to the price via a % this is pure additional income for you.
You can also associate fees to be deducted from their pay. Let’s say a linen fee (it costs us $1/sheet to clean them) or a product/backbar fee. You could subtract the merchant transaction fee from the service and/or tips.
Years ago when we first moved from the % setup to a fee/service we figured all those expenses and discount coupons in and lowered it from $30 (half) to $20 and told them “whenever there’s a discount you don’t have to worry about it, it’s already figured in.”

Probably the best answer is an hourly setup (with a tight watch on how you schedule!). So instead of arguing about coupons and charges, say this:
“We’re going to help you out during these tough times by giving you a steady income you can rely on, an hourly setup of $10/hour (or whatever) PLUS tips AND retail commission” (up their retail pay for goals met) …so they should still be making $20/hour. Put that way, who would turn down $20/hour?

How to Make MORE As A Salon Spa Owner

STOP being the lowest paid person in your spa.
Christopher Brazy

Do you know many spa owners are not making it? Most are barely seeing a profit, and of those who say they are do so by working for free. Realistically, if we’re not all losing money, we’re certainly not making what we could be. Does our staff sympathize with us? NO. Actually, if they know of your worries they’d be gone that same day.

How did this happen? I feel it’s because of salons. The first spas started in salons, and a stylist most often makes 50%. When they added on a massage room they offered the same pay. What they forgot to notice was that the therapist (compared to the stylist) does NOT have a following of a few hundred people that would bring new business to the spa.

Instead of an asset, therapists are liabilities. They often don’t reschedule their clients, are scared to death of retail sales, their room takes up 10x the space of a hair chair AND there are product costs, yet they get the same pay.

The more spa you have, the higher your expenses are. There are also expectations with a spa. You need to provide an experience. Staff must be more thoroughly trained. You need ROOMS. You need tea. You have laundry. With all the extras (including a WOW factor) needed for a spa, with salon style pay, you’re already in the negative doomed to bankruptcy.

It’s not you, it’s the model. Drop the salon model. Start a spa model. Equate the expenses involved in running a spa into a business plan. You’ll find a very high percentage of your sales income will be already eaten up BEFORE you even get to staff pay.

Let’s say you’ve got 60% in expenses before you pay for staff and yourself. Well, that leaves 40% for you and your staff to split. Obviously if you paid 50% you’d be losing money. If you paid 40% you’d be working for free. How much do you want to make? Investors of hard money (cash) expect a HIGH (30+%) return within 30 days. A cash advance from your credit card company expects over 60% back within half a year. What are you making for your investment? Are you even making payments, paying back your investment? (I bet not). You should be, and with interest. That’s before you even lift a finger working. How much would it take you to hire a manager to fill your shoes? What about health insurance or God forbid, retirement/profit?

Treat it like a business. Pay yourself like you should be. Then see what there is for staff. We’ve seen franchise places promise 50% and end up paying $8/hour, $5/hour (below min. wage), even $3/hour (yes, literally). They have requirements and loopholes and if you figured out their pay hourly (i.e. $300 for 100 hours) you’d see how low it is.

So don’t be scared to change staff pay. Be scared of going out of business. How can you care for your staff if you’re not around? How can you care for your family if you’re working 80 hours/week? How can you care for your clients when you’re filled to the brim with stress? Setup a pay plan that is fair to staff ($20+/hour AFTER tips seems MORE than fair to me!) and allow yourself to be fairly compensated for your time AND investment.

How to Make Your Salon Spa MORE Profitable

Stop the LEAKS (and keep your $$$)
Christopher Brazy

Feel like you’re on a sinking ship? Doing alright but would like more profit? I know of a spa that does over $800,000/year and ONLY takes home any money at all because she does services herself all day.

We’re so busy trying to get new clients we don’t even know if they’re helping us stay afloat. A bigger boat with more people/clients on it will still be sinking if it’s got leaks. What we should be focusing on is stopping the leaks. Streamline your business and make it as profitable as possible BEFORE you try to get one more client through the door. Don’t fixate on expanding your client base until you maximize your profitability. Below we’ve give you some ideas on proper mindset and how to start.

So what’s the best way to keep your profit? It’s not by making more sales. If you’re working for free or worst yet, LOSING 5% on each sale, more sales would be more loss! START by minimizing your expenses. If you’re only making 5% per dollar imagine how much easier and nicer it would be to make 25% per dollar. Every sale would go 5 times further since you’re keeping 5 times as much.

Fixed expenses you can look at, but there’s often little you can do with them. Perhaps you could renegotiate your rent, or try for a smaller lease payment, but that should be done after you’ve revamped your major expenses, which are most likely variable expenses. Start with this, create a list of your expenses and prioritize them from highest to lowest. Then get to work on the highest expenses.

In our industry, payroll will most likely be your highest expense. Others (including myself) have been blazing the way for you to be able to lower your staffs pay. The “salon model” of 50% is long gone. 50% AFTER expenses would be fine, but that’ be closer to 5% and quite a paycut! There’s other models to follow. There’s hourly, like the rest of the nation. Offer your staff $12+/-/hour and you’ll have no problem filling the positions. If you stay on commission, then try something that works out to around $12/hour (20-30%? it depends on how busy you are). After tips and retail commissions they should still be around $20/hour which is more than fair. There’s a related article link below on how to switch staff pay over if that’s where you choose to start.

Go through your list of expenses, high to low, and see what you can trim. Do you need 2 locations? Do you need to be open 7 days a week, 12 hours/day? Can your staff help out with cleaning and clerical duties? We’re all in this together, if you can’t make it they won’t have a place to work. There’s also other ways to keep more money aside from cutting your expenses. Rescheduling is key (that’s why membership plans are so nice). Retail is crucial. Motivating staff via monthly meetings, quarterly trainings and sales contests make a difference. Making sure the front desk is never saying “no” and always getting people in, or getting their information so you can build your list. Whoever answers your phone can literally make or break you.

Now hopefully you’ve got a better mindset. Get a pen, find some alone time and make your expense list. Pick out the top item and decide what you’re going to do about it. It’s up to YOU to start and WE can do it together.

The Money-Making Salon Spa Menu

The Money-Making Menu
Christopher Brazy

How you design and what you offer on your menu not only speaks volumes about your spa but also affects your profit. So what can you do about it? You’d be suprised how simple the answer is. With simple changes to your layout, services and packages you can greatly improve your bottom-line.

First off, make it easy! People pick up menus and have no idea what they’re looking at. Many have to take it home and study it. Make sure yours is easy to read with these steps.

• Use dark text on a light background. Vice-versa is too hard to read.

• Use a readable font like Times New Roman or Arial, avoid frilly fonts and scripts.

• Don’t “center” everything, a left align is easier to read.

• Make the sections clear (massages, facials, etc).

• Place contact info in an easy to find spot so they can book with you.

• If you’re printing large runs of menus, do NOT include pricing, it makes it impossible to change without reprinting. Place pricing as an insert (like lunch specials).

• Make the services clear, what is an XYZ massage and what does it consist of?

Instead of offering a regular massage and another deluxe (longer) one with a slightly different name, list just the name of the massage. Then list to the side the options for it, i.e. 50 mins. 70 mins. & 90 mins. By doing so clients will have the chance to upgrade themselves.

You can also “load” your menu. This means to balance the services offered so that there are more high-end ones. So if they were to choose at random the odds are greater of choosing a high-end service. For example, we offer a deluxe glycolic facial. Instead of offering just one on our menu, we created one for each skin type, adding four to our menu.

McDonalds is the master of this. If you’re old enough you’ll remember it used to be you’d just order a hamburger and they’d ask “would you like fries with that?” Now you order the whole deal, a “number 1.” They’ve tripled their income with these package deals; the fries and drink are already included. But did they stop there and give up their add-on? No, they ask if you want that super- sized. Why? If they’ve already got the “whole sale” why go for more? Because people will take it. It’s all a numbers game; the more you offer it to the more will take it and if you don’t you’re leaving money on the table.

The obvious upsell is more time. The menu has now got that covered for you so when you recommend it they’ll already be familiar with it (and you should always recommend the longer service, it’s better for them and you!). The not so obvious is the add-on. Create add-ons that require more time and ones that can be done without extra time (so you can still offer something even if there’s another booking right after). Extra add-ons that require extra time could be a foot scrub, extra extractions, eye/lip masks, etc. Add-ons that don’t require extra time could be a firming gel application, hypnotherapy, etc.

A HUGELY common mistake out there is to offer a package discount. Let’s look at this closer, what do we know about packages? They take up the whole day, so are harder to schedule. They often are with non-spa goers (received from a gift certificate) so they don’t know spa etiquette and will often no show or not tip. They are the “yearly vacation” spa goers, not your monthly regulars and will want Saturday which means our lifeblood (regulars) will have a tougher time getting in with us.

To offset these negatives, we need to make sure we’re getting premium pricing.

First, do NOT offer a discount. Let me say it again. Do NOT offer a discount. When someone asks “what’s the special” just before Mothers day respond with “this is our ultra-deluxe spa package, she’ll love it!” People are wanting a spa experience, not a McSpa value experience.

Second, do not offer your regular services in there. Create special services that are NOT on the menu. These could even be “limited edition” services, like a chocolate wrap, that should be $20 more, or you could price it at a normal rate if you’re hung up on offering discounts.

Thirdly, add-on another $20! This is just for the no- show/pain of it all. They won’t know because the services are not on the menu. If you want to account for it, toss in lunch or some flowers for free.

Series, not packages
If you want to go one step further, sell a series of monthly treatments instead of packages. They promote return visits which will hopefully earn you a monthly regular as opposed to a yearly vacationer. It could be a “5 for 4 special” or better yet “a year of massages.” What sounds better, “A day of bliss?” or “A year of heaven?” Retail sales will increase with it too since you’re getting your message across to them again and again. There’s also a cash flow benefit since it’s not being redeemed all at once.

Make sure to look at our sample menus to see a bad/better example in our download area (they’re rough, but demonstrate the point).
Now your mission for this week? Redo your menu, take action and make it happen!

Make Your Salon Spa Competition Proof

3 keys to being competition proof
Christopher Brazy

With low price massage and facial franchises competition popping up all over and large health club spas making a big presence following these steps is a must to keep your client base from straying.

Be Unique
As attractive as “one stop shopping” is as a profit idea from the owners standpoint, focusing on a niche is what is excelling. Look at all the department stores and malls that are on the way out. And what’s in? Specialty stores. Starbucks, take-n-bake pizza and so on. By focusing on what you specialize in, you are creating a unique image. You can still offer additional services, but don’t try to brand yourself as such. Why be a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Be the Acne Expert or Relaxation Specialist.

Take a look at the phone book, what do you see? Lists and lists of everything under the sun service-wise. Lets’ say Relaxing Day Spa offers massages, facials, wraps, waxing, hair, nails, acne, anti-aging and microdermabrasion treatments. What does Tranquil Day Spa offer? The EXACT same list. We’re all identical! When we’re all the same in the clients eyes, what do they fall back to? Price. Who’s the cheapest. Whereas if you do body work and specialize in accident recovery, who do you think will get the call for those insurance massages? FOCUS. Find what your unique talent is and reap the benefits for doing so.

Be the Expert
Once you’ve got a USP (unique selling point/proposition), you should seek to establish yourself as the expert in that field. After all, if the news is doing a story on teen acne, where would they look for input? The day spa/salon/nail shop? Or with the Acne Expert?

You should start to build a list of local media contacts. E-mail the editors often with NEWSWORTHY information and articles you can provide and ask them to contact you for further information. Landing an article, or being published, will offer MUCH more business opportunity than a paid advertisement. Your credibility will also skyrocket and you’ll be able to charge premium fees since you’re THE person to go to.

We had a group of returning soliders call us from their plane to book a day at our spa. Luckily I had the sense to call the papers (with their permission) to let them know what was happening. They came out and did a story about their return and how they cared for themselves overseas in the desert that not only landed us some amazing quotes and photos but the front page! People still mention to us that they saw that story, years later.

Be a Friend
Lastly, and most importantly, is being a friend to your clients. And I don’t mean going out together or getting together for cards, but really CARING about your client. It’s your relationship with your client that will keep them from straying. And don’t let that relationship stagnate. Never take them for granted. Always treat your clients like a first date.

It’s truly amazing to watch my wife work. She’s long given up her caregiver role and focuses on management, at which one of her main tasks is individually greeting the guests. I’ve watched her more than once say hi, ask how they are, and then end up sitting down and catching up on what’s going on in their lives for 10 minutes! Even the call back the next day (during her caregiving days) built that relationship and was once even quoted “she’s even called at home to see how I was doing” to the newspaper.