As an independent stylist, you need to set boundaries in your salon. Many small business owners choose the path of entrepreneurship to have more control over their schedule and make more money — but without proper boundaries, you can kiss that freedom goodbye.
Healthy client boundaries can improve your client experience, earn you more money, and prevent work burnout. Without them, you and your business suffer. Learn how to set the boundaries your business needs.
Make Your Boundaries Clear
When first-time clients book, send them an email with your salon or barbershop guidelines. Make them short, sweet, and friendly. Try to focus on how these guidelines will benefit your clients rather than your business.
For example, if one of your guidelines is:
“Don’t take phone calls during an appointment.”
Write something like this:
“My salon is designed to give guests an escape from daily life. In order to get the most out of your service, I ask that clients do not use their cell phones in the salon.”
This will set a foundation for any future conversations when clients may test your boundaries.
No-Shows and Late Cancellations
As any small business owner knows, time is money. Setting clear boundaries around no-shows and late-cancellations is essential. If you are flexible, clients will push your limit intentionally and unintentionally. Don’t let someone else’s poor planning add to the stress of your day.
Luckily, StyleSeat make it easy to set a late or no-show policy and enforce it. Your policy will display on your booking page and when clients book within 24 hours of an appointment time, they are informed that they will be charged a fee if they cancel late. If clients don’t show up, you can charge them for your time.
Setting boundaries creates a standard in your salon and encourages clients to respect your time. Helping you build a clientele that’s willing to work with your schedule — not against it.
After Hours Phone Calls & Texts
Stylists are never just stylists, they are business owners, managers, and receptionists all in one. Therefore, you are in charge of setting your business hours and sticking to them. To maintain order in your salon and set a precedent with your clients include your business hours in your initial welcome email and make it clear that you are not available for phone calls after your closing time. You can even change your voicemail to let clients know when they can expect to hear from you.
Being around the clock busy doesn’t always equal success. To prevent work burnout, it’s important to work smarter. If you are exhausting yourself by answering clients all day long, you won’t have the energy to give them an amazing experience when they’re in the salon. If you are worried about losing clients, think of it this way — none of your clients are recommending you to their friends because you answer your phone any time of night, they are recommending you because they love the experience you provide in the salon.
Don’t Break Your Own Rules
For New Clients
When you’re new to the independent life, you’ll be tempted to bend the rules. You’ll deal with a few late cancellations, after-hours calls, and rude clients if it helps build your clientele. If you aren’t comfortable enforcing strict rules at first, it’s still important that you understand your boundaries for yourself. Take a minute to think about “how far is too far?”
You can easily forgive a client for not showing up one time. But what if it happens again? How many times will you tolerate this behavior before you do something about it? Pick an exact number, write it down, and don’t cave. Clients who do not respect your business will just end up costing you money in the long run.
For your long-standing clients, you have to lead by example. If you want clients to stop calling after hours, stop answering your phone after hours. Once you break a boundary, you are inviting clients to do the same. With the right coaching, your regulars will not only learn to respect your boundaries, but they’ll also grow to love the new structure and consistency it brings to your relationship. If you find that you’re stressed, short on time, and not as productive as you’d like to be — setting new boundaries could be the answer.
Take some time to brainstorm the main issues within your salon that are causing you stress. Think about what you can control and how these problems can be solved by boundaries. Once you have a clear idea of what you’d like your new boundaries to be, send your clients an email update with your new policies, and remember to focus on the positive. Let your regulars know how much you appreciate them and how these new policies will help you deliver an even better experience than they’re used to.