Top 10 penny savers

The beginning of a new financial year always seems to sting the bank balance so finding new ways to reduce the monthly costs is at the front of many salon owners’ minds. We gathered some top money-saving tips from business owners to help keep the books healthy throughout the year.

1. Cut careless costs

Encourage your team to be as invested in your salon’s bottom line as you are. Maria Mason, owner of Beauty Time in Bristol, suggests getting therapists to list everything the salon has to pay out, from rent and rates to staffing and product costs, then pointing out the expenses they often forget, such as water rates or bins. By demonstrating that salon profits are where pay rises and new equipment comes from, she says, “they see the logic in looking after everything and avoiding careless costs”.  

2. Get social

Social networking is perhaps one of the most cost-effective? ways to advertise your business. You can also use social media? sites such as Twitter and Facebook to interact with your customers directly. However, this does require a certain amount of research. Sam Pearce, director of The Potting Shed salon and Eastthorpe Hall day spa in Yorkshire, says, “Social networking is instant and free in terms of spend, but can be expensive in terms of time.” Be sure to analyse who you are reaching with social media otherwise the task is pointless.

3. Price check

Shopping around is time? consuming. However, taking a? few hours to look around for other ?outlets from which to purchase your? daily essentials is definitely worthwhile. You could make big savings on low-cost items such as wax strips, spatulas, cotton pads and tissues, without compromising on the quality. “I’ve often found the best prices for gloves, couch roll and cleaning products are from medical suppliers rather than beauty wholesalers,” says Andy Rouillard, owner of Axiom Bodyworks men’s salon in Basingstoke, so be sure to check out all the options suppliers when you’re looking to re-stock.

4. Save energy

It may seem obvious, but it’s something many spa and salon? owners forget: switch off all? electrical appliances when they’re not in use to save on your? energy bills – which are higher? now than ever. “Candles set the? atmosphere and provide subtle? lighting,” says Pearce, “and they’re an?inexpensive option compared to overhead?strip lighting.” Sara Shoemark, owner of Glow beauty salons in North West England, adds, “Changing your lights from halogen spotlights to LEDs can save up to 80% of energy used and reduce your maintenance costs too, as they last much longer without reducing effectiveness.” 

5. Seek smart offers

Discounting treatments can seem a tempting way to bring in clients, but it can ?often be a slippery slope, devaluing that? service in the eyes of your clients. “A far better idea is to do add-ons,” says Susan? Routledge, owner of Finishing Touch clinic in ?County Durham and founder of an eponymous consultancy. She suggests offering a free upgrade ?on a treatment, or a free gift, which could come from your suppliers, saving you the stock cost. “Always check what freebie gifts are available. You will be surprised what suppliers can give you,” she says. 

6. Waste not want not

Be disciplined in restricting yourself – and your team – to the right amount of product needed for each treatment. You don’t have to scrimp, but using too much can be very costly. “Teach staff how to measure out product correctly,” says Mason. “10ml can vary from therapist to therapist, so buy some good quality measuring spoons.” Shoemark adds, “I think it feels terrible when too much product is used in a treatment so by training staff to recognise the correct amount you actually improve the treatment too.”

7. Get to the shows

Keep a look out for upcoming trade ?shows within the industry to take a ?glance at what deals are on offer. ?Roulliard says, “Most suppliers run? deals on their products for the duration? of the big industry expos.” Do your research ?beforehand to see who is running the best offers. Exhibitions are also a great opportunity to make deals with companies, so be sure to network while you’re there.

8. Boost staff standards

Providing efficient training for your staff will ultimately? save you a lot of time and money on salaries. “By monitoring therapists’ standards in all areas of their work ?and acting on any weaknesses, you’ll create a team that will work faster while still being precise and offering great service,” Sara Shoemark says. Be as thorough as possible to provide your customers with a reliable and efficient service, while saving your business money on staff overtime.

9. Join an association

Invest in a membership with a professional trade body. Industry-specific groups such as Habia or Babtac are helpful, but so are more general ones like the Federation of Small Businesses, as they can ?provide access to special rates on a ?number of things, including legal advice? or technology. “Take a look at the offers that are out there and see what bargains there are to be had,” says Rouillard.

10. Focus on today

In the service industry, we primarily sell experiences not products, so if you miss an opportunity to make money today, you’ll never have that chance back. “Book up today’s white space before tomorrow’s; we can worry about that tomorrow,” says Sara Shoemark. Empty appointment slots cost you money in salon overheads and therapists’ salaries, so consider yield management to boost bookings at off-peak times, and “cancellation offers” to get that space filled.