Editor’s letter: Changing pricing structures in salons

The news this month that salons are set to create almost 14,000 jobs in 2016 and that a hair and beauty apprenticeship scheme has come out top in a national survey of training providers looks positive for the growth of the industry.

However, increasing wage bills and falling treatment prices are also causing many to reassess their business models. According to the Beautiful Britain Report, average treatment prices are still falling, with many citing online discount and voucher sites as the main reason – and the biggest threat to business (see the May issue for more info).

Meanwhile, more than a third of employers think the introduction of the National Living Wage will affect their ability to take on more staff, meaning salons are being squeezed at both ends. The £7.20 minimum for employees over 25 came into force on April 1 and beauty salons are among the sectors being targeted for minimum wage inspections. For a full lowdown on what this means for you, see our employment law column in the current issue of PB.

With the discounting culture making it hard for salons to compete on price, customer service becomes more vital than ever as a point of difference. In the May issue, we explore the best ways to deal with customer complaints – from writing a thorough procedure, to diffusing an online argument – to help turn those grumblers into satisfied, loyal customers.

We also take a closer look at the impact mystery shopping can have on customer service. Experiencing treatments, not just with your own therapists but also at competitor salons and spas, gives you time to put yourself in the position of a customer and is a great way to pick up on those annoying little details that evade you when you are focused on the bigger picture of running the business, writes Hellen Ward in the current issue. Seeing how your competitors stay profitable against a climate of falling prices and rising costs might just give you a few new ideas too.

The May issue is out now. A digital version can be bought online for £1.49 – or it's just £4.99 for an annual 12-issue digital subscription. The print edition is just £37 for an annual 12-issue subscription. Make sure you’re always the first to read the news and trends by subscribing.