With salons nationwide facing recruitment issues, finding (and keeping) good staff has never been so important. Owner of 2 Bristol salons and winner of British Hairdressing Business Awards’ Salon of the Year 2, Joe Hemmings has found that offering flexible working hours aimed at accommodating working mums has filled his team and doubled the salon’s revenue – even though he now closes one of the salons on Saturdays. Sound too good to be true? This is how he did it…
“In spring 2018, I noticed our Saturdays began to lose money, when I started to delve into the cause I noticed we had lots of last minute cancellations due to clients with kids having last minute parties or impromptu family outings. As a result our colour business dipped – a flagship service for us as a colour specialist salon.
“I’d always struggled to maximise the open hours of each chair – the salon needed 4 stylists working at once to cover sick days and holidays.
“I started to really take a detailed look at the BS7 postcode and the social demographic of our clientele, what they needed from a salon to make them less likely to cancel appointments and how to integrate that into our business to make it more profitable.
“With some of the best primary and secondary schools in Bristol pushing house prices up and the older generation that traditionally populated the area passing away or moving out allowing young families to move in, it made sense that our main target clientele right on our doorstep are mums with disposable income who want to look after themselves.”
“When I started to drill down and analyse the working day, it occurred to me that by changing the structure of our shifts from the traditional full working day hours, we could offer better hours for both our clients and our team. AND it also occurred to me that not only were mums our target clientele, they were our ideal team members…
“Supporting mums to get back to work is so important. The majority of our industry is female and lots will have children so if you’re not flexible you’re missing out on talent. Not enough employers give flexibility, but sometimes all mums need is to start or finish work 15 minutes late or early for school runs or childcare.
“Being able to offer employment with pensions and paid holidays to mums has been brilliant for us – I’ve found that mums are super loyal and really appreciate being looked after in employment, flexible start times really help with childcare and keeping in touch days/hours helps their income or ability to work. Working fewer, longer days can also ease childcare issues.
“I was warned against this and told that mums let you down if their child is ill, but I ’ve found the opposite – mums are great at juggling things for it to work.
“As people become busier, clients expect salons to be open longer hours, so mums with pre-school age children coming in the evening for a few hours dovetails with someone with older children working school hours and leaving earlier.
“Becoming a Dad recently, I appreciate how hard it can be to juggle careers and also parenting, so offering roles designed for this gives me access to so many more stylists.
“Although counterintuitive, it transpired Saturdays weren’t the best day for hair appointments so we restructured our opening times to target demand. Our typical demographic looks like this:
8am = typically gents
9.15am -3pm = mums whose kids are at school
3-4pm = anyone
4-5pm = we do a children’s hour on Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays (this is so that other clients aren’t disturbed with children in the salon at other times and fits with end of school when parents want to get their kids’ hair cut)
5-8pm = targeted at mums who can then have a colour and cut once their partner has come from work to have the kids, or post-work appointments
CLOSED Saturdays and Sundays – our clients and staff are enjoying family time
“By really structuring the salon’s bookings it allowed us to control the noise levels of the salon and also attract the biggest demand for each time slot, maximising profit. Since changing the structure of the business we’ve almost doubled our revenue and, more importantly, our colour business, despite being closed on Saturdays and Sundays.”
We love this innovative way of looking at employment structure and we’d love to hear what you’ve done differently that’s worked for your business – get in touch with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.