Welcome back to another installment of our Starting From Scratch series, a comprehensive guide where you can learn the ins and outs of all the different aspects of starting your own lash business from scratch. In this post, we will be going over your hours of operation – an area that has a huge impact on your business success. It is important that you determine what kind of business hours you will be offering your community. As we get into this subject a little deeper, we need to determine who will be dictating your hours.
What has worked for me, may or may not work for you. The lessons I have learned from my past as a salon owner with 23 employees and as a corporate salon manager has proved invaluable in keeping me productive and not wasting time spinning around in my salon chair bored out of my mind. These are tried and true steps to take to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to hours.
Scheduling Business Hours: Not Always Up to You
Scheduling the hours of operation of your lash business will depend on the place you decide to be open for business. Larger retail centers, for instance, will have strict operating hours while boutiques and smaller retail centers might give you more liberty with deciding your hours. We explain both scenarios below.
Retail Centers with Strict Operating Times
If you are in a retail center, you may be bound contractually to the retail center’s business hours – many retail centers have operating hours already built into the lease. I have seen leases that require your business to be open to the public from 10am to 7pm, Sunday thru Saturday. Some of these retail centers will have fines built in if you open or close your business outside of their guidelines. These retail centers are very strict and require complete compliance – make sure that when reviewing your lease agreement, you are comfortable with these conditions. If you do not have a plan for emergency situations, get one.
Read Terms and Conditions Carefully
These retail center management companies are in the business to establish consistency in all the businesses in their centers. It doesn’t sit well with them to see a few businesses closed or have abbreviated hours. Do your homework before you sign on the dotted line – ask questions about any fines if you choose to close your business for a week for a family vacation. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with all the guidelines. It’s never good to get an unexpected letter from your property manager stating you violated their terms and conditions.
Boutiques and Smaller Retail Centers Offer More Flexibility
If you are lucky enough to be a tenant in a more flexible location, your hours may be a bit different. Smaller retail centers and salon boutiques let you decide on the most effective hours for your business. There is much more room to get creative in this type of setting. You can be open for as many or as few hours as you like.
What to Consider for Your Hours of Operations
Let’s go over a few things I have learned over the years about hours of operation starting with the benefits of choosing Sunday to offer your services.
The Sunday Secret
I want to talk about the dreaded Sundays! This is the most coveted day to be off work. Many of us like to spend our Sundays with family, attending services or just plain relaxing. This may be the day we choose to get our house in order: we go grocery shopping, clean our homes, do laundry, and so forth.
This is also the day that fathers are home. This is the very day the ladies of the house can sneak out for a few hours to get some “me” time. When I was a manager at a corporate salon, I volunteered to work on Sundays and it was an eye-opener. My clients were more relaxed, friendlier, and more engaging – they moved at a slower pace. I have my own theories about this, but that is for another day.
I grew to look forward to my Sundays. I realized that this was the only time many women got to get out of the house without their children strapped to them. Dad was home and that left them a little time to get out and get some things done without the kids. So please don’t rule out Sundays – these are good days to bring in new clients.
Solo Scheduling: Be Strict
Working alone will require a different way of scheduling your business hours. You may want to work 6 days a week or you may only want to work a few days a week. It will totally depend on your availability. My recommendation to booth renters and boutique renters is to set strict hours and stick to them.
If you don’t set a strict schedule, your clients will abuse your good nature. We, as service providers, are people pleasers, making it hard for us to say no. It’s darn near impossible for many of us! Setting strict hours not only protects you from over-extending yourself with clients, but it also gives you more work-life balance by providing you with a clear schedule of your working hours.
Post Hours Everywhere and Stick to Them
In any business – stand-alone, retail center or suite renter – have your hours of operation posted on your website, on the door of your business, on your business cards, and at your check out area. When you are trying to reschedule your clients it’s easier to have a reference point.
What’s more, if your hours are posted, your clients will be less likely to ask you to work outside the hours you have posted, preserving your work-life balance a bit more and making you a better manager of your time. I’m not saying you can’t make an exception here and there, but make it an exception. If you don’t follow this advice, you will get frustrated. You will have many gaps in your schedule and this will be unproductive time.
Choose Hours Strategically
You may have to tweak your hours of operation for your lash business from time to time. Keep a good record of your most productive days and times – it will help you to determine if you need to add or subtract hours to your schedule.
There is scheduling software available that will tell you which days, hours, and services that you perform the most. When you review these trends you can gain valuable information about your business trends. If you are spending too many hours sitting in your chair, reading magazines, and checking out social media, you should take some time to review your hours of operation.
Time Your Lash Business With Clients in Mind
You cannot make a schedule that is unrealistic and then expect to be successful. You cannot cherry pick the very best days, times, and hours that you like. Your clients will dictate your hours within reason. There are days and times that will be more valuable for you, such as first thing in the morning or directly after work. Saturdays can be iffy; in winter, Saturdays are busier while in the summer, Saturdays can be quiet or even a waste of time.
Remember to review your hours of operation from time to time. You may need to change things up a little here and there and see what works best for you! Either way, I hope you can set up your lash business for success using this guide on operating hours. Feel free to check out the rest of the series to learn more about how to start your lash business from scratch!