By Grant Miller, salon owner and consultant
Like most salon owners, I have a love/hate relationship with our business! When the busy season finally hits, it’s great to know that there is still life in this industry. But just about the time everything is cranking along great, the season starts to slow and we start looking for ways to survive until the next season. Plus, the “busy season” seems to start later and end sooner every year.
There are things you can do to extend the life of your season and to maximize revenues throughout the year. I’m fond of saying, “Dig the well before you thirst,” meaning to start doing as many items on this list as possible right away.
Retention is one of the best ways to create revenue all year long. A healthy, robust EFT membership program is one of your best friends for accomplishing this. EFT memberships are great because you only have to sell them one time and you keep getting paid until the customer says to stop. It provides a steady revenue stream throughout the year and helps to even out the drastic peaks and valleys of your revenue.
Every year around this time, my salons will run a special to upgrade their EFT membership to a higher level for a nominal fee in order to keep them coming in and avoid cancelling. Or you can offer extra services like some upgrades, spray tans or some of your spa services for free to keep them engaged and tanning
Don’t forget about your non-EFT members, too. You can retain those customers with a tan-till-year-end special offer, in which they pay a lump sum to tan through the rest of the year. Offer a BOGO deal for them and a friend or a special discount to keep them tanning in the off-season.
My last suggestion is one that can be a real game-changer for you. I know we all love this industry, but sometimes we trap ourselves into thinking we are just tanning salon owners. One of my biggest breakthroughs occurred about three years ago when I was forced to literally think outside the box. I have five big salons (my largest is 5,600 square feet) full of top of the line tanning beds, but they weren’t as busy as in years past. My beds and rooms were not running to capacity, which was affecting my profits.
I made the decision to sell off some excess beds to free up some room and bring in other services that would appeal to a larger demographic of clients to bring in fresh, new revenue. When you think about it, business is all about satisfying a demand that people have. You just need to figure out what they want and give it to them.
My first new service was a body contouring system. This appealed to our women tanning clients but also brought in customers that would not normally walk through our doors. Then, I added laser hair removal, a facial rejuvenation system, cryotherapy and, most recently, CoolSculpting.
Body contouring was the least expensive and easiest service to implement, since it only cost around $6,000, which paid for itself within three months. Since it’s LED light, anyone can operate it without any special license or supervision. It continues to be an excellent revenue generator for my salons.
The other services I mentioned are more expensive to bring in and, depending on the state where you live, may require special training, licensing and even a medical director. The higher cost of this equipment and medical supervision may make these other services seem cost-prohibitive, but I’ve had some amazing success with CoolSculpting in particular.
Here’s the big point, and you don’t want to miss it: It’s imperative to your ongoing success to diversify as much as possible. In my salons, when tanning slows down, the other services are picking up the slack, and then some. Always be on the lookout for what you can provide to your clients that will benefit how they look and feel about themselves.
If you have any questions about any of these other services or how they may be able to make you more profitable, feel free to email me at Grant@SunYourBuns.com