Business Management

Do You Know Your Stats?

When was the last time you took a good look at your numbers? Take this quiz designed to shed some light on the numbers that underlie your bottom line and why you should care about them.

Don’t Just Know the Stats —Make Them Work for You

If you are like most salon owners, the recent changes in the economy have had you taking a closer look at your bottom line and thinking, “What can I cut out?” In reality, you may be getting ahead of yourself. Before you make any changes in the salon, get to know the numbers you already have. The question shouldn’t be, “Can the salon afford it?” but rather, “Is it a good business decision?” Whether it’s you flying solo at a booth or you and 25 employees, it boils down to profit. A salon can’t exist for long without moving into the black. We all track income, but what about these more elusive stats? It’s time to face the numbers and continue to build a solid business model.


Expenses form the backbone for pricing. Figuring your cost-per-service may be as easy as reading the manufacturer’s literature. To fi nd the total cost for a service, list all of the products used and then add up the individual costs to get a total. To figure it out on your own, you will need to track the usage over time to see how many applications you can get from a certain size package. Jaime Schrabeck, owner of Precision Nails in Carmel, Calif., looks for “cost-effective products.” She keeps her product costs to “less than 5% of the service fee.”

How to make it work for you: Buy products in bulk or when they are on sale to get the greatest impact. Also, keep a close eye on product use. Pre-measuring products such as those used in pedicures is not only hygienic, it’s also a way to regulate waste.

Staff Retention

An empty station translates into lost service and retail dollars for the salon. Tracking staff retention will allow you to plan for the inevitable need to hire and train assistants, receptionists, and nail technicians. For an easy way to determine the rate, look over the last few years and count how many people you have hired each year. It doesn’t matter if they left to move or if they stormed out the door. This isn’t about anything but numbers. So if you normally keep a staff of 10 and two people have to be hired to replace those leaving, your retention rate is 80% a year.

How to make it work for you: Having a stable number of staff members allows the salon to book appointments reliably. Retaining staff allows the salon to concentrate training dollars on expanding the offerings and improving the level of service.

Average Service Ticket

Your average service ticket is the average amount each client spends on services in your salon on a single visit. This can be further broken down to separate services and retail. Tracking services and comparing them to costs will help you establish if those services are profitable. “It’s more important than ever to know where your service dollars come from,” says Reneé Borowy, owner of VIP Salon & Spa, in Riverview, Mich. By using computer software, salons can easily track who their best clients are and who services them. Borowy uses this information to formulate specials and track their effectiveness. Your average service ticket shows how loyal clients are to the salon and how many service recommendations they accept.

How to make it work for you: Help nail technicians in the salon to set goals by sharing this information with them. Sit down with them and help create a plan to increase average service tickets by 5% over the period of 90 days. It might be as simple as having them suggest upgrades to services or recommending that a client try a new service.

Pre-booking Rate

“So many techs just wait for the phone to ring to build their business. They don’t have a handle on breaking down the numbers to simplify how much they need to grow.” Vicki Peters, president of Vicki Peters Nail Products in Henderson, Nev., shares that the biggest difference in salons that track the numbers (and break them down) and those that don’t is profit. “They understand what it takes to make a profit.” Profitable salons keep the client chairs full. Pre-booking is a way to ensure that there is future income for the salon. Tracking how many clients pre-book directly relates to keeping clients.

How to make it work for you: Run a contest in the salon to see who can get the highest pre-booking rate for the month. It may be a matter of asking, “May I go ahead and book your next appointment?” Schrabeck encourages pre-booking and has an invitation-only standing appointment policy. She offers standing appointments to her best and most reliable clients. This approach reduces the chance of no-shows and makes a standing appointment a benefit that clients desire.

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