Blueprint of a First Year

Saving Time with Technology

by NAILS Magazine | May 2, 2011
It has been an amazing first six weeks at the new studio! I’m pleased to say that I've been booked between 60-68% for the past three weeks (up from the 40% I started with) and exceeded my April goals for services and retail. My next two retail lines have been ordered and should be in the studio in the next week or so, and I will be busy this month planning an open house, which will be on May 24.

One of the challenges of being a solo nail tech is handling the phone, scheduling and reminder calls, and client information. All of these things are important, but can really chip away at time that could be better spent providing services and maintaining the studio!

I have a policy of not answering my cell (business line) during services and allow time throughout the day to return calls, so that part is easy enough, but the rest is a challenge that is being met with the use of really great software!

I started using Vagaro salon software just prior to opening the studio, and it has been a time saver in ways I hadn’t even envisioned prior to using it. In addition to handling my inventory, client history (including separate note tabs for allergies, formulas or general), gift certificates, and the ability to run tracking reports, it has become a lifesaver for managing my schedule.

When scheduling an appointment for a client, the program automatically sends them a text message or e-mail (or both), which completely eliminates filling out an appointment card. Then I have the system set up to send a confirmation message four days prior to their appointment (they just click a link to confirm) and a reminder 24 hours prior to their appointment. My clients love that they get their text message before they even have time to gather all their things to leave!

I was also able to implement a client loyalty program, thanks to the ease of setting it up and tracking it through the Vagaro software. It is completely customizable, and I have it set up so that for every dollar spent on retail or services the client gets one point. Points can be redeemed to pay for retail add-ons or for free services if they save them up. I love that it’s completely automatic – at checkout, if they have enough accumulated points to pay for any item on their service ticket, the system automatically gives the item for free. After checkout, the client receives an e-mail receipt, which tells them how many points they earned that visit.

Each client also automatically gets a user name and password, so they can go online to see their appointments (and schedule or change them online), point balance, and even see any gift certificate balances they have. This is a perfect solution for the tech savvy client, but also great because if clients don’t care about the technology, they don’t have to use it.

The icing on the cake is I've now integrated my merchant account with the software, so checkout is a breeze. I have both an iPhone and iPad (you really only need one :) ) with credit card swipers, which gives me even more “cool” status with my clients for being so techie!

— Candice, Panache Nail Studio, Stanwood, Wash.
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