Business Management

Reader to Reader: How does your computer save your life?

Once you've switched to a computerized system of scheduling clients, tracking sales and managing inventory, there's no going back to a manual system.

The most important feature of my computer is keeping track of all of my standing appointments. I see around 45 standing clients each week, and sometimes with all the other jobs I do, I was forgetting to write down appointments, and would end up scheduling two clients in one time slot. Now all I do is click and a client is in her spot every two weeks for the entire year. And if something needs to be changed, it’s just another click. No more erasing and writing in names every other week. – Dottie Batliner, Collins Classic Creation, Georgetown, Ind.

I use the computer mainly for bookkeeping. My girls are employees rather than independent contractors, so it sure does make doing the payroll a lot easier. I can push a button and be done. What used to take me an hour to do by hand now takes just a minute. I also do the quarterly reports, such as profit-and-loss statements, and keep track of retail sales and purchasing. My computer allows me to manage my business much better. I have the information at my fingertips whenever I need it. We also do our newsletter on the computer, and create point-of-purchase signs. – Shari Finger, Finger’s Nail Studios, W. Dundee, Ill.

It keeps me disciplined because it’s a lot easier to do your bookkeeping a little at a time instead of all at once. The main reason I use the computer, though, is for tracking inventory. It's more accurate than manual tracking, which is mostly estimating. You can keep track of daily sales, hot-selling retail items, and track what clients purchase as well as client profitability. I can track my bills and even pay them with my check-writing software. I can also compare the profit of the salon from month to month and year to year, which allows me to track the slow months so I can plan specials. – Chris Haubruge, Classic Cuts, Mojave, Calif.

It’s great for keeping track of retail inventory, salon-use inventory, and scheduling appointments for five technicians and a hairstylist. It makes it much easier to balance the drawer at the end of the day. The program that I have does everything – payroll, taxes, automatic client record updates, and it even works as a cash register. It takes a while to learn the program and transfer all the information into the computer, such as employee records, client records, and price lists, but once everything is input, it’s really a time-saver. – Sherri Evans, Get Nailed by Sherri & Co., Yuma, Ariz.

Our computer keeps track of client statistics, including who referred them or which ad brought them into the salon so we can see which advertising campaign is working for us. We can also record the polish we applied on the client at her last appointment so if she comes in for a repair, we simply look up the color. – Lori Gillespie, Nail Clinic, Avon, Ohio

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