Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


Ask the experts

Which KPIs should I work with to help me to boost my salon profits next year?

When looking to boost your salon’s profits in 2021, there are five important KPIs (key performance indicators) you should be focusing on:

1. Staff retention – The benchmark for good staff retention is 70% and the best way to achieve this is to give your employees a voice. Host a weekly 10-minute team huddle to cover what’s happening in the business and let people share ideas.

Also, think about ways you can incentivise your therapists to build their productivity with re-bookings.

When you recruit – do you instil your culture into prospective employees? This is also important.

2. Average service price – This is the average amount clients are spending each time they visit you and this number should increase every year to cover your outgoings. The thought of a yearly price hike doesn’t have to be frightening – instead of a £5 increase on services each year, you could do something smaller like 50p. It’ll soon add up.

3. Retail per client ticket – This is how much product is being sold, on average, to each client that comes into your salon, and £20 is the average across the UK. Find out your current average using your software system and build on that.

4. Client retention – You want to maintain this at 50–70% ideally as a minimum. Retail sales can lead to higher retention rates – aroma is our most powerful sensory response, so using salon products at home will remind clients of your services.

This is the baseline for the industry – clients who purchase three or more products from salon tend to have an average return rate of 80%, while those who buy two or more have an average return rate of 60%.

5. Productivity – For 85% of the time a service provider is scheduled to work in salon, they should be with a client. Look at how booked up your columns are and ask yourself: are my opening hours long enough? Can I open seven days per week? Could I expand my space to fit more clients in?

It’s also worth paying a bit to hit your local demographic on Facebook and Instagram with information on what you do, and start a recommend-a-friend scheme to help fill column space.

Graham Clarke is sales director for professional brand Image Skincare. Clarke plans to launch the Image Business University for salons in 2021.

Which aromatherapy oils can I use to support clients during coronavirus?

At the start of 2020, we were all looking forward to a new decade, a new era post-Brexit. Little did we know that waiting in the wings was a pandemic hitting the world and all in its path. By March, our lives had changed. Some found it an imprisonment, others, a chance to reflect, metamorphosise and grow.

With a second wave of Covid-19 looming, aromatherapists can help clients to not only protect their home and workplaces from this virus but, after such a long time, to empower and support themselves physically and mentally.

Other than the usual oils such as ravintsara, eucalyptus, niaouli and tea tree to prevent and protect, let’s discuss a few that bring sunshine and light to these dark days; oils that enhance our moods, elevate our psyches, support our immune systems and make a difference by just being there.

Bergamot, neroli, jasmine and ylang ylang can be used to bring an emotional uplift, soothe the stressed brow, aid mindfulness, deep breathing and a sense of restoration. Jasmine is for hope, bergamot for both physical and mental support, bringing joy and lightness into the room – not to mention anti-microbial qualities.

Lemon myrtle has a higher citral content then lemon and is a more protecting oil. With ginger Co2 extract and manuka, it can create a wonderful lemony room spray.

Also, consider drawing on the strength of cedarwood and wisdom and nurturing properties of sandalwood, as both oils support the respiratory system For children and young people, a blend of lime, mandarin and lavender awakens the fun within, uplifting, soothing and nurturing those going through a difficult time. Put three to five drops of the blend on a tissue that they can inhale from time to time.

For those experiencing the loss of a loved one, blend rose, frankincense, palmarosa and geranium for shock, grief, spiritual support and release.

And finally, for those who are sleep deprived due to anxiety over staying virus-free, suffering with claustrophobia from being indoors all the time or worried about keeping their job, try diffusing three drops of vetiver “the oil of tranquillity” and two of high altitude lavender, known for its extra sedating and soothing properties due to its higher linalyl acetate content.

Kim Lahiri is a director and trustee of the International Federation of Aromatherapists. Find out more at

How can I make the most of Christmas retailing to boost profits?

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to check that you have plans in place to optimise your retailing and help boost your profits.

Christmas can be such a profitable time of year as people want to buy all the lovely things you have to sell as gifts, so use this to your advantage. Make sure that all your Christmas displays are inviting – make them big and colourful so they stand out. Ensure your prices are clearly visible too, because some people can feel uneasy asking the price as they risk feeling embarrassed if it is too high for their budget.

Price point is important, make sure you have gifts and products at varying prices so that you can appeal to everyone. A great way to increase every sale is to also have your impulse buys and smaller gifts on the reception desk.

These are ideal for stocking fillers and smaller budgets. Think about creating different sections for gifts for mothers, fathers, daughters, teachers and so on, so that clients see that they can do all their Christmas shopping in one place.

Pre-Covid-19, I would have recommended to showcase your Christmas gifts and products at a festive shopping event and to invite all your regular customers, making it a social event to create that desire.

However, now you need a different approach, and another way of creating excitement is a Christmas shopping week where you book 30-minute treatments on a 45-minute slot with a £25 booking fee. This will give you some revenue for the treatment, and then you can also run all of your Christmas shopping offers that week too.

Make sure your whole team knows what you have available to sell and that they have all had full training, so they know what is in your Christmas kits, what the savings are and who they are best suited to.

Then, when someone asks about them, they’re excited and know what they are talking about. The best way to brief them is via a Christmas staff meeting.

Also, you will need your team behind you to maximise retail sales, so put an exciting incentive in place for them to be rewarded on their sales – after all it is Christmas.

Also, you need to be mindful about filling your diary for January 2021, so why not offer certain gift boxes with a bounce-back card for a discounted or added-value treatment to be redeemed in January only?

Bonnie Platts is coowner of AB Beauty Consultancy, which helps salons and spas with operations and recruitment.

If an employee is going through IVF,what are their rights in terms of leave and pay?

With around 2% (20,000) babies a year delivered by IVF, there is a reasonable chance salon owners will experience IVF in some form, so an understanding of the employment rights is helpful.

You may not even be aware that an employee has started IVF treatment, as they have no obligation to tell you. However, they do not have a legal right to take time off, paid or unpaid, for fertility treatment. Typically, they may request holiday or unpaid time off to attend an IVF appointment but may prefer to keep the fact private.

If an employee becomes pregnant through IVF, they have exactly the same rights as any other pregnant employee. For the purpose of entitlement to employment rights, an employee undergoing IVF is deemed to be pregnant from the point of implantation of fertilised ova and would therefore be entitled to time off for antenatal appointments from the point of implantation.

The employee doesn’t have to tell their employer as soon as they have had the embryo transfer and might be pregnant, but research in 2016 showed more than 70% of employees did tell their employer.

At any stage during the IVF process, the employee may be signed off by a doctor. It isn’t uncommon for the doctor to be cautious on behalf of the patient and recommend rest in the early days of the pregnancy. This may be affected by the employee’s medical history.

The employer must accept this and treat it like sickness absence for any other reason and allow entitlement to statutory sick pay and any contractual sick pay.

As a reminder, all pregnant employees have legal rights to paid time off for antenatal care, which can include antenatal or parenting classes if they’ve been recommended by a doctor or midwife. The father or pregnant woman’s partner has the right to unpaid time off work to go to two antenatal appointments.

Pregnant employees also have the right to maternity leave of up to 12 months. Maternity pay or maternity allowance pay is £151.20, or 90% of their average weekly earnings and they must earn at least £120 a week to be eligible.

They also have the right to protection from unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal.

David Wright consults in employment practice and law and offers a support service for UK salons.


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This article appears in the December 2020 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the December 2020 Issue of Professional Beauty