Use These 12 Strategies to Optimize Your Salon Calendar

Beauty professionals know that how you use every minute matters – that’s why your calendar is at the center of your world. When your schedule is all over the place, or you waver between periods of being booked solid and long stretches of too much free time, it's hard to feel like you have control of your life.

In this article, we’ll give you tips and strategies on how to optimize your salon calendar to give you both the focus and flexibility you need to make the most of your time, maximize your income, and still prioritize your mental health.

Why You Need an Efficient Salon Calendar

It’s important to remember that as a beauty professional, you aren’t only selling products and services at your salon, you’re selling the most precious resources of all: your time and energy. 

No matter if you work at a nail salon, waxing salon, aesthetic salon, or hair salon, it can be so easy to let it occupy all of your time and energy if you aren't careful.

To save some of that precious time and energy for life outside of work to spend on family, friends, fun, and personal commitments that keep you healthy and happy, you must optimize your salon calendar to put you back in control of your time. 

And an effective salon calendar isn’t only pivotal for time management, it’s also core to great business and client management

Your calendar is where your business lives. Keep your business organized and set a great impression with clients by using a calendar that flawlessly tracks and manages scheduling appointments, as well as the details of the clients who made them (more on how to do exactly that later). 

In addition, a truly effective salon calendar saves resources. With a calendar system that accepts bookings and automatically updates so clients always know your availability and you always know your schedule, you’ll save countless hours spent trying to reconcile pen and paper bookings. That's not to mention the money you can save by automating your calendar over hiring an employee to manage it.

When your calendar isn’t helping you run your salon business smoothly, then your life isn’t going to feel like it's running smoothly. 

Eager to smooth things out while still hitting your personal and business goals? Let's jump in.

12 Tips and Strategies for Optimizing Your Salon Calendar

Come along as we explore the tips, strategies, and even some tech that will help you create a fully-optimized salon calendar system that relieves stress, gives you your life back, and enables you to finally focus on the services and products that make the biggest impact on your earnings. 

1. Prioritize Profitable and Enjoyable Salon Services 

Which services make you the most money, and which do you love to do the most?

Narrow down your offerings to only include these special services and watch your productivity as well as your income soar.  

This may seem counterintuitive at first. I mean, fewer services equals fewer bookings and therefore less income, right?! 

That’s actually not how it usually ends up working out. Instead, this gives you the opportunity to laser-focus on what you love and excel at, getting even better at your craft. When you become known for those certain services that you’re dedicated to, you’ll start attracting clients who want those services and are willing to pay a premium for your specialized skills. It’s a win-win situation. 

2. Solidify Your Service Routine 

Once you have a tight set of services you’re excited about, it’ll be easier to absolutely nail the timing and routine for each of them. 

Why does that matter?

Because being able to start and end each appointment right on time is core to keeping your calendar running smoothly. If your timing is wrong for even one appointment, your schedule for the whole day can easily be thrown off.

Keep appointments running on time with a well-oiled routine or the rest of your salon calendar optimization efforts are going to be a lot less effective.

3. Set Aside Down Time Between Appointments 

Down time between appointments might seem like a waste, but it’s critical to keeping your appointments on schedule and your days on track. 

Most appointments require some setup time to get your gear checked and prepped, as well as breakdown time for cleaning and sanitation. And sometimes, you just need a break! 

Instead of scrambling to get all these things done while your clients wait, build gap time into your calendar so you’re fully prepared to put your all into every appointment. 

4. Block Out Time for Admin Work

Ask pretty much any self-employed professional and they’ll tell you how easy it is to push those mentally taxing (but very important!) business tasks to the very last minute. 

However, falling behind on things like taxes, bookkeeping, and marketing can be detrimental in the long run. 

This is another opportunity to make your appointment calendar work for you. 

Block out time to sit down and focus on nothing but those administrative tasks. Look at your schedule and choose times when you're already slow. Or, if you find it easier to tackle these tasks in smaller chunks, weave them between appointments throughout your day.

5. Take Advantage of Processing Time

Plenty of salon services require processing time. 

Bleach or hair color has to process, nails have to dry, and so on. 

What else can you offer that would slot perfectly into that down time to maximize your profits without adding hours to your day? 

Think about how you can slide short haircuts with no wash or styling service, bang trims, consultations, brow or lip waxing services, and more into some of those twenty- or thirty-minute processing gaps throughout your day. 

6. Integrate With an Online Appointment Booking System 

We won’t go too deep into the importance of easy online appointment booking, because most modern beauty professionals already understand how crucial it is to set up an online booking website where clients can discover your salon, view your awesome work and services, and make an appointment seamlessly. 

But what we will dive into is how to make digital booking even more effective: Connect your online appointment booking system with your salon calendar. 

When your booking portal and calendar are synced, clients will automatically be able to see your hours of operation and any available time slots when you don’t already have personal, admin, or client appointment time booked.

For clients, that means easily finding a time that works for their schedule, no back-and-forth scheduling text nightmares and no stress.

For you, that means no after-hours phone calls and no endless messy pieces of paper with scheduling notes to keep track of.

With an integrated booking system, your schedule should dynamically update so you always know what’s in store for your day, week, and beyond. When you’re in control of your salon calendar like that, you’re also in control of the rest of your time so you can stay booked without feeling flustered and stay productive both at work and in life.

7. Use Reminders to Reduce No-Shows 

The truth is that in our fast-paced world, everyone could use a little help staying organized. 

That includes you as well as your beauty service clients. 

By utilizing appointment reminders that go out about 24 hours before their upcoming appointments, you can make sure clients don’t accidentally forget to show up, reducing no-shows at the salon. 

8. Stay Busy With a Waitlist 

That said, no-shows do happen. And so do last-minute cancellations. 

Unfortunately, when that happens you usually end up having to spend more time at the salon to make up the work in an attempt to hit your revenue target for the day.

But what if you had a way to quickly backfill appointments when your schedule changes, keeping your day as full as you want it and your revenue on track?

Welcome to the waitlist

The best salons often employ waitlists so they always have options to pull from when a slot opens up unexpectedly. Your booking website is the best place to host this list, so that folks can add themselves to it whenever they can't find a spot on your calendar that works with their schedule. 

You can choose to pull from this waitlist on a first-come, first-served basis or you can hand-pick booking requests based on how their desired service fits with your availability for the day. 

9. Build In Recurring Bookings

In most industries, repeat clients make up the majority of revenue. 

In the beauty industry where appointments can be weeks or even months apart, getting clients to remember you when they go to book their next service can be difficult.

Instead of letting all that time pass, encourage clients to book their next service with you while they’re still in the salon

One of the least invasive, and quickest, ways to pull this off is by building rebooking right into the checkout process. Capture them when they’re happiest with their amazing new look to make sure they plan to come back to you next time they need a refresh. 

“With GlossGenius, the checkout process is so much faster and smoother. I can take the money for the service, sell the client retail products, and make another appointment all in fewer steps and using just one app – which is incredible. I was delighted the first time that I used it and it’s one of the main reasons I have a near-100% rebooking rate.” – Salon Owner, Hairdresser, and GlossGenius Educator Matthew Landis

10. Sync Your Salon and Personal Calendars 

Looking for ultimate work-life balance? 

Then sync the work and life calendars you live by so that you always know what to expect from your day. No more frantic workdays, no more important family dates missed, and no more regrets at the end of the day wondering how you could have been more successful and less stressed.

11. Don’t Overlook Your Personal Time

The best way to make sure you’re refreshed and sharp when your loyal clients come to you for services? 

Prioritizing your personal time. 

Salon life comes with a lot of hustle and bustle, so you have to really make an effort to learn your limits and block out personal time to recharge. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

What helps you feel your best? Maybe it’s a #hotgirlwalk that gets you outside for some fresh air (And no, you don’t have to identify as a girl or even feel particularly hot for this to work!). Maybe it’s longer, more relaxing lunches that give you time to decompress in the middle of a busy work day. Maybe what fills your cup is volunteering at the local pet shelter! 

Make use of that awesome salon calendar you’ve optimized so well and block out personal time to do these things. When your mental health is strong, you’ll be ready to face even the most hectic days on the floor.

12: The Ultimate Salon Calendar Tip: Try All-in-One Salon Software

What could make many of the tips and strategies we’ve shared here today reach their fullest potential? 

A little boost from technology. 

But when you’re already juggling dozens of tasks as a busy salon owner and operator, do you really have the bandwidth to operate a bunch of different tools for your website, online booking + scheduling system, reminders, a waitlist, and more? 

Honestly, probably not. 

That’s why we built all the features you need into GlossGenius: the all-in-one salon management software for driving salon bookings and boosting your revenue. 

GlossGenius is built by beauty professionals for beauty professionals. We have all the salon scheduling software features you need to optimize your calendar as well as your entire business, including: 

  • A beautiful online booking website that’s totally brandable to align with your vibe and show off your work, pricing, team, and more
  • Scheduling and calendar features that update automatically, provide every view of your schedule imaginable, talk to your online booking website, and can be synced with other digital calendars like Outlook, Google Calendar, and iCal
  • A marketing platform for sharing highly-relevant messaging that keeps you top of mind with your audience via text, email, and social media 
  • Automated notifications for client appointment confirmations, reminders, and follow-ups 
  • Robust client management capabilities so you never forget a detail about a loyal client or their history with your salon
  • A client review platform where you can automatically request reviews and exercise total control over what clients see
  • Reports and analytics so you always have insight into how your business is performing and where to focus to increase revenue 
  • Affordable, flat-fee payment processing with no hidden fees and stylish card readers to craft a modern point-of-sale (POS) system 
  • Built-in no-show protection tools like deposits requirements, cancellation and no-show policies, a flexible waitlist, and a banned clients list 

With GlossGenius, beauty professionals enjoy $1,500 more in bookings, save 40% on average when switching from clunky legacy tools, and enjoy the industry’s lowest payment processing rate. 

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