Between back-to-back appointments, mountains of paperwork, daily distractions, and keeping it all together solo while making each client confidently love their style – it’s no secret that mastering time as a hairstylist can be downright impossible some days.
Without serious strategy, even the most talented stylists risk fizzling out from the constant pressure to produce under rigid constraints.
The solution is proactive planning. In this definitive guide, I’ll share 10 time management tips you can use to book smarter schedules, automate administrative tasks, and leveraging tools purpose-built to amplify hairstylist productivity.
From using salon scheduling software to streamlining supply inventory to safeguarding sacred self-care “me time”, we’ll go over all the time management tactics made to help you run your salon business more smoothly. Alright, let’s get into it.
Let's be real – a hairstylist's schedule is never boring! We bounce from client to client then suddenly need to switch admin hats for paperwork and supply orders. Throw in last-minute touch-ups, nosy customers running late, the fact that we're quite literally on our feet all day yet need to stay upbeat… No wonder so many of us fantasize about long tropical vacations!
But in all seriousness, being able to effectively juggle hectic booking calendars, minimize frustrating no-shows, balance both service provision AND administrative essentials, plus actually take real meal and restroom breaks (aka survive!), requires strategy. Without proactive planning around time management, even the most talented stylists risk fizzling from burnout.
The goal is to create work life sustainability – where you provide exceptional service without drowning, continue progressing in your career, and yes, enjoy some you time to re energize outside the salon as well!
The following tips reveal key ways to optimize hours through smarter scheduling, workflow, and leveraging tools like salon software. Think efficiency plans custom-tailored for the daily obstacles hairstylists face. Find the freedom to excel while maintaining sanity! Now let's get you scheduled smart.
Here are my top hairstylist time management tips:
Okay, let's dive deeper into each time management tip.
The biggest time management asset for hairstylists is a streamlined appointment booking system. Rather than playing phone tag with clients for appointment changes, juggling walk-ins, running waitlists by hand, and constantly asking customers for preferred service history – embrace salon scheduling software.
Opting into a solution like GlossGenius means you offload the tasks of booking new appointments, moving or canceling existing sessions based on availability, and tracking everything related to each client to a powerful system. Customers conveniently book and pay online 24/7 while your calendar auto-updates. You gain insight into upcoming demand and use automation around confirmations or waitlist status instead of repetitive manual communication.
Software tools like GlossGenius also centralize important client details, from preferences to contact info to historical transactions all in associated profiles. This means no more guessing or asking repetitively about past experiences. Streamlining administrative tasks ultimately results in more face time actually providing services clients eagerly await thanks to organized booking.
The right software also helps minimize no-shows through automated reminders which can plague hairstylists. Overall, transitioning booking management chores from human to optimized digital systems frees up hours in the week while also reducing stress.
Building on appointment scheduling capabilities, salon software also enables hairstylists to retain detailed client profiles and records to reference. This includes documenting service history like haircolor formulas used, past haircut styles, or other offerings received for historical knowledge on what that client prefers.
Notes can also be added on any sensitivities, allergies, irregularities noticed, or custom requests made during visits. Rather than relying on memory alone or scattered paper notes to know Joe prefers his sides trimmed one clipper guard shorter or that Sandy got highlights in October – a robust client record makes vital info quick to retrieve. This in turn allows for more personalized, consistent services.
Easy access to clean customer data also eliminates so much repetitive questioning each appointment around mundane preferences or service background. Over time these small talk interactions add up to hours of lost productivity. Digital profiles mean more quality time actually spent on the fun stuff – bringing clients' next great look alive.
Double-booking clients back-to-back leaves no room for creative renditions or operational hiccups. Instead, purposefully schedule small gaps between each session – even just 15 minutes makes a difference. This padding goes beyond dealing with late arrivals or chatty customers and provides vitally important transition time.
Those 10-15 minutes between appointments let you reset tools, clean up product remnants before welcoming your next client, refresh your mind, use the restroom, grab a snack or water so you stay energized and focused. Or catch up on paperwork since administrative loose ends won't try eating into client facetime.
Working buffer blocks into schedules is key for maximizing hairstylist productivity and accuracy. Rushing between sessions when behind schedule or crisscrossing other stylist stations mid-shampoo trying to grab product increases mistakes and frustration over the course of a drawn out day.
While a buffer contrasted with back-to-backs seems less efficient on paper, in practice this spacing drives faster client turnover, superior quality and consistency, and reduced fatigue over a full shift thanks to the reliability and flexibility buffers allow.
Rather than trying to mentally map out the day's appointments and various salon goings-on, utilize a displayed scheduling calendar. Mounting a large screen or wall-mounted monthly calendar kept constantly updated with each staff member's appointments enables all to visualize availability and demand at a glance.
Salon calendar management platforms like GlossGenius make keeping an up-to-date calendar effortless by automatically syncing all bookings made online to a centralized dashboard calendar. This generates a live snapshot of the day's clients and sessions that staff can display on tablets, wall-mounted TVs, or your phone without manual data entry.
Having this visual map of the hourly schedule and all its moving pieces can help receptionists seat late arrivals based on openings rather than interrupting other staff mid-session. It also allows stylists to gauge timing and resource needs. Watching the clock less and visually cues more during hectic days provides important psychological relief as well.
As a hairstylist, you’re constantly balancing a mix of serving your clients while also having to do administrative tasks like inventory management, HR filing, bookkeeping needs and more. But repetitive administrative tasks add up quickly, eating into precious hours in client chair time and creativity. Where possible, use technology assistance to get these necessities handled efficiently.
For example, cloud-based salon software automates inventory management by directly placing bulk reorders with vendors when custom preset par stock levels of items like shampoo, gloves, foils, are reached. This eliminates manual monitoring, purchase order paperwork, and supply stock out emergencies. Automated accounting functionality handles payroll calculations freeing up mental bandwidth.
Tools like payroll processing services, e-retail platforms for card processing & tip payouts, drag-and-drop website and marketing templates bring essential non-client facing tasks needed to operate a business into more efficient automated environments. Identify which manual processes cause the most operational pain or workflow interruptions and explore digital solutions.
Getting your administrative tasks streamlined allows you to focus your energy on appointments, creativity, and continuing education in your field. Don't let crucial but time-sucking tasks eat away limited minutes. If it takes time away from actually servicing your clients (your zone of genius), find a way to automate it.
As hairstylists, being in constant client-pleasing mode comes with the territory. But without reasonable boundaries around appointment times, last-minute requests, or endless favors – you risk burning yourself out and harboring resentment.
Be transparent and gently explain your availability constraints to temper expectations. For example: "I'd be happy to fit you in next Tuesday at 3pm once my other client leaves – will that work?" which still accommodates while communicating your current schedule limitations.
On the same token, after closing let clients know you turn off work messages and honor personal time by saying: "I'm not available for color touch ups after 6pm, but please text me tomorrow morning and we'll find a time next week!" Enforcing work-life separation this way reduces off-hour requests.
While maintaining a loyal base through consistent high-quality services, don't overextend constantly changing your schedule on a dime or staying late to accommodate every last add-on. Use salon software tools to post visibility on your current availability. Find phrases to set polite boundaries when needed so you don't risk burnout.
Similar to tip three about setting gaps in your schedule to create buffers between appointments, you don’t let back-to-back bookings rule your schedule. Among the client appointments and operational musts, purposefully block out designated windows for eating meals, short breaks, even mental health days entirely offsite.
Honor this as sacred self-care “me time” to nurture personal wellbeing. Trying to power through a jam packed calendar without coming up for air quickly burns out even the most seasoned stylist.
Schedule pockets for basic self maintenance – call it “me time” to detach from client chatter and refresh. Protecting space to refuel makes all external interactions more enjoyable while sustaining stamina for the marathon rather than sprint.
Don’t allow administrative essentials like returning client emails and voicemails, making followup confirmation calls, submitting supply invoices or other computer-based efforts eat away your hours in fragmented inefficient snippets. Instead designate set blocks of time weekly to batch tackle admin in one fell swoop.
For example, you could set a time block for every Tuesday morning from 8:30-10:30 am to power through all outstanding admin items. Then enjoy serving your clients the rest of the day free of backend hassles nagging at you. Grouping similar tasks together into designated windows prevents distraction from your service-oriented priorities.
Eliminate supply scramble emergencies disrupting sessions by taking time upfront to build streamlined storage solutions. Organize product inventory with easy identification label systems, neatly lined retail displays, and consistently logical storage locations so that you and assistants can rapidly locate necessary materials without escalating frustration. Consider bin organizational systems and hardware.
Taking heat off last second “where did it go?!” product searches through disciplined organization cuts unneeded appointment delays while reducing staff stress exponentially. Tidy workspaces equal clearer minds to focus on client creativity vs unnecessary obstacles.
Avoid falling into status quo time traps! Review how your days and weeks flow quarterly, identify what causes the most scheduling or workload stress, then brainstorm incremental efficiency experiments to try.
Could optimized retail product layouts improve checkout experiences? Would blocking late afternoon for paperwork catch-up ease next day chaos? Test small tweaks then quantify impacts until you lock in sustainable schedules and systems that click.
Savvy hairstylists constantly inspect time use patterns for improvement openings. Optimization is an iterative journey!
The reality is, being a hairstylist often involves intense demands around precision work under tight time constraints. From frequently rebooking unsatisfied clients last minute and managing walk-ins, to standing on your feet all day while making sure every unique client leaves confidently loving their service amidst regular distractions – there's no question styling hair professionally poses immense pressure.
The creative nature yet subjective desires inherent with crafting personalized looks alongside navigating vibrant personalities means rewarding experiences but also unpredictable expectations. Missing lunch or personal breaks attempting to keep an often overstuffed schedule flowing smooth can test your nerves. And doing it all while physically contorting arms to detail hair adds physical exhaustion.
But, prioritizing self-care practices is pivotal, as nurturing mental calm and positive perspective enables hairstylists to sustainably manage the numerous demands. Using solutions like GlossGenius can greatly alleviate administrative stressors through automated scheduling, inventory workflows, and operational organization so stylists can devote energies directly to delivering standout service and experiences – the heart of the work!
If you’re ready to run your salon with ease, be sure to try out GlossGenius for free – no credit card required!