Overall, the power structures at play in salons are similar to any other job. The owners, CEO, and managers are at the top, and so on. This is why having a clear idea of your salon’s mission statement is so important – it sets the tone for how every single part of your salon will run. You can also interpret this hierarchy in terms of experience, as owners and managers usually have more experience than stylists do, stylists have more than assistants do, etc. Everyone’s job is important however, no one should feel like they don’t belong at their job or are less than for not being a seasoned stylist yet. Let people’s true potential shine through and you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes!

Hair Salon Management Tips

Opening your own salon is a big step in your career. You’ve made it to the point where you get to be your own boss! Now the question is, how do you best manage your salon? In this guide, we’re going to outline some tips to help you run things smoothly.

How to Manage a Hair Salon

There are so many fun and amazing experiences that come with working at a salon. You have the privilege of making lifelong friends and having unique experiences people dream of! However, the easiest way to ruin a good time is by forgetting the essential tasks you have to cover as a salon owner. It’s best to get into the habit of doing these things early on so you never have to worry about handling your business.

  • Budgeting. Coming up with a comprehensive budget is key to keeping things running smoothly at a salon. Take time to calculate everything you have to spend money on and keep it on record. This would be a great opportunity to look into budgeting software if you haven’t already.
  • Communication. Getting to know your team is essential to having a harmonious salon. Making time to have group meetings and one-on-ones helps you get an idea of how to set up your staff for success. Doing this helps your stylists get to know you better too! Encouraging feedback will help your business flourish and make not just your employees happy, but your clients happy as well.
  • Branding. Focus on your target clientele, envision what your dream salon looks like. It can be easy to forget what got you excited about opening a salon in the first place after the initial drama of opening your own business. Take time to assess whether or not you’re welcoming in the clients you’d be best suited for, and don’t be afraid to ask clients what you could do differently.

Don’t forget to check in on your routine regularly, there’s always room to learn more and change. As a stylist yourself, you know the importance of staying knowledgeable and learning from mistakes! 

How to Manage Multiple Hair Stylists at a Salon

Your team is the backbone of your salon, and without them, you’d be very busy and on your own! Keeping up with multiple people can be challenging though, so it’s a good idea to keep in mind some of these basic tips.

  • Be clear! As we’ve already emphasized, open and clear communication is key. Make sure you have an open line in case anyone has any questions or concerns. Forming a group chat through text or a team messaging app like Slack can streamline this process.
  • Organization. Get a website that has a comprehensive scheduling service. Clients will be able to go to your website and simply select the stylist they want to book. You can even have a calendar appear that shows availability in time slots! It’s a really great investment for your business.

  • Relationships. Knowing your stylists helps you gain new long-term clients. If you have a stylist that’s amazing with color correction but they’re new to the area, you can help direct new clients in their direction. Paying close attention to and remembering your stylists’ strengths will only play to your advantage.

In no time, it’ll become second nature to keep up with appearances. Your team will feel supported and so will you.

Common Hair Salon Management Issues

Not everything can be perfect. It’s all part of the fun, right? Learning to run a business can be a humbling experience at the end of the day. Luckily you’re not alone, there are some common mistakes and problems every salon owner faces. 

  • Favoritism. A great way to get your team to lose trust in you is by treating stylists unequally. Do you let other stylists leave with messy stations or bend the rules with dress code while others don’t? You’ll start to notice workplace politics getting worse when you do this. Try to make sure you’re being as unbiased as possible, you don’t want to be known as a salon that has a lot of gossip. How you handle coworker relations will set the tone for how the rest of the salon is running and the happiness of your staff.

  • Rude customers. This is a classic problem anyone who’s been a stylist has had to deal with at some point. Everyone has a bad day, but let’s say you have a client that’s having a particularly awful one. In any instance, if someone is being physically combative or making others feel unsafe, you should always tell them to leave. If someone is just plain rude though, you have to maintain a balance between professionalism and standing up for your stylists. Especially if you’re a commission-based hair salon, you’ll want to try to wait to refuse service unless absolutely necessary. You can read more about how to handle problem customers by clicking the link to this article ( ) that expands on salon management issues and how to overcome them.

Hair Salon Management Duties List

  • Positive attitude: Check your life drama at the door so you can focus on doing your best for the day.
  • Check phone and emails: Dedicate a few times each day to check for inquiries or new bookings and respond to any messages or calls.
  • Social media: The more engagement you do, the more you’ll get in return! Try to make one post a day, whether it be reposting clients’ hair or making a fun post about your stylists.
  • Inventory: Keep on top of stock daily and make orders as needed.
  • Bookkeeping: Log all money in and out for each day in your spreadsheets or budgeting software.
  • Communicate: Be on top of any announcements you need to make and take time to reach out to stylists if you need to, don’t be afraid to give a daily shout-out to hard workers!
  • Housekeeping: Check around your salon regularly for any messes leftover or safety hazards. Make sure things get taken care of quickly to avoid bigger problems later.
  • Turn off: Don’t overwork yourself! You have to dedicate time to rest every day or you’ll burn out.

Hair Salon Management Issues and Problems

Being your own boss has its’ perks! Everything in the salon you’ve built is your responsibility now, and this includes anyone coming in or out of your salon doors. You have to properly manage the people around you to help them succeed and to make a profit. The longer you’re in this new role of salon management, the easier learning and balance becomes. Making mistakes is how we learn, but a few tips never hurt.

Management Issues in Hair Salons 

Problems will inevitably arise when you’re managing a business, especially when other people are involved. Managing a salon means learning new social skills.

  • Doing too much. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Being a helicopter and constantly breathing down your stylists’ necks can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress. It’s understandable to be protective of the brand you’ve created, but it’s important to show your stylists that you trust them enough to represent you well. You hired them after all!

  • Doing too little. On the other hand, being completely hands-off can make your stylists and even your clients feel left in the dark. If problems arise that need your attention, it can make people feel like they’re on their own. Try to make an effort to have steady, regular communication. Group chats or messaging apps like Slack are great for this!

  • Not being assertive. Sometimes it’s tough making decisions, whether it be parting ways with a problematic client or helping stylists who aren’t getting along. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or come off as bossy, right? Being stern sometimes is a great way to set healthy boundaries and people will respect you for it. Softness leads people to mistrust you, and sometimes even take advantage of you.

Operating Issues in Hair Salons

Aside from social responsibility, there are a few operating responsibilities that you should stay on top of to be a good manager. 

  • Poor budgeting. Budgeting is essential to running a business. Not staying on top of your budget and letting things get behind like stock or bills looks bad on the entire salon. Keeping a spreadsheet or using budgeting software can help you keep track of all money that goes in and out of the salon. 

  • Lack of maintenance. Things will eventually need fixing, but putting it off will cost you in the long run. It can be frustrating when things break or need to be replaced. Waiting to get things like leaky pipes fixed can cost you hundreds on your water bill and it’ll reflect poorly on how you run your business. 

Problems Salon Owners Will Run Into Related to Customers

Clients are what run salons, but sometimes they cause more harm than good. Everyone has bad days, but how far should you expect to go with your kindness? 

  • Rudeness. It’s easy to want to match a customer’s energy when they’ve done something rude to you, but it’s good practice to be polite anyway. At that moment, you want to represent your company first. You never have to take abuse from a client, but it’s a great idea to remain as polite and accommodating as possible. Being the bigger person shows anyone who looks at your salon that you value being respectful towards everyone.

  • Boundaries. Clients usually mean well but dealing with an overbearing client can make work difficult for stylists and can sometimes make other clients uncomfortable. It’s important to stick up for your stylists when they’re saying they don’t like something. This could be something like a client commenting on a stylist’s disability, race, or appearance.

  • Moving on. You are completely within your right to refuse service and ban people for big offenses, such as violence. What if a client just isn’t working out? Don’t forget, it’s okay to take notice when a regular client is consistently unhappy appointment after appointment and let them go. You can plainly tell them you think they’d be happier at a different salon. In the long run, it’ll be a lot less stress for both you and the client to move on like this. 

Other Hair Salon Problems and Issues

  • Salon drama. Cliques can sometimes form in social groups and gossip happens. It’s important to keep a close eye on this type of behavior and not get involved, even if you’re friends with some of your stylists. Being biased can cause a toxic work environment, leaving stylists feeling on edge, or getting a little too comfortable with you. You’ll quickly create a reputation for being “that” salon, making your salon uninviting to new stylists and could even make your clients wary of booking with you. How you carry yourself will set the tone for how your salon operates.

  • Misconduct. Things like sexual harassment and violence should always have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone that walks through your doors. Getting intoxicated on the job is also inappropriate. The last thing any salon owner would want is the reputation of having a salon that allows this kind of behavior. Make sure you have a clear list of what is and is not acceptable for your salon so there’s no confusion whatsoever. 

  • Ending on bad terms. Having to let a stylist go or moving on from a client can be difficult to navigate when emotions are high. Always try to end things on good terms. Even if the situation makes you angry, making the effort to put your feelings aside and acting respectfully leaves a mark. Everything you do represents your business! 
June 13, 2023 — Cambria Davidson