Susan O'Sullivan

[Images: Susan O’Sullivan, courtesy of Nichala Cutts]

If you find yourself bending over backwards to meet your clients’ needs, only to experience ongoing, frequent lulls between appointments and a loss in profit at the end of the month, you’re not alone. Many spa owners—including myself—have experienced similar staffing problems, which cost money and cause stress and frustration. So the question is: What do you do about it? Below, I’ve mapped out five common staffing culprits and solutions that will help you build revenue today!

1. Your Poor Booking Strategies

For those of us in the service industry, it’s in our nature to want to accommodate clients by basing our schedules around them. However, booking clients without setting guidelines can result in gaps between services; whether minor or major, these slow periods cost you money each time. Imagine a simple scenario whereby you keep two employees on staff for eight hours, paying them each a full day’s wage, just so they can perform one $38 pedicure each. In this case, staffing your employees for an entire day will clearly result in a major loss. Add up a few of these situations and you might end up doing huge damage to your bottom line. In 2015, this cost my business CAD$20,000.00 alone!

Your solution:

Employ a military-style booking system. This alone could possibly save your business! Although such a strategy may not be feasible all of the time, most of the time it is. For example, when your day is completely free and your first client calls to book, you might think to give them a free range of time options. Don’t. Instead, start by suggesting one of your spa’s most unfavorable booking times. Then, book additional clients directly before and after, working around a time that might be a slow part of your day. The worst-case scenario is that the client says no and then you book another time that does work for them. Find ways to streamline throughout the day: If you have one appointment booked at 2 p.m. and another calls for a quick eyebrow wax, suggest they come in around 1:45 rather than 1:30. This saves you 15 minutes, which adds up to a lot by the end of the year.

2. You Can’t Find a Balance During Your High and Low Seasons

You may feel understaffed during the high seasons of business and overstaffed during the slow seasons, never able to find the perfect balance. You may get the urge to hire several new staff members during peak seasons, only to find yourself overstaffed as soon as business slows down. Instead of continuing the costly and time-consuming pattern of hiring and firing, you probably feel that there’s a better way. Thankfully there is!

Your solution:

Set a strategy. If you’re going to ramp up your staffing for the high seasons, do it in advance. Let’s say your busy season starts in May. That means you should start recruiting in February so that new employees are fully prepped in time, and that you’re not spending any of your prime peak season hours on training them. This also goes right back to problem #1. If you ensure you’re following this booking style, you’ll be surprised how much time becomes available to take on new clients. This enables you to maximize your own team with as few members as possible.

Bonus Tip #1: Employ a pre-booking strategy while you’re still in your busy season, not once the slow period kicks in. Think and plan ahead. For example: offer clients 15 percent off their pre-booked service before they leave that day.

Bonus Tip #2: When you do hire more staff, don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Be clear that achieving success within your company is a two-way street. They need to build and nurture their clientele every day.

3. You’re Turning Away Clients

You may find yourself frequently saying no to clients because your books are full, but at other times they’re empty. You receive—but have to turn down—requests to cater to special events such as weddings or parties.

Your solution:

First, start tracking which times you’re always booked solid and which services are frequently have to turn away. Every time you have to say no, notice the pattern of when and why. Over time you will likely start seeing a trend, and then can start to modify your team’s schedule to fit these needs.

4. Your Employees Are “Fearing the Sale”

As we established above, a little bit of everything soon adds up. There are opportunities to upsell services and to sell retail products, which can both boost revenue for your business. Have you ever looked at an employee’s retail sales over the last three months and saw a big whopping ZERO? There is no reason for employees to be avoiding the opportunity to sell. This usually comes from a lack of confidence that can easily be fixed.

Your solution:

The easiest way to fix an employee’s lack of self-confidence is to educate them. Teach your employees everything they need to know about your products and services and empower them to have the right conversations with clients. Remind your employees to eliminate small talk with clients and instead ask meaningful questions about their needs. This information will give staff the confidence to sell and add on to services.

5. You Feel Unprepared For Staff Emergencies

We’ve all experienced the dreaded phone call in which an employee says they have an emergency and can’t make it to their shift. Although frustrating, it’s unfortunately inevitable. If you don’t find the right solution, you risk losing a whole day of revenue. Until now, there was no answer to this. It was a painful reality that spa owners dealt with frequently. At one point, I was literally losing sleep at night wondering what may happen the next day. I knew there had to be a better way. I decided I was going find the solution, and that’s exactly what I did.

Your solution:

SpaTemps, a platform that connects spa owners to service providers in real time, as needed. There’s no waiting game to see if a service provider will or won’t show up for their shift, and no issue in booking an appointment when your employees are already booked solid. With SpaTemps you can find that perfect “temp” employee to help you during peak times, high season, or whenever you may need it! This is finally the one step solution to help with all the staffing problems that are killing your cash flow, and stopping your business from the growth that it can achieve!

It is your time to fall back in love with your business again!

By signing up for your toolkit, you will have access to Non-Revenue Generating Hours and potential profit calculators that will give you a clear view of how much your business is losing. You will also receive our spa owner success planner and our “12 Steps to Selling More Retail When You Hate Selling Retail” guide. No purchase required.

So what’s stopping you from the creating the growth your business needs? It’s time to find these solutions and sign up to get your free spa owner toolkit, simply by pre-registering for SpaTemps today!

– by Susan O’Sullivan, owner and founder of SpaTemps

Tell us your thoughts! Leave a Facebook Comment

More