Salon Management: the Glamour, Money and Guilt

Larissa Macleman
Salon Owners Collective Founder
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The joy of salon management is that you get to do things your way, but it’s not all butterflies and rainbows.
You work on your own terms, you set your own hours, and you make your own piles of money. Isn’t salon management great? You see other businesses looking successful as they swoon about being all entrepreneurial – after all that’s the entrepreneurial promise isn’t it? Glamour and money!

Something tells me you’re not nodding your head just now!

Reality is often far from this rosy picture that we’ve been told to expect. Salon management is mostly hard work, lots of hours, and some of the lowest wages. On top of this, we’re ridden with guilt. We feel guilty for not being more successful, not making more money, not being good enough at what we do, not working harder, not getting things finished, not being there for our team, and not being there for our families! And then we feel guilty about feeling guilty!

Well, enough is enough.

It’s time to free yourself from the guilty pleasure of owning your own salon business. Identify those feelings, name them and bring back the glamour. Reinvest in your relationships and search out that money, and while you’re at it, get rid of those guilty feelings with these business tips.


Money makes the world go around, doesn’t it? This comes in at number one because, like it or not, salon management is about money. Many business owners feel guilty about how much they charge a client for their services or how much they do or don’t make. What is it about money that makes you feel guilty?

Many salon managers make the mistake of assuming their clients can’t afford their service fee, so they undersell themselves. This is a recipe for disaster. The client has made a choice to visit your business and by doing so, has accepted the price you charge. It’s up to them to find out if they can afford your services or not. As long as you have your pricing information readily available for the public to see on your website, Facebook Page, pricing menu on your reception desk, or in your salon window, you don’t need to feel bad about your prices.

If you’re feeling guilty about the value of the services you offer, ask yourself if the amount you charge matches the experience your customers receive.

If you’re feeling guilty about the value of the services you offer, ask yourself if the amount you charge matches the experience your customers receive. It’s up to you to make this decision based on your instincts, as well as your business’s financial information. The amount you charge per service or per hour should be based on your expenses, including your profit margin and your chosen position in the market place.

Are you targeting a high end client who expects luxury or are you offering quick, cheap and cheerful services? Your price point and the in-salon experience becomes the value you’re delivering. If you are offering customers something that you’d be happy to pay for, don’t feel guilty about the value of your services!

TIP: Know how much a service costs you: If you’d like to see how much your services are costing you, use reports in your salon software dashboard to calculate your expenses and profit margin. If your salon software integrates with accounting packages like Xero you have up-to-date data at your fingertips. You can see the average value of a customer, as well as a forecast of sales. Go to Reports in your Timely dashboard to get started.

On the other side of that coin, guilt around making too much money is intellectual sabotage. Are you afraid of making money? Do you worry that you’ll be too successful and then feel bad about being rich? You may laugh, but it’s a real fear that can make you feel guilty and derail your success. Think about your family values and feelings about money. Are they stopping you from feeling good about having and handling money?

The reality is you have to charge clients money in order to pay your rent, your team, and the products you use on your clients, let alone pay yourself enough to make ends meet. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to future proof your business so there is a business tomorrow for you, your team, and your clients. Success, financial or otherwise, is something you should reach for and celebrate not feel guilty about. You are making a positive impact in the lives of others because of money!


Time is precious for everyone in the modern world; its the one thing you can’t buy but everyone wishes they had more of. It’s the only priceless commodity, and this makes it even more difficult to choose where you spend your time when there’s so much on your plate.

You may be a customer care star, a technical operator with a column of clients, an inspirational manager of staff, or all three of these. At home, you may also be a mother, a father, a husband or a wife. You’re a business owner, so your job is to wear many hats that need your attention and time, and the burden you feel trying to juggle all these things leads to guilty feelings every which way you turn. Think about the following scenario.

When you’re not at work you feel bad that you’re not there to support your team or your customers. Being a salon manager means you expect others to work hard and when you’re not there leading the way, like many salon owners, you feel guilty. So to appease your guilt, you put your family life aside and go to work. But then when you’re at work leading the team by example and working hard, you feel guilty for not being at home spending time with your loved ones. It can feel like an endless cycle.

The only way to stop this from happening is to manage your time wisely so that you can create the necessary space in your life to invest in the relationships that are most important to you. Get this right and the money will come and the guilt will go. The key to doing this is to ensure that what you choose to focus your time on is carries you a few steps further toward your larger goals. Learn to let go of those little interruptions that are busy keeping you away from the life you deserve to live.

The first step to better salon management is to know the goals and outcomes that you want to achieve. Without this, you’ll be spending your energy travelling uphill on a road that has no end in sight. Spend an hour or two to writing down your goals for the next 5 years, year, month, and week, and then put those activities and milestones in your salon appointment book, google calendar (or sync the two) and reminders… keep them top of mind all the time. (It’s easy to write them on a piece of paper, put them in a draw and forget all about it. Be your own best friend and help yourself achieve your goals.


Eliminate the need to repeat any common processes and thus maximise your time. Technology has made it possible for us to automate many aspects of salon management, and they’re generally very cost-effective and big time savers. Chances are that about a third of the things you do can be eliminated by automating common processes, and this means less mistakes and smoother running, without the need for constant input from you… so you can do do the important things, like those things that generate income for you and your team.

  • Integrate your salon software with accounting and marketing apps to save time and data transfer. You can use tools like MailChimp, Xero, and MYOB that all connect to your salon software.
  • Use SMS reminders to reduce no-show appointments and automatically remind customers when they have an upcoming booking with you.
  • Stop the phone interrupting you and let clients manage their own appointments by setting up online bookings. It won’t cost you anything, and will save you thousands of hours.
  • Sync Google Calendar on your devices with your appointment calendar in Timely so you can manage your work and home life from anywhere, anytime.


Instead of doing everything yourself, put your time into recognising others’ abilities and delegating tasks that they will love to do and make them feel important… while you can focus on the things in your own areas of genius.

When your team are elevated in their roles with important responsibilities, they feel like they are growing, they feel empowered and capable. Give your team the opportunity to feel like they’re capable of making an impact on the business, with your clients and in their own careers.


How do you make time for yourself when there’s a million things that need your attention all the time? You can start by using technology and software to monitor your business while you’re away.

Cloud-based tools are well-suited to a mobile lifestyle because you can free yourself from the front desk, salon location and physical devices. As long as you have an internet connection, it doesn’t matter where you are what device you have. Just open up your browser and check on how things are going in your business.

If one of your goals is to spend more time with loved ones and rid yourself of guilt, move things around so that you have some free time  in your schedule, then book your family time into your calendar and don’t schedule anything else in that period of time – and stick to it.

That guilt we feel as business owners happens when we believe that we have crossed our own lines that we have set for ourselves. These standards we hold have been put in place by years of actions and thoughts that we’ve subjected ourselves to. But the good news is that it’s not difficult to change. One step at a time, we can learn to manage our time and money better, and reap the rewards of deeper relationships and even time to ourselves. This is how we put the guilt that comes with running a business behind us. After all, your hard work in starting your business was not done so that you could feel bad about it, was it!?

If you want more ideas on working smarter and not harder in your business and free your self from guilt, read my e-book.

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