Are Kids Cuts Profitable for your Salon?
Children are our future, but what about the future of your business?
Today I wanted to discuss my thoughts on whether offering children’s haircuts within your salon is good for business?
When you look at the figures in black and white, the answer is irrevocably a resounding ‘No’. That is if you stick to the traditional pricing structure of kids cuts at a reduced price within your salon.
It all stems back to the ambiance that you are trying to portray within your salon, if you want to be a high end salon, you need to take a leaf from others already at the top of their game and emulate their business models.
Examples of what other salons do...
So I put my super sleuth hat on and did the hard work for you. (Does anyone else hear the Pink Panther music in the background?!)
I took the liberty of researching this topic in more depth, and my findings are pretty interesting.
What do other salons do to tackle this concern?
Toni & Guy:
Of course this is a household name so a great place to start!
On their website, there is no mention of children’s haircuts in their pricing structure. Now I’m not suggesting that they don’t do kids cuts at all, but not displaying prices suggests they don’t specialise in them or advertise to that target market. Smart move!
Alternatively it could infer that they DO do children’s haircuts and charge an adult price for the service received.
Another award winning hairdresser and highly esteemed name in our industry, so I wanted to check out their angle on children’s haircuts.
On exploration of Charles Worthington’s site, it appears they offer children’s haircuts with some staff – but not all.
It also states that the age restriction is 15 years on children’s cuts, so presumably after that they are deemed as an adult therefore pay full price.
Children’s cuts are offered with stylists and advanced stylists, anyone more senior than these roles, do not offer them.
Now Daniel Galvin’s salon is listed as one of the top 10 salons in London as listed in Harper’s Bizarre. He received an OBE for his contribution to hair colour and the industry, and his salons are renowned for the best colourists and stylists around today.
I sifted through Daniel Galvin’s website to cast a light on what policies he doctors for children’s cuts.
Much like Charles Worthington, children’s haircuts are offered with some stylists and the top stylists offer them ‘on request only’.
Is this the best use of your time?
How many times have you politely informed a parent that their child’s haircut will ‘Usually take longer than 10 minutes’?!
After advising them that you have no available slots for their child and they argue ‘Surely you can squeeze them in… it won’t take long’.
Famous last words as you are battling with an obstinate 2 year old who is squirming to get away from the ‘horrible person’ jabbing at them with scissors!
I don’t know about you, but it is certainly NOT my ideal day spent at the salon!
Pros and Cons of offering children's haircuts in your salon
- It reinforces to parents that you are a child friendly salon, even if they are not bringing their child in for a haircut at this stage. Think mothers with young babies or those who can’t get a sitter.
- It helps establish a good relationship with your clients and their families. I have whole families that come to me, which is a lovely way to build a stronger bond as you get to know the family unabridged.
- Anyone who has approached your salon and has only received a child’s haircut to date, is maybe more likely to inquire about your other services and become a customer as a result of visiting with their child because you are more credible.
- Children’s haircuts can be great for filling in unwanted slots on a day to day basis. This is because most parents call on the off chance to book their children in. They don’t usually plan too far ahead as they would for their own appointments.
- ‘Forever young, I want to be forever young’! Kids don’t stay kids forever, so when they do grow up, you have already instilled a trust with them. And they will likely continue long into adulthood (or at least until they go to university!)
- Head lice!!! Need I say more?!
- Parents go elsewhere. In my experience as a hair stylist we have some customers who bring their children to us, but visit elsewhere for their own hair needs. Why is this do you think? It could be the salon they attend does not offer children’s haircuts, or they charge more than we do. This needs to be taken into consideration if you are looking to offer this service within your salon.
- Your clients pay a lot of hard earned money to sit in your chair, do they really want other people’s kids running wild in the salon? They may be coming to you to get a some relief from their own crazy busy lives.
- The figures don’t add up. By this I mean, you book the same half an hour slot for a child as you would an adults cut, but you charge less than half price? Now I don’t profess to be Einstein or even close, but the answer is staring you right in the face.
- Leading on to my next point in that a 14 year adolescent can have the same amount of hair (if not more) than any adult. If an adult asked you for a half price haircut, would you give it to them?
- You are not advised to colour any child aged 16 or under, even with parental consent. For more information please see here. Therefore there is less opportunity to sell to these young clients, resulting in potentially lesser earnings for your business.
- There is a reason many salons choose NOT to specialize in this aspect of hairdressing. This business model does not work as well as a traditional salon. This is why many children only salons offer ‘party packages’ as a way to expand their services and make a more suitable turnover.
Why you should consider carefully if you should offer them
Now we have carefully looked at both sides you need to consider IF you should offer children’s haircuts within your salon and if so look into WHY. How are they adding value to your business?
Ask yourself and your staff these crucial questions
- Do you want to be cutting children’s hair? It does have limitations with regards to our creative integrity. Colouring is not an option and schools very often have strict rules to adhere to where haircuts are concerned.
- Is it worth providing this service? Going back to timings, if you have a half hour slot available, do you really want a child’s cut in place of an adult? When you will potentially slash your earning ability in half?
- What is a fair price for a child’s hair cut? Will you stick to the conventional structure of cheaper rates for children?
- Who is willing to offer them as part of their services? Will your self employed staff be willing to take on this duty, or just keep it to employed staff only?
Actionable advice, what can you take away from this post?
Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on kids cuts! I just wanted to illustrate the importance of HOW you offer them if you do at all, in a way that gives you the best chance at running a successful salon.
Here are some suggestions as to how to administer them within your salon
- You could allocate certain time slots that are open for children’s haircuts in the working week. For example 3 pm through till 4.30 pm. This way it minimizes kids taking up valuable time when other clients may want your time, it should tie in with school finishing times too.
- In my salon, we have a policy in that we do not do children’s haircuts on a Saturday. This is reserved for other clients that have trouble attending an appointment in the week because of work commitments. We will breach this if the parent is willing to pay full price for the child’s hair cut. In which case it makes no difference to the staff.
- Another possibility is you could limit the intake of children per day. So you could restrict it to 2 kids per day for example? This way, it helps prevent the influx of children’s haircuts we seem to receive at the end of the summer vacation. Or do certain days in the school holidays, pick a usually quiet day and confine it to that day only.
Parent must be a client
- You could enforce a rule that you only do children’s hair if the parent comes to the salon as a client. This cuts down on the parents bringing their kids to your salon because you are a cheaper option. Also the child’s haircut must be done by the stylist that does the parents hair.
Only done by employed staff
- You could sanction that only employed members or junior members of the team offer kids cuts. This way you are not writing them off completely and the staff should approve as they are being paid regardless of their intake.
Increase the price
- Again this filters out the visits as a cheap option. Those that are willing to pay a higher cost for their children will value you more. We implemented this in my salon a while back, and have seen a noticeable difference in children’s cut traffic, in that we have dramatically reduced the amount of children coming through the door.
So to round up, I hope I have given you something to think about when it comes to whether or not you offer children’s haircuts in your salon. By looking at how others in the hairdressing industry tackle this topic, and trying to covet some of their attributes – your salon success can be assured.
Salon Saviour tip
Remember, if you put value on what you produce, parents will pay for your expertise and others will too. Don't be put off children's haircuts as a service - but work smarter not harder and reflect on HOW you offer them if you so decide.