Ten Critical Management Practices for Salons & Barbershops

We know that within mere seconds into their first appointment, salon and barbershop clients tend to adopt either a negative or positive first impression. Several key points all contribute to lasting judgments formed in that crucial window of time.

In order to ensure their first encounter with your business is a good one and keeps them coming back, both your team and salon environment need to stand up to client expectations of professionalism, quality, and expertise.

Here are 10 areas that salon owners and managers should uphold to ensure your business gets off on the right foot with every new client, every time.

Client Communication.

Provide scripts for common telephone or in-person communications with clients, so your team sticks to the language you want them to use and can confidently resolve questions or issues.


Team members should take several minutes at the start of their shift, before they go out on the floor, to organize their day ahead.

Professional Conduct.

There is a time and place to express upset feelings or complaints — and it is never on the salon floor or in the presence of a client.

Product and Service Training.

Confidence comes from knowledge. Lean on top service providers to give regular demos and Q&A sessions on products they’re using and recommending, or tap into classes or workshops provided by the brands you use and sell.

Consultation Training.

Service providers should know how to conduct a thorough consultation with every client, every time. This is especially important for new clients, where extra time should be factored into their first appointment for a detailed consultation.

A client's first impression can make or break a salon.

Customer Service Training.

Role-playing and scripts are great tools to teach positive language, active listening, and problem solving. Team members should know that angry or upset clients should be immediately directed to a manager or owner who has been trained to handle tense situations.

Encourage Individuality.

Yes, the team is expected to uphold your brand quality through appearance and behavior — but nobody wants a robot as a service provider. Team members should be able to express their personality while maintaining the workplace dress code and standards for appearance.

This will help them feel more comfortable and confident, and will appeal to clients who gravitate toward various personality types.

Ensure Proper Maintenance.

Provide your team a detailed checklist outlining optimum maintenance of all salon areas before opening, during the day, and when closing for the evening. For retail, include optimal ways to display products and testers so they are enticing and easy to use and access. 

Take an Honest Inventory.

Do your salon products and tools meet modern standards of quality and excellence? Know when it’s time to upgrade so that clients know at a glance that they are getting state-of-the-art services.

Set the Right Mood.

Ask yourself: what ambience do you want to set? Take a good look around all the public areas of your business (or ask a trusted person to help you) and determine if your music, lighting, aromatherapy, and décor effectively work together to create that mood.

It takes a lot to make a good first impression. Fortunately, all salon and barbershop owners have the power to make it happen.



Liz McKeon is a salon business coach and founder of The International Salon Business School. She’s the author of 30 Days to Beauty Business Success.

Salon coach Liz McKeon