Top Navigation

The Coming Storm


A storm is growing for salon owners. Are you prepared?

There’s a storm brewing on the horizon for salon owners and beauty professionals. During my forty-five years as a salon owner and ten years as an educator, I have observed many growing challenges facing not only salon owners , but hairdressers and beauty professionals.

And in my opinion, the beauty industry has not adapted to the many challenges, changes, and obstacles facing salon owners, hairdressers, and  beauty professionals . Times are tough, and are looking to get even tougher with rising business costs.

I am sure I will be harshly criticized by some of my comments, but overall I know many of my colleagues will agree with these comments. One of the nice benefits of retirement and being financially independent is I can now speak out. I will not sugar coat my opinions.

My only intent is to help salon owners become better business men and women, improve profits and help take away the stress, worry, and frustration of owning a profitable business.

Helping hairdressers raise their standard of living is also a major goal. If salon owners, hairdressers, and beauty professionals are successful, our entire profession wins.

Sadly, salons are failing at an alarming rate. Studies show that only 5% of all salons never make it beyond 7 years. Why is this happening? I will try to explore some of the challenges facing salon owners and the future of our profession.

First, we must confront the storm within the salon:

Salon Owners — lack of business management skills is the number one cause of business failure. Much of the turnover is caused by salon owners who rush into running a business without any proper education or training. Avoid these obstacles by  educating yourself through online resources, talking with other salon owners on social media, consulting with professionals in the field. Help is available.

Hairdressers — tragically, so many hairdressers are making excuses to fail. What they did not learn in beauty school is camouflaging their growth and development.Much easier to blame the boss or management, sometimes thinking that the grass is greener at the salon down the street. Going from salon to salon will not be your answer. It’s up to you to take full responsibility for your own success or a success. You gotta look in the mirror once in a while.

Booth Rental —  as a salon owner, you are also a landlord. The inability to manage your business, educate your staff, improve profits, promote and advertise your business and compete with a well managed high end salons will result in the closure of your business.

The government is now targeting salon owners who mistakenly classify their workers. I urge those of you renting stations to contact a labor law attorney that specializes in independent contractor issues to see if you are compliant. If you lose an audit, the penalties are enormous.

Salon Suites — many hairdressers are entering into purchasing their own suites. Before you sign on the dotted line, carefully examine the fine print and ask yourself: do you want to be a prisoner behind the chair? Have you added the costs and overhead expenses? Will all your customers follow you? Astute salon owners will offer your customers many enticements to keep them at their own salons. Do you know how to compete with a well managed salons as a competitor? What about gaining new customers and the heavy costs in money and time? What if you’re sick and can’t work? What about licensing, fees, liability insurance and your taxes?

After considering the pros and cons, you must decide what is right for you  by seeking references, examining your costs, and possibly visiting a couple of suite sights, then make an informed decision on what is right for you.You may want to consider opening your own small salon. Start out small, and build a solid foundation on which to grow.

Franchises — low cost franchises have grown dramatically the last few years, they have the money to spend millions of dollars to promote their salons while offering lower prices. Their national advertising messages are very clever and impressive. We have allowed outsiders to come into our profession and devalue our services to lower and lower levels.

Rising Business Costs — as costs continue to escalate, we must raise prices to keep up with the high cost of living, but the only way to raise prices is to create a demand for our services. If you can’t prove your service is worth what you’re offering, why should your customers pay for it?

The consumer has more options on how and where to spend their money.

Salon Turnover — Turnover will always be a threat, many of your top performers will either rent suites, booth rental, or be offered higher commissions from unethical salon owners hoping for more customers. It’s difficult enough finding hairdressers, much less losing a top member of your team. Business instability is always a threat. Are you doing all you can to encourage your employees to keep working for you?

Have you developed your leadership skills to inspire , motivate and praise your workers from time to time ?

Beauty Schools — why are many beauty schools being closed by the Department of Education? One reason is the high drop out rate of students leaving the profession, unable to pay back their crippling student loans. If this keeps up, we’ll be facing a severe labor shortage. Teachers also need to be better trained to  better understand employer needs . Students must be equipped andprepared to make a good living.

State Board of Cosmetology — Why is the State Board targeting hairdressers and salon owners with large fines? Shouldn’t sanitation have been taught in beauty school? Yet the salons are the ones suffering. The education content mus be adapted to a changing business climate, not punishing businesses and hairdressers who are just trying to survive.

Product Companies — product companies demand encourage us  to sell their products only to turn around and sell the same products at a discounted price at Wal Mart and other outlets. Product companies need to demonstrate loyalty to salon 0wners and hairdressers.

Hair Shows — We need more shows and expos about running businesses in the beauty profession. Maybe some day we’ll see a business only show with guest speakers on social media, business management, personal development for hairdressers, leadership classes for salon owners, financial planning, etc. Sadly these types of classes don’t sell tickets.



Despite the brewing storm of difficulties, remember: you and only you control your own fate. If you are outstanding, people will find you, period. It’s called referrals and positive word of mouth

Despite these challenges I also see  see a coming boom for well managed salons. Salon owners and hairdressers have always been the heart and soul of the beauty profession. Those who tough it out won’t just survive the storm, they’ll thrive in the future business boom.

I’ll be listing solutions to all the challenges facing salon owners at my upcoming seminar on May 15-16. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to secure your salon for future.


Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This