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A 'Day In The Life' Of A Salon Manager

Licensed hairdressers and other cosmetologists who want to take their careers to the next level can choose to go after the position of salon manager.

Perhaps you’ve been a hairstylist for, say, 5 years. You still love it, the salon atmosphere, and chatting with customers and coworkers. But you also sense it’s time to change up your game. Why?

You tend to pay attention to the salon’s operating procedures, perhaps. Or maybe you offer good suggestions for streamlining billing or scheduling. You love mentoring new hires. You’re good at pushing new products.

Maybe all of this means you are ready to become a salon manager.

Traits Of A Successful Salon Manager

Salon managers are people who like being in charge, can hopscotch from hiring, to financials, to brainstorming how to market the salon and increase business.

The most successful salon managers are passionate about what they do. You need to have a knack for day-to-day operations and be very comfortable in a leadership position. And all those difficult situations that come up between employees and with clients? Helping everyone come to a satisfying conclusion is your area of expertise.

They have strong interpersonal skills, and you should also:

  • be creative
  • have good business sense
  • possess the willingness to work hard
  • stay on top of all the latest trends and products
  • be flexible
  • meet other challenges, such as angry customers or a salon owner that is difficult, cheap, or vacations in Jamaica a lot more than tending the salon he/she owns.

Salon Management: Responsibilities

Salon managers work under the owner of the salon. While he or she usually isn’t present every day, as the manager, you will be. If you think you want to manage a salon someday, ask yourself if you're OK with taking on these other duties and responsibilities:

Hiring the best candidates for the job

Salon managers are in charge of conducting interviews and bringing on new staff members. You must have the ability to determine if potential employees are qualified for the job and, even more importantly, if they are good personality fits, too. Techniques can be taught, but temperament rarely changes.

Drafting the schedule

You will arrange for the correct number of employees to be working during high-traffic hours and confirm that happens. Understaffing problems are always your fault, even when they aren’t, so you may even need to cover clients if someone calls in sick.

Overseeing staff training

Salon managers oversee the training for new hires, and you may train employees on how to use a new device or perform a new technique. You might also have to run workshops or hold continuing education seminars to keep your employees current on all the beauty trends in the industry.

Setting cleaning policies

Salon managers make sure that the salon always looks clean and well-kept. You’ll delegate daily cleaning tasks and possibly find and hire a cleaning service to come in regularly to keep the place in good shape.

Handling inventory

You’ll be ordering the supplies for the salon, from nail polish and shampoo to paper towels and coffee filters. Making sure your stylists and clients have everything they need for a good day at work or visit will head off problems before they start.

Taking care of the money

The business aspect of salon management requires that managers balance the books and keep tabs on all of the financials. In addition to financial record keeping, you will watch and make sure that the employees follow the guidelines of the salon in regard to booth rental and tip reporting.

What Education Do You Need?

Stepping up to salon management entails some additional education. Courses that are common for this career track are like most business and marketing courses your friends in business schools have taken. These classes address:

  • hiring, training, and firing employees
  • understanding, recruiting, and retaining customers
  • operating costs and revenue
  • marketing, promoting, and selling products
  • online, social media, and print advertising
  • staying on top of regulations, safety, and sanitation requirements
  • growing the salon into a major presence in your location

It may sound like a lot to learn. But if you’re the manager type, you’ve probably already taught yourself, or asked to learn, many of these tasks.

Making People Glad Your Salon Exists

Salon management is no cakewalk—one day might be full of stressful and time-consuming responsibilities—but if you are driven to be the best beauty business in town, it is all worth it. And who knows: The very next day may bring the salon victories you’ve set out to get.

Start your cosmetology career by finding a school near you, and continue it by gaining the skills and experience you need to become the manager people will love to work under.

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