So, this week I had the lucky bonus of another week of home schooling because a child in my daughter’s year has covid. ?

Which means we’re back at the dining table working on words beginning with ‘de’ and ‘re’, which, funnily enough, are the things that I’m encouraging my clients to think about right now too.

Most specifically Deposits, Re-bookings, Referrals. There’s also retail (not my bag, but I can put you in touch with my friend and stellar salon business coach, Penny Etheridge if you want to know more) and Reviews, which I’ve spoken about a fair bit recently, and you can read about here.

Whenever I talk about marketing and running ads, I always say ‘don’t do it until you have the basics in place’. I see these ‘de’s and ‘re’s – and a good on-boarding process – as those fundamentals that you need.

And in these final weeks before your salon re-opens, there is no better investment of time than making sure you have these policies in place and that your team are on-board with them.


It’s hard to enforce. My regulars get upset. I’ll lose clients. What if I have to cancel? I’ve heard EVERY excuse in the book for not charging deposits, but can you afford the last minute cancellations?

There has never been a more logical time to make this what you do and watch those no shows drop. I’ve even got a handy script your receptionist can use here.

What to consider when introducing deposits to your salon

When it comes to setting up your deposits, there is no right or wrong answer, just the one that works for your salon. The only think that does matter is that

  • You are consistent in your rules, so everyone know where they stand.
  • That your deposit rules are clearly spelled out on your website and when people book
  • That you enforce your rules. As soon as you start to make exceptions, you’re in trouble.

Fixed amount or percentage of the service?

In most cases a percentage is easier to apply, but when it comes to small services, such as threading, a percentage may seem too small to make a difference.

Instead you can set it at £10 or a percentage, whichever is greater.

To make your deposit effective in reducing no-shows, it needs to be at least 10%, although I’d suggest 25%.

Is it on all services or just high value services?

Why are you introducing a deposit to your salon? If it’s to stop no-shows, people are at least as likely to skip their low-value services as their high value services and whether it’s a 15-minute appointment or a 3 hour appointment, time is money.

What are your cancellation terms?

Life happens and things change, so from time to time people will need to be able to cancel or reschedule their appointment. Therefore you need to be able to offer reasonable flexibility with your cancellation policy.

A standard system that works well is:

Cancellation up to 48 hours in advance: full refund (although the first step should always be to re-book on an alternative date).
Cancellation 24-48 hours before the appointment: 50% refund
Cancellation less than 24 hours before the appointment: Deposit forfeited.

Lots of businesses are currently introducing covid guarantees, and this is a sensible thing to offer on your deposits too – the last thing you want is someone coming in because they don’t want to lose their deposit and then you being forced to close.

‘But what if it feels like someone is taking advantage of your covid guarantee?’ I hear you ask.  You can sack your clients you know….!


It’ll cost you 5 times as much to get a new client than keep an old one, so getting your re-booking rates up is a no brainer.

Re-booking starts in the chair – at the consultation actually – and is closed at the reception desk, so it’s all about training and building healthy habits through the whole team.

If rebookings is something your team struggle with, then a competition to incentivise them is just the thing!

But here’s a thought. How about incentivising your clients too?

These are different times and in different times you need to do different things, so if your re-booking rates are low (I’m talking the industry average of 40% or lower) have you thought about incentivising your clients to re-book.

Some ways to do this include:

  • If you book your next appointment before you leave you will be rewarded with a low-value services or treatment at your next appointment.
  • If you book your next appointment before you leave – and within 8 weeks, you will receive a 5% saving
  • If you book your next 2 appointments before you leave and within 16 weeks you will receive a 5% saving off each appointment, which will be applied as 10% off the second appointment.

This has two benefits as it can help to reduce the between appointment stretch and get them re-booked BUT it only works if you have your deposit policy in place.


You know from past experience (who’d have thought we’d become experts in post-lockdown habits!) that you’ll have the crazy rush and then the other side rather depends on how you do with your re-bookings.

These first few weeks are going to be packed with your regulars and people who are so excited to see you, so use this opportunity to harness their enthusiasm.

I believe that referrals are one of the most effective and underused tools stylists have in their arsenal (there’s always a way to mention them!!!), I’ve got some things for you to consider here.

How to introduce your referrals

  • Make sure that it is in the referee’s best interests to refer. Do they get a percentage discount, or added value?
  • Can the referrer get better rewards depending how many people they refer?
  • Make sure that the referred client gets a better deal than your first visit offer.

The saying goes to not sweat the small stuff, but in this case focusing on the small stuff is the best ways to  reap huge rewards. 


Whether you already have a salon website or are thinking of building one, check out my guide to the 50 ways to create a kickass salon website e-book.