Laura Armenta, PBA Communications Coordinator

progress_may_salonAs a salon owner, you’ve invested your time, hard-earned money, and expertise into your business. You’re ready to take the next step and hire your very own team, but where do you start? Taking the time to find the right stylists is hard work, but ultimately pays off. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing your business thrive and have your employees complement you, your salon, and each other perfectly. Like a well-oiled machine, everything will flow smoothly when you don’t rush through the extensive hiring process. Many factors go into choosing the correct candidate- from skill set to personality, and everything in between.

Analyze Your Salon

Before taking a look outside to potential candidates, look inside your own salon doors and analyze your business. This may seem like a no-brainer, but this small detail is often overlooked. What type of salon do you want to be? What services would you like to offer? Set realistic expectations for your space and have a clear picture of what you want for your business before you start talking to potential employees.  Acknowledge your areas of strength and weakness, but most importantly: don’t take on more than you can handle. Many business owners have the tendency to jump into the market with big, flashy ideas, all the bells and whistles, and promises of grandeur only to fall short and watch their business plan crumble. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Set clear, realistic goals, and make sure your new employees fit your business plan.

Have a Business Plan

What demographic are you looking to provide services to? Will you cater to the young and hip crowd, or older, established professionals? It’s crucial to find individuals qualified and competent to work with whoever your target demographic may be, and beyond. Once you have set your goals, done your research, and are feeling confident about the type of person you want in your salon, start the interview process. Remember that your employees will become a reflection of your business, so don’t be afraid to take your time to find candidates that fit your vision. Be prepared to ask challenging questions to gauge the personality of each stylist. Also, ensure that potential candidates are licensed, capable, and possess a professional demeanor. Surround yourself with team players who are willing to back each other up and be there to assist and contribute when needed. Your employees must be able to multi-task, do their job efficiently, and work independently.

Create a positive AMBIANCE

Once you’ve chosen your dream team, focus on your salon atmosphere. Enlist your employees to help set the tone for your business. Make sure everyone is on the same page with everything from salon music to dress code. Avoid making exceptions or giving certain stylists preferential treatment; this does nothing to help you in the long run and will only alienate the rest of your team. Enforce the rules when it comes to keeping work spaces clean, keeping appointments, answering phones, keeping supplies stocked, etc. Your business will run more smoothly when employees know their responsibilities and what is expected of them.

Now that you have your team, as the boss, it’s your job to oversee that the salon is running smoothly and efficiently. Another responsibility you have as salon owner is maintaining a clean, inviting, professional, and positive ambience for clients and your staff. Establishing a good cleaning and maintenance routine will help keep daily chores from piling up and will give you more time to dedicate to clients and other aspects of business. Client retention is extremely important and vital to the success of your business, so make them feel welcome and comfortable by providing an inviting seating area and offering refreshments. Ensure that each person is acknowledged and greeted upon arriving. If your salon sells product, make sure your display is prominently featured and easily accessible. Your stylists need to be comfortable talking to clients about product and should be able to explain each product’s benefits.

Brainstorm and Manage

It’s a good idea to hold regular meetings with your staff to brainstorm and bring out your creativity as a team. Each stylist must be willing and able to evolve and grow as a professional. If your employees feel confident in their work, it will show in their personality and demeanor. Ensuring your staff stays up to date on technique, style, fashion, and trends is important in this ever-evolving industry. Facilitate access to valuable resource materials to help your team expand their education.

Open communication between management and staff is the lifeline of your salon. A business simply cannot run smoothly without everyone working toward a common goal. If you find yourself struggling with your salon’s overall dynamics, take a step back to analyze where potential problems may lie. You may find that whatever the underlying problem may be is actually a quick and easy fix. It’s no question that running a successful business is stressful, but many of the seemingly difficult tasks are actually easy to handle. The most important thing is to keep focused on your goals and never stop improving. It may take time, but all your hard work will pay off. Moving forward with a close-knit, hard working group of stylists is rewarding in itself. When you find the right people to join you on your quest for success, the journey won’t be so daunting.


About the Author

Laura Armenta is the coordinator of marketing and communications for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). PBA advances the professional beauty industry by providing our members with education, charitable outreach, government advocacy, events and more. PBA is the largest organization of salon professionals with members representing salons and spas, distributors, manufacturers and beauty professionals/NCA. Visit or call 800.468.2274 (480.281.0424) for more information.