During an economic downturn, many in the beauty industry ask “Are hair salons recession proof?” Salons aren’t immune to recessions, but the right strategies can make all the difference.
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Is The Beauty and Hair Industry Recession-Proof?
So what is a recession, anyway?
According to Investopedia, a recession is a significant decline or reduction in economic activity across a large area, such as a country or region. There can even be global economic downturns.
Recessions last several months or more, and affect an area’s production, employment, household income and retail sales. This can spell tough times for small businesses, but some industries are better poised to weather it than others.
Historically, the beauty industry is one of these.
In some cases, salon business during crisis times has even gone up a bit. So, what makes the salon industry a relatively recession proof career?
In short, it’s a combination of necessity and luxury.
Salon services and beauty services in general aren’t something that most people can provide for themselves, and people will always need their hair cut.
Added to that, many people turn to the beauty and hair industry during recession periods for an escape. The “Lipstick Effect” observes that during a crisis when consumers cut their spending, lower-priced luxury industries still experience substantial growth.
Hairdressers provide a feel-good service that helps customers, especially when spending money on more expensive escapes like a vacation might not be feasible.
We also recommend our post on How To Increase Salon Revenue.
How To Make Your Salon Recession-Proof?
By now, you’re probably wondering “How can your salon make money in a recession?” It’s usually not as simple as keeping your hair salon going and waiting for this to happen- salon owners will do best with a solid plan in place.
Let’s take a look:
Focus On Your Cash Flow
Keep a close eye on your salon’s finances and what you spend money on. Create a rolling cash flow forecast for the near future that you can review, as well as a budget you can stick to. This will help avoid dipping into your savings.
Use Salon Management Software
We can’t stress enough what a difference this makes for a professional salon owner. This software will help you make sense of business insights like your top moving products, services, brands and profit margins. You can also view and track your KPIs and how well each stylist is meeting their targets.
Salon software helps clients as well as stylists, since you can offer 24/7 online appointment booking (saving on the cost of needing someone free to answer the phone), and optimize your calendar to have enough hairstylists available during busy times.
Finally, you can track and order inventory quickly, cutting down on product waste and saving resources.
Improve Customer Experience
Giving older clients and new customers both a great experience will help you stay ahead of the competition and keep clients coming back. Coach your stylists to be attentive, provide recommendations and go above and beyond to provide great service.
Review Your Salon’s Overheads
Ideally, a business should always be doing this. As a first step, take a look at what you spend on and then search for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality or disrupting services. Salon software can help with this.
This might mean cross-training your team to reduce staffing needs each week, renegotiating with suppliers or trimming your discretionary budget.
Overstocking is a waste of cash and space. Instead of tying up cash or business credit in extra stock, use salon software to optimize your purchase orders and keep only what you actually need.
Modify Your Offer
Reach out to more clients and reinvigorate existing business by adding new services, bundling items together (like a haircut, shampoo and blowout) into packages to encourage customers to spend more.
You can also diversify your offering and find a niche market (such as curly hair care, for example) that taps into a need in your area. Check out what your competitors are doing and see what else you can provide.
Pro tip: If you decide to offer a discount or add value, don’t do anything that you’re not prepared to keep up with later, or clients will be disappointed when it goes away. Plan for the long term when the economy improves, too.
Do not miss our our post about salon expenses.
Keep The Marketing Going
Don’t cut your marketing completely, or you’ll lose more than you pay now. Even during a recession, you want to reach out to clients and try to grow your business.
If you’re looking for cost-effective marketing options, consider using social media, creating a salon website or partnering with local small businesses to find new clients.
Communicate Well With Your Staff
Share information with your team about the salon’s situation, your plan and what you need them to do to help. Having your hairstylists on board and getting them thinking will make everything easier (they’ll probably have a few great ideas to share, too).
Downsize The Right Way
Before you start cutting anyone’s jobs, hours or reducing commissions, take a look at your hair salon’s long and short-term goals. Clients may be attached to a specific hairdresser and upset to see them leave, and you don’t want to be short staffed when things pick up- hiring and training are expensive.
If possible, work with your team and come up with a strategy that eliminates unnecessary spending but keeps the business in a strong position.
In the end, not even the beauty industry is completely immune to things that affect the health of the economy. The best way to make sure that your salon survives and continues to grow is education- make sure that you understand your spending, KPIs and your business’s strengths.
Are hair salons recession proof? No. Are they in a good position to survive a recession? Absolutely. The key is to have all the facts and put a plan in place to make sure that you’re ready for what comes next.
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