How Booked Should Your Salon Be?


Recently, I polled the fabulous professionals in our sister company’s private Facebook page with this question: “I’m curious if you’re at a point where you’re fully booked, or do you have room to grow your clientele? I know everyone’s workflow looks different, but I would like  to hear where you’re at.” What do you think the answers were? Well, I can’t wait to share these answers with you—I’m sure they will surprise you!

The Responses

Stylist A
This stylist said that she is still growing and explained that there are a lot of graduate students in her area, so her clientele is always cycling through. For instance, a student will be here for three years, then graduate, and move to a different city. Because of that, Stylist A has room on the books to grow.

Stylist B
Stylist B just closed her books because she cannot take any more new clients. In fact, Stylist B had to increase her prices at the beginning of the year by 25%! Additionally, she is planning to let some of her clients go who aren’t ideal clients. When you’re this crazy-busy, you have the ability to increase prices and only focus on your ideal clients. That sounds great!

Stylist C
Stylist C shared that she doesn’t refuse any new client who has sought her out personally. For instance, if a new client has found her work through social media and requested an appointment, Stylist C will not turn the client away. She also explained that sometimes clients move, quit on you, or get sloppy with their pre-booking. In these instances, Stylist C always want to have a few openings for people who have have gone out of their way to find her.

Stylist D
This stylist is booked out about three months and will only take new clients who are referred by her current clients. Any other new clients are referred to a different stylist at the same salon. It sounds like everyone there is staying very busy—how awesome!

Stylist E
Friends, this is where it gets interesting! This stylist felt overbooked, had too many clients, and started to hate the feeling of having everything booked out for the next 12 months. Resenting this monotony, Stylist E decided to clean house! To do this, she raised her prices by $150, minimized the amount of services she offered, and moved to a different salon. Of course, Stylist E lost some clients due to the price increase, but she is attracting new clients who are more than willing to pay the higher price. Even though this stylist is now in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, she is happier than ever! Stylist E has a new goal of being about one month booked out—instead of 12.  

What Does Fully Booked Even Mean?

After reading the response from Stylist E, I took a moment to reevaluate what fully booked even means. What is the standard that we are trying to meet and why? To gain an even better understanding, I called several top-notch salons throughout the US, to ask their perspectives. Here are their answers:

  • Salon Spa W in Des Moines, IA: top stylists booked 9-12 months out

  • Urban Betty Salon in Austin, TX: top stylists booked about 2 months out

  • Butterfly Loft Salon and Spa in Encino, CA: top stylists booked 3 months out

  • Wheeler Davis Salon in San Clemente, CA: top stylists booked 4-6 weeks out

    Of course, each salon owner had a different perspective on why this was ideal for their environment. If you’re thinking that all these answers are creating more confusion and less clarity for you, I will tell you this with confidence: a great strategy is to be booked 2-3 months out. This means you’re booked 80-90% of the time for the next 2-3 months. You probably have a haircut or color available every now and then, but you’re mostly booked.

Here is why I think 2-3 months is the sweet spot. Once you get there, you can raise your prices. As you know, you’ll probably lose a handful of clients after you raise prices. If you’re still booked three months out, raise your prices again, double-book, and/or hire an assistant. If you’re still consistently booked, raise your prices again, and go from working 5 days a week to 4 days a week because you will still be earning the same amount. Do you see what is happening? You are creating a cycle of success and this is what you strive for!

The goal isn’t to be so busy that you’re killing yourself. The goal is to build such a demand that you can build the life you’ve always wanted!

What are your thoughts on this topic? If you’re looking for a safe place to share ideas and network with other professionals throughout the US, join our private Facebook group! We all rise when we lift each other, so join now! To get even more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the bi-weekly podcast, including this topic: Episode 73.







Emily Kelly