Hairdressers Journal
Hairdressers Journal


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Should you offer ‘mates rates’ in your salon?

“We offer special rates – but with stipulations”

“All hairdressers know the frustration of being invited to a friend’s house for dinner and receiving a text message ahead of time to ask if you can bring your scissors. There’s nothing worse than every time you see your friends and family being asked to do their hair, especially when it’s your day off! We offer special rates to the team for their friends and family to come into the salon, but we do have stipulations. They can only offer this on days when we’re not as busy – so on a Monday or a Tuesday – and not in the evening. We also encourage them to book their friend or family member in with a more junior stylist to help them build their confidence. This also helps them build a client base so it’s a win-win for everyone. As a salon owner you have to keep an eye on this to make sure people don’t take advantage of it, but generally we find it works really well. Because we have rules set in place no one takes advantage or ruins it for everyone else. And it’s fun for their family to come into the salon, meet the team and see where they work.

As a rule, we don’t offer complimentary appointments for press and bloggers at Brooks & Brooks. I’m not sure it adds value to the business and we don’t feel it is right to offer a free appointment to them. We believe that if anyone is going to get a free appointment, it should be a loyal, long-standing client who is having a big birthday or has fallen on difficult times. The best way to build a strong client base is by word of mouth and showing that you genuinely care about each and every one of your clients.”

Sally Brooks, co-founder, Brooks & Brooks, London

“We give discounts to other local businesses instead”

“We opened in Leeds three weeks before the lockdown started in March, so we didn’t have time to implement our marketing ideas before closing. Since we reopened in July it’s been all systems go. We are situated in the main shopping centre and offering mates rates or discounts for family was never discussed. Instead, we take part in a scheme called Parklife, which is run by the shopping centre complex. All employees of local businesses get 10% off at each other’s local businesses. This means we provide targeted discounting that brings new people through the salon’s doors.

We’ve used this discount since we reopened and it has brought a lot of new clients from the surrounding shops, offices, the gym, cinema and restaurants. In return, we spend money in shops and restaurants we might not have done otherwise. The discount for local business employees visiting the salon is available on Monday to Wednesday and can be used with any stylist. It helps our younger team members build up their clientele.

We find local business swap discounting works better than having general blanket discounting for friends, family or clients. We find discounts such as ‘10% off your first visit’ just encourages discount seekers who come for the offer and resent paying full price next time.

This has been a much better way of discounting than just friends and family – and I’d encourage any salon to team up with their local businesses and create a similar scheme because it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Karen Perry, salon owner and director, Room 97 Creative, Leeds

This article appears in the November 2020 Issue of Hairdressers Journal

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This article appears in the November 2020 Issue of Hairdressers Journal