Clients Putting More Time In Between Hair Appointments

The dynamics in the marketplace are playing havoc with salons trying to keep an even, steady flow of clients coming in for styling. On the one hand, in a “post-COVID” world, many customers are once again scheduling regular appointments. On the other hand, inflation is causing some to cut back on styling services. As a result, many salon owners and managers, and their teams of stylists, are left trying to accommodate everyone as best they can.
We’re bringing you a sneak peek of our latest American Salon Business Sentiment survey, which has 200 responses thus far. Of those 200, 64 percent noted that the frequency of client appointments have changed, and in most cases, not for the better. On the brighter side, comments indicated that people are once again booking out for future appointments.
Here's how things are playing out thus far.

More Time Between Bookings
A resounding cry in response to our question “Has the frequency of client appointments changed?” was that clients are stretching out the time in between their appointments. What once was a four- to five-week span between salon visits has become a seven- to eight-week span or even more.
In some cases, customers then cancel at the last minute, only to call to rebook, requesting a close-in time slot because they’re now in dire need of services.
“They have stretched out their times or just think they can get in when they need to instead of on a regular schedule. This causes stress to the stylists; they’re being pushed too much,” said one salon manager.
“Bookings are more sporadic. Clients have less respect for our stylists’ time. They are also more demanding and then can cancel last minute,” an owner told us.
“Pre-booked appointments are getting canceled; people are spacing their appointments further apart,” concurred another.
“There has been a lot of rescheduling and a lot of cancelations due to inflation at this moment," echoed a salon executive.
Another observed that dynamics are in a total state of flux. “It’s forever changing. People are no longer coloring their hair and they are going a little longer in between cuts. They’re also slowing down on spa services,” he said.
“My clients are spending less on product and choosing cheaper options,” said one salon owner.
Fewer frills and add-on treatments have also become the norm for those salons whose customers are impacted by inflation woes. Clients are spending money on gas instead and/or having friends cut their hair.
Then there are the DIY folks, who are taking hair matters into their own hands and doing their own coloring at home.
Another new dynamic in play? Hair stylists are freelancing and soliciting their services through social media. We can attest to that; on our town’s local Facebook group we have a new resident who posts weekly that she’ll come to your home to style your hair. This is no newbie to the business; she’s got beautiful photos to show off her work and she’s definitely garnering more interest every week, especially as residents she’s worked with are posting rave reviews.
“Many stylists are going door to door,” lamented a respondent in our survey.
Clients cutting back on buying products within the salon because they can buy online or in stores instead, has been an evolving challenge for salon executives and the pandemic didn't helped.

“I feel since the COVID shut down people go longer in between hair appointments or have completely given up coloring hair. They have also been buying hair products from Target and Walmart, etc. Our business has changed,” said a manager.

Diversify Your Client Base
It’s not all bad news, however, especially for salons that are adapting to the market. One tip here is to ensure that you are always marketing to get new customers so when the economy shifts so you’re not reliant on just one client niche.
“Clients are going longer between appointments but spending more money when they do schedule,” an owner told us. “However there are more new clients who are paying more than older clients.”
“We have our regular clients that pre-book all the time. We however feel that with inflation, some clients have to make a choice about how long in between visits they can hold out. Price also becomes a factor, but overall we make up the difference by booking new clients and helping regular clients with price rates,” said another salon owner.
“Mostly clients going longer between visits. But we’ve gained clients, so we have seen growth,” echoed another.
And here’s a highlight from a stylist who has revamped her business completely: “My new styling techniques and personal attention are in strong demand,” she said.
Perhaps this salon owner said it best when it comes to going with the the ups and downs of the salon business: “For a while I felt a ‘positive shift’ with more frequency in appointments in my men's salon,” he said. “But the tables have again turned and I think the ‘state of the world’ does have something to do with spending on personal services. There are always going to be ebbs and flows in business. I just hope the ‘ebbs don’t last to much longer!”

2023 Will Be Better
It’s no secret that salon have always had to deal with shifting buying patterns as the economy goes through its cycles, and we found that overall, salon executives expect next year to be a good one. Of the 200 responses we’ve received thus far in our survey, 63 percent said they expect 2023’s revenue to outpace 2022’s. And that’s something to look forward to.