Affordable computing solution for independent contractors

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: finance, management, resources | Tags: , , , , , |


Hey all you leasers out there!  Looking for a cheap way to get (and keep) yourself organized?  Grab one of these netbooks.  They are small, so they are easy to grab and go between the salon and home, they connect to WiFi and run XP.  They even come in a handful of different colors.  All of the hairdressers at our salon have their own.  We went with the Acer Aspire One because they were on sale at Office DepotYou can pick one up for $399 or less.  You can use Gmail and Google Calendar and Mint (all free!) and keep your business world and personal life all tucked into a neat little package.  It has never been easier to be a solo salon owner!

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LLC or S-Corp – What is the proper business type for you?

Posted on May 14, 2008. Filed under: finance, small business, startup | Tags: , , , |

When you open your own salon, you have to decide whether to be a sloe proprietor, an S-Corp or an LLC.  your accountant can give you more details on which is best for you, but you can get a general idea of what the different choices are in this article from Small Biz Survival.

When NOT to be a Sole Proprietorship: Forming an LLC or S Corp

Sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business, but it also has some disadvantages. So for this installment of the Small Biz 100, I’ll talk about some of the situations where you don’t want to be a sole proprietorship and what types of business you might want to form.
Note: All of this discussion is specific to small businesses in the USA.
Note 2: More info on when TO be a sole proprietorship is in the Checklists for starting your first business post.

Read the rest of the article here.

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How America Shops (or not) – Modern Salon

Posted on May 9, 2008. Filed under: finance, small business | Tags: , |

Not much time on a Friday morning to post, but I am passing on this article.  I know we are all nervous about consumer spending and how it will impact salons, so enjoy this from Modern

Published: May 08, 2008
By Victoria Wurdinger

At the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual convention, held recently in New York, Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail, NY, NY, presented her company’s most recent study, How America Shops 2008.

According to Liebmann, shoppers’ confusion is resulting in fewer weekly trips to stores and a lot of belt-tightening. The middle class is super-crunched, with its members now shopping like lower-income consumers. As a result, middle-market supermarkets and department stores are being squeezed: shoppers can get a lot more for less at big-box stores. Smaller, well-edited stores are easier to shop, which makes them popular, too.

Read the rest of the article here.

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How do you set your prices when you are starting a new business?

Posted on May 5, 2008. Filed under: finance, small business, startup | Tags: , |

When I first went into business for myself I moved from a commission salon to one where I rented a private studio.  The place I started to think about my prices (like most of you, I imagine) was the prices my previous salon had charged for my services.

Oh, yea, and I asked every hairdresser I know what they were charging.

Sure wish I had the internet back then!  It is super easy now to get market comparisons just by looking up the websites of other salon in your area.

Over the years, our pricing strategy evolved.  We tried many different models, but the bottom line always come down to supply and demand.  If the service provider is booked and can’t make more money by doing more clients, the only way to make more money is to raise prices.

When you start a salon, chances are you are moving from a salon where you have clients and an existing menu.  You want these clients to follow you, so it makes sense not to shake things up too much in the finance department.

However, there is nothing wrong with implementing a different pricing strategy that you can transition the existing clients into while new clients jump right in.  (Remember, new clients have no idea how much you used to charge.)

So, maybe the salon you are leaving charged everything al a carte and you want things to be more inclusive.  No worries!  Explain the new philosophy to the existing clients and as long as the end result of their cost is close to what they had been paying, they will be fine.  If you need to charge more, explain to them what added value they will receive for the additional charge.  I think it makes sense to keep them at the same price for the first visit so that they can see why the new is worth more than the old.  (Here’s where your website comes in handy.  It’s the place where you can explain in great detail who you are and what you believe as well as what that will cost!)

Do not think that being cheap will get or keep clients!  Unless your target market is the budget-conscious consumer, do not be the lowest priced option available to your clients!

I know very well which other salons in my area my clients would likely use if they weren’t seeing us.  I never want price to be the reason they choose us over another salon.  I am priced similarly to other salons of my caliber.

There was one salon owner who told me that she just didn’t think our city would pay $50 for a haircut.  She has since changed her mind.

When the people at the top of the price ladder raise their prices, it makes room for everyone on the rungs below to raise theirs.  Are you the third best salon choice in your market?  Price yourself accordingly.  Is no one better educated and has a better salon?  Then you better be the top, baby!  (My salon has some of the best staff in our town, but our salon is not lavish and lush, so we price ourselves slightly under the more lavish salons.  Make sense?)

That’s a lot of back story to get to this point:  I basically charge $100 an hour.  Haircuts are 30 minutes and $50.  A partial foil is an hour and $100.  I still have some prices that don’t quite match up, but I have been working on getting everything more in line with that philosophy.

I have an article here for you to read with further insight on the topic of pricing in small business.

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Tips getting smaller? Poor service or rough economy?

Posted on April 29, 2008. Filed under: customer service, finance, small business | Tags: , |

The LA Times has a story today about how tip-dependent industries are feeling the pinch.  I have observed this in my salon recently and I can’t say that our level of customer service has decreased, nor can I say that the level of customer satisfaction has decreased.  Have you observed this in your salon?

The economic downturn has cash-strapped customers leaving less.

By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2008

Jocelyne Aposaga is a hairstylist who relies on tips for about 20% of her income. As the economy slumps, she has a new survival plan: cut tips.

When Aposaga eats out, she leaves servers a buck or two less than last year. It’s not the service that’s bad, it’s the economy — and a case of what goes around comes around.

  • tips

“I am just not getting paid as much as I used to. It’s not because I am spending more money on gas or other things,” said Aposaga, who works at Aderon Salon in Pasadena.

Amid a tottering economy, rising inflation, increasing unemployment and a housing market meltdown, waiters, beauticians and pet groomers report that customers are growing tightfisted.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Raising rates without losing clients – New York Times

Posted on April 23, 2008. Filed under: finance, management, small business, staff | Tags: , , , |

“What do you charge for a haircut?”

I ask that question at every workshop. It is the question everyone wants to know but may not have the chutzpah to ask, so I get the class to share. (With so many salons on the web, that question is much easier to answer these days!)

Most salons don’t charge enough. Some haven’t had a price increase in years.

Let me tell you a story about two stylists who used to be my employees and are now independent contractors. They have been gone from the salon for a decade and are still charging the price that the salon set for them when they left. In fact, recent gossip has it that one of the things they hated about working for me was that I made them raise their prices. (Heaven forbid, I want them to be successful!)

So, they have not raised their prices since. And they are booked months in advance. A current co-worker tried to explain to them that their clients would not leave if they raised their prices, but they were having none of it. Guess they showed me!

I have been pondering prices, demand, and the current economy. There are those who believe that there is no “bad time” for a price increase. I have to admit that even though I am feeling a little tight in my schedule (a sign that demand is higher than supply and a good indication that I should increase prices,) I am concerned about raising prices when all the news seems to be talking about tough economics times.

I have only been a salon owner for 17 years, so I have not weathered any huge economic downturns. I would love to hear from those of you with a longer track record who can tell us how you weathered the storm in the past.

In the meantime, here is a article from the New York Times on the subject. Let me know what you think.

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Links back from Get Some Hairapy

Posted on March 28, 2008. Filed under: finance, marketing, staff |

Here is the place you will find all the posts on my main blog.

This is where the topic of small salon ownership was discussed before the birth of Small Salons – the blog.

All future posts will happen here.  🙂

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