A can of worms

Recently I was presenting a seminar and a salon owner asked a question which I then opened up to the audience. The question was “What is your salon policy on family members paying for salon services?”

To put it mildly, it was like opening the proverbial can of worms! There were 16 variations of salon policy from the salon owners in the room which ranged from…

  1. Everyone pays full price. No exceptions.
  2. Immediate family are free if it’s outside normal salon hours. Otherwise, it’s full price.
  3. Family members are charged if it’s during salon hours but free if it’s on the stylist’s day off.
  4. All family members get a X% discount.
  5. All family pay for all colour services but don’t pay for haircuts.
  6. Haircut and colour service is free but they pay ‘X’ for each colour product used.
  7. All family members pay a flat price of X.
  8. Family pay for all services if it’s done by another staff member.
  9. Family get a discount but only on certain days of the week.
  10. Family have a contra arrangement where the full value is kept a record of and exchanged for other services from the family member. These ranged from car repairs, decorating, graphic design, bookkeeping and legal.
  11. Family have a vague contra arrangement that never seems to get called in…
  12. Family get services to the value of X every 12 months and pay for everything over and above.
  13. Each staff member can have 1 person as a nominated family member that gets a discount of X.
  14. Family under the age of 18 are free, but only on Monday.
  15. Only the husbands and wives of stylists get free or discounted services.
  16. Staff are expected to have family members as clients and they are expected to pay full price.

Who is right?

I don’t think that there is a ‘right’ but I know what I would do. I have 6 brothers and sisters, they’re all married so including their partners that’s now 12 people. Collectively they have about 28 children so that’s now 40 people, and now some of them are married and have children so we are somewhere in the region of 60 people and growing what I would call, ‘close family members’. Then there’s my wife’s family they have… get the idea, where does it stop?

Now I know that might be an extreme example, but I suggest you start as you mean to go on.

I think that the problem is that if you don’t put a value on your services and time then how can you expect anyone else too?

If you treat it as ‘It’s just a haircut, and ‘a bit of a social get together’ cutting your families hair’, you’ll wake up one day and realise that you have given away thousands of pounds or dollars in salon services!

If that sounds like you then blame me! Forward this email or video to your family and let them ponder it!

If I owned a salon…

If I owned a salon there would be no discount for staff to offer their family, they would all be expected to pay full price and be treated like every other client and given 5-star service like every other client.

If I owned a salon I would expect my family to understand that I am running a business and that I had to charge them. If they were still with me I wouldn’t charge my mum and dad or obviously my children. My brothers and sisters, I would give a modest discount card to entitling them to maybe 25%. And every other family member would just be treated as a client.

Might there be cases where you choose to make exceptions? Of course. For example, you might have a family member who is a restauranteur or an accountant or a decorator and you might agree on some sort of contra deal. But in my experience whenever I did contra deals, I always seemed to be the one that came out worse off.

There is a quote I saw on Instagram once and it said “Friends will ask for discount prices. But true friends will pay full price to support you, your time and your work.”

My first boss taught me, literally on my first day, that if you discount your services to friends, you will have a lot of friends that you only see once every 6 weeks.” I have always remembered those words.

I know there’s a difference between friends and family but I think there is a lot of truth in both those statements.

Thank you for watching…

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