Grooming policies in your Spa/Salon

From hairdressers to beauticians or from new to existing businesses, the rules can vary when it comes to grooming policies. Grooming guidelines can become an issue if not addressed properly, and ultimately reflect on your brand. In a way, there is no right or wrong, as it all depends on what you allow within your business. However, there are 5 key elements you should consider to ensure your salon’s image is at its best.


The Branding

It all comes down to the brand image you have, or want to create: Will you be strict? Relaxed? Will you have a particular uniform? Allow your employees to wear what they want? Modern? Old fashioned? Traditional? What colours does your brand represent?

In hairdressing, things are a lot more relaxed, from clothes to tattoos and piercings. A hairdresser has more freedom regarding grooming standards.

In the beauty industry, things tend to be more traditional and slick. It’s tradition to have your hair tied back, display hardly any piercings, and hiding tattoos is more or less the norm. However, over the past few years, there has been a shift in how strict rules have become and as a salon owner, you must be careful not to discriminate who you employ or have employed. It’s all down to the clients you have or want to attract (what will they find acceptable?).

Remember that it is your brand that you are projecting. Small details like tattoos and piercings can make an impact on the customers’ perception of your salon or spa.

Quick Tip | Do you ever look at your team the way your clients do? Get a mystery shopper in and ask them about the uniforms and what they see.


The budget

The budget you set for uniforms can be what defines who wears what. For example, a beauty salon might decide to supply the tops, but not the pants as there is an extra cost to that: “Supply your own black trousers”.

While this method does work for budget purposes, the idea of black trousers is very different for every person and next thing you know, you have leggings, black jeans, etc. So, again, can your brand be represented in such manners?

It’s important that you link the budget you set for uniforms to what your brand wants to give as an image. Make sure you review this budget every year, as uniforms will need changing from time to time. There is nothing worse for your salon or spa than to be represented in dirty uniforms.

The Procedure Behind Grooming Policies

Whether you are a hair or a beauty salon, you must establish your grooming policies.Mention if you are strict, relaxed, don’t mind tattoos, piercings, or don’t want any of that. A simple explanation of what you expect from your staff regarding grooming should be written down in your SOP manual.

Make your employees read your procedure and sign it. You want them to be aware of what is acceptable and what isn’t. For instance, even if you accept tattoos and piercings to a certain extent, think about if you have a limit in mind? What is not acceptable? Your procedure must reflect your thoughts. If you don’t take this simple measure, you are leaving the door opened to everything.

Quick Tip | You can put the grooming guideline as a part of the contract which makes the reinforcement of it a lot easier. And don’t forget to be as specific as possible regarding tattoos and piercings.

If you already have uniforms in your salon, specify how many your staff is entitled to, add in your request for them to be clean and ironed (you will be surprised how this is the most common issue) and what your staff is responsible for when caring for a uniform. For instance, do they have to pay for a new one themselves if they are misusing them?

For those who have managers, you must also have a procedure for them. What do you want your manager to wear and how do you want them to represent your brand? What is acceptable and what isn’t? In all, a simple grooming procedure facilitates the communication and ensures your team meets your standards.


The interview process

The best time to introduce grooming policies is during the interview. To talk about uniforms, tattoos and piercings straight away ensures that potential staff members know what to expect. They will understand the importance you give to your salon’s image and you can consider their understanding as a verbal contract as such.

Ask your applicants if they have something to say about your policy, tell them they will be signing a grooming guideline procedure – make it a big deal. If they don’t agree with your policies, you best know now. If they have a tattoo behind the ear and you want them to put their hair back at all time, discuss your policy on it.

For example, one of the staff issues I’ve had to deal with on behalf of a client, was when someone decided to put contact lenses that made her look like a cat. As a very relaxed hairdresser, she had a point. No one had ever told her anything about staff grooming. Be careful and set limits even if you don’t see the necessity for it.


The follow-up

Whether you have a new business, you’re about to open, or you’ve been opened for 20 years, if your policies aren’t applied, you’re allowing any issue to happen. For example, if the tattoo behind the ear was a no go and you made sure your staff knew during their interview, then you need to make sure your standards are met. I have seen staff (especially in Hotel Spas) where employees can’t start work without first seeing a manager who checks if their overall appearance meets their requirements. Grooming is that important to them.

To once again take the tattoo behind the ear example, if it appears and you have no procedures in place, then you don’t stand much of a chance at getting your employee to hide it. With a procedure, however, you can reinforce it and potentially put that staff member on performance management (after 3 strikes). You can then follow that up with disciplinary actions, if needed.


In all, it’s human nature to defy your boss and try and see how far you can take things! If you are not on it, they won’t be either. Set your expectations straight away, and you will be the one with the upper hand. Remember that staff grooming policies are meant to represent your brand and how your customers perceive it. To ensure your salon’s image is at its best, you must make your grooming policies a priority.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer, Judge, Coach & Mentor

Become Commercially aware



5 key points on No Shows Policies

First you must acknowledge the issue, and only then can you tackle it head on.

Ensure you work out exactly how much you are losing out.
You can do this by tracking the effect no shows have on the business for a period of 3 months and work out an average:

If I have on an average 5 no shows a week x 52 weeks in the year = 260 no Shows a year

260 x £30 (work out your average treatment price) that is £7,800 potential loss a year.

No shows are not only a potential cost but you could have had someone else in that appointment so ultimately, it’s a double cost.

 Here are 5 points you must acknowledge:

1.    Decide on the cancellation policy and communicate it clearly. Is it 24 hours? 48 hours? it is important that your message is clear so your clients know exactly what your policy is. Put the policy in all emails, social media, at reception and on the website. If customers don’t turn up will they be charged the full price or will you let it go? If you don’t charge them, what will the policy be?

2.             Engage your team by showing them how much they are losing out. They will then help to reinforce the policy with their own clients. 

3.              Obviously we all want to be nice but you must have a cut off point if a client keeps not turning up. After 3 no shows, have a conversation with your client, after the 4th time, get them to pay in full for further appointments. 

4.             Create a No Show list that you and your reception team manage daily. It's important to have the facts. Consider having a list of customers who are interested in last minute appointments.

5.             Only create a policy if you are going to be consistent. I cannot emphasise this enough. Make it a priority and consider it as a way of training your customers to behave the way you expect. The point is that if you implement the policy then not bother with the follow up, no one will take you seriously.. 


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware



Handling late clients

The problem of late clients is a difficult one.  These late clients can range from  the regulars who tend to think they can get away with it, to new ones who are not used to your strict time keeping. 

Is there a solution for such behaviour and where do I start?

1: Have a policy in place

Without a policy you cannot set expectations. If you have a policy in place whereby the client is charged for a no show they will be inclined to take you more seriously and turn up on time. A policy of this kind sets the tone for both clients and staff.

2: Implement your policy

It’s easier said than done. Yet implementing your policy should become your priority. If it isn’t, it will not happen.

Warn your existing clients a month before you put your policy in place in order to set expectations.

Any communication with your clients should then contain your policy, whether you email them or they're sitting on your chair. The policy needs to be seen for anyone to take it seriously.

3: Train your staff

Handling late clients can be very awkward. Ensure that some training is in place to avoid confusion.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with late clients, what matters is the message you put across.

A confirmation text message is a great way to prevent lateness.  An even more efficient and personalised service is to call each client as well - this way they can tell you directly whether they need to change their appointment. This is also a good way of up-selling other treatments.

4: List of the offenders

A list needs to be set up in order to find out whether there is a pattern of behaviour from certain clients. Without a list containing date, time and reason, you might make unfounded accusations. It also enables you to check what happens when you're not in.

5: Follow up

The only way the policy will function is if there is a follow up.  Of course we can be more lenient if something has occurred that's out of the customers control. However, after the 2nd offence, you should be talking to them and discussing their lateness. It's a business after all and they need to understand the importance of your policy.  After the 3rd time they should be asked to pay in full for their appointments. The likelihood is they will stop their behaviour before it comes to that but your aim in applying such a policy is to ensure you have respectful clientele.  Otherwise things can become both chaotic and frustrating!

The follow up on the offenders has got to be your priority. Think of it as a way of training your customers to behave the way you want them to. Your staff will follow that too if you take it seriously enough.

Late clients can be detrimental to your business and generate a very negative atmosphere. It's important to assess what you want to do and ensure you focus on it fully over a period of 6 months minimum. After that It will become common practice.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware