Should you double book?
The debate over double booking has always been strong…
On one hand, you’ve got stylists that firmly believe its a no-go and doing so takes away from your clients experience. On the other hand, you have the stylists who make ends meet and then some by double booking. Both sides have very valid points, and which direction is right for you completely depends on how you feel, and mainly how you work.
If you’ve been considering double booking but haven’t made the jump yet, I’m going to give you some pointers on how, when, and why or why not. I’ll start with the “why or why not” and work backwards. You can skip the next couple of paragraphs if you’ve already made up your mind on double booking and just want to know HOW to start.
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for double booking?
What services are you doing the most of? Long services like balayage, baby lights, or color corrections aren’t good for double booking. You can’t pinpoint an exact application time and the processing can vary greatly. If 90% of your clientele are these services, I wouldn’t bother trying to double book. On the other hand, if you’re doing a lot of root touch ups or quick refreshes, these are services that can be timed really well and are GREAT for double booking.
What are your clients used to? Do you tend to spend their whole processing time sitting next to them and chatting, or do you take that time to yourself? This is a big indicator on how your clients will react if you double book. Mine are used to relaxing while they are processing and saving the convo for when i’m with them directly, so they don’t mind if I’m applying another color or doing a quick mens cut during that time.
How busy is your schedule? If your weeks are mostly booked but you’re not so busy yet that you want to increase your prices (more on that here ), double booking can be a great option to bring in more income and condense some of your days. If you’re still building and you’re only doing 1-3 clients a day, I would wait. Use that time to devote to your current clients. Once you’re up to 5 or more clients a day, it may be time to consider double booking.
When do I start double booking?
Whenever you’re ready! If you checked all the boxes above and think you’re ready to start double booking, I suggest going in as soon as you can. Don’t move clients around to double book (I’ve discussed why you shouldn’t move clients here..) but do take a look at your schedule when rebooking and see if there are any two clients that would work well being in the salon at the same time. You want to start with two clients who you know are lower maintenance and whose hair you’re capable of doing in a specific time frame. You don’t want any curve balls thrown at you the day of the appointment - so really think about who you’re placing where.
How do I start double booking?
Start slow. You don’t want to jump in and double book yourself all day every day. You will run behind, you will be stressed, and you will burn out fast. Choose 2 days a week to double book one set of clients. Feel it out and see if it’s a good fit for you before you start doing it more often.
Time yourself. If you don’t already have a good idea of how long it takes you to apply certain colors or do a haircut, you need to do a little research first. Figure out your timing, and then work backwards based on how you book. I suggest starting with 2 root touch ups and blow drys double booked together, or a root touch up with a mens cut in between. These are the simplest and easiest clients to double book. It takes a bit of basic math to figure out, but it’s not too difficult. I created a diagram a little further down that shows a more visual understanding of how to double book.
Explain to your clients what you are doing. If you’ve never previously double booked, they may be confused as to what’s going on. Don’t leave them in the dark. I typically will say something like “To maximize my schedule today I’ll be applying another quick color while you’re processing, but it won’t extend your appointment time at all. If you need anything during this time feel free to ask me, and is there anything I can get you to help you relax while you process?”
Let me be clear: double booking is not for everyone. You have to be willing to give up your “sitting time”, stick to a late appointment policy (you will not be able to accommodate those that are twenty minutes late anymore if you’re double booking…), and work a little harder. But if you can get comfortable with it, the pay off can be huge. I’ve been double booking since I started because I was trained that way, but In the last few years i’ve really refined who and what appointments I’m willing to double book with in order to keep my days a little calmer and my income top notch. Got any other questions about double booking? Feel free to comment below, or reach out to me on Instagram - I’m always happy to help!