How to use your downtime in the salon effectively


I remember when I showed up to the first day at my second salon. I had basically zero clientele, and was only there to get things set up with their booking system and my station. But I didn’t leave after that was done. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was a little crazy - I came with my laptop, a book about business, and a notepad. I sat in the backroom taking notes and reading chapters. I worked on my computer contacting old clients and getting them set up. I did a search for the cost of mannequin heads and made a list of what I needed to buy. I was determined to not take my downtime lightly.

Fast forward one year and I had a full clientele, bringing in $8-10,000 in services a month. You can’t tell me that my time working on other things when I was slow didn’t have some sort of impact in the way I built my career and clientele. Well, you can, but I won’t believe you.

When you’re building, and occasionally even after you’re a well established stylist - you’re going to have moments of downtime. Whether a client cancels last minute or you’ve got a three hour gap in the middle of your day, you’ll find yourself sitting in the break room scrolling through Instagram over and over and trying your best not to fall asleep.

Or, you could use that time to your benefit.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve wasted a lot of hours of downtime scrolling my phone in the same manner. & I strongly believe that every once in a while we really do just need that break. to breathe, to relax, to eat snacks and aimlessly scroll. But every time I over do it, I feel a strong sense of guilt for not putting back in to my business when I’m given the time to do so. I try now to see cancelations or gaps in my day as the universes way of telling me I’ve got other shit to do.

Here’s how I recommend you spend your downtime when you’ve got it:

  • Work on your social media game.

    You can use the time to scroll, just do it intentionally instead of aimlessly. Interact with other peoples pages and make connections. Go live and show your clients how you do those perfect waves. Plan out your next weeks worth of posts so that you stay consistent.

  • Clean your whole station top to bottom.

    This is my favorite thing to do, but that probably stems from my deep seeded hate of clutter. Maybe you should oil your scissors for the first time in 6 months, or finally throw out those clear rubber bands that spilled everywhere in your bottom drawer. Pretend state board is coming in and get to work.

  • Get out the mannequin head.

    Practice a new technique or nail an old one. Try that razor cut you’ve been dreaming of doing. These things are not just for expensive classes and cosmo school. Also, they’re the best clients. They let you have creative freedom, and they never get upset.

  • Take an online course.

    There are so many online courses you can take to fill up an hour or two gap! Browse the behind the chair courses and learn a new technique or check out some business courses that you can dive in to. Free or paid, there are plenty of options for wherever you’re at.

  • Market yourself.

    Downtime is great for marketing yourself in whatever way you need to. Work on that website you’ve been thinking of creating, draft up some referral cards on canva or vista print. Go pass some out to the local businesses that allow it. Advertise your need for a free model on social media and use them in your NEXT gap to create some awesome content. The possibilities for marketing are endless and there’s no better way to spend your down time, really.

Side note: believe me.. a day will come where you will WISH for a cancelation because you’ll need that break to focus on other things or just breathe. After years of a packed schedule, you’ll welcome them a little more easily and they won’t feel like such a burden. Enjoy them while you have them, switch your mindset around them, and see where the opportunity takes your business.

Esther ChapmanComment