Updated: Oct 30
Your policies provide the solid foundation that your business will stand on. To have a clear set of policies is beneficial to you, your staff, and your clients. Everything runs smoothly and everyone knows what to expect. Clear policies leave no room for undesirable clients taking up your valuable time.
Create policies that make sense to you. No one understands your business better than you do. Be sure your policies support the flow and function of your studio and services.
Creating The Policies.
To determine which policies you would like to have for your business, ask yourself these questions:
What are some of my current frustrations with my existing clients?
What general behaviours are unacceptable to me?
What really matters to me during the flow of my work day?
What behaviours cost me money?
What behaviours affect my other clients?
What is working well that I would like to enforce on ALL of my appointments?
Based on your answers you can now describe the desired behaviour of your clients. Write these expected behaviours in VERY CLEAR sentences. It is tempting to overuse terms like “please” and “we appreciate” but these words can sometimes leave the impression that your policies are suggestions rather than strictly enforced rules. It is also advised to avoid adding explanations when you publish your policies. As long as YOU know why they are necessary, the reason is irrelevant. Offering friendly, warm, welcoming service is very important in our industry, but your policies need to be clear. With that being said, there is no need to PUT THEM AT THE TOP OF YOUR PAGE IN CAPS LOCK or make them bold and aggressive! Just make them clear.
Here are 10 examples of common policies for lash studios:
No pets or children in the studio.
We do not perform fills on other studios lash extensions.
Clients with existing extensions from another studio are required to book a removal and a full set.
Clients who fail to provide a minimum of 24 hours notice to cancel or change an appointment will be charged the full amount of their scheduled service. All future appointments will require advanced payment for booking.
Appointments that start late will still finish at their scheduled end time or may be cancelled and rescheduled. Full price of your original appointment value will be charged.
No food or drink in the studio.
Please turn off your cell phone during your treatment. You caught me - I said “please”. But can you read how this one sounds more like a suggestion?
Clients who fail to follow our aftercare guidelines will no longer be accepted for appointments.
Clients must be 18 years of age or 16 years with guardian consent.
All clients must sign a waiver form.
Creating policies is important. Making sure everyone knows what those policies are is even MORE important! Your expectations must be clear to the client at the time of booking. Policies need to be published on your website, written into your booking process and added to your clients confirmation and reminder messages. It’s also a good idea to display them in your reception area where they can be easily seen by everyone. It’s important that everyone is aware of the rules BEFORE they book a service with you. Also, having reminders published everywhere will increase compliance.
Policies will likely need to be updated over time. Avoid updating them too often. When they are updated it is important that all of your staff and clients are aware of the changes. It is also advisable to give notice of the updates. For example you may want to send a message such as:
“Dear clients: As of September 1, 2017 all bookings for “Full Sets” will require a 25% deposit. Please visit our website to review all of our studio’s policy updates.”
One month is the recommended notice time but you can determine that based on how big of a change you are making. When setting policies for the first time I would say 1 week or less is acceptable because you need to start implementing them right away.
Enforcing The Policies.
Once your studio policies are clear you must decide how you will enforce them. Without diligently enforcing the rules they just become meaningless words. Every breach of policy MUST have a consequence and you MUST follow through consistently.
Like all aspects of your business it is important to implement a process for handling clients that do not follow your studio policies.
Decide what your process will be regarding your policies by asking yourself these questions:
What will the consequences be for broken policies?
For example; no-shows are charged full price and must prepay for all future appointments.
How many warnings will I give (if any) before I enforce the consequences?
For example; with my long-term, regular clients I will waive the no-show fee ONE TIME with a stern reminder. Although I do not recommend waiving the consequences we are in a client-based industry and there will be times that you feel you should allow a mistake from a client now and then. Deciding ahead of time what is forgivable and how many times you’ll forgive it will keep you feeling in control of your policies.
Are there any special circumstances where I will waive the consequences?
For example; a death in the family, a car accident on her way to the studio, etc. You will likely note this in her file and only waive the consequences ONE TIME.
Deciding the consequences and rules for waiving them is vital to enforcing your policies. Waiving needs to be under extreme circumstances only. It is hugely important to treat each client the same. React to each violation of policy the same way every time. We teach our clients how to treat us. Consistency is a key to changing their behaviour to make your business a better place for all.
Not EVERYONE is going to be excited about these new rules.
Don’t fret for a single minute over the clients that complain about your policies. Those clients are not showing respect for you. Quality clients will gladly comply. I promise! Let the others go elsewhere. In fact, losing a couple of noncompliant clients will make room for better clients to come along!
So, let’s recap the plan:
Decide what is important to you for the flow of your business and daily activities.
Write very clear policies for ALL clients to follow.
Publish your policies, add them to client correspondence and display them in your studio.
Determine your process for enforcing your policies.
Determine your few rules for waiving consequences.
Plan to stick to your policies.
Most importantly remember this; by enforcing policies for your business, you are building an environment that you are excited to work in everyday. You are respecting yourself and your trade. You are honouring the thoughtful and considerate clients by insisting everyone comply. You are allowing yourself to thrive and your business will inevitably prosper in more ways than one.
Now do a little happy dance because you are about to change your business in the most amazing way! I am so proud of you for taking this stand and I know you will be glad you did!
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace formal business advice, financial advice, government regulations, or any other form of legal advice.