Double booking is a balancing act and a controversial topic in the beauty industry. If you do it right, you could make as much as $500 extra dollars a day. If you do it wrong, you can piss off clients, overwork yourself, and ruin the quality of your work.

Why do salons intentionally double book?

When done right, double-booking can boost the efficiency and bottom line of your business. Do it wrong, and clients will feel under appreciated and leave with a poor experience which could lead to ultimately fewer bookings. Salons have varying views on this practice, but the bottom line is whether your business can balance good guest experience along with double booking appointments.

Pros to double booking

  • Optimize time and staffing
  • See more clients
  • Needling less staff
  • Utilizing the space with multiple appointments going at once
  • Clients will see a busy salon – and the buzz will bring in more clients

Cons to double booking

  • Bad customer experience due to neglecting the client
  • Mixing up appointment type due to larger client volume
  • Staff working on multiple people at once can mix up procedure times and processes causing damages to the client
  • Crowded/no room in reception area, leading to poor atmosphere
  • Overbooking reservation times
  • Higher possibility for appointment issue such as scheduling conflict to arise
  • Bad experiences can negatively impact future client booking

How to Double book the Right Way

#1 DO THE MATH

If you start double booking, you need to understand the exact timing of your services.

  • How long does it take for your color service to process? 45min?
  • If a haircut takes 45 min, then you can double book.
  • Be realistic about timing, never cut one of the services short.

Start experimenting with one double booking a day for a couple weeks. Then if it goes well, try doing two a day. Learn exactly how long it takes to finish certain services without compromising the quality.

#2 BE MINDFUL OF YOUR SPACE
Take into consideration how much room you have in your establishment. You may be able to balance the timing of two appointments perfectly, but if you over schedule for the space in your Salon, the guest will still leave with a poor experience.
Always keep a tab of how many chairs, style tools, rooms etc. are in use at once to make sure you’re not overbooking. For example, a certain procedure that might need the same tools as another booked at the same time could lead to issues if no other tools are available. Never book for 100% occupancy in case of issues concerning resource management.

#3 COMMUNICATE!

This is where things get tricky. Without communication, double booking seems like a nightmare to clients.

  • They feel underappreciated — they don’t want to share you.
  • They worry that you are distracted and their service won’t get done properly.
  • You might seem unorganized.

Avoid this by letting your clients know what you’re doing each step of the way. Most clients just need to know the game plan to feel comfortable.

Say this:

  • “I’m finishing up your highlights and will check on you in 30 minutes. It’ll take about 45 minutes to process.”
  • “I’ll be working on another client while you relax. I’ll set my timer and make sure to check your color on time.”
  • “When you’re ready, we’ll shampoo out your color, tone for five minutes and then start your haircut.”
  • “Can I get you anything to drink or read?”

#4 SET BOUNDARIES

After you’ve experimented with double booking and you’re ready to make it a regular part of your schedule, it’s time to set some boundaries.

No matter how great you are at double booking, some clients are not going to like it. Some will even request that you don’t double book them at all.

You have two choices:

  • If they are a long-time loyal client and you’ve recently started double booking, you could consider giving them special treatment while they adjust.
  • OR, you could charge them more for their special request.
  • Time is money. Weigh your options and see which decision is best for your business.

Looking for software that helps you schedule double bookings? Click here to learn more.

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