Scheduling Your Day: How to Maximize Earnings, Not Burnout

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Now that you have realized your dream career as a professional aesthetician, your thoughts may turn to earning all you can from the opportunity. Maybe your strategy is to include as many services on your menu as possible in order to attract the widest range of potential clients. Or, perhaps you’re positioned as a narrowly focused skin care specialist charging premium prices to an elite clientele. Whatever your business approach may be, most professionals will strive to achieve the highest earnings on any working day. And, why not? There are business expenses to meet, and personal needs and retirement funding to consider. That could drive anyone to overwork!


But, do we really need to? Are there ways in which ambitious aestheticians can find extra income in their practices without the need to see more clients and add service hours? Let’s explore a few possibilities.




Do you have a service mix that favors retail or treatment upgrades, such as with acne and antiaging appointments? If not, you may want to consider adding them or making them a more prominent part of your professional work. These services are excellent for increasing the earning power of your day without creating extra work for yourself. Now, you might think, “But I love doing waxing clients!” Maybe so, but there’s a downside – you’ll need to see more clients per day and perform more treatment setups to earn the same money as facial appointments would offer. In my practice, I love makeup services, but I do not promote them, as they generate fewer per-hour dollars than facial treatments. My work is not a hobby, it is my primary source of income and I will not do anything to limit its payoff potential.


Just last week, a client I haven’t seen in a few months called with a request for a last-minute antiaging treatment, one I happened to have had the time to accept. Her $185 treatment ended up yielding $467 because she needed to refill several of her skin care products. What other service offers us that kind of sales-building in the same time allowed for a treatment? If you want to make the most money for the time invested, look to facial treatments for that.




If you feel that you’re over-allowing on the clock for your services, it may be time to reduce the time, while keeping prices as they are. Newer aestheticians are often tempted to under-charge and over-deliver, hoping that this will generate greater appreciation in clients. It’s a thoughtful, but mistaken, approach to building client goodwill and one that will work you too hard for less-than-deserved income. Consider cutting some time back from those way too long treatments, while making them as relaxing and effective as you can. Remember, as skin care professionals, we don’t sell time, we sell a result.


Always include some retail minutes between clients. You do not want to overlook and miss money easily within reach. Speaking of service charges…





If it has been a year or more, I strongly recommend that you do it, and soon! You’re missing out on the hottest economy we’ve had in a generation and it won’t last forever. I know the prospect of increasing prices terrifies some of you. It’s natural to be concerned that higher charges might result in client loss. But, how will you know (or make more money) without testing the option? Last year, I raised my service prices twice, added a new upper-end treatment, and reduced my working hours by almost 20% for the year. The outcome? I profited over $20,000 more than the year prior. Fear is the greatest of all business expenses. Challenge yourself to ask for what you want! And, speaking of business profit…




Of course, you have complete faith in your favorite product line. You’re loyal to it, but how loyal is it to you? Have you ever wondered why it is that you can only get 100% markup (50% grow profit) when you retail it – and lucky to get even that today, in the era of internet discounting? And, how loyal is it for your fabulous brand to sell to your close-by competitors? While you will want to continue carrying a line that you’re happy with and clients enjoy, you may want to add selections from a private label supplier. There are numerous reasons to create your own brand of products but none better than the markup available. Even if you only begin with a few specialty items, such as treatment serums, it’s hard to argue against 300% to 500% over your cost. This strategy has long been at the core of my own business success.


You don’t have to slave away at your practice, risking your health and enthusiasm, to see more dollars in your sales totals. These basic approaches to operating a skin care salon will grace you with sanity and higher earnings if you put them into your plan.



douglas preston 2016Douglas Preston’s career spans over 30 years in professional aesthetics, spa management, and skin care career mentoring. His business articles appear in many of the top trade journals and magazines. He is a past president of Aesthetics International Association and former committee chairman for The Day Spa Association. His recently published book, “An Esthetician’s Guide to Growing A Successful Skincare Career,” is a top-seller among ambitious working skin care professionals. Preston leads The Inspired Esthetician, a membership-based resource for professional education and career and business mentoring. He also practices aesthetic skin care in his prestigious Los Gatos studio, Preston Skin Center.,, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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