Tuesday, 04 December 2012 15:08

Stretching the Profit Potential in Your Skin Care Practice

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A busy aesthetics appointment schedule is a truly wonderful achievement. And, a newer but steadily growing practice is just as admirable, especially in a still stagnant economy. Though your sales are growing, your costs related to service work are increasing as well. You may not be comfortable enough to raise your prices during such a sensitive time and simply adding more appointment hours is not so appealing, either. Even if you are happy with your present business income you still do not want to throw away money you could keep. This may be an ideal time to examine your daily career practices to see if you are unnecessarily spending or giving away income.


A good place to begin is by examining daily habits and practices that might be both unquestioned and costly. This article is to help my fellow skin care professionals recognize some of the more common (and expensive) rituals and behaviors that can add up to real dollars either willfully refused or invisibly spent. See if any of these examples apply to you and then consider whether a change in them might be healthy for your business and personal pay!

1. Over-discounting
You have friends and loyal clients that you just cannot bear to charge full price to, and you even give freebees to such as treatment upgrades, facial waxing and un-asked for product discounts. Many aestheticians tell me that they feel bad or guilty for charging all that these clients owe for their services and goods. This practice adds up to a whole lot of money you could have had but willfully declined to take. And it is not necessary, either. Worse, the apologetically discounting aesthetician then feels terrible about herself for allowing customers to take advantage of her, never mind that she actually invited them to. End this practice now! You deserve to be paid for all that you do and sell – the correct price – and do not let past behavior dictate what you do tomorrow. Any business you might lose because you are running your profession responsibly will not be missed.

2. Being Overly Time Generous
You want to give the best service you can and you have been allowing some of your treatments to drag on well beyond the time actually required to deliver them in. But, the habit of doing this not only limits your appointment schedule but teaches your clients that your time is not as valuable as it should be. This is another apologetic and wasteful mistake that should be corrected, and soon! Determine exactly how much time is truly required for a specific service then work to do a great job within what is allowed. It is also useful to see if you are allowing too much time for treatments you may be able to do satisfactorily in a more compact appointment. You do not need to reduce your price just because the time may be shorter than before. Never sell time – sell results!

3. Treatment Over-indulgence
Aestheticians routinely follow the facial protocols designed by the product company they use in their practices. But, does a good facial treatment actually require as much product or as many steps as the producer is calling for? Product companies just love for aestheticians to plow right through backbar supplies for obvious reasons. This is nice for them, yet drives up the facial cost considerably. In my personal skin care work I have long challenged the pre-set recipes provided by manufacturers and, instead, decide for myself what types of products and what quantities should be used in treatments. You may find you can easily deliver a very impressive service at less than half the cost as it would be if you simply followed a set protocol. Experiment a little and see for yourself what the result is when protocols are compared.

4. Sampling Home Care Treatment Products
Sure, clients like to receive free samples of your skin care products, but all too often these samples are offered instead of going for the sale while your client is in the spa. Purchase results from sampling as opposed to a convincing product demonstration in person is very, very substantial, and you will miss a tremendous amount of ready income by delaying the sale potential until later. Put the product in your client's hand, let them feel and smell it, briefly and enthusiastically describe its awesomeness, and send it out in a bag instead of a purse.

5. Underselling Your Treatment Options
When scheduling a client for the first time (or rescheduling them after a treatment), always go for a higher priced service than the basic one you perform (or have performed). A huge volume of money is voluntarily turned down when therapists offer clients a lower-priced service than they are actually willing to buy. Clients are following your lead much more than you might realize – after all, this is your profession, not theirs – so the question is, where are you leading them? Going up only one notch in price but doing it consistently will produce a sizable increase in business income and an equally
satisfied customer.

6. Buying or Leasing Equipment You Do Not Need
There is nothing wrong with having some great treatment options available in your treatment room; but before you commit to that next machine or gadget, ask yourself if that big spending outlay will prove to be worth it. If no one has been asking for the technology you are planning to pay for or if there is some less expensive way to achieve a good skin result you may do well to forego the purchase. As a business mentor, I constantly see machines and devices gathering dust rather than producing service dollars for their owners. That is even more costly! And if the desire for something new is just to alleviate boredom in the treatment room, an inspirational book or class will be the far wiser investment.

7. Save Your Cash Tips
It is amazing how casually this money is blown instead of valued and tucked away. Most gratuities are reflected in charges and checks these days, so the cash that comes through is often treated as pocket money that spends all too easily. Instead of tossing it off on a big lunch or impulse purchases in the spa's boutique, develop the discipline to save it for something you really want but takes a fair amount of money to have (such as something for your business or even a resort stay somewhere relaxing). In time and with patience, these small tips add up to an impressive stash. And, think of it – you got a wonderful trip somewhere virtually free!

It is remarkable how much more money we can have from virtually the same level of business activity, only with a different approach in how we handle it. I have never seen a skin care practice that could not find at least a couple hundred dollars of hidden or blindly spent money within it. Take the time to study your own methods to see if there might be an undiscovered trove of cash there for you, too!

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