Have you ever made a mistake in your diaries? Booked someone at the wrong time or even had two customers turn up for the same appointment? Well, we’re here to give you all the information you need to make your life easier when it comes to your lash salon or business.
As lash artists running our business, we can wear many different hats. If there’s only one of you, you will have to act as a manager, cleaner, photographer, social media manager, receptionist and many more! So who can blame you for making a mistake every now and then? Setting up an online booking service for your business could reduce one of the biggest jobs you have to do and take some of the pressure off your shoulders.
We know some people can be afraid to set one up because you no longer have complete control and that we’ll be able to create a smooth schedule for ourselves, but a booking system can do all of this for you. In collaboration with our talented trainer, Julija Baltulioniene, we have all the information you need to set up an online booking system for your business.
Deciding what service is best for you
If you are starting out and your business is a small operation at this time, either on your own working from home or a one person salon, a simple booking service will be all you need, such as Simply Book.
If you are a larger lash salon, with more lash technicians that clients can choose from, you will need a more thorough booking service, such as Forest or Fresha. Julija recommends Forest and it’s the booking service that she uses for her own lash salon, citing that you book multiple lash technicians and services using their software, as well as including descriptions, images and pricing, so your clientele can make an informed decision when booking.
The Set Up
Getting started with an online service can seem daunting, but when we this time on our hands due to national restrictions or lockdowns, expanding on your business is a useful way to spend it.
All online booking systems are quite similar, so if you have any experience using one in the past, it will make your life a little easier when you’re setting up one for yourself. But if this is your first time working with one, it is best to be patient and give yourself sometime for the initial set up. If you don’t consider yourself very IT friendly and you have someone to help you, this is also a great place to start.
Giving yourself a time frame or deadline for setting up your online booking service will only add more pressure to process. We recommend starting off with collecting all of the information you will need to include, i.e. how long your lash services take, their names, pricing, descriptions and any imagery you have. Once you have this information collected into one place, it will be quick and easy to copy it over to the booking system. Remember, the more information you give about what you can offer, the less questions, calls or messages you’ll receive from clients.
Julija recommends getting the vital information out first, this includes the names of your services, their prices and Terms & Conditions. You can then implement your online booking system if you are eager to get it up and running. Over time, you can slowly add more to it, such as longer descriptions, consultation forms and after care information. You can build it up little by little, rather thinking you need to get it all down straight away.
When introducing the system to your clients, Julija recommends to begin with booking in your regular clients and keeping their appointments consistent, while making the gaps in your schedule available on your online booking system.
Have you ever spent an evening after work replying to messages on Instagram, Facebook & every other kind of social media? All you want to do is relax but you have to get back to all the messages about pricing, what appointments you have available or what services you offer. Setting up an online booking system for your business will greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend doing this and your evening will be your own again.
Offering a way to book online, will make the process a lot easier for new clientele and makes your lash business look all the more credible. Julija also advises, that it means customers can book at anytime without needing to contact you first, she’s even had clients book as late as 10 - 11pm tonight, when they’ve finished shifts or have more time in the evening after work to make a booking.
Switching from physical written diaries to an online service, leaves less room for human error. When we have so many tasks on our mind, it’s easy to make mistakes. Having a system in place that keeps track of everything for you, will make bookings easier for you and your customers. It’s one less thing to worry about!
Rebooking is simpler than ever. We’ve all had to reschedule an appointment before, things come up and life gets in the way of lash appointment, but rebooking those appointments can be a stress to any lash artist. Finding a gap in your diary can feel impossible, but if with an online service your clients will be able to see all the next available times or days you have to rebook. This saves you time spent on the phone or going back and forth with messages about what alternative day they can do, so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
A booking system doesn’t have to just be seen as simply that either, it can be a vital business tool. If used to your advantage it can become like a traffic light system, indicating your peak or even the slowest times for appointments. With ease, you will be able to see areas to improve on or where you could introduce new offers to boost those slower times in your schedule. When you have all of your clients and the services they book in one place, you will be able to see a clear pattern of your customers’ average spend per appointment. With that extra time not having to book in every appointment you can devise clear business strategy with this information and see where you could be up-selling product, introducing retail options to your business or even where you can spare discounts for loyal and consistent customers. All of this information will help you keep track of your cash flow and business.
A lot of these online booking services will also provide a way for you to get in contact with your clientele via text or email, so you can efficiently get out any new offers or appointment times and dates, that have become available due to cancellation or rescheduling, out to your customers instantly.
Though it may take some time to set up, it’s an opportunity to reduce your admin work on the long run and you can start to focus on these bigger projects to improve your business. Having more time on your hands, can help you grow us a lash artist. This spare time will also help you to create a better work and personal life balance, your evenings will be free again to spend time with your friends, your family, relaxing and whatever else you enjoy doing outside of working hours. So it’s best to take this time to think about what you want to use your energy on.
There are very few disadvantages to offering an online way for your clients to book or rebook with you. Though we do understand the initial set up of these services may take some time, especially if this is your first time using one. It is up to you to compare the length of time it would take to create with how much of your own free time you spend contacting clients in messages or over the phone to book in their appointments. In the long run we feel investing that time into your business will pay off.
Another aspect that could be seen as a disadvantage is you don’t have as complete control over your diary as maybe you did when you wrote them in yourself, but if you construct your system in a way that offers appointments only when you want to work, you are still able to retain that balance. Making sure to check your online schedule every morning means you can see the day ahead and even the whole week ahead to best plan other events in your life around.
So now you have everything you need to know, what are you waiting for? Regain the balance in your life and take some of that pressure off your shoulders!
Blog post with help from our talented lash artist @juli_lashstudio