Picture of salon

Featured Photo Source: 20 Volume Salon and Spa

Stacey Coronado, owner of 20 Volume Salon and Spa in Mesa, AZ, sat in her office surrounded by boxes of paper travelers and receipts, knowing there had to be a better way. “I was in the middle of all these stacks and stacks of paper thinking, this is ridiculous. We have got to get rid of all this paper.”

For years, paper had been part of life at 20 Volume. Stylists would jot info about an appointment on each guest’s paper traveler—services rendered, formulas used, products recommended—and they shared responsibility for the traveler with the front-desk team.

It was an imperfect system for sure. “Sometimes a stylist would forget to write down that she did an extra color or an add-on glossing treatment. Or, they might write it and guest care would forget to charge for it because they didn’t look at the traveler again before checkout,” Stacey recalls. Sometimes the stylist would forget to add product recommendations to the traveler, and the guest would leave empty-handed. Often, stylists would stick the traveler in their pocket and go home with it—and all the details about that appointment would leave with them, never to return.

Saving Time, Saving Money, Saving Sanity

When the paper pile-up got too much—along with all the time spent shredding sensitive information—Stacey knew she had to take the leap to paperless. She started buying iPads, learning how to perform all salon functions on the SalonBiz app, and then began training team leads. Then two more. Then two more. Eventually, each station got an iPad, and the stylists had to adopt the tablet as a tool as important to their job as shears or a brush.

Getting the team accustomed to the switch was the biggest hurdle. “Instead of them writing things on a traveler they had to get used to going in and putting in a formula then and there,” Stacey says. “We had to make sure they were doing it right when they were processing or creating a new formula. Not putting it on a sticky note to enter later.” Once the team got the hang of entering everything into the system in the moment, things really started to improve.

Now free from paper, Stacey is realizing how wasteful the old system was.

The obvious waste was the paper itself—a case per week that was purchased and then shredded or stored. But the time spent dealing in a paper system was wasteful too. Before, a ticket discrepancy or missing formula meant digging through piles of paper. Now, a search of the system brings it up in seconds. “Also, we don’t have formulas getting lost,” she says. “Everything is entered into the system and it never leaves the building.”

“Going paperless means the stylist is completely responsible for the ticket being correct. It used to be on guest care to do that, but now it’s on the stylist.”

Image Source: 20 Volume Salon and Spa

Paperless → Deskless

After transitioning her flagship salon to paperless, Stacey opened a second location that was both paperless and front deskless. She’s planning a remodel of her flagship to eliminate the front desk, and going paperless was a necessary first step.

Now that she sees the difference between a salon with a front desk and without, the remodel can’t come fast enough. “It’s always been on the stylist to retail and educate their guests, and then hand them off to guest care to close that sale for them.”

“In the location without a front desk, the stylists ring up the products. Our RPCT on the deskless store is about $10 higher, and 15 percent more clients purchasing, than the one with a desk,” she says. “Some of my stylists work at both locations. At the deskless location, they’ll sell to 100 percent of their people, versus at the other store selling to 20 percent.”

Not everyone can do a full deskless remodel off the bat, but “being paperless first is a definite must before going deskless,” Stacey says. “There is going paperless, then getting a call center, then getting rid of the desk. There is a definite order to go in.”

For fellow salon owners ready to go paperless, Stacey suggests investing in iPads for every team member, and lots of training time. “There is a lot to it. You want to make sure everyone understands all of the different functions. How to change the tickets. What you can do and what you can’t. There’s a lot of training, but it’s worth it.”