Business Education by Hairdressers for Hairdressers

'You're the Boss - so what is your job? And can you do it?’

By Carl Keeley


Congratulations you are your own 'boss'. You're probably a kick ass hairdresser with amazing skills and a huge personal clientele that you've built up over many many years. And now you've done it, you've taken the BIG leap and you are the 'Boss'. Your clients are thrilled, your family and friends are super proud and you've even impressed yourself. You are the 'Boss' finally, just let that sink in for a moment... deep down you know (and we all know) that you've just got no idea when it comes to the actual financial management of your new business. In fact the whole topic of business leaves you confused, scared and basically freaked out. What now - it's your job and you chose it.


But wait - wasn't this your idea? Wasn't this the pinnacle point of your career that you had always worked towards? Isn't this what it's all about? You are the Boss - but now what? The 'what ' is starting to look like this - killing it on the floor all day everyday, fielding calls non stop as there's nobody else you trust to answer the phone, dealing with employees who 'just don't get it', fending off Sales Reps who just need five minutes of your time, counting stock and making stock orders so you don't run out, remembering to pay this stock bills so your supplies will still fill your orders, marketing full on so you can 'grow' your business, being first in to open and last out to close, keeping up with your own education and the Team's too. So now you've done 'it' you've successfully managed to promote yourself to Salon Owner, Manager, head Stylist, Marketing guru, bookkeeper, head cleaner and window washer or whatever else happens to fall upon you on a daily basis. You've successfully worked harder and stressed more than at any time in your entire life - you have 'made it'. SO now for the good stuff, surely after all of that work you are now 'rich' because everybody knows that the 'boss' is filthy rich of course... but as you crack open your online banking window the horrible reality of being the 'Boss' is there in basic black and white font - you are not rich. In fact you are now in all likelihood the poorest you've ever been when you finally figure out just how little you're making for your 70 hours plus of work each week. How did this this happen to you and how do you get this back on track to once again be your dream?


The answer is of course simple and unwelcome - you are a great hairdresser but you are a a fully fledged beginner when it comes to business. Before you throw in the towel take a minute to understand this... in all likely hood you've spent between 10k and 20k hours actually working as a professional hairdresser. Yes you are are good and you have a lot of experience, plus you have been formally educated in your vocation. Now you're theSalon Owner... you have a basic knowledge of money (because you spend it), you have zero hours running the financial side of a salon business (i.e, full access to a P&L or discretion to set salon financial metrics), you have zero hours of formal business education. Weigh that up in your mind and you'll come to a conclusion that looks something like this - you are an awesome hairdresser because that's what you've been trained to do but you are a Business beginner because you've never done it and have no education on it. So now what do you do about this given that you've already plonked done your money (hopefully our own)? Where to form here for you? Option 1 is the simplest - sell up and go back to being a great hairdresser and let someone else do the Salon Owner thing (just not you). Option 2 is what we call the 'hot potato' plan. Simply hire someone to do the business stuff for you whilst you do what you love which is the face to face with clients. That sounds great doesn't it, right up until you realise that your 'Manager' also has no idea what they're doing and since it's your money not there's they actually don't care quite to the level you do either. Option 3 is the toughest one - 'man up' or 'woman up' and get your self educated, coached and mentored to figure this stuff out. It's the hardest for a couple of reasons. Firstly you're going to have to fess up and admit that you've got no idea about this 'business stuff'. Then you have to not only pay for the education but you also have to make time to do it. And then you have to wait and be patient, after all this year's learning your hairdressing craft you have to balance the time spent equation on the business side of things. Meaning this isn't a two day fix but nor is it a five year fix either. Can you spend a couple of years to make the dream work after all time will pass by regardless. The alternatives are quicker but not exactly what you have dreamed of.


If you've read this far you're likely opting for the third scenario - so let's do this hard thing now... let's start learning about being a Salon Owner. Let's build the skills and the knowledge bank that you require to make this a success. Think of this as a second apprenticeship. It will take time, it will be frustrating and confusing. It will take a lot of extra work on your behalf.  So it's time to commit now and learn this 'business stuff'... let's go.

Carl and Belinda Keeley Present

Salon Financial Management 2 day Course


Sunday 16th and Monday 17th of July

$799//2 day Course

April/May Early Bird Booking Code for 15% discount  use RLVZYU1

BOOK HERE or email for invoice options

Carl Keeley
7 Steps to manage a colour client

We all have the skills and knowledge to achieve hair dreams or we are working hard through education to get there. However, I am finding that client management is the key to success. I have broken this down into 7 steps.

1  Appointment screening process. Clients are a gift not an interruption to your day. It is important to create a screening policy to make sure you allocate the correct booking time, preparation and planning for complex bookings. More than ever before colour bookings are becoming more complex. The number of corrections and huge make-overs can be exciting yet overwhelming if not managed correctly. Asking the right questions like, "will you be having a change today?" or "is there anything I should know about your hair?" is vital. If you establish that the client wants a correction or change I would then offer a complimentary consultation or a quick emailed selfie with a dream inspiration pic. A consultation or at least a selfie will give you a quick indication of what the booking will look like. If you don't screen clients and book them correctly you will suffer burn out, undue stress and perhaps you will be unable to achieve your clients hair goals due to time restrictions.


2  Consultations.  Create a go to system that you can follow every time. The important thing in a client consultation is to LISTEN, LISTEN SOME MORE and did I mention LISTEN....Use pictures and if you are unsure whether you can achieve the result take a test strand. This process is a great communication tool as to what the client can have and will also show them what is not possible. See

test strand article.

Consultations are also a great way to solve any of your clients hair problems. During your consultation it is your job to become a hair detective!! Find out all you can about the clients hair, past problems, future goals, oily scalps, what products they have in their bathrooms, absolutely anything and everything to do with their hair. The more background knowledge you have the better the outcome for the client.


3  Managing Expectations.  Your clients hair can only do what it is biologically able to with the chemistry we have available to us. Clients will always come armed with a folder of Instagram references covered in unrealistic filters that they are wanting. Make sure you are honest, be excited, show empathy and always give alternative options or make plans that will help them to achieve their hair goals. If it is possible in 1 visit or in 6 visits make sure you tell them.


4  Specialist Recommendations.  Lets face it the majority of stylists are like GPs, we all do most things well. However, if you come across a client requesting work that you are not comfortable doing please feel free to refer them on to industry specialists. As much as we don't like to give clients away we also don't want to fail trying to do work that we don't specialise in. I find this is a rare occasion but the client will always respect your honesty and reputation if you handle it professionally.


5  Price quoting.  Colour quoting over the phone, email or social media is impossible and many stylists get caught out under quoting. I would recommend that you direct them to you webpage pricing for a rough idea but to get an accurate quote you must see the hair and feel the hair in a consultation appointment with your client. 


6  Work flow communication.  When a client has completed a thorough consultation and you have a hair goal appointment plan it is now time to lay out the work flow, time needed, who will be assisting you and what role the assistant will have. I would always introduce any assistants at the consultation appointment so that the client feels confident in who the people are that will be playing a part in their hair goals . EG Mary, this is Taylor, Taylor will be assisting me in applying the colour so we  achieve  even processing results, she will also perform all of your basin services along with your treatment today. I would also like to introduce Sarah, Sarah is our front of house and can help you with anything else you may need including tea, coffee, phone charging, magazines or UBER EATS etc. We can also check up on parking arrangements. Let the client know exactly how long each step will take and the estimated finishing time.


7  Future Plans.  Always have a future plan for your clients. Once a client has a colour with me I am now their hairdresser for life (YAY) The client will be happy that they have a future plan and that their hair dreams will come true. Re-book your clients and take control of your days.


Happy client management....Belinda Keeley

Education  bookings 2017 now open

Carl Keeley
Blond.MANIA - How to achieve the perfect on scalp lightning every time!

The “make me a Blonde today” client has swept in to all of salons over the last few years and she’s here to stay no doubt. Fuelled by the pressure of ‘I saw this on Social Media’ we’ve responded to her demands by bombing that hair with bleach lighters and a chorus of prays to the Hair Gods that it doesn’t break off. 

The results… we’ve churned and burned scalps, battled orange/yellow, sweated buckets over toning, munched up fragile ends and even created some new allergies in our client base.  We’ve even added Plex’s to help stave off disaster and to pump up the costs. All this basically means - we’ve F’d up non stop.

So why so much lightning?  Fashion twists and turns in many directions but lightener induced blonde blocking is a fav among many. It’s the perfect base must that must be created for our high fashion pastels, brights and ultimate iced blondes.

So what do we do to prevent repeating a disaster after disaster cycle of breakage and unwanted tones? Not to mention the most important issue which is your clients health and well being.


  1. Test your on-scalp lighters - bring in some training models to try different brands out. Look for minimal scalp irritation, speed, warmth of tone, consistency and end result. Of course, always follow manufacture instructions at all times. Plus, find out where it is made? Who else uses it? Research the ingredients and only mix designated compatible lighters and peroxides.
  2. Take the time to skin patch test your clients. YES it’s VERY VERY important to avoid dangerous situations with your clients, reactions are on the increase and can be devastating.
  3. Don't make promises you can't keep - we are all 'people pleasers' but there's a time where you have to be honest. Be brave and say "No you can't go from five years of black tints to white blonde in one sitting". Hair chemistry just can't do that folks and we all know that, so say so before your client pins her hopes on the impossible dream.
  4. Protect the scalp at all times - a great natural tip is to make sure the client has not washed their hair for 3-5 days. The natural oil on the scalp is a great natural buffer against the chemical process.
  5. Certain mediation, (like the Acne drug Roaccutane), medical conditions, pregnancy, a history of anaesthesia and extreme stress can have an impact on the air and subsequent result. So ask the questions! 
  6. When you apply the product you are using, try very small micro sections and LAY the product on versus the mindless RAM AND SLAM approach. The more aggressive you are with your actions driving product into the scalp the more chance of reactions and irritations, so be gentle, think light hands and slow yourself a fraction. LAY the product onto the hair.
  7. To achieve precision and reduce overlapping and banding use a small silicone tint brush. They are more precise and the product generally will stay put versus a traditional brush that moves the product around.
  8. Practice makes perfect - there is a huge difference between a Virgin application and a re-growth application. You need to know your stuff. Your chosen product company will have specific instructions on this along with your technical TAFE text books and seniors in the salon with experience are your in person resource.
  9. The hair during an on the scalp lightning process is effected by the heat radiating of the scalp, this gives uneven results up the hair shaft as it moves away from the head. Again, you know this already - so respect it.
  10. Extremely hot days - putting clients near air conditioning or heating can have an effect on the result. I personally avoid heat lamps or hair colouring heaters with on the scalp lightening services.
  11. When processing - take into consideration the time difference when you finish each section as if one section has processed for 30 min and another for 45 min the colour variation will be obvious.  Break the hair into 4 hot cross bun sections, generally the back is darker so start in the back two sections and work towards the front. This way you can go back and easily rinse section by section being careful not to add water to the remaining sections.
  12. Educate your client, the best on scalp blondes are committed to the process every 4-5 weeks. This eliminates banding and double applications, so make sure you have this commitment of your client!
  13. The PLEX’s are a great way to offer extra protection to the hair cuticle and can give you a more optimal result. But beware they are do not possess magical powers or make up for a lack of skill/care. Even with the use of the PLEX’s some clients hair is just not up for the process! 
  14. Home hair care is extremely important to maintaining the perfect tone, fade protection and condition of the hair. This should be an integral part of your consultation and your recommendations. 
  15. Make sure your price is right! Your time, product costs and your outstanding skill level determine your price so take the time to study your equations. Look at how much products cost, how much you will use and your dollar per hour cost including other staff supporting the service.
  16. Always follow manufactures instructions, always enrol in education, join colouring social media industry forums, research your chosen product, protect yourself and the client at all times. And… never compromise quality for any reason.

Happy Blond.MANIA succes xxxx

Belinda Keeley

Carl Keeley