Are You Covering Your Costs?

The system at the SJ Forbes hair salons in Egham and Windsor seemed to work. The team was busy, and sales were up. It was only after they on-boarded Vish in 2021 did owners Hayley Gibson-Forbes and her husband, Sean J McElhill, realise that 21% of their colour was being wasted and that not every sale led to profit.

During a recent client visit, the pair was reminded how Vish slashed costs, upped revenue, and secured their profitability.

Call it £20

“Before Vish, we were a bit relaxed about charging for additional colour because there was no way to measure it accurately or monitor whether the team remembered or not,” says sustainability-minded Hayley, who discovered Vish during the lockdown. “If someone needed extra bowls, we’d charge them a bit more, but it would be just a few pounds. Maybe £10. We couldn’t be exact.”

In June this year, a client with very long, virgin hair came in asking for a full head tint. Besides the time it took for the stylist to apply the colour from tip to root, the amount and remixing required quickly drove up the price. Fortunately, with Vish well-embedded in the colour bar, the responsibility for calculating the cost and communicating the amount to the front desk is now down to the tech.

“She had thick hair down past her bum. It took hours and so much colour, but because it’s now automated, we could show her exactly what was used to create the look and our stylist had the peace of mind every time she mixed more colour that it was the exact same formulation using the Mix More feature,” explains Hayley.

During the consultation, the prices were explained to the client, who was happy to proceed and it was easy to keep her informed along the way.

“Our prices start at £60 for a full head tint, and in pre-Vish days we’d have had no accurate way to measure how much extra colour was mixed,” says Hayley. “I’m horrified to admit, we’d have probably said to the client: ‘Call it £20’. This particular service ended up costing £117 more in colour. The total charge was £177. That’s why so many salons run at a loss. They have no idea how much colour they are really using, and so can’t charge accurately for it.”

Moral compass

Charging the client for colour has also changed the way the team operates. Like Hayley, the SJ Forbes team is keen to keep their impact on the planet to a minimum, but they are busy. In the pre-Vish days, mixing more than was needed was easy in the name of speed. Remixing mid-service required stylists to remember the exact formula; sometimes, especially when under pressure, that’s only possible if you repeat the whole mix. And so there was, inevitably, left-over colour.

“Vish is a game-changer for us,” says Hayley. “With the team now acutely aware of how colour drives up the charge for their client, they have been able to cut over-dispensing drastically. Supported by assistants, they have a 97% reweigh of all bowls after service, and our weekly colour spend is down by £1,000. Vish acts as a moral compass, and we are no longer paying for product that is rinsed down the drain. Our stock costs are down by at least 20%.”

The system works

The team at SJ Forbes now prides itself on delivering personalised colour, customised for each client. They are free to be as creative as they and the client want, while Hayley and Sean can relax knowing profit is embedded in every service.

For more information on how you can charge more accurately for pricing, click here.