Setting Policies and Setting Boundaries: How To Set Yourself Up For Success As A Beginner Lash Tech
Starting a career or even a side-hustle in lash extensions is a pretty exciting thing, and is a venture which can see you going to places and making more money than you could have ever dreamed of – if you do it right.
By putting policies in place as early as possible, you’re setting yourself and your business up for success. Here are 5 policies which you should at least think about having in place right from the very first appointment!
We’ve put this first because it’s one of the easiest for you to implement without too much thought or planning, but it will feed into some of the other policies quite a bit so you’ll see this mentioned more than once in this article. Taking deposits is so important for your business growth and success as they mean that in the event that someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, you can put your time to good use without worrying about making ends meet. Deposits aren’t uncommon by any stretch, and there’s a very good reason for them being required by so many beauty businesses. In short, deposits make it more likely that your clients will turn up and won’t cancel at the last minute, or cover your time in the event that they decide to do something else with their day without letting you know beforehand.
From your clients’ point of view, a deposit also means that the payment for their appointment is split at least by a bit, so you might even find that they’re glad to pay it, if you phrase it like that.
How much you charge for a deposit is ultimately up to you, but what you’ll need to keep in mind is why you’re putting it in place to begin with – it should be enough to deter no-shows, and it should be enough to cover your time, so don’t be afraid to make your deposit 50% of the overall treatment price if you want to. If that seems steep, consider this:
Let’s say you charge $100 for a set of lashes, and your deposit is $10. As a client, I’ve paid my deposit but then my friend invites me for brunch, so I think okay, I’ve paid a deposit but it’s literally $10. If my deposit was $50 I’m more likely to tell my friend I’ll see them for a late lunch instead. You’ve avoided a no-show, I still get lashes, and my friend still gets to gossip with me over avocado toast – we’re all winning in this scenario.
Conversely, if I do decide that I can do without $50 because brunch is THAT important to me, you get $50 and some much needed admin time that will help you to put some effort into your business in some other way. Again, we’re all winning in this scenario, even though I don’t have lashes.
What to Do With Late Clients
Lateness is inevitable sometimes, but there’s a difference between a client showing up late because there was an unexpected diversion on the road, and just strolling in whenever they feel like it. Having a lateness policy will solve lots of issues, even if just by preventing the clients after the late one from becoming upset when their appointment begins later than scheduled.
It’s really important that you don’t try to save time by skipping steps – you should be carrying out your whole pretreatment routine, covering all natural lashes, and checking for stickies before finishing your set. Instead, having a policy in place when it comes to lateness is essential, you just need to figure out how late is actually late. We’d recommend doing it based on individual treatments – 10 minutes late to a volume set can be worked around, but 10 minutes late to a lash extension removal or even a lash infill spells bad things for the rest of your appointments that day. We’d say generally – in the case of a full set of lashes – anything more than 15 minutes means you can only do what you can. They might not have AS full of a set as normal. Anything more than 30 minutes counts as a no-show and they’ll have to reschedule their appointment, or they simply don’t get their deposit back.
Yes, sometimes lateness is unavoidable but in those cases it’s more common that someone would give you the head’s up that they’re running late, and you can plan accordingly or just get them rebooked right away.
You Need to Think About Cancellations
It’s pretty normal for people to cancel from time to time – life happens and sometimes you need to move things around. Like with lateness and no-shows (which we’ll get onto in a minute), cancellations can really come down to your clients being courteous.
Remember how in the section where we were talking about deposits, we talked about going for brunch instead of for lashes? This basically comes under that umbrella. If I told you a week before my appointment that I couldn’t come because my friend from out of town was visiting, you have plenty of time to rearrange my appointment and fill my original slot, and I have been considerate of your time, so we are still friends. If I cancel an hour before for the same reason, you can’t fill my spot and I haven’t been too considerate.
It’s quite common for any cancellations within 24 hours of the appointment to count as no-shows and to not get the deposit back, as it’s pretty much impossible to fill that slot at such short notice unless you have a waiting list, and even in that case why should you have to hope someone is available when you could just crack on with replying to messages, learning new lash maps, or getting stocked up on your lash supplies. In this case, keep the deposit and if that client wants a new appointment, they will need to pay a new deposit. Is it harsh? Sure, but is it fair? Yes. It will also deter them from doing the same thing in the future.
Let’s say then that I cancel an hour before my appointment because a pipe burst in my apartment and I need to fix it immediately – that’s not me being inconsiderate but it doesn't give you much wiggle room. This will happen sometimes, and this is somewhere that you can meet your client in the middle. Reschedule them, but don’t make them pay a new deposit. They will appreciate the gesture, you still get some time back, and you keep your client. That being said, keep a note – if their pipes are bursting before every 3rd appointment, it might be time to start keeping those deposits…
Say No Way to No-Shows
Similar to the two previous points, if someone doesn’t show up for their appointment you’re within your rights to keep their deposit and either charge another deposit for a new appointment, or not book them in again. Not turning up to an appointment without so much as an Insta DM is rude, and you cannot be losing money over it left and right.
Consider adding to this policy that if they no-show once, they can book in again (if they pay a new deposit) but if they no-show on that appointment too, they’re off the books. They might not be happy about it, but you can fill the void they leave behind with other clients who will care about your time.
When is A Lash Infill Not A Lash Infill?
This is slightly different to the other policies, but it comes down to managing your clients’ expectations in a similar way, and is also somewhere that a lot of Lash Techs get caught out. Lash Infills should be booked in every 3 weeks at most to keep the lash set looking fresh. If your client comes in after 5 weeks, their lashes might look pretty full (if they have a slow lash growth cycle), but on closer inspection, you’ll have to remove more grown out lashes than you would at 3 weeks, which means you’ll have to cover more lashes with new extensions.
Something a lot of Lash Techs do is create an infill policy which is based on coverage. This is okay to do, but your client doesn’t know if 60% of their lashes are covered or if 45% are covered so you’re leaving a pretty big margin for error if you go down that route.
Imagine for a moment that you base lash infills off of coverage – your client comes in with 60% of their lashes left, but you’ve had to remove all of the grown out lashes to apply new extensions. To them, then, it seems that you’ve done nothing as their lashes look the same or even less full as when they entered.
This simply isn’t the case when you book infills based on time passed. To keep your clients coming to you as regularly as they should, book their next infill appointment at the end of their treatment.
And that’s what you need to know as a beginner! When it comes to policies, it’s really easy to have a ‘cross that bridge another time’ attitude, but the sooner you put policies in place, the stronger your business will be and the more mutual respect you and your clients will be able to build.