Now that you’ve made your business legal, and determined your budget and where you’re going to work, it’s time to set up your appointment software, payment processing, and policies to ensure a smooth and consistent operating experience. We offer a complete kit to assist you with this process if you do not want to do it on your own.
This is the part of getting started in this business that frustrated me the most. There was nothing out there for me to use as a resource and even just having a checklist would have helped prevent some headaches at the beginning of my career. I’m going to help you with more than just a checklist. I included detailed options for you to consider.
Before you book your first client you will want to make sure you have your booking software ready to go. Most companies will charge a low monthly fee to access a calendar, complete with additional features such as appointment reminders for your clients, text or email receipt, and the ability to pull sales reports. Some of the most popular booking websites are Square, Vagaro, Booker, & Style Seat. Regardless of which you choose, I do recommend you opt for formal software of some kind. While manual booking does work, when you get busy it can be difficult to keep up with paper schedules. Most booking software provides text or email confirmations and reminders for your clients, which presents a very professional image to your new customer and sets an expectation for them to respect your time. More importantly, the system acts as a virtual assistant for you, which is very helpful if you don’t have a front desk staff to assist you. In addition, appointment software typically allows clients to book online. You can integrate the booking app on your website. Ease of doing business will set you apart in a world where Brow Lam is becoming more popular and competitive.
Another nice feature is the ability to keep notes about your client (think color formulas, notes about their skin, etc.) as well as track their history of visits within the app. My favorite booking system is Square. It’s completely free for individuals! And if you have a few people on your team it’s around $50. If you choose to pair it with their payment processing system, it makes life super easy! It’s user-friendly, attractive, and integrates well on any website.
You will need to decide what type of payment you will accept at your business. While accepting cash and checks will cost you nothing, many people prefer to pay with other methods of payment, which will require a card processing company. Most card processing companies charge somewhere between 2%-4% of each sale. This allows you to take all the major credit cards and in many cases some wallet payments, such as Apple Pay. This is a nice feature because you don’t have to pay a monthly bill — you only pay when you use the processing company. As a bonus, many even include chargeback protection.
Many clients will appreciate the flexibility of paying with a variety of options, but ultimately it’s up to you to determine what is best for your needs. In our business, the vast majority of customers use credit or debit cards. Because the cost of Brow Lam isn’t cheap, lots of people like to use their credit cards. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to potentially lose customers by turning away credit card users to avoid those costs. Instead, I would recommend you consider the cost of payment processing and build it into your pricing.
Another cool thing about the current technology of these companies is that they make it simple to take payments on the go and any device. Gone are the days of having to have a clunky cash register and point of sale. You can get the card-swiping ability for phones, computers, and iPads if you want!