How to Keep Your Hair Clients Coming Back After Graduating Cosmetology School

Once you finish cosmetology school and join the workforce, your first question is: where am I going to find my first clients? Most hairstylists rely on repeated customers for the majority of their work. While some salons allow for walk-ins, you will quickly find that having appointments from loyal clients is preferable.

When you have a group of loyal clients, you can set your schedule around those appointments for days, weeks, or even months in advance. This not only sets you up for a stable income, but it gives you more flexibility in your work schedule.

However, it can take time and it does require effort to build up a list. As a recent cosmetology school grad, you have to get to work right away to attract clients. But how do you ensure that they keep coming back for more services?

From the experienced team at The Salon Professional Academy (TSPA), San Jose, here are some tips!

1. Enroll in Cosmetology School that Offers Career Preparation

inside of a salon

Most of your training in cosmetology school is focused on core aspects of the job. Every state has a set number of hours that each course should cover, and larger courses focus on topics like hair styling, as well as skincare and nail services.

During cosmetology school, you should also have the opportunity to practice on guests before you graduate*. It is highly recommended to enroll in a program that has a student salon training area that guests can visit for services.

This real experience will help you tremendously once you graduate. First, it will stand out on your resume and help you land a job at other salons. Secondly, it gives you the chance to practice your new skills with real people so you are better prepared for your career.

Thankfully, some beauty school programs do cover key topics to prepare you for your career after you graduate, too. At TSPA San Jose you’ll get hands-on experience in our student salon training area* to practice hairstyling, skincare, and nail services on guests as you learn. We even offer workshops to help you create a resume and find employment after graduation.

2. Built Rapport with Guests During Salon Training

It is not just the quality of the work you provide that will keep clients coming back again and again. The overall experience they have with you includes the way you make them feel during their appointment.

In fact, according to a survey from Statista, the leading reason why people went to the same hairstylist was that they had a good relationship with their cosmetologist. This even outranked the price, the quality of the results, and the salon’s reputation!

survey from statista about friendships with hair stylists

Practice makes perfect, so another tip to help you beyond cosmetology school is to rehearse how you interact with clients. During your time in the student salon training area, do your best to build rapport with guests and get used to chatting while you work.

People want to enjoy themselves, feel relaxed, or even have someone to vent to while they receive these services. Cosmetologists and hairstylists that can build these kinds of connections will find it easier to build a list of loyal clients.

It can be difficult at first to concentrate on your service while also making small talk, engaging in conversation, or asking questions. But your chair-side manner will help you stand out from other cosmetologists and keep your clients coming back.

3. Create a Memorable Brand for Yourself

A key part of being a successful cosmetologist is to make a memorable impression to drive in new guests and keep previous ones engaged. This includes marketing yourself as a cosmetologist.

Thankfully, this is much easier to do in the age of social media. You can create a beauty portfolio on Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok to showcase all of your work. This is a great way to connect with new clients who are actively searching for specific hairstyling services in your area.

You should also be setting up marketing outreach campaigns to any leads as well as former customers. Sending out emails to remind customers to book and promoting your services is very important! Our cosmetology program at The Salon Professional Academy includes courses on business management, marketing skills, and salesmanship to help you learn how to do this.

Remember, it may take time to build up a list of repeating clients – so don’t be discouraged early on!

4. Offer Incentives to Clients

An easy way to gain new clients is to offer incentives to your existing clients! We recommend starting with referrals. Referral perks can be a great way for existing clients to recommend you to their friends. This could be a small discount or other offers that will incentivize your clients to tell their friends about you.

Pre-booking is also a great way to keep clients returning. This can involve putting them on the calendar at a specific date and time, sending them reminder emails and/or texts, or even offering a small incentive when they pre-book with you!

Lastly, a great perk of any salon career is selling products. Clients can access high-end products directly from you. They also benefit from product recommendations from a professional based on hair type and hair goals. Ask your client what their hair goals and concerns are, and build a product base from there.

Join The TSPA San Jose Family!

The best way to ensure that you have a successful career after graduating from cosmetology school is to practice and learn as much as you can during your training. You need to enroll in a cosmetology program that will teach you every necessary skill for being a cosmetologist – including building a list of loyal clients.

At TSPA San Jose, our goal is to set you up for success through our hands-on approach to training. You will have the chance to work with guests in our student salon training area and practice building relationships with clients. This will make it much easier to transition into working on your own after you graduate.

If you are interested in learning more about our cosmetology program, please contact us today. You can get more information about financial aid*, the enrollment process, or setting up a tour to check out our San Jose, CA campus!

*All services performed by students under the supervision of licensed professionals.

*Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.