Who Owns the Client, Really?


The beauty and hairdressing industry often grapples with a complex issue related to client ownership and contact information. In this field, deeply personal connections form between clients and their stylist or therapist. But when the stylist or therapist leaves the salon, ambiguity arises. Who retains the right to maintain the relationship? The salon, or the stylist?

The Client’s Quandary

Suppose a stylist that a client has trusted for years decides to depart from the salon. In such a case, does the client continue visiting the salon, or do they follow their stylist? Many factors contribute to this decision, such as the salon's location, accessibility, cleanliness, and the quality of service from the team. Conversely, the stylist's specific skills and techniques, developed through training and experience, are also vital. Thus, it's a balance between the salon experience and the stylist's expertise.

The Salon Owner’s Perspective

As a salon owner, you've poured time, energy, and resources into creating a space appreciated by both your employees and customers. Given that you've facilitated the relationship between stylists and clients, do you have the right to retain these clients when a stylist leaves?

The Stylist's Point of View

From a stylist's perspective, they've established a direct relationship with the client, offering professional service and building their reputation. While the salon's ambiance, location, and brand play a role, it's the stylist's work that often drives client loyalty. But does that mean the stylist owns the client's loyalty?

The best approach to this delicate balance could involve a clear, written agreement between owners and stylists regarding expectations about customer relations. This agreement can serve as a legal foundation and be most effective when all parties understand and respect its contents.

The Clients Speak Out

"I will always follow my stylist if I have been with them for a long time. I will stay loyal to them when they decide to move on."

"I love my stylist, but the salon is close to home and convenient. It would be hard to move if she changed salons."

"I don’t belong to anyone. I’ll choose my hair stylist based on quality and the in-salon experience – I’d hate to think that either party thought they owned me..!"

The Final Verdict: Clients Have the Ultimate Say

Clients vote with their feet and their wallets, not contracts or agreements. The right to choose where they receive their services still lies with them. Instead of worrying about protecting data, the focus should be on creating a space that clients love.

To ensure your business is protected, follow these steps:

  1. Be upfront with your expectations: Discuss client ownership with new staff from day one. Expectations should be clear to prevent miscommunication later.
  2. Invest in your staff and customer relationships: Be a part of the experience that clients have at your salon. Use email or SMS marketing to connect with clients and protect your client data by outlining staff access to client details.
  3. Present your staff to your clients: Include staff profiles on your website and social media. Regularly communicate with clients to show that they are valued.
  4. Build a culture: Encourage a culture where clients feel they belong to the business and enjoy relationships with the entire team. Stay in contact with your clients to maintain a relationship with them during and between salon visits.