September 2008

Shannon Wells

Beauty Business Buzz | by Shannon Wells


Attract New Talent by Offering Assistant Training Programs

For most cosmetology graduates, getting through school is often fueled by the thought of the perfect job waiting at the end of the journey.

Many graduates find it tough to find that ideal scenario: a glamorous salon or spa, amazing clientele and all the money they need to have the life of their dreams.

In reality, a high percentage of new cosmetology graduates quit the beauty industry within a year because they think they can’t make the money they want, doing what they love.

Enter assistant training programs. Such programs can be the best solution for many new graduates looking for a great competitive advantage right out of school. Offering this type of program in your business can help you attract and keep the best fresh talent plus benefit both the newcomer and your bottom line.

Benefits for the New Talent

Earn as they Learn: Most graduates are surprised to find that graduation from cosmetology school is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to what they need to know to succeed in the beauty industry. There are many non-technical skills that aren’t covered extensively, which are essential to make the kind of money desired. An assistant training program allows time for the development and learning of those skills. And instead of paying for that education, the graduate can earn a salary while they learn.

Immediate Employment at Higher Profile Salons: The lack of practical experience frightens off most established and high profile salon owners when looking to employ new stylists. If a salon offers an assistant training program, it’s an opportunity for a “green” technician to get their foot in the door. It’s likely they would otherwise have to wait for years of experience for these types of salons and spas to hire them (think businesses with great location, steady clientele, established brand, etc.)
Higher Wages, Faster: While a new graduate may not start out making the salary of their dreams, these programs allow graduates to gain experience, and higher pay, at warp speed. The opportunity to learn tips and tricks that demand high paychecks is readily available to assistants because of their close proximity to master technicians. Upon completion of the program, an assistant can make three to four times the income of a stylist who’s been in the industry the same amount of time and hasn’t partaken in an assistant training program. This is simply because the experience level of the assistant is so much higher.

Benefits for Your Business

Higher Service for Clients Equals Retention: While the staff to client ratio can substantially affect your ability to service your clients, most businesses can’t afford to hire additional help. Creating an assistant training program means more people will be available to provide world-class customer service to your clients. With it you will have the extra staff that will help you cater to your client’s every whim, from getting drinks to luxurious shampoos, and your clients will notice the extra hands. Your clients will take notice and return to your business for the extra attention they receive.

Your Way is the Right Way: An assistant training program allows you the unique opportunity to take fresh new talent and teach them the ropes of business and your expectations without the complications of previous experience. Your new recruits don’t have to unlearn unproductive practices or techniques. You can take the best of what you and your business have to offer and mold the ideal employee.

A Never Ending Pipeline for Open Positions: A strong program will enable an owner to manage and plan effectively because they will not be caught with an open position in their business. Having assistants means there are always talented people in the pipeline and ready (or near ready) to jump in and fill in for an unexpected departure of an employee.

Creating a partnership with a local cosmetology school and staying on top of upcoming graduates will build the system for recruiting fresh talent into your program, which then fills the queue with techs in waiting. The unexpected will happen (moves, divorces, babies, etc.); always being prepared with a replacement will help you manage your business with ease.

The assistant learns non-technical skills such as retail sales and customer service and retention.
Many recent graduates find the transition from school to the salon or spa to be challenging. An assistant training program can not only ease the transition, but also create a win/win for both the new technician and your business.

Shannon Wells is the Marketing Manager of Your Beauty Network, a beauty industry ongoing business support service, offering a membership based business support resources used by over 700 salon and spa owners. For more information, visit, call 866-364-4926 or email