August 2009

Would You Like Fries with That?

How To Use Add-Ons To Dramatically Increase Your Profits

By Jenny Hogan

One of the easiest and most profitable salon systems to immediately start implementing in your business is the “bump,” or “up-sell.”

McDonald’s is the best example of a successful business regularly using the “bump.” Back in the 70s, McDonald’s realized they could up-sell customers by merely asking them if they wanted to add a side of French fries to their order.

Now, you may or may not be a fan of fast food, but you cannot argue the fact the McDonald’s chain is a very successful business. McDonald’s marketers caught on to the fact that when customers are already buying, they are open to the idea of buying more.

As a salon owner, spa owner or any other beauty professional, you too can take advantage of this very easy way to increase your profits, all without raising your prices or adding a single client to your books.

Or do you simply want to cut down on your current workload, work less hours and create more balance in your work and life? Lauren Gartland, founder of Inspiring Champions, a business and coaching company offering live training seminars, coaching and leadership services helps thousands of salon and spa professionals each year to dramatically increase their incomes while keeping a work-life balance. She regularly advises clients on how to implement the “bump.”

“The bump, up-sell, or cross-sell are ways of expanding the existing purchase of a client,” Gartland noted. “If the idea of up-selling makes you uncomfortable, remember that you should never pressure your client into unwanted services, or to make your client spend money irresponsibly.”

You are in a position to advise your client on what additional steps they can take to enhance their salon experience and the bump is a great way to offer them added results. Bumps are usually lower priced products or services and are related to the purchase already being made. They take very little effort to implement and can substantially increase your bottom line over time.

To understand just how much they can raise your profits, consider how McDonald’s raised theirs back in the 70s. Marketers looked at the profit and loss statements of one of their largest franchisers who owned ten restaurants. They realized that one of their most popular menu items, French fries, were not being ordered by 200 customers per day, per store.

So, they came up with a very simple solution. They had cashiers merely start asking customers if they wanted fries in addition to their order. You know what happened? Half of the customers said yes. At that time, French fries cost 60 cents per bag, so it may not seem like much of an increase at first. Yet, 100 more orders of fries per day equaled $60 more per day for each franchise. This totaled $21,840 for each restaurant over a year’s time for a final accumulated total of $218,840 for that lucky franchise owner conducting the trial. McDonald’s soon implemented the sales technique in every franchise and the rest is history.

Now you see the potential profits that up-selling can bring to your business or salary. Garland said, “Look at the professional products you offer in your salon or spa. What is the beauty equivalent to a bag of French fries?”

Perhaps you offer a conditioning treatment that costs between $10 and $20, a glossing treatment or a specialized therapy for problem scalp conditions such as psoriasis or thinning hair? If you don’t currently offer any of these types of specialized add-ons, you should. They are a great opportunity to enhance both your client’s salon experience and results and your own profits and career satisfaction.

It’s a win-win for both you and your clients, giving them enhanced results with a very small price increase while greatly increasing your income over time. Remember how much more profit McDonald’s made over a year with their increased sales of French fries at 60 cents?

Let’s say you have a conditioning treatment that costs $20 and you do just two a day. In a week’s time you’ve made $200 above your baseline. Over a 50-week period you’ve totaled $10,000 above baseline. All without adding any additional clients. That’s called working smarter, not harder.

“To really increase your profits from the bump, start to plan them into your day,” added Gartland. “Arrive at work half an hour earlier and go over your schedule. Look at the openings in your book and see them as opportunities to create multiple services. If a client has a gap after their booking, could you up-sell them for a glossing treatment?

“If you feel a particular client is a good candidate for highlights or haircolor, could you take the extra time to add a consultation and advise them, perhaps looking through some stylebooks? They could just go for a haircolor makeover on the spot, or maybe you’ve planted a seed that will result in their wanting haircolor on the next visit.”

Think about which clients will buy products and what would benefit their needs; then you can plan ahead to up-sell them. Let’s say you have 150 regular clients and their average ticket is $35; if you bump it up only $10 more, then over a typical five week period until you see the clients again, you have increased your income by $1,500. Over a 50-week period that becomes $15,000.

Everyone in the beauty industry can do the bump. Nail technicians can add on airbrush designs, jeweled nail art or offer paraffin soaks with their standard manicures. Massage therapists can add on spa treatments like heated hand and foot mitts, aromatherapy treatments or additional modalities like reiki or reflexology.

Estheticians can add collagen eye treatments, spa body treatments, hand and foot treatments and much more. Waxing and other hair removal techniques are great add-ons for estheticians and many hairstylists are also able to offer these services, at least for eyebrows and upper lips.

Gartland concluded, “You are not in this industry for the sole purpose of receiving a paycheck. Most beauty professionals chose their career because they loved the industry, were good at their craft and enjoyed being around people and helping them to look their best. Your job is not just to cut and color hair, or practice massage or skincare, but to create a picture for your clients of what they can become. Your job is to educate them and advise them on the possibilities of what they can look like and feel like.”

Always remember that you are in a position to enhance your client’s salon or spa experience and up-sells are a great way to offer them added results. The cherry on top of the sundae is that you will also be dramatically increasing your income, while also creating more balance in your work and life. Now go do the bump!

For more information call 800-496-9305 or visit Jenny Hogan is the Media Director at Marketing Solutions, Inc. For more information, contact 703-359-6000, visit or send an email to


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