“The Age of Reason”

by | Farr Factor

Ah… the wonderment of hiring new staff and the pure joy of seeing every new team member show up for their shift on time, cleaning rooms between sessions (not spending time on their cell phones or on Facebook!), spreading the word throughout the community about how terrific the salon is and what a good value tanning indulgence is, or concentrating on their per-tan averages and constantly trying to up-sell clients to higher levels of indoor tanning enrichment. The reality is that as a business, there was a time when salon operators could hire any warm body (beating hearts preferred), that looked attractive and could start tonight. Today’s personal indulgence consumer demands and expects more. Some are only price driven, but most want reassurance that their time and scant financial resources are being invested in quality experiences.

It’s all about profiling your employee applicants for those who are responsible, reliable, intellectually competent and most importantly, are seeking an opportunity for exchanges and collaborations with other human beings. Yes, personality is a key; but look at the first two requirements – responsible and reliable. Then, overlay that against the average person hired at the average tanning salon; someone around 20 years old. The ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), along with a host of implied guidance from the EEOC keeps us from being biased in our hiring decisions with regard to age. Winking at those provisions for just a moment, let’s look at the age profile of the most successful sales associates in the tan biz. They are between 25 and 45 years of age. They may not all be suited for the next issue of Glamour magazine, but they’re reasonably presentable, attractive to a degree but highly interactive and by that age, are further past the “Jerry Springer moments” than their 18-20-year-old counterparts. I know that these thoughts are stereotypical, but my team hires and fires staff for our salon owner clients every week, and the pattern is undeniable.

We have the most success with more mature, more stable workers than those in the college crowd. And yes, I know that if you get lucky and hire a college freshman who is above the norm in maturity for an 18-year-old, that you may have that person on your team for a good four years. Sounds great. But the odds are long and what every salon really needs is not another line of lotions, but a solid “anchor” – someone who keeps the salon on a consistent course and who consumers can trust and invest in.

Take Cindy at Solar 51 Tan in Jackson, MS. Before she came to work for that chain, there was the usual constant churn of college kids with 50 excuses for why the drama in their lives prevented them from doing what should be done. Cindy has changed all of that. She’s a champion of the soft sell, because she is trusted! Oh … and did I forget to say that Cindy is 41? With one grown daughter, she really needs and wants her salon job and the best part is … she likes it.

“But John, I have to pay more for a Cindy”, you might say. No – your happy customers are paying for her.

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