Should I Offer Free Services To Build My Salon Clientele?

Want to know what not to do to build your new salon business? Trying to gain clientele but not sure how? Is giving away free services a good idea? Learn from my mistakes!

When you're opening your first salon, it gets nerve racking worrying where to start and how you’re going to get new clients to come to your salon. This struggle led to my BIGGEST MISTAKE!

-Looking for other info on starting your salon, here's our post on How To Pick Your Waxing Salon Location.-

The first salon I opened after leaving the European Wax Center was after I moved to Colorado. When many Estheticians start their own waxing business they try to take their former employer's clients. Since I was in an entirely new state, that was impossible.  I had no clientele, I was starting from scratch.  I had zero existing clients and I didn’t know anyone or have any friends in my new city.

What did I do?

Continue below or watch my video on this:


I decided to partner with one of the large night clubs and offered their employees free waxing services. I set aside an entire day so I could book all the appointments for that day only. They could literally get any waxing service(s) they wanted, completely free of charge. The club had a lot of bartenders and waitresses who knew a lot of people. So by doing this, I hoped it would help get my name out there and I might be able to get some repeat customers as well as referrals from this deal.

I thought is was a great idea, right?

Who wouldn’t want a free waxing service? Again, I only offered this for one day (I believe it was a Monday since that’s a slow day in the club world). I went into the club and talked to a bunch of their employees and a ton of them were really excited to schedule a free waxing appointment. Mostly they scheduled eyebrows, brazilian/bikini and underarm waxing appointments. Success!? I was able to fill my entire day with these free services (I think it was something like 15 different people). To me, spending one day giving away free services was more than worth it if I can get even half of them to come back the next month or refer a friend to my business.

How could this go wrong?

The day came (which was about a month later so they could grow their hair out, of course) and most of the them confirmed their appointment the day prior. However, I was consistently "No Call, No Showed" appointment after appointment. By the end of the day, not a single person ended up showing up for their appointment. WHAT?!? Some of them texted me saying "something came up" but, a lot of them just never said anything at all.

Why was that, when the appointment was free?

Well, that was my problem; "Free." That day I learned a very valuable lesson in business; people don’t value things when they're free. If it doesn’t cost them anything then they do not care. It's human nature -it's all of us. They’re just not thinking about the other person who’s wasting their time waiting for them to show up. Hell, there's a ton of clients that don't think about your time when they're late or no show, even when they are paying and get charged for doing so. It's just all about them. Remember that.

For me, it was great lesson learned!

After that, I NEVER offered a free waxing service again. Not even for referrals. Additionally, it made me realize that there is no reason to give a first time customer a discount at all. Who knows if they’re even going to come back? Instead, give a return customer a discount since they’ve already proven themselves worthy of your time. This is our approach with our Mermaid Wax Loyalty Rewards Program.

I actually have a whole video about the best way to grow your salon which touches on this subject. Go check that out, otherwise I’ll end up talking for 20 more minutes!

That was how I learned what not to do in my salon, don't give away ANYTHING for free! NEVER give away free services. The customer will not respect the cost of your time and skill, if the service is free.

I hope my loss and sharing saves you from this pitfall. 

Happy MERMAID WAXing y'all!