Tips to boost your Therapist Commission Earnings

The beauty, spa and wellbeing industry is a very personal profession. We are providing a service, like many other businesses do, however our profession is where clients may feel vulnerable disclosing their insecurities about their body and looks, they may have concerns about a skin problem or be suffering with stress and tension. So therapists must possess a discrete, caring, reassuring nature to put the clients at ease.

However, the aim of all businesses is to make money, as much as possible in the shortest time. So as a manager or salon owner how do you motivate your staff to upgrade or add on services and retail to clients?

The answer.....

A good commission structure, where the harder they work the more they bring in.

In the UK most salons and spas pay a wage with a retail commission. Some businesses give 10% on everything, and others may have a retail structure were they have say a 3 step target and each time you reach that target the commission percentage increases. This way they are rewarding the high achievers. Other employers may decide to give commission once the therapists have reached a set target to encourage more retail sales.

Onboard ships therapists and hairdressers will have a target (i.e. £1300) which is a combination of services and retail, then they receive 10% if they reach this. This teaches staff to have more control of their column, to push them to get bookings and promote their services then recommend products during the treatment.

In the USA, Canada and Bermuda for instance beauty therapists get a basic wage, plus commission on service and retail and again targets are set so that the harder you work the more money you can make.

Beauty therapists and hairdressers who have service commissions are more driven to promote their skills and offer upgrades and persuade clients to try the latest facial or have a complete hair restyle, they are also more likely to do the walk in eyebrow shape rather than have a 10 minute tea break. So this working environment benefits both the employer and employee.

Increase your earnings

As a beauty therapist how can you promote yourself so that your take home wage is as high as possible?

Beauty Retailing

Retailing, is quite a scary word for some therapists, but that's because they are looking at it as the hard sell. Think of it as recommending a product or products that the client needs. Here are some pointers

  • Always do a thorough consultation; establish their beauty goals, any gaps in their beauty routine, what they are currently using and what their main concerns are
  • Explain the treatment and how the treatment benefits their particular beauty concerns
  • During the treatment if there is a particular product they need, tell then what you are applying and why. For example; "this is the firming neck cream, you just need to apply a pearl size on the neck and décolleté, then massage it in, working up the neck. Use this twice a day and you'll really notice the skin is more supple. This is due to the horstail extract which has a strong firming action"
  • At the end of the treatment write them a prescription, have the products lined up for them to see i.e. "How does your skin feel after the facial?" (they say great/fresh etc). "Well having a monthly facial really improves the health of your skin, however you do need to maintain it at home too, to get the most out of your treatments. So what I have done for you is a personalised prescription...this is what you need to use daily ...and this is your weekly products ..... all youneed to do is .... do you think you could do this?" etc.The customer should then hopefully decide to take the whole range, failing that a few product
  • Always talk as if the customer IS going to buy them
  • Don't ask her/him "Do you want these product?" - This gives them the opportunity to say NO
  • If they ask the price tell them. "The regenerating face cream is only £69, and you just use a pearl size. gently massaged into the skin twice a day so it should last about 5 - 6 months". Never end the sentence with the price last
  • If they don't ask the price then don't offer it
  • Don't assume your client can't afford it. You don't know what he/she earns or their financial priorities

Facials are treatments where clients tend to purchase skincare products, but what do you do if you're booked up with massages and waxing?

For a massage treatment you can recommend the following; body lotion and/or body exfoliator (if their skin felt dry), relaxing bath products (for those with lots of tensions), body brush, anti cellulite creams (those concerned with detoxing/cellulite etc). Then with waxing clients you could recommend soothing gel for after hair removal.

Beauty Upgrades & Add ons

If you're lucky enough to benefit from service commissions, then you can also focus on enhancing and pushing your service revenue.

To do this you can upgrade the service or add on treatments, for example if a client is coming in for a regular pedicure and you have extra time that day, suggest she treats herself to the deluxe pedicure and focus on promoting the extra benefits; "the deluxe pedicure includes a longer foot massage, as well as heated booties which will really nourish and soften the skin, and then a nice cooling foot mask to leave your feet tingling with freshness".

For a standard facial you could add on a firming neck treatment or collagen eye therapy. If it's a quiet day and you work within a hair salon offer file and polishes to those clients waiting for their hair colours to develop. Don't be shy they can only say 'Yes' or 'No' and if they say No you haven't lost anything by it.

Facial waxing is great way to look closely at your client's skin without them realising, so if you see blocked pores, flaky or dull tired skin tell them.

" I've noticed you have some blocked pores on the nose area/ flaky skin on your cheek, why don't you come in for a facial we can deep clean/ nourish your skin to perfection."

Getting clients to book a course of treatments is another great idea; they should pay for the course in advance and so have committed to regular treatments.

Whether its products or services, recommending what you know the client needs or want will serve you well but once you let them know what is on offer leave it at that. You don't want to come across as being pushy!


There's an old Scottish saying 'Shy bairns get nowt' which roughly translated means 'If you're too shy, or don't ask, you will not get what you want'. And really that's what being a good therapist is all about isn't it? We want our clients to both look and feel great. And if we have faith in our products and treatments why shouldn't we push them for the benefit of our clients. So go on make it your aim to make all your clients happy with a bit of additional retail therapy and you'll be amazed how your own earnings start to rise too.


View more on the Importance of Retailing in Beauty Therapy

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