My comment on assistants in my previous post illicited several questions from salon owners about why I felt an Assistant Training Program was so critical in a salons success. As a salon owner I felt the biggest challenge to success was keeping staff. There were two problems that always arose. First, new stylists would start out with little or no clientel. If they were paid on commission that meant that they basically were starving to death the first 3-6 months of their career. Often they would become frustrated waiting to build their book and would quit to take an hourly job for the guaranteed income. The second problem was that experienced stylists would reach a point where they felt stuck. They might be making $25-$35 per hour, but they saw little chance to improve beyond that in their current situation. At this point they started to think about leaving for a booth rental situation or starting their own salon. We needed a solution to both problems, and the Assistant Training Program was the answer. We decided that we would hire new stylists as assistants for our top stylists. The new stylist would be paid an hourly wage ($6-$7) and would assist four days per week while building their book one day per week. In this way they made a guaranteed wage while building their clientel. When that day was full, they got another day to build clientel. First it was 4-1 then 3-2 and eventually they became a full time stylist. For the top stylist they now had an assistant to help them be more productive. The assistant would shampoo clients, take out foils, drop perm rods and occasionally style the client. The top stylist would focus on the haircut, formulating and applying the haircolor and prescribing the correct retail products. Because of the assistant, the top stylist was no able to see 4-5 more clients per day, increasing their income dramatically. For the salon owner, the increase in the top stylists income helped offset the cost of the assistant. and the salon had two happy and loyal stylists. The Assistant Training Program is truly a triple win situation.