How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Salon or Spa

Samir Sampat

Many salon and spa owners staff their own front desk or have various stylists handle clients as they come, depending on who’s available. However, while this is convenient and affordable for your business, it’s not beneficial to clients, or your staff. You all have jobs already—if you’re answering phones or fielding emails, who’s taking care of the clients in the building?

Ultimately, having someone dedicated to handling the receptionist duties will make all the difference in the success of your salon or spa. Receptionists are a critical first point of contact for almost every industry. They can be responsible for making a great first impression and handling day-to-day logistics all at once, and all while you’re focusing on your clients and the business itself. 

There are several considerations involved in this investment, of course, including understanding that it is just that: an investment. Too often, people think of hiring or spending money on assistance as an expense, but if it’s benefiting your business, it’s not just an expense. You’re getting a return on your investment, aren’t you?

If you hire the right receptionist(s), you should get an impressive return, no matter what kind of investment you make. In this guide, we’ll help get you there with more insight about what a receptionist should cost, what qualities to look for, whether you’ll want in-house or outsourced help, and more. 

To begin with, since everyone’s worried about the money, let’s get that out of the way. 


The cost of hiring a receptionist

This is the question everyone wants answered: how much will this cost me? As we said, you’ve got to stop thinking of this as an expense. It’s an investment and a good one at that. Still, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to afford to hire someone in-house. Here’s what you need to know. 

How much does a receptionist cost? Well, the current hourly rate in the U.S. ranges between $11-$14 per hour, and that’s just for basic and general receptionist duties. If you want a specialized assistant or someone with higher levels of experience or training, you could spend as much as $16 to $20 per hour. In the salon and spa industry, however, you’ll probably be closer to the lower end of the average for a receptionist or service that can handle all the day-to-day tasks. 

The other thing to consider here is the onboarding cost. Did you realize that hiring employees costs a lot of money? Most business owners don’t look at how much they invest, but the average cost of onboarding a single employee in the U.S. right now is around $4,000. That includes sourcing, hiring, training, and their salary and benefits. If you’re not equipped with this kind of cash flow, it might be a better idea to outsource. 

Fortunately, if you get on board now, you can figure out the right investment and give your clients the service they deserve at every point in the journey, from the time they are greeted by your new receptionist until they’re booking their return service on their way out the door. 


Why do I need a receptionist?

After the money, some are still going to balk and ask if they really need this person in their salon or spa. The answer is always yes, which should be indicated by the heading of this section (note we asked “why”, not “if”). So, what can a receptionist do for your spa or salon?

Consider skills and services like:

  • Answering and routing phone calls, emails, and other messages
  • Responding to general inquiries and questions
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Creating content, including memos, correspondence, reports, and other material as needed
  • Welcoming visitors to the salon or spa and directing them to the right person(s) or location
  • Coordinating vendors, clients, stylists, and other employees to build and maintain strong relationships
  • Handling data entry and other admin
  • Social media management (optional, usually costs more)
  • Any other tasks as needed

As you can see, what a receptionist can do for a business is almost an endless list. You can find several ways to enhance your salon or spa by adding a receptionist. In a minute, we’ll talk about what qualities to look for when you’re hiring a receptionist for your business. First, though, let’s talk about the other part of the equation: to hire in-house or to outsource your needs.  


Deciding between in-house and outsourcing

The biggest part of your decision will come in how you source your new receptionist(s). For some, it makes perfect sense to hire someone to work in-house on a full-time or even a part-time basis. For others, it might be too expensive, or they might be in a position where they just don’t have the room or need someone to be on their staff. 

This is another decision that you’ll have to make based on the needs of your business. Keep the information above in mind when it comes to the financial aspect but remember not to base your decision solely on that. You should consider all of the factors involved here, including things like:

  • Do you need a full-time in-house receptionist? Do you even need someone part-time? Perhaps you just need a service that can man the phones so you can handle things in the salon or spa on a typical day. Think about what would be best for your business. 
  • Can you afford to hire someone in-house? If you can’t, but you need full-time support, you might consider a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai where you can get a full team of agents for a fraction of the cost of hiring someone to work in your salon. 
  • What kind of services do you want from a receptionist? They may not all have the same solutions or services, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re working with a team or individual that does. If you want a dynamic solution that takes more than one person, a partnership with virtual receptionists might be the way to go. 
  • Are you looking for the best talent without the biggest price tag? Outsourcing is a great way to get more skills for your dollar. You’ll be able to hire someone who specializes in receptionist services and admin duties, and probably that can do more than what you could afford to hire in-house, and you can do it all within almost any budget.

These are just a few considerations that you will want to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide how to go about hiring the receptionist that your business needs. The answers will be different for everyone, but these points will guide you in the right direction to get the right team or individual for the job. 


What skills or services should a receptionist offer?

Receptionists can offer a lot of different skills and assets for your company. You’ll have to think about what you need, but generally, you’ll find receptionists with resume listings and qualities like:

  • Answering and routing phone calls
  • Taking messages and managing voicemails, emails, and other communications
  • Greeting customers in-person (if relevant)
  • Data entry
  • Scheduling and schedule management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Self-starter, motivated
  • Independent worker that’s also a team player
  • Conversation and communication skills

You’ll also want to make sure they can handle the hard skills or technical aspects of the role. Check on things like software fluency, data entry abilities, familiarity with phone systems, and so forth—there are some areas where you can train, but you’ve got to make sure they’ve at least got a solid foundation to start from. 

Soft skills, such as multitasking and problem solving, will be far more valuable than hard skills like typing and software competency—those things you can train people on as they go. You can’t train someone to be courteous and friendly or to handle multiple tasks efficiently and without dropping the ball. When you’re looking over resumes and applications, consider those things. 


FAQs

And now, in case there’s anything that we missed, we collected some of the most common questions and answers related to hiring a receptionist for your business. Hopefully, these quick answers can provide insight and help you make the right decision. 

What are some other names for receptionists?

The receptionist can wear several hats and can also have several names. Sometimes, it’s about the duties they perform or the industry they work in. Other times, it’s merely an issue of semantics. Receptionists are also known as administrative assistants, office managers, office coordinators, front desk associates, front desk assistants, virtual receptionists, virtual assistants, and so forth. 

When should I hire a receptionist for my salon or spa?

Ideally, you’ll want to hire a receptionist as soon as your business opens its doors. That way, there’s never any confusion about who is on the front lines and who clients should look to as they come to your business (either physically or virtually) for the first time. There’s no right or wrong time to hire a receptionist, but the sooner, the better.

What skills should I list in my job posting?

As discussed, receptionists can wear many hats. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you cover everything that is most important to your needs first and foremost. If you need help with phone calls and scheduling, make those priorities. And remember to keep an eye on soft skills like time management and the ability to multitask, because these may be far more valuable than hard skills. 

Should I hire someone on-site or remote?

These days, a receptionist can take many forms. While several businesses can do well with a virtual receptionist service, you might fare better to also have someone in your salon on a day-to-day basis. Find a service that can deliver everything that you need, and then worry about whether the service is virtual or in-person. It’s not about what’s “best” for everyone—it’s about what’s right for your salon or spa. 

What’s the difference between a virtual receptionist and a virtual assistant?

For some, the only real difference here is in the choice of words. Assistants and receptionists share a lot of the same responsibilities. However, it’s assumed that receptionists refer more toward people who answer phones and field messages, while assistants are more generally capable of being hired for a wide variety of needs. Other than that, it comes down to terms and duties, and that can vary from one person to the next. 

Where can I find a good receptionist service?

Here’s the million-dollar question. For those who have decided to outsource to a service, they’re going to want to find the best one to work with. The Internet can help you learn more about the available services, including individual contractors and professional receptionist services that deliver the virtual (and on-site, in some cases) assistance that your business needs so that you can focus on the actual services that you provide. 


Speaking of good service, let’s talk about a partnership with Smith.ai 

If you want to up the ante with your receptionist services, choosing a professional team like the dedicated agents at Smith.ai is always the way to go. Our virtual receptionists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to handle all kinds of admin and communication needs for your business. We can field calls, live website chats, Facebook messages, and so much more. Plus, we can even assist with things like scheduling, payments, intake, and other needs, and we’ll collaborate with you to create the perfect strategy to manage it all. 

We specialize in the reception and admin business, and we know what it takes to deliver superior service as the face of your salon or spa. Whether you just need a little extra support or you want a full-service solution, we’ve got you covered.

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can improve your salon or spa by handling calls, chats, and so much more. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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