There’s still much doubt around exactly when and how the Government’s stay at home order will be lifted, but at some point, hopefully in the near future beauty salons and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen albeit with instructions to maintain social distancing. It’s safe to say returning to work will not be business as usual.
With a future reopening we’ve put together some pointers which will help you take an all-round view on how to reopen safely.
No.1 Your booking process
How will you book and communicate with customers? If you rely on drop-in appointments, permitting clients to sit and wait for their turn will be a challenge. If you don’t have booking software think about apps such as Treatwell and Booksy.
These apps allow customers to prebook online, and offer other useful features including reviews and charging options for no shows. Social distancing will mean fewer clients at any one time, so you will need to consider the trade-off between taking fewer bookings and extending your hours each day, particularly as a thorough cleaning regime of tools, equipment and replacing consumables such as couch covers will be needed between each appointment.
Now is a good time to invest in distance learning at home or work with different training providers offering BIA certificate of approval showing that you have updated your skills in accordance with Government guidelines on the CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19).
No.2 Your physical environment
We’ve already mentioned that close social contact is unlikely to be possible. You can minimise the chances of cross contamination by removing magazines and no longer offering complimentary drinks to clients. Look around your salon for other shared points of contact between people, objects and clothing.
Consider how you are going to manage social distancing in salons. If you operate individual treatment rooms, it may be less of a problem. For busy hair and nail salons you will need to think about operating with a reduced number of work stations and a limit on how many clients you will safely allow on the premises at any time.
You may also wish to place a see through protective screen on your nail station to create a physical barrier between you and your client whilst allowing you to perform your nail treatment with ease.
No.3 You and your staff
Think about yourself and the situations you may be at risk of contracting the virus. It has always been best practice to keep your salon wear only for use in the salon and not travel to and from work in it.
Now it will be even more important to do this to help reduce the risk of cross infection. At the end of the day change back into your home wear and wash your salon wear on a hot wash (60°C). Introducing different coloured salon wear will help you keep track of any salon wear regime you introduce.
What personal protection equipment will you use in your salon? There is growing consensus that appropriate PPE should include the wearing of vinyl gloves, plastic aprons and 3 ply type 1 facial masks by client and therapist/hairdresser to help prevent the transmission of any infection. At the present time type 2 facial masks should be reserved for front line medical services.
No.4 Announcing your salon has reopened
Review our blog on promoting your salon to get some marketing ideas for when you reopen. Before speaking to clients make sure you have rehearsed all the important steps you have taken to ensure salon hygiene and everyone’s personal safety. Many clients will need reassurance even though they will be looking forward to having an appointment with you.
No.5 Treatments and services you offer
We recommend that you start by offering your range of express services exclusively for the first few weeks from when you re-open.
In this way you will help as many clients as possible to feel and look fabulous and at the same time minimise the amount of time you are in contact with each client. You will be able to gauge yourself which additional treatments you are able and wish to offer.
How much to charge for a treatment is a difficult topic at the best of times. Do bear in mind that if you have an even more thorough cleaning regime you will either have to work longer each day or charge more for the service provided to maintain the same level of turnover before you closed.
Think about ways you can add extra value to your client’s experience. You may already have a loyalty scheme in place.
'It’s likely that many salons will be offering discounts to drive more bookings when they reopen. However, some may decide to freeze all discounts whatsoever. Before you reopen, it’s worth considering what’s best for your business, and the approach you’d like to take towards discounts’. [Treatwell]
No.7 Your suppliers
Don’t leave it to the last minute to restock before opening, especially for PPE and hand sanitising and disinfectants as they are likely to remain in short supply over the coming months.
If you normally use a local cash and carry, find out when they plan to reopen and any change to opening hours and social distancing policy. If you don’t already order online now is a great time to try it. Ellisons online gives you instant visibility of what’s in stock, allows you to build your order during the day and once we are fully re-open we will return to 8pm for receiving orders for next working day delivery.
No.8 Plan for future financial commitments
The Government has put some much needed schemes to provide relief to individuals and businesses. Do remember that personal tax and VAT deferrals will have to be repaid in the future, so make sure you set a budget that will ensure you have the funds to pay any deferred taxes.
The hair and beauty industry will bounce back; the landscape will be different. In the current climate fewer people will be able to travel over the coming months, so let’s work together to help clients look and feel their best this summer.
If you are unsure on any of the topics above, then we’d be happy to support your questions on Facebook. This is a time for sharing knowledge and goodwill across our industry.