In quarantine, many stylists have been sketching out a plan for when they can service their clients, again. But without knowing an exact time to start rescheduling or what it will feel like to be in close contact, again, they must make informed guesses and move forward. These industry veterans know that that it will not be business as usual, and offer thoughts on how to proceed with the information available.
“When the shutdown period is over and we can welcome our clients back into our salons, we see two scenarios happening in our space,” say Denise Dente of BuzzBeaute, a branding agency devoted to the beauty industry. "The first is a massive flood of customers wanting appointments ASAP. After that initial rush, a slow trickle of clients will return slowly over time. Both scenarios require different tactics to handle, so having your plan in place will give you confidence that you are ready for either.”
Here is a possible landscape, according to Dente:
Scenario #1 - Rush of clients
You can expect to experience a burst of built-up demand for services from clients dying to see you again. How will you manage this surge, even if only a few weeks?
1. Book more appointments or more working days
2. Use an assistant or support person to help with cleanings between clients, shampoos, booking or changing appointments
Scenario #2 – Trickle
After the rush of consumers that flooded the salon with pent up demand, we may experience a decline in demand. For three specific reasons, some consumers make take longer to come back to the salon
1. Less disposable income – Clients may have fewer dollars to spend in their lives right now. As restaurants, movie theaters, and kids' activities open back up, you are competing for client's disposable income. Some may have had reduced salaries or job loss at this time. How can you incentivize them back to your service? Can you offer free product, discounted services, a package of services to entice multiple services or repeat appointments?
2. Alternative solution – Clients could have found a “good enough” solution to the service. At-home hair color, self-tanning lotions, a return to tweezing and shaving, as examples. You may need to combat this option by offering incentives like promotions, buy one service, get one at a discount or even refer a friend options that allow both your current client and a friend to get a discount or product.
3. Fear of being safe at the salon – People may be hesitant to venture back into public, even after it is deemed safe. Help them feel more confident by communicating the Standard of Care your salon is taking. Make it a printout, put it on your website and your social handles. Visually sanitize chairs, beds, sinks, reception areas while clients are there to see the active effort you are doing to keep them safe. Have cloth masks available for them or as an option for you to wear. Understand there is a new concern people will have about being around others and in communal areas, so over-communicating your efforts will go a long way here.
Salon owner Marco Pelusi had started thinking about what a return to the salon would look like before closures were mandatory. “First of all, I would recommend and hope you’ve been staying in touch with your clients now, if possible,” Pelusi advises. “If you have their contact information, take a minute and send them a note and wish them and their families well. It’s such a challenging time for us all, relationships are so important. This will be remembered when the stay at home order lifts.”
And knowing it’s going to be quite busy when salons reopen, Pelusi suggests:
- You may wish to work an extra day, in order to accommodate the many clients who want to see you.
- You may also wish to work one extra evening per week, depending on how much demand you have.
- But it will be important for you to manage your time carefully upon our return, so as to continue taking care of yourself and others.
- Time management is important. Be careful to spread out your appointments and not overbook.
- You may also wish to warn your clients that it will be very busy in the salon when they come in, and to thank them in advance for their flexibility.
- Additionally, you will want to be extra kind and extra grateful to each and every one of your clients.
“Every one of us will have been through a very difficult time,” he concludes. “Those of us who take time to treat our clients with respect and grace and care will be remembered.”
Barbicide represents the gold standard for safe services in salons and barbershops through their wide selection of disinfectant and sanitation products. The Barbicide Certification course is a free online course that equips you with the education to keep your salon clean and safe. At the end of the course, you’ll receive a portfolio-ready certificate that you can display on your wall for clients to see. Here are Safety and Disinfectant Best Practices from Barbicide:
Scheduling and Check-Out
- Disinfectants must be EPA-registered and labeled as bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal. No product will be labeled for COVID-19 yet, but many will have coronavirus efficacy on their label or available on their websites. The EPA has approved any product that has tested effectively against human coronavirus.
- Disinfection only works on clean surfaces, so be sure you clean the surface before with soap, water and chemical cleaners. Disinfectant is also only for hard, non-porous surfaces (such as door handles, samples, lotions, shampoo bowls etc.), and should be done daily.
- Pay attention to contact time. Contact time on a label refers to how long the surface must stay visibly wet with disinfectant to destroy all pathogens on the surface. Typical contact time for sprays is 10 minutes, and for wipes, 2-4 minutes.
- Porous/soft surfaces cannot be disinfected, but they can be cleaned. This includes, but isn’t limited to, items such as towels, chairs and your hands/body. On initial re-opening, feel free to disinfect your chairs – but remember that ongoing use of disinfectants on soft materials can damage the material in the long run. Try to limit this to once a day.
- Pay close attention to things people touch a lot. Door handles, for example, should be disinfected every 1-2 hours. Retail shelves should be very clean if you intend for people to browse and shop.
- Clean and disinfect your shampoo bowl, handle, hose, spray nozzle and shampoo chair with a properly concentrated disinfectant or wipe.
- Laundry and linens should be washed in hot water with detergent and considered dry only until items are hot to touch. If needed, consider taking laundry home to avoid crowding the breakroom.
- All linens should be stored in closed, covered cabinets until used.
- Wash your capes after each use! If you need to stock up, consider purchasing additional capes from the Sola Store
- Order Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks for yourself and your clients. PPE should be single-use and switched out after each client. Keep an eye out on the Sola Store as we are sourcing items to help make this easy for you!
- Hand washing is the gold standard for disinfecting. Clients should always be encouraged to wash their hands over using hand sanitizer. Also, wash your hands after using gloves.
Best Practices for Alternative Services
- Stagger your appointments when possible to allow enough time to clean and disinfect between clients.
- Consider adjusting your walk-in policy to limit the flow of strangers in your salon.
- Think about ways to make point-of-sale safer, including implementing systems such as SolaGenius, which has touchless credit card processing.
- Ask clients to read their card numbers to you if you’re using an iPad to ensure you’re the only person touching the screen. If they need to touch your device to sign, consider disinfecting your device with Barbicide disinfecting wipes. Let the liquid from the wipe dry for 1-2 minutes, and if needed, take a dry cloth to remove any streaks on the screen
Salon Best Practices
- Pumice stones should go in the trash after each use since they can never be disinfected.
- For pedicures, scrub the bowl between every visit.
- Wear gloves when setting up the room before a client’s visit.
- Clean and disinfect all treatment tables.
- Empty wax pots, completely clean and disinfect, then refill with new wax.
- Clean debris out of clippers before and after every client visit.
- Ensure all single-use items are brand new.
- Discard items in your salon that people pick up and put back down, such as:
- Self-serve coffee
- Candy jars
- Kid’s toys
- Send an email or letter to your clients emphasizing your commitment to sanitation and outlining the steps you’re taking to ensure their health and safety.
- Place signage in your studio to notify clients of your diligence in practicing safe and proper infection control.
CLICK HERE to get Barbicide certified.
Tony Odisho, like many other salon owners, has been waiting out Covid-19 business closures and is looking forward to reopening his two name-sake Chicago salons and getting back to work. While it won’t be business as usual, Tony shares some tips on how to regain revenues lost during the balance of 2020 through new services or activities stylists/salons consider doing:
- Consider expanding your hours of operation. If you typically close early on certain days or have limited stylist working at certain times, think about changing this temporarily upon re-opening. Demand is going to be high with clients overdue on their hair appointments. Don’t miss out on the business by not having the availability.
- Run a package or series promotion. For example, promote 5 blowouts as a package deal at a discounted price to help increase revenue upon re-opening and guarantee the client will be back at least 4 more times.
- This is the time to push add-on services more than ever. If your client’s hair has lacked love for too long due to social distancing, explain to them the benefits of adding on a deep conditioning treatment to make up for lost time and care.
- Summer is coming. Look at offering smoothing treatment promotions to help fight frizz and keep client’s hair looking great. These are great revenue enhancers.
- Your guests will need pampering after being isolated for weeks on end. Consider some feel-good options like add-on 5 or 10-minute scalp massage, scalp exfoliation treatment or any other service to add to the menu.
Odisho added, “We are creative business people and we will rebound. It takes planning, communication, openness to change and an awareness of new opportunities to help our business succeed in the future.”
VISIT MODERN SALON'S COVID-19 CONTENT CENTER FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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