While we have all be busy speculating in the UK about how an easing of coronavirus restrictions may affect our industry, some countries have already started that process. Indeed, in mainland Europe hairdressers are among the first businesses to re-open.
So, what can the UK beauty businesses learn from these early opening salons, and how can you use these strategies to make sure that you are ready to open from day one whilst complying with new guidance?
General guidelines thus far appear to be:
· No waiting area or magazines
· No blow drying or dry cuts
· Maintain social distance
· Operate at reduced capacity to support social distancing, for most salons this appears to be around 30-50% capacity
· No face to face chat
· Both client and hairdresser/therapist must wear masks through entire appointment
· Gloves must be worn until hair is washed
· Everything must be disinfected between clients (chairs, sinks, brushes etc)
· All client names must be recorded and available for contact tracing if required
· Appointment only clients
· Gowns must be laundered after single use
· Customers must wash hands/use sanitiser on entry to premises
What do you need to consider if these guidelines are implemented in the UK?
Space in your salon, you may choose to leave unused chairs etc in place between clients however consider that this maybe another surface that the virus could settle on to and if it’s not in use its unlikely you will clean it as regularly, it will also be tempting for clients to pop their bags etc down on. It’s worth considering if you will remove the unused furniture and store it.
If you are operating on a reduced capacity at a time when client demand is high how will you cover this? You may need to consider staff working shifts and opening for longer days.
Costs, these additional guidelines will certainly increase your operating costs, think about what additions you will need re additional gowns, increased laundry, disinfectant costs, PPE supply costs and possibly higher energy bills if the salon is open longer, how will these additional costs be met?
Do you need to reconsider your insurance provision?Speak to your current insurer and ask about liability in relation to infection control and coronavirus in particular and ensure that you have adequate cover in place should you need it.
Where can client’s wait if you have no waiting area provision? Ensure that you have established good lines of communication with your client’s so that they are aware that if they arrive early, they will not be allowed to enter the salon.
How do you record client details and are you GDPR compliant? If you don’t already have an online booking system in place that allows you to store client details now is absolutely the time to have this in place. Not only will this allow safe data storage, but it will free up staff time answering the phone to book appointments and therefore handling phones and appointment books that will then require additional cleaning.
If you need to disinfectant everything used during a client appointment what additional time between client’s will you require to set aside to undertake this.
If blow drying is deemed too high risk asper other European countries how will this impact your business and your client’s appointment result, if the UK implements similar guidance.
How will you communicate effectively with clients if there is to be no face to face chat, consider your communication channels and how you may need to adapt some of your usual practice.
Are you able to accept card payments as a preferred method of payment? If not now is the time to set this up and also consider using a booking system that allows online payments at time of booking.
One last thing to note is that one of the largest online appointment booking systems in the world, crashed when Denmark re-opened for appointments. Discuss this with your software provider and ensure that they have stress tested their system and can assure you that the system you are using can cope with unusually high demand.
It makes sense to start thinking now about the impact new operating guidance may have on your business to ensure that you can continue to operate a viable safe business model into the future. Don’t wait until guidance is issued before you review how your business operates, be ready to open your doors safety on day one by doing the work now.