When lockdown was first announced in March, hairdressers and barbers shut their doors without question and everyone agreed it was the right move.
Flash forward to the present day and to say the nation’s hair is looking unkempt is an understatement, in fact, many people have turned to a DIY cut or colour (the less said about that the better!).
The latest announcement confirms hairdressers and barbers can reopen from the 4th of July, and new guidance for ‘close contact’ businesses has been published by the Government (for England). But many in the business are still wondering what their post-lockdown working environment will look like – it certainly will be a lot different than before.
We’re here to help with our guide to preparing for coming out of lockdown as a hairdresser or barber.
Preparing your premises
Hygiene is going to be the first thing on everyone’s mind when it comes to re-opening - the general public is more safety conscious than ever in the aftermath of Covid-19. The Government have said businesses must ensure they are Covid-secure, with the guidelines including:
- Appointments - salons tend to be bustling places, but this won’t be possible thanks to distancing measures. To help, consider staggering appointments and extending your opening hours to fit more customers in a day while keeping everyone safe. It’ll also help to ask clients to attend appointments alone.
- Social distancing measures - organise your premises so there can always be adequate space between customers - the latest announcement has dropped the two-metre rule in place of a ‘one-metre plus’ rule, meaning you can get closer than two metres where unavoidable. You’ll need to have markings on the floor, which will show where people should sit.
- Seating – you’ll need to put plenty of space between chairs (preferably 2 metres, but 1 metre plus if not) and you will need the seating to be side by side. If you can, it’s recommended to use Perspex screens between workstations too, to create a physical barrier.
- Waiting areas – your clients should be encouraged to turn up to their appointment exactly on time, and alone, to avoid people having to sit close together to wait. You could consider removing your waiting area altogether, to begin with. Alternative solutions include asking customers to queue outside or wait in their cars until you’re ready for them.
- Till points – you’ll need to have a Perspex screen between you and your customers. To help avoid the spread if germs, you could encourage contactless card payments where possible. The current contactless limit is set at £45.
- Cleanliness – encourage your clients to wash or sanitise their hands as they enter your salon or before any treatment. Where possible provide hand sanitizer, but it’s essential soap and hot water is available to all staff and customers too. You must increase the frequency of handwashing and cleaning of surfaces. Chairs must also be sanitised after each use.
- Face coverings – your hairdressers should wear a clear visor that covers their face, to provide a barrier between them and the client. Visors must fit the hairdresser properly and be worn properly, covering the forehead, extending below the chin and wrapping around the side of the face. If it is a reusable visor, it must be cleaned and sanitised regularly. Your clients do not need to wear a mask or face covering, as there is no benefit to the hairdresser or client if a visor is worn correctly.
- Hospitality - all magazines, books, toys, etc. must be removed to avoid the spread of germs. Clients can be offered water in a disposable cup or bottle, no hot drinks are permitted yet.
- Music/radio – you can still play music in your salon, but it must be turned down low to ensure people don’t have to shout to be heard, which increases the risk of spreading Coronavirus.
- Toilets - must be cleaned and disinfected after regularly, soft goods such as toilet paper must be replaced, and nothing should be stored within a w/c that isn’t strictly necessary. Consider touchless technologies where possible (i.e. soap dispenser).
- Disposable equipment – use disposable equipment where possible, but for items that can’t be replaced, such as scissors, make sure they’re washed after each use. For gowns and towels, they should be washed after each use.
- Keep a record of your clients – the government have said you need to keep a temporary record of all of your clients and any other visitors in your salon for a minimum of 21 days. This means if a case of Coronavirus happens, you can trace who may have been infected through the NHS Test and Trace system.
- Keep your clients informed – remind your clients that if they have any coronavirus symptoms, even if they’re mild, they must stay at home and not attend their appointment.
For the full guidance, which may change regularly, please visit the government website here.
Waiting lists & appointments
No doubt if you’re a hairdresser or barber you’ve been inundated with pleas from clients desperate for you to make them look their best again, of course, you don’t want this pandemic to cost you customers, but where do you start?
You might’ve seen some salons set up waiting lists, and this is a great idea. Reach out to your client list via social media and get people to start signing up. In doing so you’ll be reassuring your client base you value their custom and you’ll have a list to work through when you’re ready to start booking appointments in.
Walk-in appointments won’t be permitted, so you must work on an appointment based system.
It’s always a good idea to let customers know what to expect from you, and what you expect from them before they turn up for a trim. Reach out prior to their appointment and inform them how you’ll be keeping them safe, and how they can prepare for their appointment on their end.
Mobile hairdressers & barbers
The Freelance Association of Hairdressers state that “Following the announcement today by Prime Minister Boris Johnson the government has confirmed that hairdressers can reopen from 4 July.
“The government do not differentiate between sectors in our industry. When they say hairdressers they mean all hairdressers, salons and freelance/mobile together.”
This is good news for mobile hairdressers, as it means they can go back to work on the 4th July too. The guidelines outlined by the Government will still apply.
To help prevent the spread of the virus, encourage your clients to pay contactless-ly as this cuts out the need for any surfaces such as keypads or terminals to be touched by multiple people. The stats show that since the beginning of lockdown card payments have increased by 75% compared to the same period last year, with British consumers rapidly adopting contactless technology in the wake of Covid-19, so chances are your clients will be more than happy to comply.
If your salon, barbers or mobile business isn’t set up to accept contactless payments yet, don’t panic you’ve still got time to put this in place, here are your options:
We’ve got something very exciting to announce - it’s our brand spanking new multipay card machine, designed especially for hairdressers and barbers, jam-packed with fantastic features such as:
- Touch screen - there are no buttons for germs to lurk beneath
- Glass surface - super simple to wipe down and disinfect
- You can add up to six chairs - say goodbye to multiple terminals, and you can allocate tips by chair too!
- Heaps of payment options - including contactless, Apple and Android Pay, Chip and Pin
- Real-time reporting, and loads more.
We’re really proud of multipay because we know it’ll make the life of hairdressers and barbers easier. To find out more and register your interest.
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Other card machines
All takepayments card machines are set up to accept contactless payments as standard, so if it’s a terminal you’re after you just need to choose which one is the best fit for your business.
- Countertop - countertop machines sit on your point of sale (reception desk or till point) and are plugged into your broadband.
- Mobile - take the payment to the customer with a mobile machine which runs off 3G technology in a similar way to a mobile phone.
- Portable - if you want the freedom to take payments from anywhere on your premises then a portable machine has a 50m range.
Top tip: if you’d like a helping hand deciding which card machine is the right fit for you our friendly local experts are always on hand to assist.
Keep customers engaged
Once you’ve put everything in place for your highly-anticipated reopening, don’t forget to let all your lovely clients know about your hard work.
No doubt you’re just as excited to see them again as they are to get in your chair, so share the love and keep them engaged with your business, as well as reassure them they’ll be safe in your hands.
Drum up plenty of excitement with the following:
- Social media - keep your clients in the loop with regular updates, photos of the changes you’ve made in the salon, info they’ll need about appointments, procedures you’ve put in place, and any information they’ll need before seeing you again.
- Email - if you’ve got a list of customer emails then now’s the ideal time to put it to good use. Send your clients a bit of love, let them know you can’t wait to see them again and fill them in on all the changes you’ve made and all the information they’ll need.
At takepayments we want to help you take as many payments as safely and securely as you can, it’s what we do. To find out more about setting up contactless payments, or simply for some advice on the best solution for you, get in touch with our friendly experts today.