Coronavirus: What To Do When You Have To Close Your Salon
Salon Owners: How To Prepare Your Salon For Temporary Closure
Real talk. We know that a temporary shut down is one of the hardest challenges you’ll ever have to go through as a salon owner. Employees, clients, rent, bills…there’s so much to do—where do you even start? That’s why we’re sharing real advice from a real salon that’s going through the exact same thing. So, you can take what they’ve learned and be as prepared as possible when this happens to you.
We spoke with the management leaders of SEVEN salon, a Seattle-area luxury salon with 41 chairs (!!) who temporarily shut its doors this past Monday, about their recent experience—what they did right AND what they wish they would have done. Here’s what we learned from SEVEN haircare President Sheue Pella, Director of Marketing Khristina Kravas and VP of Salon & Education Monica Nguyen:
1. Don’t Wait To Communicate With Clients & Staff Members
This is KEY. Before closure, contact every staff member and update them with all of the information and resources you have access to. Let them know your plans, their options and reassure them that you will help them every step along the way. Then, you can start reaching out to clients to notify them about closure, what it means for them and reassure them of your salon’s efforts during these times.
2. Don’t Wait To Start Rebooking Clients
- Check Availability: Ask stylists what their availability will be after the shut down is over, confirming that they are open to working longer shifts when they return. This allows you to fully book out stylists before your salon doors reopen, setting them up for success.
What They Would Have Done Differently:
- They would have called clients earlier, informed them that the decision to close was coming soon and asked them if they would like to schedule an appointment right away. “It is so hard to hear clients you love saying they wish they had made it in before the shut down,” they shared.
3. Know Your Resources: Unemployment, Salary & Booth Rental
As salon owners, you are the biggest resource for your staff members. Every state has different laws and programs that will support small businesses, and these programs are quickly changing. Identify and educate yourself on federal, state and local resources and aid options, then share this information with your employees.
It’s not as scary as it seems! SEVEN salon laid off all of their employees. Here’s why: In Seattle, ‘standby’ is a temporary layoff program that can be extended up to four weeks without requiring employees to search for new jobs. This will allow their staff members to collect unemployment with full intent on returning back to the salon.
But first, here’s what you need to find out right away:
- Research what is needed to do a layoff in your state.
- Find out what category each employee would fall under when filing, and exactly what information they will need in order to apply.
- Research available benefits for small business owners in your area.
- Are there credit unions in your area providing small 0% interest loans? Find out.
Don’t wait to have important conversations with booth renters:
Have early conversations with booth renters and help them find solutions. Negotiate what type of accommodations you can provide to your tenants now, so they come back when you reopen:
- Consider allowing the renter to pay what they can, dividing the rest of the balance amongst their remaining lease agreement.
- For example: “I know you’re going to have trouble paying rent. How about I temporarily move from baseline rent to percentage rent? Or defer the next month across the next six months?”
- Remind booth renters that after this is over, they can expect a rush similar to the holidays with a major upswing in bookings.
- Make efforts to ensure that your employees want to return to your salon after the shut down. Rebooking, doing employee wellness check-ins and staying connected will help you do this.
What They Might Have Done Differently:
- Seattle was one of the first major US cities to deal with the growing pandemic, so at first, information wasn’t available—it took 12 hours for salon management to give their team clear direction, resources and aid options. Now, state agencies are better prepared to help so it’s important to streamline communication right away.
4. Reach Out To Your Landlord
It is imperative to immediately reach out to your landlord to negotiate lease/rent options. Here’s what SEVEN salon did:
- “We asked our landlord what abatement or assistance was available,” they shared. “Come prepared with a list of what you are hoping for—abatement for X number of days for instance. In our case, because we are within a mall that our landlords needed to close, we were only able to use our space for [half of] the month.”
5. Make A Recovery Plan
SEVEN stocked up on products immediately, especially color and developer—but why? To prepare themselves to operate at full capacity when they reopen, since there is uncertainty around knowing how great the impact that closures will have on shipping in the future.
“We need color products to do our craft and fully stocked retail shelves for eager customers,” they shared. “Our hallway is currently lined with developer for the moment we can open and start doing what we love—serving our clients and community.”
6. Stay Connected With Your Staff
You are a leader in your salon community, so it’s important to offer emotional support, lift your stylists up and make yourself available to their needs. Here’s how:
- Do individual and group check-ins with stylists.
- Promote stylists to do the same with their peers.
- Host a virtual happy hour!
- Keep employees informed with resources in real time.
- Be transparent with your staff. While you don’t know exactly when your salon will reopen, reassure them you are working to make everyone’s return as smooth and profitable as possible.
- Be a ray of optimism in your community. Start thinking about ways to get people excited about reopening, whenever that may be—like planning a client and stylist appreciation party.
7. Eliminate House Calls
Are your stylists doing house calls? As salon management, you should be communicating the importance of self-isolating and social distancing during the pandemic. By continuing to do house calls, they will be putting other stylists and clients at risk when your salon reopens.
What They Did & Why:
- The biggest goal is to open back up as soon as possible, so it’s imperative that the salon team does their part to eliminate the spread of the virus and protect their community.
- When any of their stylists posted that they would do house calls, the management team contacted them individually and asked them to think about the bigger picture—advising against any house calls and reminding them of the importance of self-isolation.
- When clients asked about pre-mixed color, their team explained that they are not offering this service because they cannot guarantee the outcome for at-home application. It doesn’t uphold their professional standards.