Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Sending Home Sick Clients
November 29, 2017

What Would You Do: Sending Home Sick Clients

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…until one of your clients gets you sick and you’re forced to stay home during the most profitable season in the salon! On top of worrying about catching the common cold or worse, the flu (or dare we say the coronavirus!), we need to be careful about protecting ourselves in the salon. A concerned BTC community member recently reached out to us with this question:


“Last week I had about five clients come into the salon with a cold. Now I’ve come down with a cold myself and I can’t come into work and finish out the workweek, which is very inconvenient for me and my clients. I’ve always thought coming in to get your hair done when you’re sick is one of the most inconsiderate things you can do. This is not this first time I’ve gotten sick around the holidays because of clients. So my question is, would you send your sick client home and tell them to rebook when they are well again? Or bear through the appointment and risk your health?”


We put forward the question to our BTC fam. Here are some of their best responses.



Just a Cold? Suck It Up
“Unless I’m down-and-out sick, I’m working. Take your Emergen-C, and leave sanitizer on your station. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 15 years it’s, ‘You sound awful, you should go home…after you finish my hair.’” – Steve Roberts


“Grit your teeth and bear it…you should be able to stay healthy with proper hygiene and disinfection. It’s the service industry. You’re going to get sick. It’s inconvenient, but if you cancel everyone who’s sick, you won’t be bringing in any money.” – Vikki Sterks


“Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, be the crazy person with a mask—just remember that the common cold is something everyone gets! And if you can’t be around people who have a cold then might I suggest a different line of work!” – Candice Budinko


“If it’s just a cold, go ahead and work on them. I was in the medical field for five years before I started in hair, and the reason you can’t contain the common cold is because you’re only contagious before you have symptoms. So someone in your chair who seems fine can actually be the person who gets you sick.” – Bonnie Smith


“While it is rude and frustrating, it’s something that comes with the territory. And a cold really isn’t a big deal. I work with a cold all the time—I’m not going to stay home because I have a sniffle. However, I agree that if a client is sick enough to call off work or school, they shouldn’t be coming into the salon.” – Sara Jessop


Send Them Home and Rebook!
“Send them home—they are spreading illnesses to you and other clients. This can especially bad for elderly clients and people with autoimmune diseases. Plus, you end up losing money and appointments if you get ill.” – LeeAnna George


“You could do a PSA like, ‘It’s the holidays! If you’re not feeling well, please stay home and take care. I will do my best to accommodate you ASAP :).’” – Delores Turnbow 


“I cancel my clients if I’m sick, and I expect the same in return. I don’t care if it’s a sniffle or the flu—STAY HOME! That ‘sniffle’ you have can turn into pneumonia or another serious problem for some in the salon (myself or other clients). So while you’re recovering from the sniffles, someone could be in the hospital because they picked up your germs because you couldn’t wait to get your hair cut!” – Gina Armenia


“Rebook! What may not be so bad for them can cause someone else massive problems. I have clients on chemo and other therapies that would put them at serious risk with these illnesses. If you’re sick, you should stay home!” – Kelly Taylor


“We have a sign posted in the salon—a nicer way of saying, ‘If you’re sick, stay home.’ If you don’t go to work, we don’t want you in our salon either…sometimes bluntness is the only way to get the point across.” – Tracy Waters-Trost


“I would say it depends how sick they are. If they come in looking like someone from a Theraflu ad, tell them you’re worried about them and that you’re happy to rebook. If it’s a regular, I might even give her a 10% discount for the inconvenience.” – Heather Sung


“I always told my clients to rebook when flu and cold season came around and I would give them the same courtesy…If it needed rebooking, I did my best to accommodate by coming in early, staying late, coming in on a day off or whatever to show my appreciation.” – Deborah Firestone-Himes



Send Them Home Only Under Certain Circumstances
“My son has Cystic Fibrosis…so I ask my clients to stay away if they are sick, especially with colds/respiratory illnesses. Thankfully everyone has been very understanding and considerate. I am very up front about it, especially when booking a new client.” – Tori Myers


“My coworker has an auto immune disorder and she does send clients home. Their colds could put her in the hospital. Do what you gotta do to take care of yourself.” – Andrya Rytter O’Brien


“The only time I asked people to not come in if they were sick was when my mom was going through intense chemo for her cancer. I couldn’t risk getting sick and possibly giving it to her. Other than that I suck it up.” – Sandra Nutting


“I have lupus, and getting a cold can be a big deal to me. I have a sign that says I will gladly rebook if [a client] is sick. A stay in the hospital and loss of work is not worth it.” – Donna JamisonHeffner


Be Proactive
Here are a few reminders on how to prevent spreading illness during the holiday season.


  • “Talk to your doctor about a flu shot. My physician explained that it helps guard against a few anticipated flu viruses and up to 800 cold viruses.” – Peggy Geerhart


  • “Use Lysol and disinfect more thoroughly after every client no matter what during cold season. This includes your cell phone if your clients handle it when using apps or viewing photos.”– Ashley Martin Fletcher


  • “Up your daily vitamins. Get some Emergen-C and drink it twice a day during this time of year for the extra vitamins and minerals.” – Brenda Clark


  • “The best thing to do to protect yourself is have plenty of disinfecting wipes and spray on hand and wash your hands thoroughly between clients. I also keep masks in the salon.” – Wendy Alexander