We’ve been hearing from a lot of business owners who are curious about what they should include in their reopening policies. It’s confusing, to say the least, and more than a little nerve-racking.
Now, we’re no experts, especially considering how complicated this topic can get. Regulations vary from state-to-state and even city-to-city, so first and foremost, your new reopening policy should be based on (and link to) the latest guidelines for your state, county, and/or city. (When in doubt, call on the CDC!) It’s also a good idea to reach out to a legal advisor to consult them on what policies you’re planning.
That said, while we’re not qualified to give formal advice on policies, we can point out a few gray zones that you might want to address with your clients.
These topics should cover some of their biggest concerns, and you can include them either in a policy update email or on your Schedulicity business listing. Think of this list as “covering all the bases.” It will make your clients feel a whole lot better about booking with you if they know exactly what to expect. Here they are, in no particular order.
The Actions You’re Taking
How are you planning on keeping your clients (and yourself!) safe?
In addition to providing this information in writing, you might want to make a video that walks through your new cleaning process and social distancing set-up. It can be quick and simple — just shoot it from your phone. By making a video, you’ll help clients visualize what they’ll actually experience, which is so helpful.
In your video:
- Walk people through how you’ve adjusted your space
- Mention how many clients will be in your space at a time
- Outline how much cleaning time you’re allotting between sessions
- Go over PPE equipment you’ll be using and/or providing
- Break down how you’re cleaning and sanitizing and how often
A quick note for the hair industry: Many cities are prohibiting the use of hair dryers because of the risk of spreading infection. Even if your city doesn’t, it’s a policy worth considering for your own health and safety. But it’s something that may not have occurred to your clients. This is a great addition to your video. That way, they’ll know you’ll be sending them off with damp hair and why.
Are you adding extra sessions to accommodate people’s needs after so many weeks of quarantine? Are you planning on different temporary hours? Are you asking for advance deposits for the first time? Let them know how your booking has changed.
Tell them how early they should get to your space — or that they shouldn’t arrive early at all. One of the better reopening policies I saw was one in which the provider asked clients to wait in their cars and text her when they arrive. She’d then text them back when she was ready for them, opening the door to let them in, so they didn’t need to touch a thing. If that works for your business, do it! But regardless, be as transparent as possible about how the arrival process will work.
Mask Requirements / Standards
Let clients know whether they’ll need to wear a mask the whole time, just when they’re entering your space, or any combination thereof. You should also consider telling them what sort of mask you’d like them to wear. If you need them to wear the type of mask that loops over their ears so that you can give them their facial or haircut without them removing it, tell them that.
Are your bathrooms off-limits? Are you allowing people to use them but sterilizing between every appointment? Especially if someone’s coming to see you for a long period of time, they may wonder what to expect and have anxiety about whether or not they’ll have access.
If you use any equipment for your work, e.g. yoga blocks or towels, clients may prefer to bring their own rather than use shared equipment. If so, include links to where they can buy what they’ll need online. If they’d rather use your equipment, let them know what that will look like and how you’re sanitizing.
What They Should Leave in the Car
You want to minimize the number of outside (and potentially contaminated) items carried in and out of your space. If you’d prefer that clients leave their purses or Starbucks in the car, let them know that! If you do allow them to bring items in with them, consider designating one area for them to leave everything during their service or class so that you can sanitize that holding zone after they’re gone.
You can and should have a strict cancellation policy, and even during these strange times, you should feel comfortable charging a fee for no-shows. Your time is extra tight right now, so someone canceling an hour before (or just not warning you they’re not coming) can greatly affect your day. Outline your cancellation policy clearly, so there’s no confusion. If you’ll feel better holding a card on file so you can charge for a missed appointment, do it. (And yes, you can do that with Schedulicity Pay!)
That said, you should also make it clear that anyone who feels ill or is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should not come to their appointment. Ask them to reach out to let you know that they can’t make it and tell them you’ll gladly reschedule them. Tell them their health is top priority.
A Zero Tolerance Policy
Whether masks are required by your city or state or you’re requiring them to feel fully comfortable with reopening, this is your business and your clients need to respect your safety and policies. We’re sure all of your clients are loving and supportive, but it helps to specifically call out that you won’t honor an appointment if someone disregards the policies you’ve outlined. You may also want to consider keeping their deposit if they show up unprepared.
Go with your gut and what makes you feel safe! Pointing out that these policies are in place to keep you and them safe will go a long way.