We have been in quarantine for just about 2 months now. Some of us even longer. And I know you have been struggling and really trying to decide what the best thing is for your business.

How do you prepare? Where do you get PPE? How do you schedule clients?How do I schedule my team?

So much to work through often with little direction and confusing guidelines. I get it. But, I want you to know, I’m here to support you — and so are other members of our community.

Last week, I reached out to a bunch of salon owners and stylists that are already back at work in their cities and asked them to share their experiences with some of the biggest questions we all have. Hopefully, this first-hand insight will give you some tips on what to plan for and how to navigate through this. Here is what they had to say.

What did I feel like being back in the salon?

Most of the stylists I talked to said they were happy to be back and that it felt great. Some felt like it was a little awkward, yet the salon still felt like home. The awkwardness stemmed from losing some of the “home” type features, like offering snacks and beverages, and of course, familiar faces sitting in the waiting chairs.

They also mentioned that it was hard to work in the mask. Some recommended practicing at home a few minutes or so a day to get used to it. Others said you should plan on taking extra time to step outside and get some air since you won’t have the opportunity indoors. Some also mentioned keeping menthol cough drops on hand to help with breathing while working in the mask.

But mostly, everyone was happy to be back behind the chair and really happy to see their clients.

What was the one thing you wish you would have done differently or prepared better for?

One owner mentioned that she wished she would have hired support staff to take care of check-ins including going through waivers and COVID protocol upon arrival. A few others said they wished they had stocked up on a little bit more PPE. One salon owner also mentioned she wished she had made the waiver into an electronic form so clients could pull it up on their phones upon arrival.

How much time did you plan out between each client?

How you work will determine how much time you need. The majority of the stylists I spoke to leaned toward 30 minutes between each guest to clean and prepare for the next guest. Some had only booked 15 minutes between but admitted they did start to run behind.

One of the biggest things that almost everyone mentioned was how hard it was to work in all the PPE. It does take time to get used to it and will slow things down. Most of the stylists suggested scheduling 15 minutes more per guest than you would have previously. You have to disinfect everything you touch, and it can be quite time-consuming. So be mindful of that when you prepare to open.

How did your clients adjust to all the changes?

Overwhelmingly, owners and stylists said their clients were understanding and very supportive. They were so happy to be back in the salon to see their stylists, and it was such a great feeling overall. There were a few mentions of people who were not willing to wear masks, and that of course, they were turned away for the service. And one owner did state that some clients thought the rules and protocol were over the top, but ultimately, they were still willing to have their hair done. 

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I hope this gives you some insight into what to expect when heading back into the salon. I know protocol and mandates are different in every state, but this should give you an idea of what’s coming when you get back to work.