This is How Men’s Hairdresser and Barbers are Preparing for Reopening
We are yet to know the full extent of when UK hair salons, barbers and freelance hairdressers can get back to work when lockdown measures ease. And when service is allowed to resume what will that look like? What precautions must stylists and salon owners take to keep themselves and their clients safe? With Treatwell recently reporting that ‘Men’s Haircut’ has been their most booked service in Mainland Europe since they resumed appointments.
We spoke to two figures in the barbering and men’s hairdressing industry about what they are doing to get ready for post-lockdown from PPE to opening hours and team morale…
Joseph Lanzante, owner of Joseph Lanzante Training Academy
Opening for longer
For the first few weeks and months it’s advisable to extend your opening hours to cope with the demand. We may use every other chair to ensure adequate space between clients, so substitutions will need to be made to make up for this. For example, if you usually service 20 clients a day over 8 hours, you may have to service the same number over a period of 12 hours. You could put staff on 6-hour shifts to begin with which will also provide relief for barbers who will have to work in protective masks.
Welcome back package
We are also likely to see a number of male customers who have attempted to cut their own hair at home, so male hairdressers will have many repair jobs on their hands which will take more time in the chair. To recoup the time and cost on this, it’s a wise idea to put together a welcome back male grooming package which offers the client a number of treatments.
You’re going to find a lot of men will have grown their beards long, so there will be plenty of work there. If you throw in a beard trim with a complete hair revamp you could upsell your clients and if they like the result, they’re likely to book again.
For the first few months it’s likely you’ll only be breaking even, with many repaying depts and recuperating from losses. To help recover these losses it is completely acceptable to put your prices up. I would recommend anything between 5% – 10%, so if you usually charge £20 for a haircut, charge £22. Now is the perfect excuse to do it because people will understand and the demand for our services will be sky high.
Start future gazing
What else can you offer your clients? The one thing I think that we should be doing now is thinking outside the box and introducing new services to keep it interesting. We are going through a huge societal change and this means people’s spending habits will have evolved. There is quite literally no better time to piggyback off this opportunity.
Andrew Cannon, founder of Ruffians
My team of Ruffians are very excited about the prospect of re-opening from the 4 July, we can’t wait to get the scissors snipping and clippers buzzing and doing what we love. However, it has not been the physical skill of hairdressing that we’ve missed the most, it is the social interaction with our colleagues, clients and friends – we can’t wait to get that back!
Remember we are an essential ‘non-essential’
At first it seemed extreme to make barbers and hairdressers wait so long to reopen and the government painted us with the ‘non-essential retail’ brush. I was one of the business owners who was up in arms saying we were ready, we can get back to work now, I even wrote about it in the national press. We knew we could socially distance within our barbershops with the right hygiene, right barriers, reduced services, and adapted customer experience. But is that what we really want? A reduced customer experience? It is certainly not our plan at Ruffians – we’re all about atmosphere and experience.
On reflection I think the government was right, it accidentally did us a favour. They have given us more time to prepare and ensure we re-open with the best chance of not devaluing our services. Despite the fact we’re a £6.3 billion, 121,000 people industry (in the UK), we’re continually undervalued and ridiculed as being a group of school dropouts, underachievers and lacking the attributes to build a real career – we know this is a lot of crap but we have an opportunity, when we reopen to finally prove everyone wrong!
Be more than ready
People are all craving our services – ‘how to cut my own hair’ is trending daily on twitter, closely followed by ‘how to repair a terrible haircut’ and pretty much everyone is going to need their haircut, roots coloured, beard trim or just want to visit the hairdresser because they miss the social interaction. On 4th July we must open together, as one industry, and we need to be super prepared. When we open we must not just ‘grab the money’ we must make sure the experience, atmosphere and most importantly the enjoyment of having a haircut is shared with every single customer who comes into our salons and barbershops – that is what our industry is all about it is about people, service and atmosphere.
Try and recreate the atmosphere of pre-lockdown following social distancing guidelines
It is going to be a huge challenge to create an atmosphere and environment with social distancing, because hairdressing is the very opposite of social distancing it is bringing people together to relax, laugh, share and build confidence in the way we look and feel. I hope that all salon owners will make it their priority to reopen the right way, to show everyone we are a super-passionate industry and we are not cutting corners or lowering standards. We must come out of the lockdown more driven and determined than ever to elevate our experiences and the social cohesion that is unique to the barber shop and salons.