Thankfully if you're a mobile hair stylist you may well have less to think about when you're allowed to return to work compared to salon owners. However, in the absence of any government guidelines, I've summarised some of the key considerations you should think about before returning to work. Please remember I am not an expert and these are not official guidelines or recommendations - just some food for thought to keep you busy whilst you wait to re-open! When the government release official guidelines for hairdressers and barbers we will add the details here.
How to prioritise your clients
Yes, we know, there's going to be a huge demand for all hairdressing services as soon as they're allowed to re-start. But, how should you prioritise your customers? There are a few different approaches you could take:
Prioritise existing bookings first and then work through your remaining client list - if you had cancel clients when lock down was enforced then it's a good idea to contact them first as they are probably pretty desperate for a cut! Once you have them all booked in you could work your way through your remaining client list in a methodical order - e.g. the people who book most frequently first, or those that spend the most etc. Whichever approach you take though it's probably a good idea to contact them to let them know you will be in touch with an opportunity to book otherwise you could be inundated with emails and phone calls.
Another approach is to give each of your clients a ring to establish how desperate they actually are for a haircut. A man living alone who has hair that is short but not clipped is likely to look pretty shaggy by now. Equally a woman who relies heavily on colour to minimise their greys may also be feeling pretty desperate. This way you can prioritise based on need.
Wait for them to contact you - it's likely that the most desperate will harass you more, but you may well get overwhelmed with calls and emails.
Finally, you may well be contacted by lot's of new clients - especially if you're advertising your site on HomeHair ;-). It's probably a good idea to prioritise your existing clients , particularly if they are regulars, but if you can squeeze a few new ones in, it's not a bad idea as this is the perfect opportunity to expand your client list. Remember, it's not going to stay busy forever, and in fact some people may realise during lock down that they don't need to see a hairstylist as much as they thought.
How to stay safe and to keep your clients safe
There have been no specific guidelines issued by the government as yet for hairstylists either in a salon or working from people's homes. But, we do know some things about COVID-19 so here are some suggested precautions to consider once the government allows home hair stylists to work again:
Ask your clients to set up outside if they can - or if that's not possible make sure the room is as well ventilated as possible by opening windows and doors.
Make sure that your clients actually do the setting up (assuming they are able to) so that you don't have to touch furniture etc unnecessarily.
Wear gloves and change them in between clients.
Use hand sanitiser before and after each client (or wash your hands if you're able to)
Wear a face covering or mask and ask your clients to do the same.
Avoid using their loo / sinks etc so that you minimise the contact you have with surfaces in their home
Consider and online consultation so when you arrive you know exactly what you're doing and minimise the amount of time you spend in their home.
Don't accept drinks of tea etc from your clients - take your own bottle of water and thermos if you can't get through the day without your caffeine intake!
Ensure that your clients understand the risk they may be taking by inviting you into their home while COVID-19 is still a problem.
Consider doing vulnerable clients on a day when you don't see anyone else if that's possible, or first thing in the morning before you have been to anyone else's home.
Wash your clothes as soon as you get home (at 60 degrees if possible) and wear fresh clothes each day.
Check your temperature each day and ask your clients to check theirs.
Most of all, DO NOT start visiting clients until the government says it's OK to do so. A second lock down would be catastrophic for the hair and beauty industry, which is already under a great deal of pressure.
Finally, it's likely that the guidelines that the government will (hopefully) publish soon will focus on salons as opposed to home hair stylists and the rumours are that they are going to be relatively high level guidelines and not as prescriptive as some would like according to The Telegraph:
It may well be a case of common sense prevailing when hair stylists are finally allowed to return to work!