Heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures can bring hair and beauty salons to their knees, throwing a huge strain on cash flow and profitability.
Forecasters are promising us more snow on the way, so grab yourself a coffee and spend a few minutes imagining how your salon or spa business will cope. Or not.
It’s too late to start planning when the white stuff is falling.
A quick ‘Salon Business Snow Checklist’
1. Minimise business disruption when the big chill hits
- Put someone in charge both of preparing arrangements in advance and on the day of snowfall itself. Ideally someone who can trudge through the blizzard to the salon and you trust with a key.
- Does every team member know the bad weather contingency plan inside out? Are they clear as to what is required of them should the white stuff appear? A sprinkling of snow isn’t an excuse for a staying at home building a snowman.
2. Let it snow
- If accessing your till software remotely isn’t an option, make sure two people have responsibility for printing off the week’s appointment list, with contact details. Better be safe than sorry – take a hard copy full client listing home yourself if you don’t have remote access.
- Check you have current phone numbers for all your team on your phone. If they don’t turn up you need to be able to call them fast.
- Most land line phone systems can be diverted, but often the service provider has to add this to your phone package in advance, and charges for it. Test now to avoid last minute problems.
- Can you re-record your main salon or spa answer-phone message remotely? If not, remember to change your salon or spa answer phone message the evening before winter storms are forecast.
3. Avoid a snowy salon marketing fiasco
Turn the negative into a positive marketing activity. Make your clients feel looked after. Show you care about them.
- Keeping clients in the picture is key. Decide now who will post what, when and where across your online marketing channels. You don’t want a free for all with differing, and confusing, snowy messages being posted.
- Don’t just rely on Facebook. Not everyone spends their time glued to it. Use your salon website. SMS messages, email marketing and all your salon social media. The more the merrier. It’s far better to bombard clients with online updates than let them struggle in to be greeted by a locked salon door.
- Social media is a two-way conversation. Monitor social media for any grumbles and respond immediately. You’ll find some helpful tips here.
- And if you do have to close, hit the phones to get everyone re-booked. Market your salon extra hard to make up lost ground. Consider a complimentary upgrade or treatment for clients who missed out. The snow may be outside your control, but prove you care and value your clients.
4. Avert travel chaos: get your team into the salon
- Snow often causes tensions so have a team meeting and talk about responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings and arguments later. You need to market to your internal audience as well as your clients if you want a successful salon.
- Most hair and beauty employment contracts do not contain any provision for absence due to bad weather. In which case, the general rule is that if your salon is open and they don’t come to work then you do not have to pay them. Tread carefully. Some employees will have genuine practical problems in getting in during heavy snowfalls, especially in more rural locations. A heavy-handed approach can create bad feelings. Employment contracts and situations vary considerably so check with your lawyer beforehand so you know where you stand legally.
- Remind your team meeting that it is their responsibility to get into the salon. Wintery weather is not an excuse to snuggle down under the duvet. That said, be practical and give help where you can – look at sharing lifts especially those with 4x4s.
- Face the difficult issue of child-care arrangements. Get the team thinking about what they will do if their child cannot get to school or the school/childcare is closed.
- Make sure everyone knows who they need to speak to on the day if they are unable to get into the salon or are going to be delayed. One person needs to be in charge and in control.
5. The weather outside is frightful (so check your salon insurance)
- Is your salon covered? Claims can be costly. Icy conditions increase the potential for injury claims from both clients and employees. Check your salon business insurance small print or give your brokers a call. Before it’s too late.
And the worst that can happen if you’re well-prepared for bitter temperatures, the big chill and snowmen?
The sun shines and you feel smug!