Coronavirus: Salon/Spa Preparedness & Reassurance

March 7, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 10 Comments

This a blog post I didn’t want to write.

In this digital age, we’re being bombarded with up-to-the-second bulletins of new confirmed cases and mores deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

It’s only natural that people are concerned enough to begin altering plans and events are being delayed or cancelled. Tokyo has yet to decide on delaying the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

The airline and cruise ship industry are experiencing empty seats and staterooms. Face masks are hard to find. Supply chains for manufacturing are strained. The stock market has become a roller coaster.

Fear has a domino effect and can spread faster than the coronavirus itself. The last thing I want to do is write a blog post that raises the already mounting level of concern.

I feel it is only prudent that I offer you a short list of things you should be doing to prepare your salon/spa business to weather any adverse effects coronavirus fears can bring.

Specifically, I’m referring to consumers delaying their salon/spa services to avoid close contact with service providers. This also includes employees that may be reluctant to deliver services to avoid physical contact with clients.

Here are my five No-Compromise Leadership gotta-do’s to avoid or minimize the economic impact the coronavirus may bring:

  1. Gotta get your coronavirus facts from gov: The news media is treating coronavirus the same way it treats any major storm. Storms are big news. Yes, it is important to warn people of possible dangers and provide preparation and safety advice. But coronavirus has become a major news story. Like a major storm, coronavirus updates already have a font and an ominous soundtrack. And just like bottled water, milk and snow shovels fly off the shelves when there is a storm, there’s a run on face masks and Purell. The non-stop coverage feeds fear. The best information on coronavirus risk levels and prevention is at cdc.gov. Pay attention to the facts. Don’t overdose on hype.
  2. Gotta do your Cash-Flow Plan: The ability of your salon/spa to generate consistent cash flow is essential. In good times and bad, the absolute single best tool EVERY business owner, large or small, needs is a 12-month plan that details projected service and retail revenues, expenses and net cash. As many entrepreneurial businesses learned in the 2008 recession, it can get pretty ugly when clients spread out or forego salon/spa services. A cash-flow plan is a “best guess” on monthly revenues. Expenses, including payroll and products, is pretty easy. The key is to live your cash-flow plan and adjust revenue and expenses as situations dictate. The big key is building a cash reserve to weather a storm.
  3. Gotta prepare your employees: Clarity eliminates uncertainty. Use the information at gov to inform your employees on coronavirus facts and risk levels. Immediately implement sanitation procedures that include thorough hand sanitizing before and after every client service. Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Cover coughing and sneezing with a tissue and discard it in the trash and wash your hands immediately after. Employees should stay home if sick and you should have contingency plans if short staffed. No hand shaking until the coronavirus threat is over.
  4. Gotta have talking points to reassure clients: This is a time to be proactive to reassure clients that your salon/spa is taking extra precautions to keep them and your employees safe. If you offer online booking, include a brief message on the sanitizing precautions that are in place. All phone appointments should be briefly informed of your precautions. The same briefing should be given to all clients entering your business. If a client doesn’t feel well, no matter how important that occasion is, she or he should reschedule for a later date. Explain that, “We’re not shaking hands because we care about your health and our own.” Being proactive and sharing the precautions your salon/spa is taking to ensure everyone’s wellbeing is simply smart business.
  5. Gotta be prepared to make tough decisions: Making tough business decisions sucks, especially when it means cutting expenses. This is exactly why the preventive measures in the first four gotta-do’s are so essential. But preventive measures can only do so much. Just like empty seats on planes, the worst fear for salons and spas is that widespread panic turns into white space on your appointment book. This is when your cash-flow plan tells you what to do. You may need to cut all non-essential expenses. You may need to cut hours. You may have to go extra lean on supplies. And you may need to temporarily downsize staff. Such decisions definitely suck big time. But, better to make tough decisions quickly than borrowing money and creating debt.

Here’s my challenge to you: The coronavirus threat is real. But all threats have levels from unlikely to serious. It’s important not to overreact to all the coronavirus hype. The more facts you understand, the less stressed you, your employees and your clients will be.

Be prepared.

Be proactive.

This storm will pass.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild. Reports out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.”

Current risk assessment from the CDC:

  • For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • People in communities where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

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  1. Thank you so much Neill for sharing this common sense precautionary business advice,we need to be prepped for this in our world of service and to allay fears but also be on our toes financially,
    Fay Doe

  2. Our Health board here in Ontario has implemented a phone number or contact information for every client walking in the door.

    And must have hand sanitizer with a DIN at each station.

  3. Thank you Neil. Also, it’s a good marketing opportunity, unfortunately. 🙂 Each of our rooms has Blue Air Purifiers with VOC filters, and I’m sure no other area salon does. I’m going to flaunt that. We will also post something on the front door with 5 or so bullet points, requiring anyone sick to not come in, and to simply call and reschedule. We will ask anyone sick to leave. We will also post on the entry door that everyone washes their hands immediately, and that hugs, handshakes, etc. will not happen. Always look for the bright side in situations like these… like some politicians have said, “never let a crisis go to waste!” We also have a client that traveled to Thailand/South Korea as the crisis started 3 weeks ago, and THEN was un-wise enough to go back to Japan for another 2 weeks. She is scheduled to come for a haircut on 3/25. I am cancelling her appointment, and requiring she wait 30 days after that to reschedule. By that time, I’m confident most of us will already have the virus. Survival of the fittest! 🙂

  4. As a small salon, restricting client appointments to mornings, we’re always washed each gown, cape and towels after a single use. Wash and sanitize combs and brushes after each client. One day I saw a client open the front door with a tissue. After started wiping the clients chair, bathroom faucets, handles, door knobs, everything a client or we would have touched like scissors with Disinfecting Wipes. Washed my hands, more so to remove product after a client, diligent now with soap and water after each client. We have added a continuous diffuser/vaporizer with essential oils in the salon, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tee Tree and On Guard. Personally we take a variety of herbal remedies like Oscillococcinum, Respiratonic and Liposomal Vitamine C, to name a few. We do our best not to get sick, pass it on nor except it from clients. That’s the goal …


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