What barbers need to know about opening back up after lockdown

4 mins read

It’s finally here – barber shops and salons are set to open once again from 4th July after a months-long lockdown.

But while the entire community is already itching for their next trim, things are most likely going to be very different – especially for barbers.

We spoke to our customers and barber shops around Europe who’ve already gone through the re-opening process to find out what to expect – and how to make the most of it. Here’s what we found out.

Clients are definitely excited

One things’ for certain – client demand isn’t going anywhere. Our customers said that visiting a barber shop or salon was in their top three priorities, as soon as they were able to post-lockdown.

That goes double for barbers, in fact. In all the countries which have come out of lockdown so far, mens haircuts were the most booked treatment on the whole of Treatwell. 

So, it’s extra important to make sure you’re set up properly for re-opening, to make the most of it.

Be sure to get back in the shop a few days early to make sure everything is ready to go. We’d recommend spending time on at least one ‘test’ day, where you or your team take a dry run of what your new normal will look like.

Pro tip: Get someone to role-play a client visiting the shop, to make sure you pick up on anything that might be a problem – it’ll be worth it.

Hygiene matters more than ever

While clients are eager to get back in the chair, that doesn’t mean behaviour isn’t changing. Understandably, hygiene was given as a top concern by all our customers – at the end of the day, they just don’t want to book in somewhere they don’t feel safe.

They’re on the lookout for clearly elevated hygiene practices, ways to avoid crossing paths with too many other people and minimising direct contact.

The government has released a new, full list of guidelines and rules to help you manage any risks.

For barbers, the key takeaways are:

  • Pre-booked appointments only: No more lining up clients to wait on the bench.
  • Wear protective gear: Gloves, mask and visor are all recommended.
  • Keep it short: Minimise the amount of time each client will take.
  • Keep track: Keep a temporary record of your clients to aid with Track & Trace.

You can read the full guidelines here.

With all that in place, you may need to find a new way to handle client demand.

As a Treatwell partner, clients can book in a slot with you in advance through your website, a listing or your social media. Tell them in advance when you’re open, and how it’ll work. You can even be paid in advance, no cash required. Find out more here.

“Following government guidelines, we’ll be stopping all walk-in appointments and encouraging clients to pre-book online.

We want both them and our staff to feel safe, so hygiene has to be our top priority.”

George, director of Mansculine London and Treatwell partner

Clients are starting to think local

It’s not just how clients are booking that’s changing – it’s where. 

With many more people working from home or avoiding public transport, we’ve seen far more searches for local gems over their usual spots near work. That means there’s a real chance for businesses – especially barbers – to get found by a new wave of clients on top of their regulars.

Consider upgrading your window display – just because the walk-ins are largely out doesn’t mean that walk-bys are. Even if they’re not popping in, you can still get plenty of fresh eyes on your shop if you make it look appealing.

Show off imagery of your best work, shout about your improved hygiene measures to put possible clients at ease and let them know how they can book in their slot ahead of time.

Getting an online presence is also key. Make sure your website’s up to date, claim your business on Google and consider getting yourself on a listings site like Treatwell to get in front of millions of potential clients.

Peak hours are disappearing

Gone is the age of dead Mondays. Across the whole of Europe we’ve seen a trend of traditional busy periods for barber shops and salons disappearing fast – most likely again because clients have more flexible schedules than they might have done before.

That might mean a re-think of your normally reliable hours. To begin with, we’d recommend extending them as far as you think is possible, especially to capture that first rush of demand. As time goes on and you learn more about the new normal, you can work out what works best for you.

Plus, since you’ll likely have to build in extra time throughout the day to make sure you’re cleaning and disinfecting regularly, this is a good way to make sure you’re not missing out on customers in the long run.