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How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Salon Industry


Salon owners, managers, and employees all know the impact COVID-19 has had on the beauty industry. During the onset of the virus, large independent operations with many employees and smaller salon suites alike saw their business stall. Salon managers experienced increasingly tighter shutdowns in an effort to slow the spread of the virus while trying to keep their salons open and operational.


Nail salons, massage parlours, and spas were often given more restrictions than beauty salons. Due to the nature of the virus, there was an increased risk of spreading COVID-19 in settings that required close proximity and touching. Experts didn't believe that handling hair had the same risk as touching skin. Still, beauty salon managers had restrictions, including limits on how long they could spend with each client. They hardly had time to do a haircut, much less perform a professional quality colour.


Salon businesses suffered a loss in clients and employees during 2020 and 2021 even when shutdowns weren't in place. Clients began calling in to cancel appointments while employees opted to stay at home and isolate. Some skilled salon talent took advantage of better opportunities or made a career change. There were also those who became sick and were unable to return to the workforce.


Although there are more reasons for optimism in 2022, things still aren’t back to normal. Like many other types of businesses, those in the salon industry have changed. Salon owners and managers have more options about how to run their businesses, but they also have a greater responsibility to protect their salon, their employees, and their clients.


In 2022 and continuing into 2023, business owners are uncertain about the impact of COVID-19. It makes it difficult to plan what policies to keep and which changes to make going forward. Salon managers want to make decisions that will protect the salon business regardless of what changes in the future.


1. Labour Shortages – Getting skilled staff into salons is the biggest challenge to salon owners now. They are having problems recruiting the talent they need to keep their salons operational and dependable. One way to gain access to more employees is through social media. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn give salon owners access to qualified beauty workers looking for employment.


Another option is to sponsor international talent. With borders beginning to reopen, there are more opportunities to find skilled workers from other countries.

Salon managers shouldn't let their need to fill gaps in the salon override their need to maintain the team they already have. They should work with employees and listen to their concerns. Taking them for granted could leave them with more positions to fill.


2. Insufficient Training – Hiring apprentices is leaving many salon owners feeling less than enthusiastic. New Technical and Further Education (TAFE) trainees don’t have the skills and experience needed to start working in a salon. Now, salon managers must train apprentices for the most basic procedures.


One solution is hiring seniors that already have years of training in the salon. Develop or implement a training program that is appropriate for both apprentices and seniors. Training new and existing employees together helps create consistency across the salon business. It also allows new employees to learn more advanced skills from senior employees.

3. Supply Issues – Access to salon materials is an issue for all types of salons. Whether owners rely on quality in-salon products or sell products for retail, they probably aren’t getting everything they order. There are some issues getting key ingredients to make some products. In some cases, product packaging shortages are causing delays in delivery.


One way to head off the problem of product shortages is for salons to plan ahead. Sometimes ordering more than is needed can help them build a backstock. For example, if they usually order 20 bottles of shampoo every two weeks, they should order 40. If the salon receives the entire order amount, they should order the regular amount again after another two weeks.


Staying up to date on payments can help salon managers develop a better relationship with their suppliers. Working with the same suppliers may help them get priority service when hard-to-get items become available.


When products aren't accessible for extended periods, the salon should consider switching to different products when possible. The reality is that many of the things salons purchased pre-COVID aren’t of the same quality now. Another product or brand might work better or at least as well as the one that’s gotten so difficult to obtain.

As new COVID strains and treatments develop, the requirements for COVID also change. Some salons only wear masks or require their clients to do so when it is enforced. At the very least, salon owners should follow the current safety precautions to keep their clients and employees safe.


Some salons have maintained mandatory mask-wearing practices throughout the pandemic and beyond. They want to give their clients a sense of security when they come in for their appointments. It is up to individual businesses to require proof of vaccination before offering any service. On the other side, some have refused service to those who have had the vaccine. It is not surprising that salon owners have questions about what their salon insurance covers and what it doesn’t.


In most cases, salon insurance doesn’t cover COVID-related illnesses or time lost from work. For one reason, it is almost impossible to prove that a specific person or exposure caused the person to get the illness. People often transmit the virus without experiencing any symptoms themselves.


On the other hand, salons with public & product liability insurance might cover certain instances of COVID-19 exposure. The best way for salons to find out what their insurance policy does and does not cover is to talk with their broker.


For now, the most important thing salon owners can do is to follow safety protocols and try to keep their employees and clients safe. Make sure you have the salon insurance you need to cover potential accidents and injuries that might occur in your salon.


To learn more about getting the right salon insurance for your business, call Salonsure at 07 3135 7436 or complete and submit the contact form on our website. We are here to help you get the best coverage for your salon during COVID-19 and beyond.

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