As salons reopen and service providers get back to work, a big looming question still stands: Should you allow strangers took book appointments with you?
Your salon or studio is your safe space, but you also want to get back to earning revenue and rebuilding your business after the all that downtime. But is accepting new clients at your salon worth the risk of COVID-19? And if you do, how do you make the booking process (and your sessions) as safe as possible for the new client and also for you?
Let’s break down all the reasons for and against accepting new clients during the pandemic, plus some ways to make the process as safe as possible if you do decide to welcome strangers back to your business.
Should I Accept New Clients Right Now? (During a Pandemic)
Short answer: Yes, but only if you’re comfortable.
One of the best — but also hardest — elements of being a service provider or salon owner is that you get to call the shots. Still, that means that in gray zones like these, you’ve got to go with your gut instinct. To help, though, here are the pros and cons we tend to hear from businesses that use our online scheduling:
Pro: Adding new clients brings in new revenue, something we all desperately need right now after months of shutdowns.
Pro: Again, after not being able to book appointments for several months due to the pandemic, many people are looking for new providers — especially if their previous salons or stylists haven’t reopened yet or are so busy, they’re can’t get an appointment. This is a great opportunity to become their new go-to.
Con: So much of COVID-19 safety is based on the honor system. If you don’t know the client, you understandably will feel nervous about whether they’re following all the rules of quarantine before coming to see you.
Con: The last thing you need is a no-show right now. It cuts into the limited time you have to see clients, and you need as much revenue as possible. New clients tend to cancel more often than loyal repeat clients.
Con: If all of your previous clients are scrambling to see you, you wouldn’t want someone new to snag one of your limited spots before they do. Loyalty counts!
These are just a few of the pros and cons to consider when making the decision that’s right for you.
Accepting New Clients: Three Options
If you decide you’re just not comfortable with accepting new clients, we make it easy for you to set your account to “not accepting new clients” for as long as you need.
Using this feature only prevents new clients from booking with you via your Schedulicity account online, however, which also means you can choose a middle option: screening new clients before adding them to your calendar. To do this, you’d let them know on your website or in your Schedulicity policies that they can call you directly for a quick consultation and to book an appointment — sort of a middle ground between accepting new clients and not.
Finally: the green light. If you’re ready to accept new clients, but you’re just not sure what policies to set, we got you! Let’s address how you can offset those cons from above next.
How Should I Prepare New Clients for Their First Appointment?
There are several great ways to make accepting new clients right now a lot safer (and easier).
How to Talk to Salon Clients About Your COVID-19 Policies
- Outline a clear COVID-19 policy on your business listing or in your booking emails, so new clients know exactly what to expect. Schedulicity lets you add this information to your account profile, and you can also include it in your automated emails via our Automated Marketing add-on.
- Reach out to your current clients via email to offer them first dibs on new spots. Because Schedulicity offers a way to set your account to “no new clients” for as long as you need, you can let return clients take all your appointments first. When you start to see a drop-off in post-quarantine booking madness, you can open up your calendar to new customers.
- Add a required salon waiver that every new client must sign. (More on this below.)
- Add a no-show or cancellation policy, and consider requiring a deposit or prepayment or charging a no-show fee. (Yep, you can do this with Schedulicity, too.)
Letter for Not Accepting New Clients
If you decide you’re not comfortable with accepting new clients. Here’s a quick letter (email, really) that you can send to anyone who reaches out to you about whether you’re accepting new clients.
Thanks so much for reaching out! Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I’m not accepting new clients at the moment. That said, I would love to work with you at some point in the future! If and when my calendar opens up a bit, I’ll be sure to reach back out to you. In the meantime, I’d love to recommend a few of my colleagues who you might like. They are: [insert a name or two and links to their websites or Instagram handles].
Suggesting a couple of your colleagues is a great way to show them some love, plus it makes the potential client feel like they didn’t waste effort emailing you.
Do I Need a Salon Waiver or Service Waiver?
Including a service or salon waiver, sometimes called a salon release form or liability waiver, that you require clients to sign before booking an appointment or session is never a bad idea.
Schedulicity offers a way to add service or class waivers to your account, which many of our clients have been using to cover COVID-19-related risks and concerns. We wrote a whole article on waivers, including some of the elements commonly included on a salon waiver and an example template.
That said, all release forms or liability waivers need to be reviewed and approved by a lawyer, so make sure to reach out to yours before adding one to your account.