Have you ever walked in someone’s home, and it makes you wanna kick off your shoes because it’s so inviting, welcoming, warm, and cozy? One of the truest telltale signs of someone who loves what they do, especially when it comes to a hairstylist, is how they keep their workspace. Your workspace should not be much different from that warm, inviting home. When someone comes into your salon or sits in your chair, they should feel welcomed. Your environment plays a major role in how they feel. Sometimes keeping up with the tidiness of your work space in a salon can be quite difficult because of all the hair, equipment, products, and overall stuff needed to provide the service.
To start with, it is important to understand the difference between cleanliness and messiness. On a busy day, a mess is to be expected, but that mess does not determine cleanliness. Even with a mess, you should give yourself five or ten minutes between clients to tidy up a bit and maintain the overall cleanliness. Cleanliness is something that needs to be addressed constantly on a daily basis; and it can, in fact, be downright inconvenient.
I make jokes often about being sick and tired of cleaning my workspace. I literally sweep more times throughout the day than I do anything else. I could be a professional sweeper. I have learned how to tidy up my workspace quicker than a cowboy can draw his gun in the wild wild west. Just because you create a system and you are enjoying your work, it doesn’t make tidying up any easier. It is routine, boring, and time consuming, nevertheless, it is necessary. And the more clients you have and the busier you are, the more challenging it is to keep up with cleanliness. With a system in place, it may not get any less challenging to stay on top of these things when you are, “too busy” but it will become more routine–just like turning on the lights and preparing for your work day. Face it — it’s just one of those things that come with the territory of doing hair.
When I make my schedule, I make sure to leave myself a few minutes between customers to wipe down surfaces, get rid of previously used combs and brushes, sweep the floor (oh, the never-ending sweeping!) and prep for the next client. It is not always easy but sometimes your clients simply must wait a few minutes so that you can prepare for them. Usually this is something they don’t even mind waiting for because everyone can appreciate a welcoming, clean space. Not only will they not mind, they will appreciate your efforts. I have had clients tell me that when I tidy up before their service, or take time while they are under the dryer or at the shampoo bowl to clean up, they see that I care about customer service and take pride in what I do. You do not have to go out your way to do this just to be impressive, people can tell from the moment they step into your salon how you feel about customer care and how you keep your environment. So, tidy up, do a little during the downtime instead of sitting down, grabbing for your phone or stopping to keep up with the daily gossip.
I cannot tell you how many nasty salons I have seen over the years–salons that you could not pay me to even sit in. Once I took my son to a salon/barber shop in the mall; and I literally walked in and right back out because I could not get past the hair that was everywhere. The stylist had the shampoo bowls filled with chemical relaxer, combs, bowls, and what else? Hair! The barbers not only had hair all over the floor where someone could slip on it, but the chairs were also littered with hair. Needless to say, they were busy, in fact they stay busy, but busy is no excuse. I could not allow my son to get his hair cut there. Perhaps I am a bit more sensitive because I can spot hair from a mile away; but even with a happy medium, you must take time to clean your work space.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO HELP CREATE A SYSTEM TO MAINTAIN A TIDY WORKSPACE:
- Give yourself five or ten minutes between clients to sweep. This is one thing that you can do at least twenty times a day and still find hair on the floor. So, do it even if you don’t see hair on the floor. It will keep the hair and dust volume low.
- Wipe your chair down after each client. It literally takes 2 1/2 seconds.
- Wipe down the shampoo bowl after each use to remove excess water and residue.
- Each week, mop and pull things from out the space in which they sit. Here’s what I mean–take products off the shelf, move chairs and floor mats and clean surfaces from oils, residues, and of course, from plenty of hair. Also wipe down the shampoo and conditioner containers so they are free from hair and buildup.
- Always clean and sanitize your combs.
- Have a designated area for soiled items. Even if you don’t sanitize daily, soak the items so that the buildup does not set in.
If you do these things on a routine basis, it will not become more desirable to you; it will however take less time in the long run and become quicker, therefore easier to do.
Lastly, don’t be so caught up into the money that you forget to create the value of your environment. It is absolutely imperative to the value you bring to your clients. It is one of those things that they may not directly say to you, but they will certainly tell others. When people leave reviews about me (I don’t read them), I’m told one of the things often mentioned is how clean I keep my salon space. That being said, we don’t do it for the reviews–we do it for the pride and professionalism.