“In the state of California, everyone is lawsuit-happy and employees have more rights than employers. We spend a lot of time and energy on our policy and procedures manual to prevent being taken to court and losing our business. We make sure the manual is clear, concise and specific so everyone knows his or her responsibilities. Besides an earthquake, the worst thing that could happen to the salon is to be sued for wrongful termination, workman’s comp, or unlawful practices. As a small business owner, we know every time we make a decision, we’re not just making a decision short-term; we’re setting a precedent for the whole business.” – Melisa and John Ryo, Festoon Salon (Berkeley and San Francisco, CA)

“We have our employees sign a confidentiality agreement when they are hired that states if they leave, they are not allowed to access and take any salon information with them—including client lists. In addition, since we have a generous education program, we have a professional development agreement. It states that if an employee leaves, he or she must reimburse the salon for out-of-pocket expenses for any education during the six months prior to the termination. And although it’s not a written plan, if an employee does leave, we send a letter to her last 90 days of clients and offer them a special to continue services at the salon.” – Mike and Tracey Nass, Chameleon and MODA Salon and Spas (Green Bay and Appleton, WI)

“We have a plan to avoid a computer disaster since all of our client and salon information is on our system. We make three backups every day across our network. We’re also investigating how to backup remotely to a different location in case of a fire in the salon. We’re ready as soon as DSL lines get to our house.” – Brian and Ginger Pendley, Anazao Salon (Snellville, GA)

“We are located in a large mall and have a five- or six-page disaster plan from our mall security. All the merchants are connected with security and use a calling tree in the event of any disaster or incident. Even if there is a theft, shoplifting, bad check writing or fraud, we’re all told what to be aware of and what to look for. The plan keeps us informed and tells us what to do and where to go for every event. It’s part of our employee handbook, so all our employees have it and know what to do in any situation.” – Gerrifynn Dudmundson, City Looks Salon and Spa International (Rochester, MN)

“In the past few years, we have become much more aware of security. We installed an alarm system that incorporates a panic button under the front desk. We have also installed a safe under the front desk so the nightly deposit can be secured until the next morning. The security of our computer records has also been assured by positioning a technical specialist who monitors our server and backs up files on a regular basis.” – Thomas Ciarniello, Casal’s de Spa & Salon (Canfield, OH)

“We have clients sign a release form for a service if they are adamant that they want it, even against the stylist’s recommendation. Also, we have all massage and facial waxing clients sign a release form that we keep on file.” – Robin Halter, Salon W.O.W. (Evansville, IN)

“The best disaster prevention we have is the client consultation with the stylists. We train stylists and receptionists with ongoing classes in customer service. We cannot begin work on a client unless we have a complete understanding of what the client wants—which is sometimes different than what she says. We show visuals and repeat what we hear the client requesting. At monthly meetings we often review situations that happened in the previous month. We discuss what occurred, how it was handled and give ideas on how we could improve next time.” – Ladan Zarrabi, Ladan Hair Design and Day Spa (Stillwater, OK)

“We stay prepared for dangerous weather—tornado warnings are not unusual in our area. Windows surround our reception and stylist areas, so when a warning sounds, we move clients to the dressing room area, which has no windows.” – BJ and Travis Norwood, Norwood and Company (Arlington, TX)

“Our salon has experienced myriad emergency weather situations, from ice storms to hurricanes. Our strongest tool at these times is communication—both between stylists and with our clients. We keep all contact numbers stored on a disk at a remote site for these types of circumstances. Our goal is to keep our sty lists as accessible as possible in order to retain our customers. Preserving client satisfaction is our ultimate goal, even if that means working Sundays to accommodate missed appointments.” – Toni Hernandez, Salon 21(Raleigh, NC)

“Many lives have been lost in our area in the last few years to tornados, so when the sirens sound, we act. We own a free-standing building, and we designed it with two large bathrooms in the center of the building. When the alarms sound, we send everyone into the bathrooms. It’s not optional to take cover—clients go in with perm rods and color on their hair. And we stay in there until it is all clear. There have been times when we’ve just had to rinse off color or perm solutions in the bathroom. Safety is the most important thing.” – Robin and Bob Wolfe, Charisma Inner Beauty-Outward (Wichita, KS)

“We carry insurance on the salon as well as liability insurance; those are just a given. We also provide disability insurance, in case any of our employees have a disaster in their life that prevents them from working. We also have an alarm system that’s connected to emergency services. The fire department responds even if we’ve accidentally-tripped the alarm.” – Amy Obritz, Cinergi Salon/Spa (Wyomissing, PA)

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