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Personal Services

This playbook provides guidelines for businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM) offering the following kinds of personal services: hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas, massage therapists, waxing studios, pet grooming and related services and more.

Sample: Small Salon Risk Profile

Personal Services Risk Profile Frequency

Personal Services Risk Profile Duration

Personal Services Risk Profile Variety

The sample risk profile has been determined for small salons in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*

Current Impact 

Current Impact

Future Trends 

Future Trends

Recommended Practices 

Recommended Practices

Community Partnership 

Community Partnerships

Additional Resources 

Additional Resources

Current Impacts

Provider Outlook

Providers Report a Significant
Negative Outlook

Employee Impact

>20 Employees Will Be
Hardest Hit

Cosmetics Industry Decline

2.5% Decline in Cosmetics
Industry This Year


The personal services industry has taken a hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists were plunged into joblessness when salons closed and social distancing guidelines were imposed. While big chains and more moneyed salons often hire stylists as employees, smaller independent operations — which make up the bulk of the industry — rely on self-employed contractors who may have little financial cushioning and no unemployment benefits. As lockdowns eased, salon owners and employees returned to workplaces that had been crucially transformed with reduced capacity and protective measures in place. And while some customers have flocked back to salons, others are still anxious, canceling their appointments for now.

Future Trends

Workforce Needs

Changing Workforce Needs

Personal services businesses will need to redesign their office spaces to reduce high-touch items (such as testers or magazines) and install protective screens between technicians and clients when possible.

PPE Needs

Increased PPE Needs

Personal services technicians will need quality PPE, including, at minimum, masks and gloves when working in direct contact with clients.

Supply and Delivery

Disruption in Supplies and Delivery

Due to ongoing supply chain interruption and delivery delays, certain products may be slow to be restocked. Additionally, maintaining a safe stock of PPE for all technicians will be vital.

Reduced Contracts

Increase in Zero-hours

Due to reduced business capacity, contracted personal service technicians may be forced to shift to zero-hour contracts where work is not guaranteed and there are no employee benefits.

Recommended Practices

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from your local public health department.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay home. Employees who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should take precautions, including self-quarantine, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Employ PPE in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from the local health department.
  • Require customers and employees to wear masks or face coverings while in the establishment, unless a service is being provided on the face that requires removing the mask or face covering of the customer and the customer remains at least six feet apart from all other customers.
  • PPE products, such as gloves, are single use and must be changed after each client.
  • Wash hands with soap and water as well as any other body part that came into contact with the customer (i.e., forearms or elbows for massage therapists) after each appointment.
  • Frequently disinfect all hard, non-porous surfaces including the reception counter, phones, computers, door handles, etc.
  • Wipe down all soft surfaces (couches, chairs) with water and a clean towel.
  • Thoroughly clean the product area, including all shelving or display cases. Add signage to this area to let clients know it is cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Regularly clean air ducts and filters to improve air quality.
  • Provide hand sanitizer for clients, if not already available. Consider installing touchless water faucets and soap dispensers.
  • Consider requiring customers to wear their own mask while receiving services.

Personal Services Health

Process & Space Modifications

  • Make appropriate physical modifications to ensure all customers are at least six feet apart from each other when performing cosmetology practices or barbering services.
  • Provide services on an appointment basis only. Consider having clients wait in their car or outside to be contacted when the provider is ready for the appointment. Ensure adequate time between appointments to properly clean and disinfect.
  • Encourage customers to wash and disinfect their hands before each treatment. 
  • Clean and disinfect workstations, equipment, chairs, and tables and other non-porous tools and implements used during the appointment. Consider barrier methods on client chairs and tables, such as disposable paper drapes or towels that can be laundered after each client.
  • Discard any porous implements (e.g. files, buffers, neck strips) immediately after use.
  • Launder all towels, capes and linens after each use.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched areas including the reception counter, phones, computers, door handles, items in restrooms, displays, Point of Sale equipment, etc.  
  • Increase contactless payment options. If unavailable, employees should change gloves between each transaction or use hand sanitizer between clients. Consider upgrading to touchless trash cans.
  • Refrain from offering self-serve food or beverages.
  • Discard any open “test” product and discontinue this practice. 
  • Remove magazines, books, toys, etc. from reception and waiting areas. 
  • Prohibit congregating in break rooms and check-in counters.
  • Do not allow non-customer companions to accompany customers during a service.

Personal Services Workspaces


  • Add signage to service areas to let clients know it is cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • Encourage clients to wait in their cars until their appointment start time to reduce waiting area congestion and allow time to properly sanitize between clients.
  • Encourage clients to wear masks when possible, especially for hair and nail services.
  • Develop a client communication plan should you become aware of a COVID-positive visitor in the past 14 days

Personal Services Communication

Community Partnerships

Small Business Partnerships

Partnerships with Small Businesses

COVID-19 is changing the frequency in which consumers are able to invest in personal services. Identifying mutually beneficial partnerships with other brands could improve customer loyalty and revenue. For example, Trixie's Day Spa is partnering with Fusion, a local clothing shop, to make Mother's Day Gift Packages and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Similarly, East Village Day Spa has shifted to selling products online and promoting other local products through their retail sales tool.

Supporting Families

Supporting Local Families in Need

The Pet Project Midwest, based in Des Moines, works to keep pets with their loving families and out of shelters, even when the family is unable to financially provide for their pets. Due to the financial challenges presented by COVID-19, the Pet Project Midwest is providing families in need with five months of pet food and pet supplies. The Pet Project Midwest also partners with Wesley Meals on Wheels to provide the pet food for the individuals getting food delivered each week.

Additional Resources

Recommended Playbooks

The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.

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Human Resources
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Information Technology
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Sales and Marketing
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*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.

Legal Disclaimer

The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.

Last updated: 8/20/2020