Heads up for hairdressers: 3 business risks and solutions

What are the business risks for hairdressers? 

One of the worst things that can happen in a hairdressing salon is if a customer’s hair is bleached and all the hair falls off from the bleaching chemicals used. It’d be a horrifying thing to happen for everyone involved—the customer, the hairdresser, and even for the salon owner. But if it does happen, people wouldn’t know right away if it was something wrong with the bleaching chemicals which caused it or the hairdressers lack of skills in applying just the right amount.

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When things go wrong and the customer comes out of a salon with a bad hair day, some of them might just shrug it. But there’ll be some who’d take things to the next level if they don’t like what they hear from your explanation. To avoid paying for damages out of their own pockets, business owners can get hairdressing insurance. The premiums would be worth the peace of mind they buy.

Here are some business risks in hairdressing salons and some possible solutions to avoid incurring liability or getting covered if someone complains:

1. Hairdressing hazards/physical hazards

Hairdressers engage in a lot of close-in physical contact with a salon’s clients and patrons. Since their work involves a lot of hand movement on the head and hair, they need to stay close to their clients, often in breach of social distancing protocols being implemented amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This makes the hairdresser and the client vulnerable to contracting the virus from the other in such close and lengthy physical contact. 

If either the hairdresser, the client or both contract the virus and is brought to the hospital, then this poses potential legal liability on the part of the business owner. The family or friends of the hairdresser or the client might sue the salon owner and ask the court for damages.

The physical solution to this vulnerability is to practice the health protocols being observed by frontline workers in the health care industry. Hairdressers should be required to wear personal protection equipment (PPE) when they’re working such as facemasks, gloves, and aprons.

The legal solution would be to get insurance coverage for the potential liability of the salon owner both to the client and to the hairdresser. Especially if you’re just starting up, you should consider getting coverage for potential liability. The business owner should get sufficient coverage for both vulnerabilities.

2. Hazardous chemicals

Hairdressers often use a lot of chemicals on their clients’ hair and head as part of their job. Some of the hazardous substances that are stapled in any salon include hairspray, henna products, cleaning chemicals and disinfectants, and aerosols.

Some of these hazardous substances can have a negative effect on the health of those to whom they’re used and applied. They can cause skin irritation or dermatitis. They can have varying effects on people. They might achieve the effect of great-looking hair for some as advertised. But for others, it’s possible for them to incur dermatitis or skin allergies. They can also cause asthma to those who are allergic to certain vapours and exposure to dust.

Direct contact is just one among many ways that hazardous substances may cause unpleasant effects. Ingestions, skin absorption, injection, or inhalation can also cause negative effects on health. If one client becomes seriously ill and diagnosis points to those hazardous substances, then the salon business owners have a potential lawsuit in their hands.

The solution is for salon owners to implement safeguards and safety practices in the workplace. They should observe the regulations relating to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). The COSHH regulations mandate employers to make sure that the use of hazardous substances in the workplace is adequately controlled and supervised. They should provide the needed and suitable training to their workers. Everyone in their workplace who handles hazardous substances should know how to use them safely.

3. Dissatisfied with service

One of the most difficult concerns to handle for a salon business owner is when customers complain that they’re dissatisfied with the service they got. What’s worse is when a client says they didn’t get the hairstyle that they wanted and that the hairdresser ruined their hair, scarring them for life.

Hairdressing is mainly a craft and an art. There are practically no objective criteria to say whether a hairdresser did your hair following your instruction and requests. When a client complains of bad service, the bottom line will be the hairdresser’s competence. It’d be prudent to make sure your staff and hairdressers have certification for the skills needed in their jobs.

It’s better to ask your liability insurance provider if it’s possible to include professional liability insurance coverage for dissatisfaction and potential damages claims from clients or patrons. This is quite a slippery slope, though, as it might open the floodgates for heartbalm suits with baseless accusations and manufactured complaints.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just starting up or you’ve been around in your business for quite a while, it’s good to have insurance coverage for any accident that may happen. For hairdressers, since they’re working with a lot of wedges and tools, as well as all sorts of chemicals and hazardous substances, there’s always the risk of causing more harm than good to a customer or client. When something wrong happens, it’d be nice to have insurance coverage.