With the hair and beauty industry thought to be worth £30bn to the UK economy, it’s fair to say that hairdressing services are in constant demand. As a result, opening a hair salon can seem like an attractive proposition for stylists looking to make a name for themselves in the industry.
While it’s easy to focus on the task at hand, such as cutting, colouring or styling, the reality of running any business is that business owners must protect themselves against financial ruin, which can be the result of legal action taken against the business by employees, clients or the public alike.
According to the NimbleFins hair salon insurance guide, the cover is critical for salon owners to research thoroughly when looking to protect their business against many unforeseen risks.
Employers’ Liability Insurance
It is a legal requirement for all employers to have insurance to protect their employees if they fall ill or have an accident while at work. Known as employers’ liability insurance, any insurance claims or legal costs will be covered as part of the policy.
After all, accidents are not always easy to predict, even with the most stringent health and safety measures. All work environments differ, but there is the potential for the likes of trips, slips, burns, chemical exposure, and scissor cuts within a hair salon.
Anyone looking to open a hair salon will need to arrange employers’ liability insurance before opening, as business owners can be fined up to £2,500 for each day they have traded without this type of insurance policy in place.
Public Liability Insurance
The nature of a hairdressing environment is that stylists work in close contact with the public. Therefore, public liability insurance will protect against injury or property claims due to damage that occurs while on the premises.
As the name suggests, the public doesn’t just refer to clients but anyone else who may enter the salon, such as the client’s family, tradespeople, stylists who come in for a job interview etc.
A point to note about public liability insurance is that it is not designed to cover against unsatisfactory service specifically due to the treatments carried out. Instead, public liability insurance is designed to cover against accidents in the salon or damage to client’s belongings.
Common examples of injuries sustained within a hair salon are trips on cables or slips near shampooing stations. Though, the exact extent of accidents or property damage that may occur is far-reaching.
Treatment Liability Insurance
For hairdressers, treatments such as colouring, cutting, blow-dries and permanent straightening are part and parcel of the business. However, the reality is that even decades of experience cannot guarantee a satisfactory outcome for the client, specifically if the treatment itself causes an injury to a client or damage to their property.
Treatment liability insurance is designed to protect against such claims, which could be anything from a burn from a curling wand to colour getting in the client’s eye, causing permanent damage to their eyesight.
Although not compulsory, treatment liability insurance is highly recommended since hairdressing products, tools, and techniques are becoming ever more sophisticated. As an example, modern hair straighteners are far hotter and more powerful than the early models brought to the market, increasing the potential for burns.
One way salon owners can protect themselves from insurance claims relating to treatments is to ensure all staff are fully qualified in the treatments they give. However, as junior stylists and apprentices often learn on the job, this opens up the potential for such accidents or property damage to occur.
Product Liability Insurance
A standard element of any hairdressing experience is being talked through the products used to achieve the finished look. If customers purchase additional products, this helps them achieve optimal hair health, but for the salon, any product sales generate extra profit.
However, all salon owners need to be aware that any products or tools sold that are found to be defective may result in an insurance claim by the purchaser. Claims can be made if the product causes an injury or reaction or if the product damage the client’s property.
The insurance needed to protect against defective products is called product liability insurance, which can have two strands, including bodily injury or property damage. In many cases, product liability insurance is sold as part of salon-specific public liability insurance. However, this will need to be confirmed when taking out the policy as all insurers differ.
The focus of insurance is mostly on claims brought against the salon, but business owners also need to consider any aspects that may impact the salon’s ability to trade. This may include if the salon owner is injured and cannot work, if the salon has stock taken in a break-in or if the salon’s phone lines go down, meaning bookings can’t get through.
Some of the most applicable insurance types include contents insurance, stock insurance, personal accident insurance and business interruption insurance. There are plenty of other insurance types that may also apply to a hair salon environment, which is why careful research is required.
To Sum Up
Granted, sorting insurance isn’t why anyone gets into business, but taking the time to get things in order could just guarantee the longevity of the business, should any claims be brought against it.
While only employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement, hair salon owners should seek to take all applicable insurance policies for their business.
Insurance is usually only a minimal cost for what can provide up to millions of pounds worth of payout depending on the insurance type. Therefore, it makes excellent business sense to protect what is the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination that could so easily be taken away should legal action be brought against it.