Being a hairdresser can have so many wonderful benefits – from expressing your creativity; making people feel great; building relationships and trusted friendships and being able to constantly evolve your craft! That said, owning a salon can come with some common pitfalls that can affect your business, bottom line and reputation. Cherrypicka has listened to industry feedback via the Australian Hairdressing Association we have pulled together the some of the top legal mistakes that hairdressers make in their businesses and how to prevent them!
This article does not deal with employment law issues but rather, the day to day issues you face in running your business.
1. Not valuing customers’ privacy and asking for too much personal information
Customers trust you with their hair, but they may not want to share everything else with you. Asking for too much personal information, such as medical history or credit card details during their intake process, can expose expose you to legal issues if you don’t handle their data securely and comply with privacy laws.
2. Not taking deposits
No-shows and cancellations can hurt your income and waste your time. To prevent this, you may want to take deposits from customers when they book an appointment. However, if you don’t clearly explain the terms and conditions of the deposit including how and when it is forfeited you will end up with unhappy customers and could in some instances fall short of the law.
Solution: Have a booking policy that outlines the deposit amount, payment method, refund policy, cancellation policy, rescheduling policy, and any other relevant details. Make sure your customers read and agree to the policy through clear online booking terms before they pay the deposit. Send them a confirmation email with the policy attached. Remind them of the policy when they cancel or reschedule.
3. Taking on risky clients without documenting your discussions
Some clients may have certain requests that pose a higher risk for your business. For example, they may have previous treatments, or unrealistic expectations that could affect the outcome of your service. If you don’t document your discussions with these clients and get their informed consent before proceeding with the service, you may face complaints, disputes, or even risk legal action if something goes wrong.
Solution: Have a risk acknowledgment form that records the client’s name, contact details, service details, risk factors, warnings, advice, recommendations, alternatives, expectations, consent, signature, and date. Make sure the client reads and understands the form before signing it. Keep a copy of the form for reference. Follow up with the client after the service to check on their satisfaction and address any issues.
4. Not making the most of spare space in the salon
If you have spare space in your salon, such as an unused room, you may be missing out on an opportunity to generate extra income. You can rent out the space to a freelancer who offers complementary services, such as makeup, nails, or massage. This can also attract more customers to your salon and create a more diverse and dynamic environment.
Solution: Have a rent-a-room agreement that specifies the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement, such as the rent amount, payment method, duration, notice period, responsibilities, liabilities, insurance, and any other relevant details. Make sure both parties sign the agreement and keep a copy for reference. Always make sure you check the terms of your lease to see whether you need the consent of your landlord in this arrangement.
5. Continuing to see the same problematic clients over and over
Some clients may be more trouble than they are worth. They may be rude, demanding, disrespectful, or abusive to your staff. They may constantly complain, cancel, reschedule at the last minute, or refuse to pay. They may cause stress, frustration, or damage to your business and reputation. If you continue to see these clients over and over, you may be harming yourself, your staff and your business.
Solution: Break up with them. Send them a client termination email that politely but firmly informs them that you are no longer able to provide them with your services. Explain the reasons for your decision and thank them for their past business. Refer them to another salon or hairdresser if possible. Don’t engage in any further communication with them unless necessary.
6. Using photos of customers without their consent
Taking photos of your customers’ hair can be a great way to showcase your work and promote your business. However, if you take photos of customers without their consent or use them in a way that they did not consent to, you may be exposing yourself to legal issues. Customers may not want their photos to be used for marketing purposes, or they may not like how they look in the photos.
Solution: Always ask for customers’ permission before taking their photos and include a clause in your booking terms that gives you this right. Explain how you intend to use the photos, such as on your website, social media, or portfolio. Respect their preferences and choices regarding photo sharing and tagging.
7. Protecting your valuable intellectual property
If you have staff working for you, they may also take photos of customers’ hair as part of their service. However, if you don’t have policies in place that clearly explain that the salon owns all intellectual property (IP) rights in the photos that they take, you may lose control over how the photos are used and who benefits from them. Staff may use the photos for their own purposes, such as building their personal brand or portfolio, or they may share them with competitors or third parties.
Solution: Have a staff handbook or an employment contract that outlines the IP policy of the salon. Make sure your staff understand and agree that the salon owns all IP rights in the photos that they take, and that they need your permission to use them for any other purpose. Monitor your staff’s online activity and enforce the policy if necessary.
8. Not having clear boundaries in place with social media influencers
Social media influencers can be a powerful way to boost your business and reach new customers. However, if you don’t have clear boundaries in place with them, you may end up wasting your time, money, or resources on ineffective collaborations. Influencers may not deliver on their promises, such as posting positive reviews, generating referrals, or increasing sales. They may also damage your reputation by posting negative or misleading content about your business.
Solution: Have a social media influencer agreement that defines the scope and expectations of the collaboration, such as the deliverables, deadlines, compensation, disclosure, feedback, and termination. You also need to make sure that influencers disclose their commercial relationship with you by using tags like #ad #sponsored or using the paid partnership tools. Review the influencer’s content and performance regularly and provide constructive feedback.