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£3.50 The essential magazine for salon owners

Jan/Feb 2018

TAKE A BOW Check out the winners of the NHF’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition

10

‘Real pain’ on way, as minimum pay is set to rise (again)

18

A night to remember at the NHF’s 75th anniversary celebrations

28

Refresh, regroup, restart – get 2018 off to a flying start Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Contents

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C O N T E N T S P6 NEWS Self-employed “outnumber employed” in hair and beauty P10 ‘REAL PAIN’ AHEAD ON PAY The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage will rise again from April, the Budget revealed P12 VALUE ADDED? The government is to consult on simplifying VAT, including the registration threshold

12 18

P14 PRESSURE POINTS Members have strongly backed the NHF to keep on pressing the government to make VAT, taxation and pay much fairer for salons and barbershops P18 EVENING GLORY More than 250 guests, the best businesses in hair and beauty – the NHF’s 75th anniversary event was definitely a night to remember P20 EXIT PLANS If your New Year’s resolution was to sell up, don’t rush into it. To get the best price, it is going to take at least a year to put the groundwork in place. But the NHF can help P24 TAKE ACTION AGAINST ALLERGIES A BBC documentary has highlighted how failing to do allergy alert testing can land you in hot water P28 QUIET POWER The quieter months of January and February are when you can shape how your year is going to go

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P34 THE CARE NECESSITIES How to turn complaints into compliments P38 EVENTS Including our new checklist to make sure you’re ready for employment and legal changes

£3.50 The essential magazine for salon owners

Nov/Dec 2017

TAKE A BOW Check out the winners of the NHF’s Photographic Stylist of Year competition

24

10

‘Real pain’ on way, as minimum pay to rise again

18

A night to remember at the NHF’s 75th anniversary celebrations

28

Refresh, regroup, restart – get 2018 off to a flyer Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus

COVER IMAGE The winning image for the Male Fashion Collection category of the NHF’s Photographic Stylist of the Year, by James Beaumont, of Allure Hair and Beauty in Exmouth, Devon. NHF president Agnes Leonard said the judges were “in awe” of the “exceptional visual imagery” displayed by the 2017 winners. Check them all out within the special supplement included with this edition of salonfocus.

CREDITS Model: Emjay Harris Photography: Felix Northover Hair: James Beaumont

Hair colour: Keune Haircosmetics Styling: Keune Haircosmetics

CONNECT WITH US AND HAVE YOUR COMMENTS AND TWEETS IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF SALONFOCUS Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


4

Welcome

PR ESIDEN T’S

L E T T E R SALONFOCUS IS PUBLISHED BY: National Hairdressers’ Federation, One Abbey Court, Fraser Road, Priory Business Park, Bedford MK44 3WH t: +44 (0) 1234 831965 f: +44 (0) 1234 838875 e: sfenquiries@salonfocus.co.uk w: www.nhf.info PUBLISHER Hilary Hall e: hilary.hall@nhf.info EDITOR Nic Paton e: nic@cormorantmedia.co.uk PR, EVENTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA Kelly Sylvester t. +44 (0) 1234 831965 e. kelly.sylvester@nhf.info ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Andy Etherton T: + 44 (0) 1536 527297 e: andy.etherton@nhf.info ART DIRECTOR Adriano Cattini Matrix Print Consultants Ltd t: +44 (0) 1536 527297 e: adriano@matrixprint.com While every care is taken in compiling this issue of salonfocus including manuscripts and photographs submitted, we accept no responsibility for any losses or damage, whatever the cause. All information and prices contained in advertisements are accepted by the publishers in good faith as being correct at the time of going to press. Neither the advertisers nor the publishers accept any responsibility for any variations affecting price variations or availability after the publication has gone to press. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the publisher, to whom application must first be made. The views expressed by contributors to salonfocus are not necessarily those of the NHF, the publisher or its editor. © 2018 The National Hairdressers’ Federation.

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very happy new year to you, and I hope you had a relaxing and refreshing festive break after the busy run-up to Christmas.

Any holiday period, whether Christmas or the summer, gives you the chance to reflect on what you’ve achieved both professionally and personally and what your aims and ambitions will be next. As we highlight in this edition, this is precisely what you should also be doing as a salon or barbershop owner now that things are probably a little quieter during January and February. Now is the time to regroup, step back and look ABOUT AGNES at where and what you could improve for 2018, Agnes Leonard is president whether that’s the services you’re offering of the NHF and a registered hairdresser. She has worked in or the client experience, how your team is the industry for 37 years and performing, how you’re using technology or owns Croppers Hair Studio in Dundee, a busy, family-run salon even the physical look and feel of your salon. successfully adapting to the fast-changing retail environment And, while January and February can be – just, in fact, like many NHF a good point in the calendar to take action, members up and down the country. this is also something that, as business owners, we should all be trying to do whenever we can, throughout the year. The NHF, through its programme of business events gives you exactly that opportunity – to step away from the busy salon floor, to open your eyes to new ways of thinking or working, and to get to know and learn from other members. So, if there is one New Year’s resolution I’d heartily recommend during this year, it’s “sign up to an NHF event”. However you improve this year, whatever changes for you, I wish you all a prosperous and successful 2018.

Material for consideration in this section of the magazine should be submitted via email or digital file transfer to the editor, salonfocus. Submissions should be made on the understanding that the National Hairdressers’ Federation has the right to use the material in any part of the magazine and any of its other publications, promotions or website, free from any copyright restrictions, or appearance fees other than the issue of artistic and photographic credits where applicable. Please include salon name, photographer and stylist.

AGNES LEONARD NHF president

COMING UP IN MARCH/APRIL 2018 From May, the General Data Protection Regulation will be laying down tough new rules for how all businesses should manage, store and protect their data. Don’t panic! The NHF and salonfocus are here to help There goes the bride… make a success of having staff out of the salon working off-site for bridal parties salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

Do you have a salon story to tell? Would you like to be featured in salonfocus? Get in touch with the team, on 01234 831965, or send an email to nic@cormorantmedia.co.uk


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News

SELF-EMPLOYED ‘OUTNUMBER EMPLOYED’ IN HAIR AND BEAUTY hair renters and selfemployed hairdressers and barbers now outnumber those who are directly employed within the industry, latest figures published by the NHF have revealed.

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A total of 57% of hairdressers and barbers were self-employed in 2017, compared with 48% the year before, the NHF statistics published in December showed. The percentage who were selfemployed within beauty went down slightly, to 54% from 57%, but was also still more than half. The role of self-employed workers in the UK – how they can potentially be exploited but also the effect they can have on wages and competition – is being closely scrutinised by the government. Last summer it published a Review of Modern Working Practices, which recommended the creation of a new form of worker, a “dependent contractor” who would be a half-way house between being employed and self-employed. The government’s response to this

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

review, including whether to accept its recommendations, is expected to be published imminently, and could have significant implications for how self-employment is treated within hair and beauty. Hilary Hall, NHF chief executive said: “We also hope to see measures put in place to ensure that workers are not exploited by employers who are simply looking to cut costs and therefore undercut competitors who work to more traditional employment models.” The statistics also showed that approximately 287,000 people now work in the industry, across some 40,000 hairdressing, barbering and beauty businesses, generating £7bn a year. But the figures showed clearly how the industry remains dominated by very small and micro businesses, with two-thirds reporting an annual turnover of less than £99,000, while 93% employed fewer than ten people. Half of those in the industry are aged 16-36, with women making up the largest group, at 29%. In total, women accounted for 88% of those working in hairdressing, barbering and beauty, the NHF figures suggested.

WATCH OUT FOR PRO HAIR LIVE! Have you got your tickets for PRO Hair Live? It’s taking place on 25 and 26 February in Manchester – we’ll be there and look forward to seeing you! For details go to professionalhairdresser.co.uk/ prohairlive


News

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WELSH HONOUR Congratulations to life-long Newport member Pam McCarthy who was inducted into the NHF Wales “Hall of Fame” at the NHF Welsh Awards in November. Pam (pictured below right, with weather presenter Siân Lloyd) started in 1963 as an apprentice with Stefan Jung of Salon Stefan in Newport, before opening her own salon in 1982 and becoming Newport NHF president in 1985. As well as her contribution to the industry, Pam has made a huge impact on the local Newport community through her work with local charity Eden Gate as a street pastor, helping people with addiction and homelessness. “The award was a huge surprise and a great privilege,” said Pam.

PENSION CHANGE FROM APRIL

SATURDAY STARTERS More than a quarter (28%) of hair and beauty professionals started out as Saturday workers, a survey has suggested. The poll by insurer Direct Line for Business found half (50%) had followed a family member into the industry. Apprenticeships and college courses (both 30%) were other popular routes in. When it came to what was the best thing about working in the industry, “making people happy” came out on top (40%), followed by “meeting new people” (26%) and “creating inspiring styles” (17%).

COUNCILS RAKING IN PARKING FINES

Local councils in England generated £819m from parking fees and fines in 20162017, an increase of 10% on the previous year, a study by the RAC Foundation has concluded.

Many of the highest totals were seen in London, with the largest in Westminster, which, after taking out enforcement running costs, reported a surplus of £73.2m. Outside the capital,

big surpluses were also recorded in Brighton and Hove, Milton Keynes and Birmingham. Many salons and barbershops struggle with parking fines and council enforcement regimes, especially those in city centres. An NHF survey found clients were often deterred from booking appointments simply because of being unable to park nearby or stay long enough for the treatment to be completed, especially if they were having a colour.

The NHF is warning salons and barbershops to be ready for a change in pensions autoenrolment from April, when the amount employers are expected to pay into staff pensions will increase. Currently, auto-enrolment contributions are split evenly between the employer and employee, with both contributing 1% of an employee’s qualifying earnings towards a pension, making a total of 2% overall. However, from April this will change to 5%, with employers expected to double their contribution to 2% and the employee contributing the remaining 3%. Employers therefore need to be aware this change will be happening, and what it may mean for cashflow, the NHF is warning. Equally important, it will be a good idea to warn employees that more money will be taken out of their pay packet from April to help build up their retirement fund. Contribution rates will change again in April 2019, rising to 8% in total, with employers paying 3% and employees paying 5%. With the roll-out or “staging” of auto-enrolment now complete, since October it has also been the law that any new business starting up must offer employees earning over £10,000 access to a company pension scheme.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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News

BARBERS ‘STRUGGLING TO FIND

GOOD STAFF’ wo-thirds of barbershop owners say they are struggling to hire goodquality barbers, leading to fears the barbering industry may not be able to cope with

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rising demand for male hair and grooming services. A survey of more than 1,000 people by ex-armed forces skills’ organisation Armour to Barber and grooming brand The Bluebeards

TWITTER FOLLOWERS 11.5K

WHAT’S TRENDING

TWEETS AND POSTS FROM AROUND THE NHF

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

FACEBOOK LIKES 12,903 hensmanssalon hensmanssalon Wishing Fabia all the luck in the world for the best apprentice award The NHF’s staff handbook at the national and contracts ofhairdressers employment can be bought at nhf.infobusiness and federation awards!! are free for members

FIND OUT MORE

Revenge found 83% of those working in the industry felt the barbering sector would continue to grow and do well over the next five years. But nearly two-thirds (63%) worried the industry did not have enough high-quality barbers coming through to cope with this rising demand from consumers. Two-thirds (66%) of barbershop owners also admitted they were already finding it difficult to hire good barbers. A similar percentage of barbers (64%) complained there was too much pressure to complete cuts quickly, dubbed the “ten-minute haircut”, leaving too little time to consult with clients properly on their individual requirements. More than half (51%) worried about the lack of regulation and licensing within the industry. At the moment, anyone can open up a barbershop, whatever their actual skill or training. A third of those surveyed (33%) felt barbering training provided by colleges was often inadequate, and was one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. When asked what they felt were the characteristics of a great barber, “patience” came out top (85%), followed by “being a good communicator” (75%), “being disciplined” (67%) and “having passion for the job” (66%). Armour to Barber argued that one way to plug this skills gap could be to try to attract ex-armed forces personnel into the industry.

INSTAGRAM LIKES 2,107 Michaelgrayhair Third Place 'Hair Up' Category. My gorgeous Model Bride @ Samanthafisher www. michaelgrayhair. com


News

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CHEQUE CHANGE The use of cheques may be in longterm decline, but there is good news for salons and barbershops who still have clients who prefer to pay in this way, as a new, faster cheque clearing system is being rolled out across the UK during this year. The new system is designed to mean cheques will clear in just one working day (on weekdays) rather than six, according to the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, the organisation that manages the UK’s cheque clearing system. The roll-out began at the end of October and it is expected all banks and building societies will be on the new faster image-based system by the second half of this year. The move will mean that, if a cheque is paid on a weekday, the funds will be available by 11.59pm the following weekday at the latest (excluding bank holidays), with many banks and building societies likely to allow customers to access the funds earlier than this. Members are being advised to contact their bank and building society to check when it will change over and how this might affect them.

JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION

voodouliverpool voodouliverpool. A huge congratulations to our very own Britain's Best 2017 @wezp123 who came 1st in Sunday's @ NHfederation comp!

DENMAN WINNER Well done to stylist Sam Carpenter (pictured), who won Denman’s Stage Star competition in October. Now in its third year, the competition showcases the creative craft and knowledge of Denman tools of up-and-coming stars.

Sam, who works for Vintage Hair Salon in Blackwood, Caerphilly, will also join Denman on an all-expenses-paid trip to work on its stage at the International Beauty Show in New York in March.

NHF SUBS

The annual fee for 2018 for trade members will be £160. Members are reminded your subscription will not increase until your next renewal date. The NHF will write to you when your subscription is next due.

New NHF subscription rates have been agreed for 2018. From January, the fee for a salon member will be £269 a year. For a solo member, it will be £147.

@nhfederation

@NHFederation

Modern Barber Magazine Well done to James Lawson Beaumont for such an awesome win at the National Hairdressers Federation Awards!

facebook.com/national hairdressersfederation

Hookerandyoung hookerandyoung Pre night drinks ahead of the NHF 75th Anniversary Dinner! So proud to be part of it.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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The Autumn Budget

‘REAL PAIN’ AHEAD ON PAY THE NATIONAL LIVING WAGE AND NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE WILL BOTH RISE AGAIN FROM APRIL, THE GOVERNMENT HAS SAID.

alon and barbershop owners are being warned to brace themselves for yet more sharp increases in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates from April.

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Despite owners already having to deal with rising prices and uncertain consumer confidence, chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget in November announced what he described as “the largest increase in youth rates in ten years”. The National Living Wage for over-25s will rise by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour from April, while the National Minimum Wage rate for

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

21- to 24-year-olds will rise by 4.7% to £7.38 an hour. For 18- to 20-year-olds the new rate will be £5.90 an hour from April, up 5.4%, and for 16- to 17-year-olds, the wage will rise to £4.20 an hour, or an increase of 3.7%. The rate for apprentices will go up 5.7% to £3.70. ‘DISAPPOINTMENT’ AT PAY RISES

Mr Hammond said the increase in the National Living Wage would give a full-time worker on this rate a £600 pay increase. The increase in minimum wage rates would give a pay boost to more than two million workers, he added. NHF chief executive Hilary Hall expressed dismay at the increases.

“We are disappointed the government has seen fit to push ahead with such big minimum wage increases. These increases will cause real pain for many small business owners. “Our only consolation is that the increase in the National Living Wage is less than we had feared, and is a sign the government was prepared to listen to our warnings on this at least,” she added. While there was not a lot in the Budget for small businesses, the chancellor did announce changes to tax allowances and business rates (see opposite). The government also indicated it may be prepared to overhaul VAT – turn over to page 12 to find out more.


The Autumn Budget

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NATIONAL MINIMUM AND LIVING WAGE HOURLY RATES FROM APRIL 2018 Rate

Current

From April 2018

National Living Wage (over 25s)

£7.50

£7.83 (up 4.4%)

Age 21-24

£7.05

£7.38 (up 4.7%)

Age 18-20

£5.60

£5.90 (up 5.4%)

Age 16-17

£4.05

£4.20 (up 3.7%)

Apprentice*

£3.50

£3.70 (up 5.7%)

*The apprentice rate applies to those aged 1618 training on an apprenticeship and to those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship, after which they revert to their appropriate age-related rate.

KEY POINTS FROM THE BUDGET • New rates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage announced.

of £1,075 a year better off. The rate for higher rate taxpayers will increase from £45,001 to £46,350.

• The government to consult on

• No new changes to corporation

changing the VAT registration threshold (and see overleaf for more on this).

tax. This means corporation tax will stay at 19% until April 2020, when it will drop to 18%.

• Personal and higher tax thresholds

• Changes to business rates,

to change from April 2018. The personal allowance threshold – or the point at which a basic rate taxpayer starts to pay income tax – will rise from £11,500 to £11,850, making most employees an average

including increasing the frequency at which rate revaluations take place and changing how future increases are calculated. Up to now, rate revaluations have happened every five years. This has

meant, if property prices have risen sharply, businesses that pay rates can suddenly find themselves being hit by a steep increase in the bill they pay. From 2022 (when the next revaluation is scheduled to happen), revaluations will now happen every three years. From April 2018, the government will also use the lower CPI (Consumer Price Index) measure of inflation to calculate increases in rates bills, rather than the higher RPI rate (Retail Price Index). This should mean bills, if they do go up, increase more slowly.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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The autumn Budget: VAT

VALUE ADDED? THE GOVERNMENT IN THE BUDGET SAID IT WILL CONSULT ON WAYS TO SIMPLIFY VAT, INCLUDING POTENTIALLY CHANGING THE £85,000 THRESHOLD FOR REGISTRATION.

efore any Budget announcement there is always lots of speculation within the media about what the chancellor might or might not announce.

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In the days running up to November’s Budget, one story gaining a lot of attention was the idea that Philip Hammond was poised to make a dramatic announcement on VAT, with even The Financial Times suggesting a sharp reduction in the threshold at which a business has to register for VAT could be on the cards. The speculation was given added weight by the fact the government had asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to draw up a report looking at precisely this area,

at ways that VAT could be simplified in the future. VAT is, of course, something the NHF has long campaigned on. It has called for the 20% rate of VAT to be reduced to 5% and the threshold to £40,000, so as to create a more level playing field between salons that are VAT-registered and those that are not (salonfocus November/December 2017). It has also made the case for a more flexible VAT system, one where there are different rates for different industries. In the event, Mr Hammond made no big announcement. However, he did hold out the prospect that things might change in the future. He said: “I am not minded to reduce the threshold. But I will consult on whether its design could better incentivise growth. And in the

WHAT THE OPTIONS MIGHT BE The Office of Tax Simplification’s report pointed out that the UK’s current £85,000 threshold for VAT registration is the highest in the European Union, and compares to an EU average of £20,000. While this has the benefit of being relatively simple for HM Revenue and Customs to administer, it has the downside of creating an effect known as

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

“bunching”. This is where businesses deliberately keep their turnover just below the threshold to avoid needing to register for VAT. This can particularly happen with labourintensive and singleowned businesses, said the OTS, both of which are commonplace within hair and beauty. Bunching tends to occur in two ways. First, a business deliberately

meantime, we will maintain it at its current level of £85,000 for the next two years.” The news of a consultation was welcomed by NHF chief executive Hilary Hall, who said the NHF would contribute its views. “The NHF has long argued that, for a very labour-intensive industry such as hair and beauty, a more flexible VAT system would be beneficial, and so the fact the government has said it plans to look at this is potentially positive,” she added. So, while nothing is going to change overnight, and definitely not within the next two years, watch this space. Turn to page 14 to find out what members think about our current VAT system, as well as business rates, self-employment and the National Living Wage.

doesn’t expand as it otherwise could, perhaps by not taking on an extra employee or closing early some days. This is perfectly legal, even if it means a business is less profitable than it might be. The second way is where a business deliberately mis-reports its takings (perhaps by not declaring cash taken through the till) to make its turnover appear lower than it really is. This, the OTS emphasised, is of course illegal.

The OTS looked at four options for the threshold that the government could consider.

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Freeze at £85,000 or reduce it slightly If the government stopped increasing the threshold each year in line with inflation, as it currently does, or lowered it slightly, this would potentially bring 4,000 extra businesses over the threshold each year, simply because their revenues have gone up.


The autumn Budget: VAT

However, this would have little impact on bunching, as only a small number of businesses would be affected.

2

Increase by a small amount, perhaps by £2,000 to £87,000 This would mean around 12,000-15,000 fewer businesses would be required to register for VAT. But, again, this reform would have a limited effect on bunching. It would also reduce tax revenues going to the

government by between £30m to £50m a year.

3

Increase significantly, perhaps to £500,000 This would affect many more businesses, perhaps as many as 800,000, and many thousands would probably deregister. It would make the system even simpler for HMRC to manage and reduce bunching because most businesses would no longer be registered for VAT. However, this would

also put a big hole in the public finances, potentially reducing tax revenues by £3bn to £6bn a year. It could also encourage more companies to operate within the “black” or hidden economy, and avoid paying other taxes.

4

Reduce significantly, perhaps to £43,000 This would affect 400,000 to 600,000 businesses and would mean many more would automatically need to register for VAT, so

13

reducing bunching and making VAT evasion much harder. It would raise between £1bn to £1.5bn in extra tax for the government. However, it would mean HMRC would have a much bigger job on its hands to monitor and enforce compliance. It could also have a significant knock-on effect on prices, as more firms would need to raise their prices by 20%, and potentially on economic growth and productivity, the OTS warned.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


14

The NHF fighting for you in 2018

PRESSURE POINTS MEMBERS HAVE GIVEN THEIR STRONG BACKING TO THE NHF TO KEEP ON PRESSING THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE VAT, TAXATION AND PAY MUCH FAIRER FOR SMALL SALONS AND BARBERSHOPS.

n November’s Budget, the government agreed to listen to views about how to reform and simplify Britain’s VAT system, as we report on page 12.

I

While there is no guarantee things will change as a result, if the latest poll of NHF members is anything to go by there is a strong desire within hair and beauty for a VAT system

that is fairer and better reflects the challenges of running labourintensive small businesses. The survey, of 512 members, was designed to help the NHF focus its campaigning and lobbying activities during 2018. The NHF has over the years campaigned for a reduction in the current 20% VAT rate, either through a cut across the board or by changing to variable rates for different

72%

Want VAT cut for hair and beauty businesses

VAT is currently 20% (or 13% under the flat rate VAT scheme). Which of the following statements do you agree with? Businesses with employees are disadvantaged because they are more likely to pay VAT than businesses with self-employed workers

It would be fairer if the VAT threshold was lower than £85,000 so more people would pay VAT but at a much lower rate eg 5%

The government will not agree to any changes which will reduce their tax take

As a labour-intensive industry, the VAT rate should be lower than 20% for our industry 0%

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

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The NHF fighting for you in 2018

renters were put at a competitive disadvantage by the current tax system, because they were more likely to have turnover that put them above the VAT threshold. More than half (52%) backed the idea of a lower threshold and VAT rate. Nearly three-quarters (72%) also agreed VAT should be lower than 20% for hair and beauty businesses specifically.

63%

Feel “disadvantaged” when competing with businesses using chair or room renters

SELF-EMPLOYMENT FRUSTRATION

industries, with hair and beauty paying a lower rate. It has also regularly called for reform of the turnover threshold for registration, currently set at £85,000. The NHF has argued that, if this were lowered, it would mean more businesses would have to register for VAT, meaning more tax money for the government and fairer competition on the high street. To be acceptable to non-registered businesses, this lower threshold could be accompanied by a lower VAT rate, perhaps as low as 5%, the NHF has also suggested. All these campaign positions were strongly supported by NHF members in the poll. Nearly two-thirds (65%) agreed businesses that used employees rather than chair or room

Turning to other areas of concern, it was clear members are frustrated at the way growing levels of selfemployment within hair and beauty are increasingly undercutting businesses that employ workers. Nearly two-thirds (63%) felt businesses with employees were “disadvantaged” when competing

41%

Fear a £9-an-hour National Living Wage will be “too much”

15

with businesses using chair or room renters. Half (55%) called for chair renters to pay the same National Insurance Contributions (NICs) as employees. Last year the government announced a plan to increase Class 4 NICs for self-employed workers, so reducing one of the tax advantages of being self-employed. But it then was forced to back-track when it emerged this would have broken a manifesto commitment. WAGES WORRIES

November’s Budget confirmed the National Living Wage for over-25s is to rise from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour from April. The aim is for the wage to be £9 an hour by 2020. A significant minority (41%) of members worried this would be “too much”. However, a third (33%) did concede it was only right for older workers to be earning this much by 2020, although nearly a fifth (19%) said they would prefer such a rise to happen more slowly. As to what effect a £9-an-hour living wage would have, seven out of ten (70%) said they would be forced to raise prices, and 40% warned it would mean having to cut back on staff or reducing hours. Members also had strong views about the apprentice rate of the National Minimum Wage.

Which of the following statements do you agree with regarding self-employment? Businesses with employees are disadvantaged when competing with businesses with chair renters Chair renters should pay NICs at the same rate as employees Sole traders who employ people should NOT pay more in NICs I use NHF chair renting / beauty room agreements for my self-employed workers Having self-employed workers works well for my business 0%

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Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


16

The NHF fighting for you in 2018

52%

Want apprentices to be paid the same rate, regardless of age, for all their training

Which of the following statements about the National Minimum Wage do you agree with? Apprentices should be paid at the same rate throughout their training, regardless of age The apprentice rate (£3.50) is not enough to attract them into our industry Everyone should earn more than the minimum wage It doesn't affect me as my workers are self-employed

At the moment, the rate (currently £3.50 an hour and rising to £3.70 from April) only applies to those aged 16-18 on an apprenticeship or to those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship, after which they revert to their appropriate age-related rate. This complication has often been blamed for salons inadvertently failing to pay apprentices the correct rate, simply because the trainee has had a birthday and the payroll system has failed to adjust. The survey found more than half of members (52%) felt apprentices should be paid at the same rate, regardless of their age, for the duration of their training. However, nearly a third (31%) also worried such a low rate sometimes deterred people from coming into the industry. On National Minimum Wage rates generally, which again are now set

I will have to raise my prices to cope with any increases I will have to reduce hours or cut back on staff to cope with any increases Rises on the National Minimum Wage affect my business more than rises on the National Living Wage 0%

10%

20%

to rise sharply from April, more than half (51%) said any increases would mean having to raise prices or reduce hours or cut back on staff (33%). In fact, more than a quarter (27%) felt increases in National Minimum Wage rates would hurt their businesses more than any rise in the National Living Wage. CAMPAIGN AIMS

The results of the member survey will feed into the NHF’s campaigning

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and lobbying activities for 2018, with the focus set to be on VAT, business rates, the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage and apprenticeships. On top of this, the NHF is going to push for tougher enforcement that targets businesses working in the grey “cash in hand” economy or, in other words, businesses that fail to pay their taxes, employ illegal workers or deliberately underpay or otherwise exploit their workers.

What do you think about the government’s aim for the National Living Wage to be £9 by 2020? The rise is too much The rise is reasonable but it should be spread over a longer period of time It's only right that anyone aged 25 or over should earn at least £9 by 2020 I will have to raise my prices to cope with the increases I will have to reduce hours or cut back on staff to cope with the increases It doesn't affect me as my workers are self-employed My team members are already earning £9 or more 0%

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

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The NHF’s Business Awards, Photographic and Britain’s Best

EVENING GLORY MORE THAN 250 GUESTS, THE BEST BUSINESSES IN HAIR AND BEAUTY – THE NHF’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT WAS DEFINITELY A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.

n Sunday 19 November, the NHF celebrated both the UK’s best hair and beauty businesses and 75 years of supporting and leading the industry with a glittering event at the VOX Conference Centre in Birmingham.

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More than 250 guests came together to see the winners of the NHF’s first ever Business Awards and the prestigious Photographic Stylist of the Year competition being crowned. Guests enjoyed a trip down memory lane, with a showcase of key moments through the NHF’s history from 1942, followed by a dazzling display by drummers all lit up with colourful LED lights. Winners and guests alike then took to the dancefloor to celebrate their success and dance the night away to a live band. NHF president Agnes Leonard said: “There couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate the NHF’s 75th anniversary than with some of the best businesses in our industry! It was fantastic to be able to recognise the success of the winners in such a phenomenal way.” Earlier in the day, the NHF’s Britain’s Best competition put stylists and barbers to the test as they battled it out to win one of ten categories. Included with this copy of salonfocus is a special competitions supplement that has all the winners and all the action from what was a fantastic day – so check it out. But, as a taster, here are some images from a day definitely to remember.

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018


The NHF’s Business Awards, Photographic and Britain’s Best

MISSING YOUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPLEMENT? If for whatever reason your supplement is missing from this edition of salonfocus, please do email enquiries@nhf.info

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20

Getting the best price when you sell your salon

EXIT PLANS IF YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION IS TO SELL UP – DON’T RUSH INTO IT. TO GET THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR SALON OR BARBERSHOP, IT IS GOING TO TAKE AT LEAST A YEAR TO PUT THE GROUNDWORK IN PLACE. BUT THE NHF CAN HELP.

ilton Keynes salon owner and NHF member Debbie Elderton is hoping January will be the springboard to a new chapter in her professional life. This is because, with any luck, the sale of her salon, Arcana, should go through this month.

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“I’ve run this business for 15 years, and so I want to get this right. I want to do what’s right for the business, for the team and, of course, for our clients,” she tells salonfocus. Debbie is selling up to give herself the time and space to focus on the recruitment side of her business. But, whatever your reason for selling – whether you’re looking to cash in your “nest egg” to fund your

FOR SALE

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FOR SA

FOR SALEFOR S FO R SALE A L E E L A S R O F

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COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID TAKING YOUR FOOT OFF THE PEDAL. Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell up, it is easy mentally to “move on” and lose interest or focus. But, in fact, if you want to present your business as the most saleable, profitable

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

asset possible, you have to redouble your efforts and focus to ensure it is in tip-top shape for any prospective buyer. OVERVALUING YOUR BUSINESS. Chances are you will

have invested a lot emotionally as well as financially into your business. It’s therefore easy to have unrealistic expectations about how much you may be able to sell it for. But, for a transaction of this size, it is also important not to under-price it. Getting

a professional valuation is therefore a good idea, perhaps through a business transfer agent or broker or through a good accountant. BEING OVEROPTIMISTIC ON TIMINGS. Just because

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Getting the best price when you sell your salon

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retirement or simply because you want to move on – the priority, of course, is to get the best return on all that hard work and investment you’ve put in over the years. As Debbie has found, this means putting in time and effort to get your business “sale ready”. “For the best financial outcome, I need to get 100% of the value of the business. So, I started looking at planning my exit 18 months ago. It is about reinvesting and putting things back into the business, thinking as optimally as possible,” she explains. “January is often a time when people pause and reflect and think about their future, both personally and in relation to their business. But, even if you’ve decided now is the right time, to get the best price it’s going to take a year, even two, to prepare and make your business a really attractive proposition to a potential buyer,” agrees Zach Dogar, co-founder of business broker ETS Corporate. To help members with what can be a critical decision, the NHF has joined forces with ETS Corporate to develop a guide, Selling Your Salon, a series of webinars and preferential rates on ETS’ brokering services (see overleaf for details). DON’T WIND THINGS DOWN

Once you’ve decided you want to exit from your business, the temptation is to step back and start to wind down. But, in fact, if you want to get the most from your sale, you need to do the exact opposite. “We’ve looked really hard at where to spend money and how to change

you’re clear in your own mind that now is the right time to sell up, don’t assume a sale will happen overnight. It can take months to complete a sale of a business – for all the buyer’s questions to be answered and the legal processes to be completed.

If you’re looking to pass the business on to someone, perhaps a family member, you need to be realistic about how long it will take to train them up to be ready for this responsibility. Preparing to sell or exit your business is not something you should rush.

LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG TOO EARLY. It will often be necessary to keep a planned sale confidential. If word gets out, your staff and clients may lose confidence in the business and go elsewhere and other

salons may try to poach your best employees. All this can affect morale, profitability and the sale price. Potential buyers should always be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Getting the best price when you sell your salon

FOR SALE For Sale FOR SALE ALE

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E LFOR A S R O SALE F FOR SALE

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THE NHF’S NEW SERVICE

The NHF has put together a guide for members, Selling Your Salon, in association with business broker ETS Corporate. This is available to download at nhf.info ETS Corporate is also offering NHF members: • Free detailed business valuation, exit strategy consultancy and advice, and advice on preparing your business for sale • Free advertising, internet, database and direct reach to buyers. • No upfront fees (which are normally £750-£3,000) • A fixed fee on sale (3%, subject to minimum of £7,000 + VAT, including legal costs)

things to make the business look as profitable as possible,” explains Debbie. “For example, whereas before I just used to have PR and marketing as a combined expense, I’ve now separated them. Everything is properly accounted for. That means a potential buyer can see very clearly what has been spent where, and can map out where the money is coming in and going out. “We’ve taken on more part-time staff so the salon performs better at busier times. I’m really keen to make sure the business is looking the strongest it has ever been, because that will really make a difference, rather than having everything somehow tailing off. “We’ve repainted and done some refurbishment where things were looking a little tired. We’ve replaced the reception sofas, for example, and

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

repainted the beauty room. It only cost £200 to do, but has made such a difference. I’ve made a point of trying to look around the salon with fresh eyes. So, are the chairs shabby or are there chips in the basins? It is all about a positive first impression. “And don’t forget about your online presence. For example, we’ve done a promotion whereby we offer clients a £5 off voucher a £50 spend every time they leave a good review,” Debbie adds. Fingers crossed, all this work has paid off as, when salonfocus spoke to Debbie in the autumn, she’d already had 14 interested parties come forward. “The salon is in a great location, it has a lot of high-end equipment within it, a really strong team and great online reviews. But it is still going to be really difficult to hand it over,” Debbie says.

To find out more, or to get a quote, go to the Trade Member Directory at nhf.info Keep an eye on the NHF’s events programme for 2018, as we are planning some webinars on business sales. Details will be announced at nhf.info/events

FOR SALE

FOR SALE For

Sale

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24

Allergy alert testing

TAKE ACTION AGAINST

ALLERGIES IT’S JUST COLOUR, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? A LOT. AS A RECENT BBC DOCUMENTARY HAS HIGHLIGHTED, SALONS THAT FAIL TO DO REGULAR ALLERGY ALERT TESTING CAN LAND THEMSELVES IN VERY HOT WATER.

ack in October, the NHF warned salons to make sure they did their allergy tests “without fail”, following a BBC documentary that highlighted how some in the industry can be prepared to offer colour to clients as young as 12.

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NHF chief executive Hilary Hall emphasised that hair colour and foils should never be applied to anyone under the age of 16, and allergy tests should also never be offered to under-16s. For any client aged over-16, allergy tests should always be carried out at least 48 hours in advance for new colour clients. Hilary said: “It is important for clients to understand that, when salons ask them to do an allergy test, even though it may feel inconvenient, they are doing it to protect that client’s safety and wellbeing.” Allergic reactions to hair colour products are, thankfully, rare. But as salonfocus reported in 2016 (Colour conscious, November/December 2016), they can and do happen. On that occasion it was only the fact members Paul and Donna Reardon, owners of Hairport in Merthyr Tydfil, had insisted 16-yearold Sophie Warren have an allergy

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

test before correcting some home colouring that had gone wrong that averted potential disaster. Sophie had a severe allergic reaction to the colours in the dye and, doctors told her later, she could have died if the colour had been applied all over her scalp without testing first. As Paul said at the time: “We’re very strict on patch [or allergy alert] testing before we colour and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Thank goodness we did!” HOW THE NHF CAN HELP

The NHF helps members manage colour, colour consultations and allergy alert testing in three main ways: • Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Cards • The NHF’s Guide to Allergy Alert Testing and Colour Products • Access to discounted insurance The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card gives hairdressers and barbers confidence that they are following best practice guidelines and complying with the terms of insurance policies from selected brokers. The NHF’s preferred insurance broker Coversure accepts the cards so, if your insurance is with Coversure,

you know you are covered. Cards are dispatched in packs of 100, and are free apart from £4.50 post and packaging. But, before buying them, do check with your insurance provider that they are covered under your policy. Each card allows you to keep a complete record of a client’s colour history. This allows stylists to offer a safe and effective colour care service, while offering peace of mind that they are operating in a way that means they are protected under their insurance policy without necessarily having to allergy test before every colour application. The cards can also help to highlight situations where a new allergy test may be needed – for example if the client is transferring to a new colour brand, has had a previous reaction and/or had a tattoo, henna or black tattoo or permanent make-up since their last colour. The NHF’s Guide to Allergy Alert Testing and Colour Products Members are advised to use the Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Cards alongside the NHF’s Guide to Allergy Alert Testing and Colour Products . The guide, which is free to download for members, provides a wide range of practical tips on allergy testing and colour products.


Allergy alert testing

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Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Allergy alert testing

WHY YOU MUST SAY ‘NO’ TO UNDER-16S Children under the age of 16 should never be offered any hair colour or foils service, including initial allergy testing. But why not? The reason is that all legal colouring products used in the UK are labelled as “not intended for use on persons under the age of 16”. This does not necessarily mean they are unsafe to use, according to the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association. But to do so means you will not be following the manufacturer’s guidelines, and therefore will not be covered for insurance if anything does go wrong. If that were not reason enough, children can often be more sensitive to the chemicals in colour than adults. If a child has the potential to develop allergies (and this can come back to their individual genetic make-up), exposure at an early age may increase their allergic sensitivity sooner.

IF NOTHING ELSE READ THIS

THE ALLERGY ALERT TESTING GUIDE AND CARDS

Discounted insurance The NHF works in partnership with insurance broker Coversure to offer specialist cover for hair salons, and the Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card is covered as standard

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

within its insurance. As a member, you’ll also get 20% off. To find out about Coversure insurance, contact Coversure Insurance Services on 01480 700510 or email nhf@coversure.co.uk

Visit the NHF shop at nhf.info to download or order a copy of the Guide to Allergy Alert Testing and Colour Products. Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Cards can be ordered at nhf. info/colour-card

• Stick to industry best practice – and make sure your staff do too • Use the NHF’s free Guide to Allergy Alert Testing and Colour Products and Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Cards • Protect your client and yourself – don’t skip allergy alert tests • Never carry out allergy tests or colour treatments on under-16s • Make the most of NHFapproved discounted insurance

WATCH OUT BEAUTY SALONS! The NHF will be launching a similar allergy alert testing system for beauty salons during 2018.


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Making the most of quieter times

QUIET POWER THE TINSEL IS ALL PACKED AWAY, THE TREE IS BACK IN ITS BOX. BUT, JUST AS NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ARE OFTEN CRITICAL TIMES FOR REVENUE, SO JANUARY AND FEBRUARY GIVE YOU THE CHANCE TO SHAPE HOW THE YEAR AHEAD IS GOING TO GO.

fter the pre-Christmas rush, January and February are often a good time to pause, draw breath and take stock.

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As a salon or barbershop owner, they also give you the chance to step back, reflect and take a long, hard look at what you, your business and your team need to do to become even better and more profitable this year. Here are nine things we suggest you should do as your new year’s resolutions for 2018.

1

MAKE TIME FO

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

This can mean carving out the time to take a proper break away from the business to recharge. But it can also simply mean very deliberately booking in some “owner time” away from the salon floor to think about your future business strategy and direction. As NHF business coach Richard Wallace, of Winning Ways Education, puts it: “From our experience, salon owners are not generally the ones with the quiet times. So, schedule in time to step back and look at the numbers, team progress, marketing, strategy and growth. “Did you hit your targets? What can you expect from 2018, turnover, profit, retail? Do I have enough people, space, clients and the correct price structure?” adds Richard, who was also winner of Best Independent Salon of the Year in the NHF’s Business Awards.

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF


Making the most of quieter times

2

BECOME A 'SMART SWOT'

OR YOUR TEAM

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MAKE TIME FOR YOUR TEAM

If you barely had time to speak to your team before Christmas, let alone say “thank you”, use the quieter period to revisit how they are performing, where there are weak or strong points, training needs, “difficult” conversations to be had and so on. If you hold formal appraisals or performance reviews, this can be a good point of the year to schedule them in for. As Richard Wallace advises: “A detailed fact-based annual review with each team member is a must for January, looking at their individual turnover, services, retail, treatments, number of clients, their current retention rate, earnings, and so on. “Did they achieve their targets for 2017? If not, then why not? What training opportunities are there for them this year? How do they feel about their career progress? There should be an agreed plan for the year that you can review with them consistently,” he explains. “Quieter times in the salon really give you the chance to get your teams motivated and ready for the year ahead. Obviously, we always want to be as busy as we can be, but we appreciate that certain times of the year will always be slightly calmer, especially following the mad rush of Christmas,” agrees Gary Hooker, of NHF ambassadors Hooker & Young. “We always hold our team conference and awards earlier on in the year, as we really want to focus on and celebrate everyone’s amazing achievements from the previous year, and this is a great opportunity to get everyone refreshed on the brand and our client care. It’s always worth speaking to your product manufacturer too and asking about upcoming launches to really enable the team to get behind any new products,” adds Michael Young.

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BECOME A ‘SMART SWOT’

No, this is nothing to do with your school days. This is about using the acronyms “SMART” and “SWOT” to focus your thinking about the year ahead. SMART stands for Specific,

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Making the most of quieter times

Measurable (or sometimes Meaningful), Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited. For anything you’re planning to do, ask yourself whether it has these five things. For example, saying “this year, we’re going to work really hard to increase client numbers” is an admirable resolution to set yourself for 2018. But saying “this year I want each team member to work to achieve two new client appointments each month” is a SMART resolution. It’s specific, it’s measurable and timelimited, although only you will be able to gauge whether it’s achievable or realistic! SWOT is similar. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. This is about breaking down anything you plan to do into what its strengths and weaknesses are, where it offers an opportunity but also what dangers or threats may be associated with it. “Be specific about each subject you are ‘Swotting’ so, for example, use it when thinking about the team performance, your finances or even what you’d like to set as your own goals for the year,” emphasises NHF business coach Penny Coach, of Radiant Hair and Beauty Consultancy. “And the most important thing is that, once you’ve done a SWOT analysis, you take action on it.”

4

REVISIT YOUR SERVICES

If you’re thinking strategically, one important question to ask is “is the menu of services we’re offering right?” Are there extra services you could be adding into the mix to generate new revenue? Or, on the other hand, have some not really taken off and therefore is now a good time to cut your losses? “During any January review, you should be analysing trends in your service offering, including which services are most popular, and whether you are making the profit? But, also which services are less popular, are wrongly priced or need to be eliminated from your offering?” highlights Richard Wallace.

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

REVISIT YOUR SERVICES

INVOLVE YOUR TEAM


Making the most of quieter times

5

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INVOLVE YOUR TEAM

Your team is what sets your salon apart, so don’t be afraid to make planning for any changes or new initiatives or services a joint, team effort. “Don’t be afraid to get your team involved, rather than just telling them what you want to do,” says Penny Etheridge of Radiant Hair and Beauty Consultancy. “If you can share your vision and get the team participating, they’re much more likely to support the process and work to achieve the end result you’re aiming for,” she advises.

6 SET DOWN CALENDAR MARKERS

EMBRACE AUTOMATION

SET DOWN CALENDAR MARKERS

“By all means take advantage of the fact January and February are sometimes a bit quieter,” agrees Penny Etheridge. “But also use this time to look at the whole year ahead, and plan specific things that will keep the momentum going. “Think about things you can do at regular points of the year. A marketing wall planner in the staffroom can be a great idea – you can do a lot more than just have holidays and things like that on it. “Or how about a regular client indulgence evening, perhaps once every three months? When I was running my salon, I found they really worked and were a great way to build up the business and keep a bit of a buzz going.”

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EMBRACE AUTOMATION

Technology can do so much for you these days, so use it. Review and revisit whether you’re getting the most from your salon software – are you using all the functionality it offers? For example, are you using its reporting function to the full? “Our system, Salon by Premier Software, gives you over 200 reports to choose from, so providing you with invaluable insight into your business performance, whether you wish to monitor staff performance, look deeper into client stats or get to grips with your finances,” explains Leonie Wileman, chief operations officer at Premier Software.

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Making the most of quieter times

Salon software can also help with automating or streamlining retail and stock-taking. “Salon tracks your retail sales, informs you when stock is running low and provides the reports you need when it’s time for your stock-take,” adds Leonie.

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EIGHTEEN QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

REVIEW YOUR DATA AND SECURITY

Tough new data rules are set to come in from May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These will affect all businesses of any size, including hairdressing, barbering and beauty. Salonfocus will be looking at what you need to do to get GDPR-compliant in the March/April edition. But any down-time period is a good moment to revisit whether your security generally is all that it should be, both the technology itself but also (crucially) that those using it aren’t making silly mistakes that could put your data at risk. Leonie Wileman at Premier recommends, if you haven’t already, create password-protected user profiles for each member of staff, so they only have access to the areas of the system that they need. It is also important to make sure your system is what is called PCI-DSS compliant, or that it can process card payments securely and safely. Talk to your provider if you’re not sure about this.

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REFRESH YOUR ACCESSORIES

Unless you’re planning a full-on refurbishment or makeover, the key when revisiting the interior look of your salon is making small changes that will give the maximum impact. “Consider your interior colour scheme, decor and lighting arrangement to alter the ambience and mood of your salon; this can add luxury and comfort to the client experience,” recommends Katie Wrighton, territory sales manager at Takara Belmont. “Simple changes can include accessorising with new soft furnishings and fittings to bring a vibrant new look at a relatively low cost. Reupholstering with

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

new colours and textures can also transform your favourite chair to complement your look and revive your salon style,” she adds. Even if you don’t have the time or the money at the moment to do a complete overhaul, use this quieter period to schedule one in – and begin to get the planning in place and set aside the budget for it. It is all too easy to let your décor get tired and old. Building in a specific, timed schedule (remember SMART in point three?), perhaps to refresh one element of the business each year, can mean there is always something new and exciting for clients to take in and comment on about the look and feel of the salon.

• What are my marketing goals for the coming 12 months? • What are the key activities that will ensure I achieve these goals? • Who is my “ideal client” and my ideal target audience? • Do our current brand, services, salon and customer experience appeal to this ideal client? • If not, what do we need to change in 2018? • Does our website need refreshing? • Do our prices need changing? • Are there new treatments we should be adding? • Does the salon need refurbishing? • Are my team delivering a “wow” customer journey? • Would they benefit from more support and training? • Do our brand and marketing materials look tired or dated? • Which marketing tools and channels worked well last year, and which flopped? • Is our brand well-known in the local community? • Are we spending the right time and budget on promoting the salon or barbershop? • How are our competitors doing? • How does our image compare to theirs? • Is our pricing letting our brand down, do we want to be known as the most expensive/cheapest in town? With thanks to Alice Kirby, director at Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing, for these questions.


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34

Dealing with client complaints

THE CARE NECESSITIES EVEN IN THE BEST SALON OR BARBERSHOP MISTAKES CAN HAPPEN. IF MANAGED BADLY, A COMPLAINT FROM AN UNHAPPY CLIENT CAN HURT FINANCIALLY AND BE DAMAGING TO YOUR REPUTATION AND TEAM MORALE. BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO TURN COMPLAINTS INTO COMPLIMENTS.

hether it’s a bad review online or an angry voice at reception or down the phone, a client complaint can be the moment when your heart sinks.

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Handling complaints well is a vital skill for any salon or barbershop owner. In this article, we will look at the steps you can take to manage complaints more effectively. In particular, we’ll look at how to turn complaints into compliments, how to turn a negative into a positive. And yes, it can be done! THE FACE-TO-FACE COMPLAINT

If a client is unhappy with the service he or she has received, it’s a good idea to follow these five steps: 1) Stay calm. Say you’re sorry to hear they’re not happy and ask them to explain what they feel has gone wrong. If possible, take them to a quiet area so other clients can’t hear what’s being said. 2) Check your body language. Make sure your body language is relaxed and use open hand gestures. Don’t raise your voice or contradict your client. 3) Listen, listen, listen. Listen carefully to what they have to say without interrupting. As well as explaining the problem to you, this will help them get things off their chest and feel less angry. 4) Summarise back what they’ve said. When they’ve finished,

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

summarise what they’ve said. This will show you have been listening and will help to flag up anything you may have misunderstood. 5) Apologise and work to make things right. The simplest solution can often be simply to apologise again and offer a refund, plus a free or reduced-price “VIP” appointment to put things right.

FIND OUT MORE The NHF Guide to Handling Complaints is available to members only. Download it at nhf.info/ complaints-guide


Dealing with client complaints

THE TELEPHONE COMPLAINT

THE ONLINE COMPLAINT

Handling a telephone complaint can be tricky because you can’t see the client’s body language, and they of course can’t see you. Nevertheless, following these three steps can help: 1) Say sorry. Explain you are sorry about their complaint and want to put things right. 2) Get them back. Encourage a return visit so things can be sorted out. 3) Get both sides. Speak to the member of staff responsible for the appointment and ask for their side of the story. Make it clear this isn’t to “blame”, worry or upset the team member. It’s just about gathering information because you want to sort out the complaint quickly, hopefully retain the client and aim to prevent anything similar happening in the future.

The speed at which a bad online review can be shared means it is vital to respond quickly if a complaint is made in this way. Here are four things you can do: 1) Take it offline. The last thing you want is to be getting into an online argument with your client that everyone can see and follow. So, send them a personal email or direct message so that you can take the problem offline. 2) Say sorry. Say you’re sorry to hear about their complaint and ask them to contact you so you can work to put things right. 3) Get both sides. As with telephone complaints, speak to the team member concerned to get their side of the story.

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4) Turn them into a fan. Try to tempt them back to your salon so you can give them some VIP treatment. Hopefully they’ll return for more appointments and give you better online reviews in future. They may even agree to take down their negative review – especially if you offer a full refund along with a gift voucher towards future appointments.

FIND OUT MORE Find out more about dealing with online and telephone complaints at nhf.info/negative-reviews

Jan/Feb 2018 | salonfocus


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Dealing with client complaints

WHAT IF IT’S NOT GENUINE?

If a regular client complains, your priority will be to put things right as fast as possible, make them feel valued and special – and ensure they return in the future. However, occasionally you may be faced with a new client who you suspect is simply complaining in the hope of getting a refund or a free service. In such cases: 1) Stay calm and polite. 2) Offer a refund or partial refund. 3) But emphasise it may be best if they choose another salon or barbershop in future.

FOUR THINGS TO REMEMBER

1) Complaints can be good for you. The temptation when a complaint comes in is to get defensive and see it as an attack on your salon or team. Mistakes can and do happen in even the best salon or barbershop, the key is that you learn from them and, as a result, improve for next time. Handled well, mistakes can become an opportunity to learn and get better as a salon and a team. They can often be one of the best ways to identify team training is needed to improve the client experience or “journey”. 2) Avoid a blame culture. No one means to make mistakes, especially when things are really busy. So, if it’s an isolated or one-off incident, don’t blame your staff member; they’re probably tearing themselves up about it anyway. Involve them in reaching a solution, and concentrate on restoring good relations with your client.

FIND OUT MORE Download The NHF Guide to Managing Performance, free for members, at nhf.info/ performance

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

FIND OUT MORE Download our membersonly complaints policy template, at nhf.info/shop – you can tailor this to suit your salon or barbershop.

3) Make online your friend. As well as trying to turn a formerly negative online reviewer around, encourage clients generally to leave online reviews (hopefully positive ones). A good selection of positive reviews will greatly help to reduce the effect of any negative ones. 4) Have a complaints policy. It is vital team members understand how to react, and respond, to a complaint. So, have a clear complaints policy in place, and make sure you regularly communicate it, especially to new staff. This will give your team the confidence to know what to do when a client complains. It will also offer protection in that you will be able to demonstrate you have correctly followed your complaints policy if legal action is taken against you.

IF NOTHING ELSE READ THIS… • Stay calm and listen carefully • Offer a refund and VIP appointment • Avoid a blame culture • Be firm with new clients who complain – unless you know the complaint is genuine • Remain positive and learn from mistakes • Be prepared to deal quickly and efficiently with phone and online complaints • Have a clear complaints policy, and ensure all your team understand and use it

As well as the various guides and tools listed here, The NHF Guide to Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience includes useful advice on this area, and is free for members to download, at nhf.info


2018 VALENTINE’S BALL MONDAY 19TH FEB 2018 GRANGE CITY HOTEL LONDON Join us, your dedicated industry charity, for a night of inspiration, entertainment, dinner and dancing. Supported by your industry’s manufacturers, innovators and celebrity hairdressers for what promises to be an evening not to be missed.

TICKETS Tickets are available at £150 per ticket or £1,350 per table of 10 (includes 1 free place) All proceeds go to The Hairdressers’ Charity

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THEHAIRDRESSERSCHARITY.ORG TICKET HOTLINE 01234 831888 TheHairdressersCharity

TheHairCharity

TheHairdressersCharity

Company No: 11085412 | Registered Charity in England & Wales No: 1166298


38

Events

Fill Gaps in Your Diary

WATCH OUT FOR THESE

DATES!

Bright Flyout

THE NEW FINANCIAL YEAR FROM APRIL WILL BRING CHANGES YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR. HERE ARE SOME KEY DATES.

APRIL • Living Wage and Minimum Wage rates From 01 April, the National Living Wage for over-25s and the various National Minimum Wage rates will all be going up. Full details are on page ten. • Auto-enrolment pension contributions The amount employers will be expected to pay into their staff pensions under auto-enrolment will increase from April. Full details, page six. • Income tax thresholds will go up With the start of a new tax year, the amount that can be earned before paying income tax will rise, both for higher and basic rate taxpayers. Full details are, again, on page ten. • Penalties for illegal workers From April, employers will not be able to claim the Employment Allowance for one year if they are found to have hired an illegal worker or been penalised by the Home Office. MAY • The General Data Protection Regulation 25 May is “GDPR Day”, or the day tough new European Union data laws will come into force, the General Data Protection Regulations.

Salonfocus will be using the March/April edition to outline practical tips and guidance to get your business GDPR-ready. So, watch this space.

THE BLACKPOOL HAIRDRESSING COMPETITION

www.brightsalon.co.uk

01392 311 097

How much is 1 empty gap worth to you or 40 in a month? Bright Flyout will only show what you want to show... empty gaps, reviews & offers. Compatible with any website or Bright App.

BOOKINGS Anyone interested in attending events should go to nhf.info/events Bookings can also be made by emailing events@nhf.info or contacting the NHF team on 01234 831965

CREATIVE DAY EVENTS (1PM-4PM) COLOUR WORKSHOP – WORKING WITH PASTELS 05 February – Birmingham 19 March – Glasgow 09 April – Wokingham 30 April – Bangor, Northern Ireland

BUSINESS EVENING EVENTS (7-9PM)

12 March – The Winter Gardens, Blackpool DON’T FORGET!

Time is running out to get your entries in for the Step Up & SHINE scholarship! The closing date is 02 February. Visit nhf.info/stepupandshine for more information.

salonfocus | Jan/Feb 2018

IMPROVING YOUR RETAIL SALES 05 February – Derby USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS 05 February – Bristol 19 March – Middlesbrough

MOTIVATING YOUR TEAM 05 March – London 12 March – Huddersfield IMPROVING YOUR PROFITS 16 April – Edinburgh GET SOCIAL, BE INSPIRED! 16 April – London (from 7pm9.30pm)

CREATIVE EVENING EVENTS (7PM-9.30PM) FESTIVAL HAIR MASTERCLASS 05 March – Weston Super Mare BRIDAL HAIR AND MAKEUP MASTERCLASS 19 March – Cardiff

WEBINARS (9.30AM-10.15AM) CHANGES TO DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS 06 March 17 April


Specialist Insurance FOR SALONS AND BARBERSHOPS

SALONSURE INSURANCE As an NHF member you are entitled to a number of benefits including an exclusive discount on your insurance cover of up to 20%*. This can cover: • Buildings & contents (optional) • Fixture & fittings • Stock • Public and employers’ liability • Treatment liability • Business interruption

• Glass cover • Money cover • Colour testing • Equipment breakdown • Fidelity guarantee • Legal expenses

PRICE MATCH OFFER AVAILABLE*

0800 458 8181

coversure.co.uk/nhf * Terms and conditions apply and are available on our website at coversure.co.uk/nhf/terms


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SWITCH

To find out more about

COLOUR SWITCH

Contact Aston & Fincher and complete a Colour Calculator to see how you can benefit! 0870 240 2176 www.astonandfincher.co.uk

salonfocus Jan/Feb2018  

Salonfocus is the NHF’s award winning magazine. Created for salon owners, the pages are full of business news, industry hot topics and tips...

salonfocus Jan/Feb2018  

Salonfocus is the NHF’s award winning magazine. Created for salon owners, the pages are full of business news, industry hot topics and tips...

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