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£3.50 The essential magazine for salon owners

July/August 2018

PICTURE PERFECT Stunning images from the Photographic Stylist of the Year 2017 winners’ photoshoot


Is VAT still fit for purpose? NHF members think not


How to put your salon or barbershop on a strict “cash diet”


Be confident you’re looking after your pregnant employee July/August 2018 | salonfocus

Cadilla M, one amazing chair for a multitude of purposes.



C O N T E N T S 10

P6 NEWS Hairdressing is one of the industries most complained about to HMRC, and record employment levels could be a headache for salons and barbershops P10 IS VAT STILL FIT FOR PURPOSE? Salons and barbershops are demanding reforms to VAT, as the latest NHF survey has shown P14 EVERY LITTLE HELPS Making sure you’re on top of your costs is one way salons and barbershops can cope with ever-rising prices. We outline how to go on a strict “cash diet” P22 FAMILY PLANNING When employees become parents, make sure you’re up to speed with the latest laws so you can be confident you’re doing the right thing at every stage


P28 LOOKING GOOD After going backstage last edition, here is a selection of stunning images from the Photographic Stylist of the Year 2017 winners’ photoshoot, with sponsor UNITE P30 SUCCESS PLANNING Do you believe your business deserves to be celebrated? If so, you only have until the end of this month to get your entry in for this year’s NHF Business Awards P32 AIM HIGH, BE BRITAIN’S BEST Have you got what it takes to be a “Britain’s Best” stylist or barber? There is only one way to find out… by entering this year’s NHF Britain’s Best competition P34 FROM ‘SCHOOLS OUT’ TO ‘WORK-READY’ Summer is a key time to think about taking on an apprentice. With apprenticeships in England going through rapid change, we guide you through the steps you need to be taking P38 LEARN TO IMPROVE Events in your area, plus why members agree that taking time out to attend an NHF event is a great way to take your business to another level


COVER IMAGE An image by Caroline Sanderson, of Ego Hair Design, Inverness, from the UNITE Photographic Stylist of the Year winners’ photoshoot. Caroline was winner of the Female Fashion Look category of the 2017 competition and the image was one created at the winners’ photoshoot, hosted by competition sponsor UNITE. Head to page 28 to see more looks created on the day. CREDITS Photographer: Roberto Aguilar; Photography assistant: Agne Monti; UNITE creative director: Gary Baker; Front cover stylist: Caroline Sanderson of Ego Hair Design, Inverness; Production/MUA: Jenny Morrell; Additional MUA: Hannah Davies;Styling: Raspberry Jam;Venue: Raspberry Jam Studio CLARIFICATION Our sincere apologies to photographer Martin Fox who should have been credited with taking the “Reclaimed adolescence” cover image (left) for the May/June edition of salonfocus. £3.50 The essential magazine for salon owners

Jul/Aug 2018

YOU GOT THE LOOKS Stunning images from the Photographic Stylist of the Year 2017 winners’ photoshoot


Is VAT still fit for purpose? NHF members think not


How to put your salon or barbershop on a strict “cash diet”


Be confident you’re doing the right thing for your pregnant

July/August 2018 | salonfocus

£3.50 The essential magazine for salon owners

May/June 2018

ALL ABOUT THE BOY “Reclaimed adolescence”, the latest collection from MHFed, the Men’s Hairdressing Federation’s artistic team


Your final countdown checklist to GDPR data law


How female barbershop owners are breaking the mould


Don’t get left behind by gender neutral pricing May/June 2018 | salonfocus





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: w: PUBLISHER Hilary Hall e: EDITOR Nic Paton e: PR, EVENTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA Kelly Sylvester t. +44 (0) 1234 831965 e. ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Andy Etherton T: + 44 (0) 1536 527297 e: ART DIRECTOR Adriano Cattini Matrix Print Consultants Ltd t: +44 (0) 1536 527297 e: 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. 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.


ne thing I’ve learned as a salon owner over the years is that you can never afford to get complacent.

That’s especially the case with keeping on top of costs and wastage. It is very easy, especially when the whole team is flat out, not to worry too much about how much colour, say, a stylist is mixing up, how many disposable towels they’re getting through, whether people are turning lights off when areas are not being used, even how much cleaning ABOUT AGNES product is being used each day. Agnes Leonard is president of the NHF and a registered But as we show in this edition, with costs hairdresser. She has worked in the industry for 37 years and going up in so many areas – pay, pensions, owns Croppers Hair Studio and rents even before we get to things like in Dundee, a busy, family-run salon successfully adapting to the gas, electricity and insurance – salons and fast-changing retail environment – just, in fact, like many NHF barbershops need to be getting their teams members up and down the country. into a “waste not, want not” mindset. If you can educate your teams to be just as alert as you are to the importance of being careful with the pennies to save the pounds, that’s half the battle won. The other key message is that, as a business owner, this is something you need to make proper time for. Keeping costs down is something we all need to be doing every day. But giving yourself the time and space to focus on where you can make savings, so you can then plan out how you’re going to do that is really important, too.


COMING UP IN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 Computer says no – how not to get caught out by, and ways to protect your business from, cyber attacks and hacking Festive countdown. Christmas may seem a long way off, but if you want to maximize the festive period, you need to start planning right now

salonfocus | July/August 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




HAIRDRESSING ‘MOST COMPLAINED ABOUT’ ON PAY airdressing is one of the industries most complained about to HMRC, especially by minimum wage workers who do not feel they are being paid their legal due.

barbering businesses will continue to be actively targeted by enforcement bodies because of the industry’s poor track record on failing to pay correct minimum pay rates, especially to apprentices.

The figures were revealed by HMRC as part of a campaign to highlight its National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage enforcement activity, including doubling the number of workers who got back money owed to them. Between 2017 to 2018, HMRC investigators identified £15.6m in pay owed to more than a record 200,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers, up from £10.9m for more than 98,000 workers the year before. Part of this increase was down to the launch of an online complaints service in January last year, which had contributed to the 132% increase in the number of complaints received over the last year, said HMRC. The other industries most complained about were restaurants, bars, and hotels, it added, Separately, the government has indicated that hairdressing and



salonfocus | July/August 2018

In its UK Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018-2019, the government recommended that a further key activity area for HMRC would be in enforcing holiday pay and recovering holiday pay arrears. The report also said there would be tougher licensing for nail bars and hand car washes, both identified as sectors at risk of labour exploitation and even slavery. NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said: “We handle 25,000 calls a year and the top reason for those calls is employers struggling to calculate holiday pay accurately because part-time working is common and hours are often irregular and change frequently. Employers also need to be sure that holiday pay reflects what an employee would normally have earned if they had been at work, including bonuses and commissions.”

A tenth of the UK’s small businesses – or more than half a million firms – are under investigation by HMRC at any one time, it has emerged. The revelation came as part of investigations by the powerful House of Commons Treasury Committee into tax avoidance and evasion and the conduct of tax enquiries and disputes. HMRC’s “tax gap”, or the difference between what it receives in tax compared to what it is actually owed by businesses and individuals, was estimated to be around £34bn in 2015-16. As part of trying to reduce this, HMRC confirmed that it is specifically targeting small businesses, which it has argued are responsible for nearly half (46%) of the tax gap. NHF chief executive Hilary Hall stressed that hair and beauty salons, like any other businesses, had a legal duty to meet their tax obligations. However, she added: “Suddenly finding yourself subject to an HMRC investigation can be a daunting, stressful and timeconsuming experience.” The NHF’s Legal Lifeline helpline can help to support a member’s business if it is selected for an HMRC investigation, she said.


‘TRAILBLAZER’ APPRENTICESHIPS POPULAR, DESPITE MONEY WORRIES The new hair professional “trailblazer” apprenticeship is proving popular with learners, new figures have suggested, despite fears the new funding structure is putting off some salons from taking on apprenticeships. The hair professional trailblazer apprenticeship standards were launched in England in May last year. At first, take-up was small, with only 640 starts on the new standards between May and August 2017, compared to 8,170 learners on the old “framework” apprenticeships. However, in the first six months of the 2017/18 academic year, this picture changed, with 3,590 learners now started on the standards and only 1,220 on the old.

This made the hair professional apprenticeship the fourth most popular trailblazer apprenticeship, after team leaders/ supervisors, electricians and customer service. However, data released by the Department for Education has suggested there has been a sharp drop in the number of new apprentices being taken on across all sectors, with an overall loss of over 75,000 on those starting between August 2017 and January 2018 compared to the same period in the previous year. While part of this decline has been blamed on the effect of the apprenticeship “levy”, which is paid by large employers, the requirement that even small businesses contribute to the cost of

training is also having an effect, warned Hellen Ward, chair of the hair professional trailblazer steering group. “The media has focused on the apprenticeship levy as the main reason for the drop in apprenticeship numbers. But for small businesses who do not have to pay the levy, the mandatory cash contribution of 10% towards the cost of training and assessing apprentices has had a far greater impact. Unless they are taking on a 16-18-year-old, finding £900 per apprentice is a significant barrier for a small salon or barbershop,” she pointed out. FIND OUT MORE Turn to page 34 for the steps you now need to follow when taking on an apprentice in England.

NEW GCSE GRADES Members are being reminded that the vast majority of this summer’s GCSE exams will be graded under the new numeric 9-1 system rather than the old one based on letters of the alphabet. English and maths GCSEs were switched last year, but this year most other subjects will be moved to the new system. This means school leavers will no longer have A-U grades but grades that go from 9 down to U. Grades 9-7 are the equivalent of an A* or A. Grades 6-4 are the equivalent of a B and C. And grades 3-1 are the equivalent of D-G, with U remaining the same.


WET WIPES ON WAY OUT Wet wipes could be phased out within the next couple of decades, the government has said. Such wipes are a staple in many salons, especially for removing makeup or cleaning surfaces. However, they are estimated to be behind 93% of “fatberg” sewer blockages and contain nonbiodegradable plastic. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it now wants to work with manufacturers to create alternatives that do not contain plastic and so can be safely flushed away.

STALLED CAREER WORRIES More than four out of ten salon professionals (41%) leave their jobs simply because their previous boss has not done enough to help their career progress, a survey has suggested. The poll by wholesaler Salons Direct found long hours and poor management were other key reasons for people to hand in their notice, and behind 18% of all resignations. More positively, 61% said they managed to pick up a new job quickly and just 3% moved because of tensions or internal trouble with colleagues, suggesting team loyalty was strong in many salons, said Salons Direct. A similarly small 3% said they had quit because of client difficulty. The survey also looked the personal haircare habits of hair stylists. Nearly two-thirds (63%) admitted attempting to cut and colour their own hair, 44% visited a salon less than once a month and just 25% were prepared to spend more than £100 a month on their hair. For those who did visit a salon, quality of service was more important than price, it added.

July/August 2018 | salonfocus





atest official figures have suggested there are record numbers of people in work, but this could be a growing headache for salons and barbershops who are finding it increasingly hard to hire and retain good workers, the NHF has said.


The figures from the Office for National Statistics for January to March 2018 showed that the employment rate – the proportion of people aged 16-64 in work – was now the highest since records began back in 1971. The number of people looking for work was 116,000 fewer than for the same period the previous year.  NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said that, while this was good news for individual job seekers, it also highlighted just how competitive the jobs market was becoming for all businesses, not just hair and beauty.

salonfocus | July/August 2018

“We’re hearing all the time from salons that recruiting qualified staff and apprentices is becoming more and more difficult and, according to a recent NHF survey, two thirds of employers are struggling with recruitment,” she pointed out. APPRENTICESHIP VACANCIES The NHF is also supporting Choose Hair, an initiative set up to fight the current recruitment crisis in the hair industry and help to inspire young people into the industry. Emma Bavin from Choose Hair said: “There are pockets in the country where there are apprentices who can’t find salons, so we’ve set up a jobs’ board to match apprentices and salons. “Salons can post apprenticeship vacancies for free. We help salons and barbershops to actively promote hairdressing as a career in schools, showing the exciting opportunities apprenticeships offer to young people who are outgoing, creative and great at interacting with other people,” she added.

CHARITY SALON A breast cancer charity is taking the unusual step of opening a beauty salon to support people suffering or recovering from the condition. The charity Going for Bust has applied for planning permission to open the beauty salon at its office in Wimborne, Dorset, and has now been approved by East Dorset District Council. The plan is for the salon to offer massages, facial treatments and reflexology, as well as hair trimming and restyling for those who have are losing or re-growing their hair after chemotherapy. The charity runs 12 fundraising shops in Dorset and the New Forest in Hampshire.

TIPPING POINT Nearly three-quarters (73%) of people are happy to tip their hairdresser, a survey by online marketplace has concluded. However, nearly half (47%) of beauty workers said they had experienced a drop in the number of tips left by clients. In all, 38% of the 2,000 people polled admitted they did not tip after a visit to their beauty salon. Waiters were top, on 88%, while Uber drivers were least likely to receive a tip, with just 19% of respondents saying they would do so.








debbiegtraining Our new winner #stepupandshine18 @ nicolakristel_hair had her 1st mentor session with me today @ billicurrie @nhfederation @fellowshiphair #winner #billicurrie #debbiegtraining #hairdresser #haircut #haircolor #londonhairstylist #chilternstreet #chilterfirehouselondon #fashion #mentor #mentorship #mentoring #learning #hairdresser #hairdressing

More than four in ten businesses have experienced a cyber-security breach over the past year, according to a survey. Retailers in particular were being left at risk of cyber-attacks because of the potential vulnerability of connected devices in-store, such as mobile pointof-sale devices and digital signage, the research by cyber-security firm World Wide Technology has warned. ßLook out for our focus on keeping cyber secure in the September-October edition of salonfocus

‘SURGE’ IN PARKING PENALTIES Car parking enforcement companies issued a penalty notice every six seconds last year, or the equivalent of 15,486 per day, figures from the RAC Foundation have suggested. The foundation reported that the number of parking tickets or penalty notices issued by private parking management companies “surged” by almost a million last year. In total, 5.65 million vehicle keeper records were obtained from the DVLA by car parking management companies in 2017-18, compared with 4.71 million the previous year. Vehicle keeper records are normally sought when car parking firms want to pursue motorists who are deemed to have infringed regulations in private car parks. Previous studies by the NHF has suggested that over-zealous parking fines and restrictions can have a serious impact on hair and beauty salons. This is especially the case in city centres if clients cannot find somewhere to park or cannot leave their car long enough to get a service or treatment without coming back to a ticket.

mirrormirrormilnthorpe Today has just been one of those fab days! We got featured in the @ nhfederation magazine!!!! About a subject we have been having a major debate about over the last few months! In Aug we are going to be introducing #genderneutral pricing, watch this space!

Salon Business Is your salon ready for #GDPR? Check out these tips by @NHFederation here (link: http:// #hairdressing #hair


@NHFederation hairdressersfederation

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


VAT reform



survey of nearly 400 NHF members has revealed widespread support for VAT reform, not only to ease the tax burden on labour-intensive service industries and to smooth the VAT “cliff edge”, but to deal with unequal VAT bills for the self-employed.


Back in the Budget in November, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond announced that the government would carry out a

salonfocus | July/August 2018

consultation to look at ways in which VAT might be simplified in future (salonfocus, January-February 2018). At the same time, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) identified what it called “bunching” – or where businesses deliberately hold their turnover just below the current threshold of £85,000 – as a key concern. While the government has pledged to keep the VAT threshold at its current level until April 2020, the fact there is a call for evidence on VAT registration thresholds suggests that,

in the longer term, this may change. At £85,000 the UK VAT threshold is considerably higher than anywhere else in the EU where the average is around £29,000, which is in line with average earnings. ACTION CALLED FOR BY THE NHF

The NHF’s preferred solution is to increase the VAT threshold significantly, for example to £500,000, which would benefit the majority of salons. The OTS report did put this forward as an option, but noted it would be likely to cost the Treasury

VAT reform

Do you limit your turnover so you can remain under the VAT threshold?

How do you feel about VAT administration? 100% 90%









60% 50% 40%

23% 22%






10% 0%






Have you considered downsizing to get below the VAT threshold because of the disadvantages of being VAT registered? 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% YES




40% 30%




It takes up a lot of time and money

It is manageable but still takes up a significant amount of time and money

It doesn't take up much time or money at all

between £3bn and £6bn to do so. The other preferred option is to reduce the rate of VAT for labour-intensive industries, such as hairdressing, barbering and beauty, because there is so little scope to claim VAT back on products. As one respondent to our survey put it: “As a service provider we do not make 20% profit to absorb the impact of VAT. You cannot reclaim VAT on wages.” A reduced rate of VAT for hairdressing already operates in some EU countries, notably Ireland (9%), the Netherlands (6%), Poland (8%), Finland (10%) and Luxembourg (8%). Although the current EU rules on VAT already give the UK flexibility to do the same, the government has resisted previous calls from the NHF to take similar action. BUNCHING AND THE ‘CLIFF EDGE’

While 72% of respondents to our survey are already VAT registered, more than half of those salons and barbershops who were not VATregistered ensured they remained

I'm not VAT registered

My accountant / book-keeper does my VAT returns

below the VAT threshold either by limiting their turnover or downsizing – the so-called “bunching” effect, as mentioned earlier. The reason for this was simple: as soon as they went over £85,000 by even £1, they would be landed with a bill of £17,000. As one respondent put it: “I was previously VAT-registered. It’s a headache and seriously affects cashflow. You have to fly over the threshold so your business succeeds. You’re in trouble if you stumble over it.” The NHF has long argued that this “cliff edge” approach to VAT registration is a powerful disincentive to grow and develop a salon business. Other preferred solutions put forward by the NHF include “smoothing” mechanisms such as: ß Introducing tiered rates of VAT once a business crosses the threshold, for example 10% for turnover of £85,000 to £100,000; 13% for £100,000 to £150,000; and so on ß Reversing recent changes to the existing flat rate scheme of VAT which allows businesses with

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


VAT reform

turnover of less than £150,000 to pay VAT at a flat rate of 13%; ß Allow labour-intensive service industries to pay VAT at 20% once they reach £85,000 in turnover but only on the portion above £85,000, not the full amount.

The National Living Wage (NLW) was introduced in April 2016 and now requires all workers aged 25 or over to be paid at least £7.83 an hour. Has the NLW increased your wage bill? 100% 90%

NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said: “Our survey shows very clearly that, for small service-based businesses such as hair and beauty salons and barbershops, VAT as it currently operates is simply not working. “We very much hope the government hears what our industry is saying and is imaginative and small business-friendly in whatever solutions it arrives for reforming VAT.”

80% 70% 60% 50%




19% 7%






10% 0%


The survey also looked at the issue of competition between salons with employees and salons using selfemployed workers. Most self-employed hairdressers, barbers or beauty therapists will not reach the VAT threshold of £85,000

Yes, to a large extent

Yes, to some extent

Yes, to a small extent

No, my staff aged 25+ already earn the National Living Wage or more

No, but I expect it to increase my wage bill in the future

No, and I don't expect it to increase my wage bill in the future

Don't know

How have you managed the additional wage costs? Reduced number of employees through redundancies


Reduced number of employees by recruiting less workers


Reduced hours worked by staff


Taken on more chair renters


Taken lower profits and absorbed the cost


Raised prices


Cut back on training


Reduced plans for investing in or expanding the business


Increased staff workloads


Reduced bonuses or commissions


Recruited more workers aged 24 and under (excluding apprentices)


Recruited more apprentices

7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

salonfocus | July/August 2018

VAT reform

when they trade as individual businesses. By contrast, a salon employing their staff is treated as one business and is far more likely to cross the VAT threshold, having to then charge VAT to their clients. This, naturally, makes them less competitive, as one respondent highlighted: “Very small businesses struggle with a 20% increase in prices – customers don’t want to pay more!” The only solution to the difference in VAT treatment for the selfemployed would be to reduce the threshold significantly, or to remove it altogether while charging VAT at a much lower rate. But, while this may seem fair, it means that everyone will be paying more VAT. The survey identified a clear sense that many salon and barbershop owners felt salons working with chair and room renters had an “unfair” advantage over those who employed staff. A total of 69% of the survey respondents said that the rules on what counts as “self-employment” should be tightened.


Finally, the survey looked at how salons and barbershops were faring generally on the high street, and the impact of rising wages, especially the National Living Wage for over-25s. Salons reported they were doing a little better in 2018 compared to 2017, but a significant minority had stayed static. In all, nearly four out of ten (39%) said their turnover had stayed the same as last year, while for 29% it had gone up, with 5% adding “significantly”. For 21% it had gone down with, again, 5% adding “significantly”. The introduction of the National Living Wage for over-25s had also had a “large” impact on pay bills for nearly a third (32%) of those polled, with the same percentage adding it had had “some” effect. Many recognised that, by the age of 25, stylists should have a full column and be earning bonuses or commissions. There was more concern about the impact of big increases on apprenticeship rates because they make a much smaller


direct financial contribution. As well as rising wages, salons are worried about other costs – recent increases in pension contributions, rising business rates, apprenticeship costs and changes to the treatment of dividends, which all have an impact “Due to increases in other expenses such as staff pensions, employer NICs, increase in business costs for GDPR compliance, health and safety and so on, as a small business it is getting harder and harder to continue paying a fair living wage,” said one respondent. LOWER PROFITS

Businesses had responded by taking lower profits and absorbing the extra cost (57%), raising prices (43%), freezing recruitment (38%), reducing staff hours (35%) and cutting back on training (28%). More than half (60%) predicted they would have no option but to raise prices still further if the National Living Wage reaches £8.75 an hour by 2020, as predicted, from its current hourly rate of £7.83.

The NLW is estimated to reach £8.75 per hour in April 2020. What effect do you expect this to have on your business? It won't increase our wage bill any more than normally expected


Reduce employment through redundancies or taking on less staff


Reduce hours worked


Take on more chair renters


Take lower profits and absorb the cost


Raise prices


Cut back on training


Reduce plans for investing in or expanding the business


Increase staff workloads


Reduce bonuses or commissions


Recruit more workers aged 24 or under (excluding apprentices)


Recruit more apprentices Go out of business

9% 23%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Taking costs out of your business




e all know prices just seem to be going up and up and up. Whether it’s wages, pensions, NI, rents, utilities or insurance, the direction of travel seems to be firmly one way.


For hard-pressed salons or barbershops, how you respond to this can be a real challenge. Do you just put up with it and take a hit to your margins? Do you trim things back to the bone? Let people go? Or do you dare to put your own prices up? Putting up prices certainly can – and should – be something to think seriously about, argues Chris Amos, who runs Chapters Hair Company in Bromsgrove and, as an NHF trainer and business coach, delivers the NHF’s popular “How to make your salon more profitable” business events. “I find when people come on our courses and we tell them that, really, the answer is they need to put their normally really low prices up, they often get really worried they’re going to lose clients. But if you can find ways to cut costs as well as put prices up, then that can be a much easier solution,” he points out.

salonfocus | July/August 2018

In other words, before you take the plunge and raise your prices it makes sense to put your business on a strict “cash diet” – to make absolutely sure you’re not wasting money you can ill-afford and not spending more than you should be. It will take a bit of time and effort, and may mean some tough decisions. But if you can get a firm grip of your costs and outgoings, that is immediately going to make your business leaner, more efficient, more able to cope with rising costs elsewhere and, of course, more profitable. Here, then, are 13 ways to trim your financial fat.



“The first thing you need to do is to step back from the business and the salon floor, sit down and take some time to identify what is really going out of the business, not what you think is going out,” advises Chris. He recommends one good way to visualise things is by creating a pie chart of your costs, and often your salon software may be able to do this.

“It’s going to vary from business to business but probably 50% of this is going to be wages. Given that laying off staff or cutting wages can often be a false economy in a people-based sector such as hairdressing – unless you absolutely have to – there’s probably not a lot you can do about that.” The rest of your “pie” is then going to be split between a range of various costs. This will include things like rent and professional supplies and stock – everything from colour through to cotton wool, foil, shampoos, disposable towels and so on. There will also be expenses such as utilities (water and electricity), various insurances, accountancy and technology (including things like your salon software, website hosting, social media and Wi Fi), tea, coffee and biscuits, flowers, cleaning equipment and so on. Some of these are going to be easier to save money on than others. For example, as Chris explains: “Colour houses in my experience tend to be quite strict in that they can offer only so much or only discount to a certain percentage. But it is still worth making sure they are offering the best rate.”

Taking costs out of your business

Rent, too, can often seem like a cost you can’t change or reduce. But Chris advises that, if your rent is coming up for renewal, it can be worth being proactive. “My lease came up recently, after ten years. The landlord phoned me up directly to make an ‘offer’ on some new terms. At the time I was paying £52,000 a year in rent, which is a massive amount. “Rather than simply go with the landlord, I hired a professional lease negotiator who was able to bring it down to £32,500. Any estate agent who specialises in commercial properties

will probably be able to point you in the right direction,” he says. Where else might you be able to make savings? Chris and other NHF members and business experts now offer their advice.



“Get your team involved. If you educate them to become costconscious, and understand why that matters, that can make a big difference,” advises Chris. “For example, if you’re using


disposable towels it is very easy to slip from having one order every three weeks to one a week simply because people are not being careful about how they’re using them,” he adds. “Education is a very important element. You need to be educating your team about the impact that waste can have in every single service, and how that affects margins and calculations,” agrees Barbara McNaughton-Khattri, director of Elements hair, beauty, lifestyle in Oxted, Surrey. “I monitor, manage and control margins very tightly. I have a

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Taking costs out of your business

spreadsheet showing precisely what profit we should be making from specific services, what we need to be charging to make that profit, and whether therefore we can afford to offer it in the way we are. It also shows how much profit we want to be able to share between the team at the end of the year, and how we need to go about achieving that,” she adds. “Monitor wastage of product, especially when stylists are making up colour. Make sure the stylist notes down the exact amount that they use on a client, so they will know for next time how much they need,” says Joanne Pilbeam, who runs Blend Salon in Derby. “Often stylists think they need to use a full tube when in fact they don’t need to use it all,” she adds.



“The first thing is to look at your primary cost, which is staffing, and ensure that each team member is where they should be in terms of the value they bring to the business,” advises NHF vice president Ian Egerton, managing director of The Stress Exchange in London and director of ICO Management Services. “If someone is supposed to be generating revenue, are they profitable? How much extra revenue should they be bringing in? What is their target against their salary? Work with team members to identify ways in which, even by not increasing prices, they can generate more revenue. So, are they being efficient enough at upselling treatments or services? Are they getting the recommendations? Is their rebooking cycle as it should be?” “We ‘reverse engineer’ everything. By which I mean we have a ‘profit first’ mentality. We want every client to leave thrilled with the experience they have had. But to do that I need to be ensuring the team is thrilled at what they’re doing and that everything in the salon is working in balance,” agrees Barbara McNaughton-Khattri. “You don’t want to muddle through and then get to the year end and

salonfocus | July/August 2018

Taking costs out of your business

discover what you thought you had financially is very different to what you actually have,” she adds.



“Even seemingly small things can make a difference,” recommends Chris Amos. “Are stylists, for example, being wasteful in terms of how much cleaning product they’re using when they’re cleaning their section? “Does a stylist regularly use five or six paper towels to clean the mirror when she could just use the one? It may just be pennies but it all adds up over time, especially if you have multiple stations,” he advises.



“Keeping a good business diary as well as one for salon appointments is very important,” recommends Chris. “Note down when contracts, especially insurance and utilities, are up for renewal so you can give yourself time to shop around rather than automatically rolling over on to a more expensive option. “If you’re a relatively small salon, you may well be able to benefit from VAT-free days at wholesalers. Again, make a note in your diary of when these are taking place in your area,” he adds. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ARGUE FOR A BETTER DEAL, AND MAKE TIME TO FOCUS ON THIS


“Whenever you renew anything, whether it’s your internet or any kind of utility, try to find the best deal or tariff. I find the best way to deal with this is simply to block out some specific time to do that one job,” advises Ian Egerton. “Doing that was a game-changer for me. It could be a whole day or just a certain time each week or month but be clear with yourself that is what you’re going to do without distraction. Do not leave it to the last moment when your options may be more limited.”


“Take yourself away for a few days from everything, and especially from the salon floor. Spend some time as a boss putting in place the systems and approaches you want to use. We are creative people as hairdressers; so think of creative ways that are going to work for you about how to save money, and how you’re going to measure that,” agrees Barbara McNaughton-Khattri. “Another area where you can often make saving is PDQ machines,” says Chris Amos. “Put a note in the diary, perhaps every six months, to remind you to see if the percentage can be reduced. PDQ companies often expect people to phone up and ask, so make sure you’re one of them.”



“One area I’ve made a saving recently in my salon is on flowers. I used to get real cut flowers for £25 a week. But I now use a company called Floral Image that allows you to rent false flowers for £9.99 a week. They look fantastic and it’s less than half the price,” says Chris.



“You need to think about whether paying someone to do something rather than doing it yourself will ultimately save you money. A classic case in point is an accountant – I’ve always used one,” says Chris Amos. “Look at your suppliers and establish whether they’re being costeffective or whether you need to shop around. But remember, ‘cost-effective’ doesn’t necessarily mean cheapest,” agrees Ian Egerton. “For example, are you using the most efficient LED light bulbs, even if they’re more expensive upfront? And are lights being left on for too long when they don’t need to be? “You need to do a close analysis of your return on investment of any expenditure. Is it better to buy those ten new hairdryers because they’re cheaper? Or will they not be as good or need to be replaced more often?” he adds. “We’ve invested in an assistant

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Taking costs out of your business

who isn’t a hairdresser but who is able to help with other things. There is always a debate around whether there is value in having a person who is not a stylist, and so doesn’t generate revenue. However, our assistant has really made a difference,” agrees Annette Munslow, who runs Peaches Hairdressing & Beauty in Derby. “She does everything – stock control, shampooing, cleaning, admin, taking calls and so on. And that means the stylists are not having to do it and can get on with earning the money,” she adds.

salonfocus | July/August 2018



“Technology can be a valuable aid to helping you run your business more efficiently. It can be especially useful for things like scheduling of holidays and accounting and bookkeeping,” advises Ian Egerton. “But, again, you need to be having those conversations about whether it is the right technology for you and your business, and whether you are using it to its full potential. So it is worth regularly reviewing that,” he adds.



“Keeping tight stock control is really important. There is always pressure to buy more stock but then it can end up just sitting on a shelf. That is something we’ve really focused on in the past two years,” recommends Annette Munslow. “Stock control is a big one,” agrees Joanne Pilbeam. “Make sure the cost of your professional stock is no more than 10% of your services, otherwise you can end up with a lot of excess stock hanging around.”

Taking costs out of your business



“We create a transparent atmosphere so that the team can clearly see how waste and costs affect the business,” advises Barbara McNaughton-Khattri. “For example, we have strict rules about how much colour to mix up depending on the service, how many packets of foils a stylist should be using and so on. We weigh our wastage every day and keep the weight down as much as possible. “But it is about making it fun. For example, we have a system of ‘play money’. Essentially, we have a jar into which we put play money to show how much has been wasted, or could have been saved, and that translates into the amount of real money we can spend on fun activities or rewards for the team. When it is fun to do, and people are engaged with it, it is so much easier,” she adds.


“Traditionally, businesses would meet their accountant once a year and the discussion would all be looking back at what happened. But this doesn’t allow for a great deal of planning and forward forecasting,” advises Stephen Blissett of Rodliffe Accounting. “Visibility is the key. You have to have up-to-date information. If you cannot see what is going on in your accounts or keep track of things until it is too late then you cannot make the decisions you need,” he points out. Switching to an accountancy firm that uses Cloud-based accounting software may be one way to trim back your accountancy bills and also get more relevant and up-to-date information, although it is important to check they are certified. A good accountant can help to give you a


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clearer picture of what is coming in and going out of the business, both gross and net. “By engaging with an accountancy firm which uses Cloud accounting software, it is almost like having a business adviser on your desk,” Stephen advises.



This one is fairly self-evident, but to get the best deal it is often a good idea to make full use of comparison sites. However, do remember that some insurance firms in particular make a point of not being on such sites. An insurance broker, such as the NHF’s preferred broker Coversure Insurance Services, can be another option in this context. Especially for switching utilities, insurance, technology, or web providers, sites such as uSwitch ( can be a good bet.

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Taking costs out of your business


s well as keeping a firm hand on costs, when prices are going up generally, it is important to look long and hard at whether your own prices need to rise, too. How and when you do this will vary from salon to salon and barbershop to barbershop but the main thing, suggests Chris Amos, is simply to make the decision and not keep postponing it. “When is a good time to raise prices? For most businesses I would suggest now would be a good time. Stop putting it off!” he says. A good time to do it can be when you’re coming up to a busy period rather than in a quiet time. Equally, scheduling in a rise for the start of the new financial year in April can often make sense because the fact other price rises (such as the minimum wage) are also kicking in at that point can make it easier to justify to clients.


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INCREASE IN STAGES “If your prices need to increase by a big amount, then do it in stages, but over no more than four months. Increasing prices by, say, 50p will not make the difference you’re looking for; increases need to be in line with the result you’re after… more profit,” advises Chris. “Another good tip is to set dates in the diary for when price increases will happen. This can make the process easier and it gives everyone time to get their heads around the increases. Remember, clients don’t visit you because you’re cheap, they visit you because they love what you do. So, working on your clients’ journey and improving the value for money they receive is essential.  “Finally, don’t have too many price guides printed if you know you’re going to change the prices again relatively soon. In terms of how you tell clients about the price rise, I prefer to have all the stylists inform their clients personally of why, when and the reasons for it. If a client is surprised when they come to pay simply charge them the old price that once and inform them of the change for next time,” Chris adds.

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Managing parental leave and return to work



he NHF’s most recent industry statistics suggest that half of those working in hair and beauty salons and barbershops are aged 16-34, with women making up the largest group (29%). In fact, women account for a massive 88% of all those working in hairdressing, barbering and beauty.


What this means is that parenthood and family planning – leave during pregnancy; maternity, paternity and shared parental leave; childcare and return to work – are huge issues (and headaches) for many salon and barbershop owners. So, how do you avoid getting the “baby blues”? The easy answer is – the NHF! The NHF’s membership team can help with queries on all these areas, while our free 24/7 legal team can assist you with more complex queries. Over the next five pages we’ll look at what you need to be doing and thinking about at every stage of the parental “journey”.

salonfocus | July/August 2018


Has your employee told you she’s pregnant? Or, equally, it could be that their partner is expecting? If so, they’re not the only ones with a lot to think about. You’ll need to know and think about: ß The health and safety steps you need to take ß What rights your pregnant employee has while still at work ß Maternity leave and pay laws ß What rights the partner of a pregnant woman has ß Adoption and surrogacy rights Health and safety. “As soon as your employee tells you she is pregnant, you must carry out a risk assessment to identify any possible risks in your salon or barbershop that might affect your employee or their unborn child,” emphasises NHF chief executive Hilary Hall. For example, you may need to consider: ß The length of the working day ß How long your employee stands or sits without breaks

ß If they are doing any heavy lifting or carrying ß Their exposure to potentially hazardous substances (including chemicals) “Discuss any health and safety worries or concerns your employee may have and ask if they have had any specific advice from their GP or midwife that you need to act on,” says Hilary. To ensure the health and safety of your pregnant employee you may need to take various practical steps. For example, this could include: ß Reducing working hours or changing start and finish times ß Providing more suitable equipment or furniture – for example, a different chair ß Varying the type of work they do – for example, to avoid lifting or handling certain products Your employee must agree to any changes you suggest. Pay and benefits must stay the same. Pregnancy, rights and working. “You must allow your employee paid time off for antenatal appointments,” says Hilary. “She doesn’t need to

Managing parental leave and return to work

show you her appointment card for the first appointment, but you have the right to see it for the rest of her appointments.” You must also ensure your employee is not treated unfairly by you or any of her colleagues just because she is pregnant. This would be discrimination and is against the law. “An extreme example would be dismissal or redundancy for reasons related to her pregnancy,” explains Hilary. Pregnancy-related illness. Your employee has the same right to paid sick leave as the rest of your employees. “However, you must record pregnancy-related sickness separately to other types of illness such as flu,” says Hilary. “This will ensure pregnancy-related sickness is not used as a reason to start disciplinary action which would be illegal discrimination.”

DON’T FORGET ABOUT… ß You’ll want to look after valuable members of staff and do everything you can to keep them, so there is nothing to stop you from offering help and support that goes beyond what is required by law.

ß The NHF’s health and safety “toolkit”. This includes risk assessments for team members who are pregnant. It can be bought through and members get a discount.

FIND OUT MORE Our expert Guide to Employing People covers a wide range of topics, including pregnancy, shared parental leave, caring for dependants, and health and safety. It’s free to NHF members and can be downloaded at:



By the fifteenth week before her baby is due, your employee must tell you: ß She is pregnant (if she hasn’t already done so) ß When the baby is due ß When she wants her maternity leave and pay to start “Within 28 days, you must then write to your employee confirming when she is due back at work,” explains Hilary. “She must confirm her plans in writing if you ask her to.” Your employee has the right to take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. She will continue to be your employee for the whole time. “It doesn’t matter how long your employee has worked for you, how much they are paid or how many hours a week they work,” says Hilary, “she will still be entitled to the full amount of maternity leave.” Your employee can start her maternity leave any day from 11 weeks before the baby is due. She will usually have the right to decide when

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Managing parental leave and return to work

she wants to start her maternity leave. “However you can ask her to start her maternity leave during the four weeks before the expected birth if she is off sick at this time with a pregnancy-related illness,” adds Hilary. “She will also start leave sooner if the baby comes early.” Maternity leave and benefits. You must continue the contractual benefits your employee would receive if they were at work. This includes pay rises, pension payments (for at least the paid part of maternity leave) and any other benefits you offer. Maternity leave will also not affect her continuous service record.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT… Annual leave. Your employee will continue to build up their annual leave entitlement while they are on maternity leave. Maternity leave cannot be treated as annual leave – they are two separate entitlements. “Your employee is also entitled to take annual leave directly before or after her maternity leave, as long as she gives you the right amount of notice,” advises Hilary.



“You’ll have to work out if you need to pay your employee Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), and if so, how much,” advises Hilary. “You must tell her if she is not entitled to SMP and help her to apply for Maternity Allowance.” Your employee will qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay if: ß she has been employed by you continuously for 26 weeks when she reaches the 15th week before the week her baby is due, and ß she earns more than the lower earnings limit set by the government each year. This is currently set at £116 per week for the 2018/19 tax year “SMP is paid for 39 weeks,” says Hilary. “You must pay 90% of your employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks and then for the next 33 weeks, she will be paid either £145.18 a week or 90% of her average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower.” You can offer more than the statutory amounts under your own company maternity scheme. If you stop trading for any reason, you must still pay your employee her SMP. Giving notice of SMP. Explain to your employee that she will need to give you 28 days’ notice of when she wants her SMP to start.

Prepare your clients. Make sure your clients know that your employee will be going on maternity leave and what arrangements will be made while she is off. “Sort things out in advance,” advises Hilary. “Will you employ a temporary worker? Or can your existing team cover without extra help?”

Claiming back SMP. “Don’t forget – as an employer you are entitled to claim back at least 92% of the SMP you pay. Small employers can claim back the full amount plus a small amount in compensation,” says Hilary. “If paying SMP will create cashflow problems for your salon or barbershop, you may be able to claim the money in advance.”


Maternity Allowance. Maternity Allowance is paid by the government, not employers. To qualify, an individual must have: ß been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks of the 66 weeks before the week the baby is due; and ß earned on average £30 a week in any 13 weeks of those 26 weeks

NHF members can use our free employee contracts and staff handbooks. The NHF staff handbook includes written policies on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave and flexible working. You can download it at

Maternity Allowance is 90% of an

salonfocus | July/August 2018

employee’s average weekly earnings, or £145.18 a week (from April 2018), whichever is lower.

FIND OUT MORE Read our blog post about maternity and paternity pay on the NHF website. Go to


You must not allow your employee to return to work for the first two weeks after the birth, says Hilary. “If your employee returns after 26 weeks of maternity leave, she must be able to return to the same job with exactly the same terms and conditions,” she explains. “And if she takes more than 26 weeks, she is still entitled to return to exactly the same job, terms and conditions unless this isn’t reasonably practicable. If so, she must be given a suitable job with terms and conditions that are at least as good as her previous job,” Hilary adds. Planning her return. It’s a good idea to keep in touch with your employee during her maternity leave as this will make her feel like a valued member of staff and should make it easier for her to return after a period away. “Before she goes on maternity leave, agree how you will keep in contact,” advises Hilary. “For example, you may want to keep her up to date with changes at work and invite her to training or social events.” “KIT” days. Your employee is not obliged to attend any events during her maternity leave, but if you both agree, she can do up to ten “Keeping in Touch” (KIT) days. “You are not obliged to offer KIT days, but they may help ease your employee back into work. However, make sure you both agree exactly what she’ll be doing on KIT days and how she will be paid,” says Hilary. Health and safety. Remember to keep your health and safety risk assessment

Managing parental leave and return to work

updated to take into account that your employee is now a new mum and may need additional measures to keep her safe and well. She may be breastfeeding, for example, or dealing with physical or emotional issues related to giving birth. Flexible working. If your employee has been employed by you for 26 weeks, she has the legal right to request flexible working arrangements on her return to work. This may include working fewer hours or different hours – for example, a later start or earlier finish. The law says you must complete the process to consider her request within three months and can only refuse it for certain business reasons which are specified in the legislation. If you refuse, your employee will have the right to appeal. “If you agree to new working arrangements, this will usually be permanent,” says Hilary. “But you can also agree that it will be a temporary arrangement.”

And there is nothing to stop you from offering paid leave for emergencies as part of all your employees’ terms and conditions.” Bereavement. There is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide paid time off to a parent who loses a child, but most employers do so. From 2020, a new law will give bereaved parents the right to two weeks’ paid leave. Employers will be able to claim back bereavement pay from the government. You can find out more about how to support a grieving colleague in our blog post at


FIND OUT MORE NHF members have access to our free 24/7 legal helpline if they need expert help and support with any maternityrelated issues including working while pregnant, maternity and paternity leave and pay, flexible working, shared parental leave, and adoption and surrogacy rights in the workplace. You can access the helpline through the membership team on 01234 831965.

Additional time off. What happens if your employee’s childcare arrangements fail, or their child is ill? “Your employee will have the right to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with unforeseen circumstances and emergencies in relation to dependants, including their children,” explains Hilary. “‘Reasonable’ probably means a day or two to deal with the immediate situation, but this will vary depending on the circumstances.


If your employee’s partner is having a baby they may be eligible for: ß One or two weeks’ paid paternity leave (a week is the same amount of days as your employee normally works in a week) ß Paternity pay ß Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

To qualify, your employee must: ß Have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due (this is known as the “qualifying week”) ß Be employed by you at the birth date ß Earn at least £116 a week before tax (in line with the 2018/19 lower earnings limit). ß Give notice of at least 15 weeks before the baby is due Paternity pay is £145.18 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Time off for antenatal appointments. Your employee will be entitled to unpaid leave to go to two antenatal appointments with their expectant partner. The time allowed is six-anda-half hours per appointment. You can choose to allow longer or offer paid time off if you wish. Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) may be available to your salon or barbershop employees if they are the baby’s father or the partner of an

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Managing parental leave and return to work

expectant woman. “This offers greater flexibility to new parents who want to share time off work to care for their newborn,” says Hilary. The mother must end her maternity leave to get SPL and her Maternity Allowance or maternity pay to get ShPP. “If one of your employees has an expectant partner, it’s a good idea to discuss their options and preferences as soon as possible,” says Hilary. “You’ll then have plenty of time to make arrangements and ensure you are prepared well in advance.” Adoption and surrogacy. Many similar rules will apply if your employee is planning to adopt or become a parent through surrogacy. For example, they may be eligible for adoption leave, adoption pay or, again Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay.

FIND OUT MORE Need some help and advice about your employees’ maternity and parental rights? NHF members can simply pick up the phone and call our friendly and knowledgeable membership team with questions and queries: 01234 831965. Or email

IF NOTHING ELSE READ THIS… ß Ensure the health and safety of pregnant employees/new mums ß Your employee is entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments ß She has the right to up to a year’s maternity

leave ß Annual leave will continue to accrue during maternity leave ß She will receive Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance ß She can’t return within two weeks after



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the birth ß She must return to the same or equivalent job ß She has the right to request flexible working ß Partners have paternity and parental rights too

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The NHF’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition


Caroline Sanderson of Ego Hair Design Winner of the Female Fashion Look category

salonfocus | July/August 2018

Melissa Timperley of Melissa Timperley Salons Winner of the Male Fashion Look category

The NHF’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition

James Beaumont of Allure Winner of the Male Fashion Collection category


Liberty Clark of Francesco Group Winner of the Female Fashion Look (students and trainees) category

COULD YOU BE A WINNER THIS YEAR? Entries for this year’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition are now open! Now in its fourteenth year, the prestigious NHF Photographic Stylist of the Year is all about creating a show-stopping image suitable for the front cover of a magazine. It is open to stylists and barbers of all levels, who can enter both professional and non-professional

images. The categories for the Photographic Stylist of the Year 2018 competition are: ß Male and fashion Look – open to all (non-professional photography) ß Male and female fashion look – (professional photography) ßMale and female fashion look collection – (professional photography) To enter, you must submit an image

or a collection of images before 07 September. An expert panel will then draw up a list of finalists on 18 September. The winners will then be unveiled at the NHF’s Business Awards dinner on Sunday 04 November in Manchester. For full details on this year’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition and how to enter visit

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR This year’s Photographic Stylist of the Year competition is sponsored by Andis, who will be providing a prize to the winners. The winners will each receive an Andis US Pro Li Clipper and an Andis SuperLiner Trimmer.

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


The 2018 NHF Business Awards


salonfocus | July/Aug 2017

he countdown to this year’s NHF Business Awards is well and truly on.


The NHF Business Awards were launched last year to mark the NHF’s 75th anniversary and are designed to celebrate the very best hair and beauty salons, barbershops or male grooming businesses across nine categories. Entries are now open, and will close on Friday 27 July, so don’t delay! The NHF Business Awards are free for both NHF members and nonmembers to enter simply by visiting The winners will be crowned on

Sunday 04 November in Manchester at a fabulous awards dinner. NHF president Agnes Leonard said: “Our NHF Business Awards are back by popular demand. Businesses in our industry work extremely hard, so what better way to recognise and reward success than with a glitzy awards dinner? “The response we received last year was phenomenal, so we can’t wait to see what the 2018 entries will bring before the big announcements are made in November,” she added. Our thanks go to all the sponsors for this year’s NHF Business Awards for their continuing support of the NHF.

The 2018 NHF Business Awards

‘IT HAS CREATED A REAL BUZZ IN THE TEAM AND COMMUNITY’ Leah French of French Hair & Beauty in Torquay was a finalist in last year’s Best New Business Category

‘IT REINFORCED THE SUCCESS OF OUR APPROACH, AND OUR CLIENTS LOVE IT’ Barbara McNaughton-Khattri is director of Elements hair, beauty, lifestyle in Oxted, Surrey, which was winner in last year’s Best Client Experience category

“Entering the NHF Business Awards is a fantastic thing to do. It is about challenging yourself and thinking about what you do as a team and as a business. “For us, winning simply reinforced the success of our approach: the attention to detail that we give to everything. For example, we always make sure the towels are folded in a certain way. We’re very particular, too, in how tea and coffee is presented. These may seem like small things, but it sends out a powerful subliminal message: that we care, even about the little things; that we listen to what clients want and expect. “Our clients love the fact we are involved in competitions: it shows that being excellent matters to us. Every month the person who has delivered the best customer experience has their picture taken with the award. “So, winning the award is a living entity, it’s not just something that is left sitting on the shelf. And we will definitely be entering again this year.”

“The salon has only been running for 18 months and so, for me, entering last year was simply about hopefully gaining some good exposure and getting some good publicity. I also thought that, however we did on the night, it would be good to see what other salons were doing and


comparing ourselves against them. “Just being nominated as a finalist was amazing and it definitely paid off! The clients have really got involved; it has created a real buzz in the team and in the community. We will certainly be entering again this year. “The awards event itself was great, especially being around so many other people from the industry. You get to meet with and talk to so many new people.” “We have promoted it a lot, especially on social media. It has been great for our profile as a salon, with clients and as a boost to the team; it has really helped to get us recognised. Entering the NHF Business Awards is a great thing to do.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW The dates to remember: ß Entries close: Friday 27 July ß Finalists announced: Thursday 16 August ß Awards event: Sunday 04 November Visit to enter and to purchase tickets to attend the NHF Business Awards dinner. Tickets to attend are priced at £95 per person, which includes a drinks reception, three-course meal, the awards ceremony itself and an after-show party. This year’s categories The NHF’s 2018 Business Awards categories are: ß Best independent hair or beauty salon (sponsored by Loop HR) ß Best independent barbershop or male grooming business (sponsored by Andis) ß Best group of businesses (sponsored by Coversure) ß Best new business (sponsored by Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing) ß Best client experience (sponsored by Hidden Beauty) ß Best community support, in association with The Hairdressers’ Charity ß Best apprentice (sponsored by VTCT) ß Best front of house (sponsored by Global Payments) ß Best innovation, in association with Choose Hair

The sponsors

July/Aug 2017 | salonfocus


Britain’s Best 2018

B R I TA I N ' S BEST 2018

AIM HIGH, BE BRITAIN’S BEST HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A BRITAIN’S BEST STYLIST OR BARBER? THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT… BY ENTERING THIS YEAR’S NHF BRITAIN’S BEST COMPETITION. ould you “cut it” to be crowned one of this year’s Britain’s Best? If so, the NHF’s renowned floor competition wants you!


This year’s NHF Britain’s Best competition will take place on Sunday 14 October at Salon International, at London’s ExCeL centre. At the end of the competition the talent of the stylists and barbers will be recognised as the winner of each category is crowned. The competition, now in its seventh year and firmly established as one of the highlights of the industry competition calendar, is open to stylists and barbers of all levels, from up-and-coming newcomers right through to experienced competitors. To win, you’ll need to soak up the pressure and compete against the clock to create and perfect a style that will impress our expert panel of judges. ‘OPEN TO ALL’

All the categories this year are “open to all” to inspire determined trainees and seasoned professionals alike to put

their skills to the test and battle it out. NHF president Agnes Leonard said: “It’s a really exciting year for Britain’s Best, with the competition being hosted at Salon International for the first time and because each category is open to all levels of experience to enter and compete. “The pressure is on for the competitors, but we couldn’t be more excited to see what masterpieces are created on the day!” The cost of entry is free for competitors and their models, and there will be a special member discount on entry to the show for spectators. As an added bonus, NHF members who are salon or barbershop owners will be eligible for VIP tickets giving them free access to Salon International and the VIP lounge. Full details on how to enter, competition timings and the discounts available can be found online at Our thanks also go to this year’s sponsors, Denman, for supporting Britain’s Best for a third year.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW When: Sunday 14 October Where: Salon International, London ExCeL How to enter: go to

Celebrate the success of your business…



Entries close on Friday 27 July 2018

Visit for more info


Understanding apprenticeships England

n apprenticeship, as most hairdressing, barbering and beauty business owners will probably know only too well, is training that combines working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job.


What salon and barbershop owners may be less up to speed on is how apprenticeships have been changing in recent years. New “trailblazer” standards are being introduced and, crucially, new ways of funding this work-based training route are now in place. The good news is that the NHF can help you every step of the way when it comes to taking on an apprentice in

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this new landscape. Over the following four pages we’ll outline the process in England. For information on apprenticeships in Scotland and Wales, where things have changed much less, the NHF has a range of resources online, at

Getting started

Online is also a good place to get started when it comes to apprenticeships in England, as it is vital you do your research if you’re thinking about taking on an apprentice for the first time. Once again, the NHF’s website, is a good first bet. Here, among other resources, you can download our free

apprenticeships guide. The government’s website also has a lot of good information and resources (just search for “apprenticeships”). It makes sense, too, to speak to other salons you know in your local area who have already gone down this route, or even just other local businesses. Training providers and local colleges are also likely to be able to help. There will be five steps you’ll need to work through: 1) Choose an apprenticeship for your apprentice. You will normally be looking at hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy, or nail services at Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4. You can do this through the National Apprenticeship Service, again

Understanding apprenticeships England

through 2) Find a training provider or college in your local area that offers hair and or beauty training through the framework or standard you’ve chosen. 3) Check what funding is available through 4) Advertise your apprenticeship. Your training organisation can do this for you via the government’s “find an apprenticeship” service. The government’s “recruit an apprentice” service (again through is also now the official site for posting and managing apprenticeship vacancies and traineeship opportunities in England. 5) Select your apprentice and make an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement with them. The NHF can help you do this via our apprenticeship agreement templates, available at


ß Apprenticeships are only available for learners aged 16 or over. ß You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage. ß An apprentice will be working 30 paid hours a week or more. This includes any off-the-job training in a centre or college. ß Your apprentice must: - work with experienced staff - be given a job role (or roles) that enables them to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours (job-specific skills) they need to achieve their apprenticeship - study during their working week (for example, at a college or

training organisation) ß You can get government funding to cover some of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice if you’re in England.


ß Are they eligible? This needs to include: - do they have the right to work in England? - do they spend at least 50% of their working hours in England? ß The apprentice must work for you, a connected company or charity as defined by HMRC. ß They must have a contract of employment. This should include: - a signed apprenticeship agreement between the you as employer and the apprentice. You can access the NHF template agreement through - a signed commitment statement between you as the employer and the apprentice setting out how you and your training provider will support the apprentice to be successful - It is vital you and your training provider agree the terms of the apprenticeship delivery, including off-the-job training (day release), any training costs, any subcontracted training and any contingencies such as an early leaver. Understanding APPRENTICESHIPs IN ENGLAND

When you choose an apprenticeship for your apprentice you will choose either


an apprenticeship standard or framework. The differences between a framework and a standard are complex. The main thing to understand is the old-style apprenticeships tend to be based around frameworks, whereas the new “trailblazer” apprenticeships are based around standards. This process is in transition, but there are five core things you need to know about the new standards: ß Trailblazer apprenticeship standards have been designed by employers, with the aim that they deliver “salon ready” trainees with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be competent at their training level within hair and beauty. ß The new Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) oversees the governance of the standards. ß Employers can use the new standards once the IfA has allocated a funding band and an approved assessment plan. ß To successfully complete an apprenticeship standard, your apprentice will need to have completed the programme training plus an “end-point assessment” similar to a trade test. ß Your training provider will contract with your chosen independent apprentice assessment organisation and pay them on your behalf. There is just one fully finalised trailblazer apprentice standard currently available. This is: Hair Professional (Trailblazer) Standard – Hairdressing or Barbering Route (Level 2) However, there are a number of beauty professional trailblazer apprenticeship standards

July/August 2018 | salonfocus


Understanding apprenticeships England

under development. These will supersede the old frameworks, and will include: ß Beauty Therapist (Level 2) ß Nail Services Technician (Level 2) ß Beauty and Make-up Consultant (Level 2) ß Advanced Beauty Therapist (Level 3) ß Holistic Therapist (Level 3) ß Senior Hair Professional (Level 3)

there is no end-point assessment. However, as already highlighted, the government is in the process of withdrawing the old apprenticeship frameworks and phasing in the new standards. The key thing is that, under the new system, your apprentice cannot achieve an apprenticeship standard without completing the on-programme training and the end-point assessment.


However, for the time being, these are the hairdressing, barbering, beauty and nail service apprenticeships that are still currently available under the old frameworks rather than the trailblazer standards: ß Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Hairdressing Frameworks (Levels 2 and 3) ß Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Barbering Frameworks (Level 2 and 3) ß Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Nail Services Frameworks (Level 2 and 3) ß Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Beauty Therapy Frameworks (Level 2 and 3) End-point assessments

An end-point assessment tests the knowledge, skills and behaviours which your apprentice has learnt throughout their apprenticeship standard – much like a skillsbased trade test. Under the old system (in other words under the old frameworks)

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Under the reforms, how apprenticeships are funded and paid for has changed completely. First, a new apprenticeship “levy” has been introduced for firms with a payroll bill of more than £3m. These are now required to pay 0.5% of this into an apprenticeship “pot”. They then get a £15,000 allowance to use for apprenticeship training, above which they can dip into the training pot through a new digital service.

However of course, the vast majority of hair and beauty businesses will be much smaller than this and so won’t have to pay the levy. But even small businesses are now expected to contribute. As a rule of thumb, non-levy paying companies must expect now to contribute 10% (or £900 per apprentice) towards the cost of training and assessment. However, there are exceptions to this. Very small employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) who take on 16-18-year-olds, or those aged 1924 who have been in care, or who have a local authority care plan, will not pay anything towards the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. Any employer taking on those two categories of apprentice may also be eligible to get £1,000 to support the additional costs of training, and the training provider may also receive £1,000. This money would be paid in two instalments: £500 after three months and the balance paid at 12 months.

FIND OUT MORE Download the NHF’s Apprenticeships: Guide to Changes in England from May 2017 guide, free to members, from The NHF’s website,, also has extensive advice and guidance in its “apprenticeships” section,

through the “Campaigns” tab. Information on how apprenticeships work in Scotland and Wales is also available at Also go to the government’s site and search for “apprenticeships”.

Understanding apprenticeships England



Choose what


apprenticeship is

Make an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement with them. The NHF can help through its apprenticeship agreement templates

right for you

Decide normally between hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy, nail services Level 2, Level 3, Level 4




2 3

Advertise your

Find the right


training provider

Your training organisation should be able to do this for you via the government’s “find an apprenticeship” service

Choose a training provider or college in your local area that offers hair and/ or beauty training for the apprenticeship framework or standard you’ve chosen. You can do this via the government’s National Apprenticeship Service

Check out the funding situation

Check out the NHF’s advice, on, for guidance. Or your training provider will probably be able to help

July/August 2018 | salonfocus




Annette Munslow runs Peaches Hairdressing & Beauty in Derby and attended a recent ‘Improving Your Retail Sales’ evening business event “I’ve had my salon for 27 years. We’re a very successful business but I do recognise that, when you have been running your business for a while, it is all too easy to get a bit stuck in your ways. “For me, going to an NHF business event was simply about learning some new techniques and hearing some new ideas. I also thought it would be useful to meet and speak to other NHF members, to get views and opinions from other business owners. I took my supervisor along as I felt it would be a valuable experience for her, too. "It was really good, really useful and wide-ranging. The trainer talked about how to manage commission better and the relationship between profit and commission. It also covered things like how to improve client bookings and how to cost and manage time better. “There was also good advice on how to be more effective at stock control and, of course, selling and retailing product. There was also advice on holding regular staff meetings, of addressing issues as they happen rather than simply letting things slide until the next meeting.”

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

BUSINESS DAY EVENTS (10.30AM – 4PM) Wages, prices and profits 15 October – London

WEBINAR (9.30AM – 10.15AM)

Client experience webinar 11 September

BUSINESS EVENING EVENTS (7 - 9PM) Motivating your team 10 September – Wolverhampton 17 September – Newcastle 02 October - Glasgow Getting your prices right 17 September – Plymouth 12 November - Liverpool Growing your retail sales 01 October – Edinburgh Salaries, bonuses and commissions 01 October – York 26 November – Portsmouth

EMERGENCY FIRST AID AT WORK (10AM - 4PM) 10 September – Peterborough 10 September – Edinburgh 17 September – Croydon 24 September – Nottingham 24 September – Manchester 08 October – Exeter 29 October – London 29 October – Glasgow 29 October – Southampton 29 October – Leeds 12 November – Coventry

CREATIVE EVENING EVENTS (7PM - 9.30PM) Barber demo with Vik Riat 10 September – Cardiff 22 October – Birmingham Avant Garde masterclass 12 November – Bristol

CREATIVE DAY EVENTS (1PM - 4PM) Colour Workshop 12 November – London

DON'T MISS OUT ON OUR EVENTS! Keep an eye on events for more information on our upcoming events for the remainder of 2018.

NHF BUSINESS AWARDS 27 July – entries close 13 August – judging takes place 16 August – finalists announced 04 November – winners announced, Manchester Details: BRITAIN’S BEST 28 September – Closing date for entries 14 October – competition takes place and winners announced, Salon International, London Details: NHF PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLIST OF THE YEAR 07 September – entries close 04 November – winners announced at the NHF Business Awards, Manchester Details: NHF WELSH AWARDS 02 July – entries open 14 September – entries close 18 September – nominees announced 18 September – voting opens 31 October – voting closes 11 November – winners announced, Cardiff Details:

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salonfocus July/August 2018  

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 July/August 2018  

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