is imperative that you understand what the importance of health
and safety is to your business. There are legal responsibilities
that must be adhered to in order to protect the employees
of the business and other stakeholders also, such as customers
and suppliers. Try to improve your reputation regarding environmental
issues, plus how to reduce the costs you place on the environment.
Aim to plan ahead to ensure that these measures are enforced
correctly. Ensure that your business is properly insured,
and to make sure that you can maintain high standards of occupational
here and you will gain access to an interactive tool
that enables you to assess how well you are handling your
health and safety policies. There is the facility available
here to compare your business with other businesses anonymously
to see how well you perform in comparison. There is information
available to educate you on how to put corrective measures
in place if they are required
As a business, you should operate a health, safety and environment
policy. Such a policy should detail how you will manage the
three issues mentioned. The policy should be written down
if you employ 5 or people, otherwise it need just be verbal.
Either way the principles remain the same. Find out how to
create one; what you should know before doing so, what should
be included in it, and how to monitor the effectiveness of
Whether self employed, a Partnership or a PLC, all business
must carry out and maintain risk assessments. If properly
conducted, the risk is minimised to harming the environment
and therefore reduces the possibility of you having to pay
fines or even be sued. Identify hazards and evaluate any risks
being taken, and keep a record of assessments and how to review
Communicating your health and safety procedures is just as
important as having them in the first place. All stakeholders
of your business should be aware of your procedures, this
includes providing the relevant training for staff and displaying
the correct signs where they need to be. You should provide
the correct information in guidebooks and ensure these are
distributed appropriately and ensure you consult with your
employees and inform them of any changes in legislation that
affect anyone or anything connected with your business.
Most businesses who employ people must register
for health and safety with an agency. Depending on
the type of business you run, depends on whether you register
with your local authority or with the Health and Safety Executive.
This link provides the registration form you need to complete
for either and details if indeed you do need to actually register,
and what happens next.
It is beneficial to a business to establish a health, safety
and environmental management system. This would help to comply
with many legal obligations a business faces, as well as making
sure that all your employees know the right way to do things.
It enables you to continually improve your health, safety
and environmental issues as it provides a basis for the management
system to grow on.
As a business, you are eligible to receive a visit from the
Health and Safety Executive. Generally this will be a routine
visit where the Inspector will assess your level of Health
and Safety to ensure that you are providing a safe environment
for working in. You can also receive a visit from a health
and safety awareness officer whose role is to provide you
with advice. The information provided on this page explains
how to prepare for a visit and what to do if follow-up action
is necessary, and also how to contest a notice that may have
been served against you.
Accidents can happen in the workplace at any time in any place,
and when they do occur, you have a legal responsibility to
record them and/or report them. If an accident occurs in the
workplace then it should be reported to either the Incident
Contact Centre (Telephone number 0845 3009923) or directly
to your local enforcing authority. You will know who
this is when you register your business for health
There are minimum
health and safety standards that must be adhered to if you
are running your own business. These involve making sure that
you have adequately clean sanitation facilities, that you
carry out risk assessments, ensure all your staff are properly
trained, and have sufficient fire safety standards in place.
Being in the hairdressing industry, you may choose to work
from home also. As this is part of your business, there are
procedures that need to be followed. Your insurance, mortgage
and taxes may be affected, so it is essential that if you
intend to use your home as your workplace that you use this
guide to make sure you think about all the important aspects
that could affect you.
It is a legal requirement to provide minimum standard working
conditions for your employees. These include toilet facilities,
communal areas and rest areas and issues are covered here
concerning smoking policies that you may adopt if you wish
to. It would also be assumed that as an employer you would
like to make the conditions for your staff as comfortable
as possible as there are links between this and productivity.
It is also important that you consider the facilities you
provide for your customers, for example, the sanitation
provided and the common areas to them. Again, the more comfortable
these are for your customer, the better the impression this
gives of your business.
As part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, policies
should be drawn up about smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse
and employees encouraged to follow them carefully. Find out
how to identify if there are any problems and how to deal
with them accordingly, as well as direction of where to go
to for advice and support.
As a hairdressing business, it is imperative that you manage
harmful substances in the safest way possible. Risk assessments
should be carried out regularly to ensure that the safest
procedures are in place whilst products are being used and
the greatest care taken when they are being disposed of to
ensure that no harm is coming to any employee, customer or
the general public. It should also be considered how some
products that are frequently used in salons could have an
impact on the environment if not managed correctly. If you
have any concerns or are unsure about any of the products
you are using, the
HSE website provides detailed information that will
help you. You should also be familiar with how to identify
any risks that may be a result of you using hazardous substances
and how to control these.
Most businesses in some shape or form produce waste. And waste
has an impact on the environment as it can potentially cause
pollution. Make sure that you manage waste and pollution effectively
and details your legal responsibilities with regards to how
you can prevent and manage waste and pollution. Also abiding
by these policies and promoting your business to do so can
reap the benefits of obtaining a good corporate image and
also may save you money.
Salons will probably dispose of electrical equipment on a
regularly as items become obsolete or are faced with general
wear and tear from being used on a regular basis. Consequently,
you have responsibilities to dispose of old equipment correctly.
The introduction of the WEEE Directive (effective now,
from 1st January 2007) has added pressure onto business to
ensure they comply with the new regulations.
Even though as a
salon you are not dealing with food as a product, it would
still be thought that the business has the facilities for
its staff to store produce. As a result, you should be aware
of food hygiene regulations because violation of these could
cause harm to your customers. Be aware of legislation regarding
food safety, cross contamination and what to do if you come
across someone who has an allergy. This could quite easily
be passed on through the hands unknowingly and so it is important
to be up to speed on what to do just in case and make this
information readily available to your employees.
As a hairdressing salon, it would be expected that your staff
will need protecting from certain substances that they deal
with, for example, bleach. As an employer, it is your responsibility
to provide this protection. Make sure you buy the necessary
equipment to protect you and your staff and that all the measures
are maintained to a safe level.
As an employer you are liable for any accidents that have
been caused on your premises that could have been avoided
through enforcement of health and safety legislation. You
can take easy steps to minimise accidents that could occur.
It is also in your best interests to avoid accidents as they
cost your business money, and in turn this can affect your
It is important as a business that you fulfil your legal and
health and safety obligations to store your materials correctly
as to not endanger any of your staff or customers. Doing this
can also result in you looking good as you may reduce pollution
and wastage. Use shelves for storage, know what the risks
involved are when storing goods and how to go about storing
any dangerous or hazardous materials.
As a business, you
should manage occupational health and welfare. This involves
taking the time as an employer to prevent the well-being of
your staff and try your best to prevent injuries and illnesses.
This can range from helping to manage workloads and actively
decrease stress levels to drawing up policies on drugs and
alcohol in the workplace. Key occupational health concerns
are bullying in the workplace, drug and alcohol policies,
stress, and the controlling of hazardous substances.
link provides information to employers regarding hours, rest
breaks and the working week. This involves how long
all employees are entitled to rest for during the day and
where, and what is the legal amount of hours to be worked
in any one week. There are different policies for different
age groups of employees, for example, children under 16 are
entitled to longer breaks and are not allowed to work as many
hours as adults in any given week. There is also strict legislation
that must be adhered to if the employee is still in full-time
education. This section also explains how it is best to manage
the hours your staff put in and how important it is to keep
on top of your records.
Some salons will employ their staff through Agencies. It is
important to understand the health and safety issues surrounding
these employees as you need to be responsible for them in
some ways. This can be resolved by ensuring you have a good
relationship with the agencies you deal with and that health
and safety policies are communicated effectively as well as
ensuring that risk assessments are carried out. It is imperative
that you monitor all working hours and any incidences that
occur so you can ensure that you, the employee and the agency
are all protected under the relevant legislation.
Young people are classified as those under the age
of 25. If you employ young people then there are legal
responsibilities that you have to adhere to. You have to ensure
that they are receiving the appropriate training and if under
18, that they are receiving the correct education (if they
are still in full-time employment). Consequently, this affects
the hours they are eligible to work and the break times they
are entitled to, in addition to the hours they are permitted
to work in any one week and on consecutive days.
Recruiting and employing disabled people can open your business
up to many opportunities. You are able to recruit along a
wider scale just as the result of making small changes, if
any, to your business.
Hairdressing salons should be aware of ways to try and prevent
repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and upper limb disorders
(ULDs). These come about by employees being involved in a
wide range of activities, most commonly associated with work
that effects the neck, shoulders and arms, including hands,
wrists, fingers and elbows. As this clearly could and does
affect hairdressers, you should always try to minimise the
risk of your employees contracting any one of the more than
20 different types of ULDs. Make sure you how to look out
for the causes, and how to track how well you are minimising
the risks once procedures have been implemented. You should
also train your staff to avoid contracting ULDs.
As a business you should be aware of what First Aid is and
have set procedures in place in case anyone on your premises
requires the attention of a first aider. There should always
be a person present who is appointed to take charge of first
aid. It is essential that you assess the needs of your business
to enable you to cater for the adequate first aid requirements.
For example, if you are a salon with minimum risk, you simply
need to have a fully stocked first aid box, but if you are
a more elaborate salon, you may need to employ a qualified
first aider. Make sure you know what should be included at
all times in your first aid box, any training that may need
to be given, and how to record any incidents that may occur.
Dealing with and resolving stress related issues is important
for the success of your business. Stress can be damaging to
your business as it increases sickness absence and decreases
productivity and morale. Try to understand what stress is,
and what are the common causes. It is important that as an
employer you know what to do if stress arises in the workplace
and how to tackle it in any way you can.
A key decision that needs to be made when you start up in
business is whether you should rent or buy. Renting business
premises allows you to have more physical capital allowing
you to invest into the needs and requirements of the business
as opposed to the bricks and mortar. It effectively means
that you have less of your capital tied up in assets and consequently
means that if you wish to relocate your business you have
the flexibility to do so. It is crucial to the success of
your business that you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages
of both buying and renting before you make a decision about
which to do.
Advantages of renting
You are able to agree the period of your contract dependent
on your business needs. This means that you are not tied down
to any ownership agreements which enables you to have a greater
degree of flexibility. This allows you to negotiate with your
landlord on renewal dates and end dates and also possibly
In a financial sense, when you rent you are not being exposed
to the rises in interest rates (except maybe when your rent
comes up for review which probably wouldn’t be for at least
12 months anyway). You will also not be directly affected
by the falls in property prices.
Renting often means that you have less of a responsibility
for the actual building. You will have a landlord who will
probably carry out all your maintenance, most definitely to
the exterior of the building, and you may be responsible for
any repairs in the interior.
In order to ensure that you find the correct business premises
for the needs of your business, you can employ a Commercial
Agent. They have all the knowledge about the property in your
area and will work to find what is most suitable for you.
They effectively work as an intermediary between you and the
landlord/seller, and will keep you updated of any new or forthcoming
developments. It is worth bearing in mind that they will expect
to be paid commission and that as they are not a stakeholder
in your business, they may not be as passionate as you are
about finding the perfect premises, so just make sure that
you have regular contact with them and ensure they fully understand
what you are looking for.
As the tenant of a rented property, you will have some responsibilities
for the premises, but more importantly for the people who
use the building. You will have to abide to all the health
and safety regulations and comply with gas, fire and electrical
safety legislation. Be sure that you and your landlord make
a contract in writing for who is responsible for doing what
as far as all these issues are concerned, for example, who
will pay for and provide the training, and who will provide
the literature. Some of these responsibilities can be decided
mutually whereas others are enforceable by law as a leasehold
agreement is legally binding.
As you do not own the property, ensue that you run by any
changes you would like to make with the owner. For example,
if you would like to change any features or extend, you will
have to have their permission. If any of the changes you intend
to make require planning permission, this cannot be granted
without the owner’s consent anyway. If you do not gain their
authorisation, the landlord can make you reinstate the property
which will be returning it to its original appearance. Obviously
this could prove to be extremely costly. Check before you
sign the tenancy agreement that there is no pending work to
be done on the property. You could find yourself eligible
for the cost if you are the tenant when this work actually
gets round to being carried out.
Ensure that you note down when you will have rent reviews
and break clauses so that you can discuss any issues you or
your landlord may have and this gives you the opportunity
to try and sort them out before the lease period is expired
and you will have to decide whether to renew or not. If you
would like to end your contract, the chances are your landlord
may not let you until the expiry date is up. In this situation,
you can arrange to sublet (where you sublease to another client
but you remain liable) or assign (when a third party will
take over the tenancy agreement).
If you have a lot of capital to invest, the idea of buying
business premises may seem more appealing as in the long
run this can be cheaper and you can do whatever you like to
the property as it will be yours to own once the mortgage
repayments have been made. As with renting, there are advantages
and disadvantages to buying and it is important you make an
informed decision. Buying can be a lengthy and difficult legal
process and so here is some information to help you and advise
Most business that are just starting out will not have the
capital to buy a property straight away but that does not
mean that it shouldn’t be looked into. You automatically gain
the freedom to do with the building as you wish (obviously
within reason) meaning you can gain any profit if you sell
the business and are not tied to any contracts if you decide
You immediately have a greater financial commitment when you
own property and have a lot of money tied up as opposed to
what you could be using to invest. Any alterations that may
need to be made to the property are automatically in your
hands as opposed to that of your landlord and you are definitely
responsible for all the health and safety of the building
and regulations. You are also committed to mortgage repayments
and if you fail to meet these then your property could be
taken away from you.
For a salon this would be to buy into a chain of salons such
as Toni & Guy or Saks. The most common type of franchising
is called a business format franchise. This is when the owner
of the business will grant a license for another person to
use their idea and the products and service will be sold under
the franchise trade name. In return for this, the franchisee
(the other person) will probably pay an initial fee and then
a percentage of the sales. The franchisee will then own the
business premises that it runs but all marketing strategies
will be determined by the franchisor.
There are advantages and disadvantages, and all should be
carefully considered before you decide what to do.
The idea is proven and likely to be successful. You can therefore
determine the success of other franchises before deciding;
You can use an established brand name;
You will gain support from the franchisor which often will
include any necessary training that needs to be given;
Another franchise will not be sold in the same region that
you are based therefore you have exclusive rights to it in
It may be easier to finance the business as banks will probably
look at it as already being a successful business;
There may be an existing customer base, in which case you
will not have to invest as much time and money into creating
one, you can go straight into the upkeep of it;
You will already have established supplier links.
The agreement you make when you buy the franchise may mean
that you cannot run the business entirely as you want to;
There are ongoing costs that you have to pay to the franchisor
in royalties for everything you sell;
If you wish to sell the business at any point, you man incur
difficulties in doing so as you can only sell on to a person
that is approved by the franchisor.
There are few things you need to consider about yourself as
well as the business opportunity that will help you decide
whether owning a franchise is the best route for you to go
down. For example, if you want to be your own boss, running
a franchise will theoretically mean that there is somebody
above you. Don’t presume that because the franchise is a successful
one that it will necessarily be successful in your area, make
sure that you do your own adequate market research and assess
its previous (if any) financial records. Ensure that you still
draw up a business plan, and do not commit yourself to anything
(this involves putting any money down) until you are 100%
Make certain that you seek legal advice with reference to
any contracts etc. A typical contract should include information
on how long the franchise will last for and if there will
be any opportunity for renewal, what the costs will be – the
initial ones, then the royalty costs and how often will these
be paid and how are they calculated, what support you will
receive from the franchisor and what, if any, restrictions
will be placed on how you run the business, make sure it is
clear about what happens if you decide to sell the franchise.
If you wish to make
any changes to the premises you are operating from, for example,
building, extending or changing the external appearance or
original intended use, then you must obtain planning permission
and building regulations from your local council. If you
don’t fully own the business then you must inform any other
parties that you are applying for planning permission, and
if the leaseholder is not a part of your business but they
have seven years or more left of the lease then they must
be informed also.
There are 2 types of planning permission that can be obtained.
Outline permission is for a new building to see whether
the principle is acceptable before the construction of the
building is started. If this is accepted then you have to
get reserved matters (approval of the details) before the
building is begun. This type of permission will last for 3
years so you must ensure that reserved matters are submitted
before this runs out. Full permission is applicable
if you want to change the use of a building quickly and this
is valid for 5 years.
It would be advisable to check your plans for change or expansion
with a planning officer and also be prepared to share your
plans with anybody else who may be affected, for example,
local businesses or residents to see if they have any obvious
objections. When your plan has been submitted, it is likely
that your local authority will contact those who may be affected
to gain their views and your application will probably appear
in your local newspaper so be prepared for public exposure.
When it comes to actually applying, you will need to submit
3 copies of your plans and application form and proof that
you own the premises. It will be decided whether your planning
permission has been granted at either a planning committee
held by your local authority which you may attend, or a planning
officers will do it without the need for a meeting to be held.
You should expect to hear back within 8 weeks of submitting
your application, although obviously more complicated applications
can take longer. If the decision is to take longer than 8
weeks, then the authority should write to you to gain your
consent to extend this time. If this is not acceptable, you
can “appeal on grounds of non determination”.
If your planning permission has been refused you must be given
the reasons as to why. You should ask the planning department
if there are any ways in which your plans can be modified
in order for them to be accepted. You are able to submit modified
plans within 12 months that you will not be charged for.
If you wish to make an appeal it must be done within 6 months
to the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities
and Local Government.
Building regulations are necessary whether or not planning
permission is needed when building work is being carried out.
This can include fitting toilets or putting insulation into
a cavity wall, as well as demolishing a wall inside the premises.
Areas covered by building regulations include hygiene, fire
safety and access to the building, and although the builder
carrying out the work is responsible for making sure they
meet building regulations, it is your responsibility to check
the compliance of the regulations in the first place. If you
are buying an existing business premises, seek the advice
of a chartered surveyor as you must check that it already
complies with the regulations.
Any business that provides goods or services to the general
public must take on legal responsibilities to ensure they
have access and facilities for disabled people. There are
approximately ten million disabled people in the United Kingdom
and it is imperative that you do not discriminate against
them in any shape or form, this involves your businesses premises
posing any physical barrier to entry that may cease a disabled
persons entry to your property.
Security and crime prevention is essential to a business to
keep costs down. When crimes are committed, stock can be lost
which costs the business, property can be damaged and there
can be a very adverse effect on the morale of staff. Make
the best use of security alarms, CCTV, locks and the security
of your money and stock. Try your best to deter crime and
deal with any emergencies that may arise as soon as possible
in the safest possible way.
Businesses can take precautions to avoid fires and have procedures
in place to control emergencies. Fire safety and risk assessment
avoids lots of deaths and injuries every year within businesses,
and saves them millions of pounds in repairs, compensation
and insurance premiums. In October 2006, new legislation in
England and Wales has replaced old laws, resulting in fire
certificates now not being needed and the emphasis being shifted
towards the prevention of fires. All business owners bear
the responsibility of ensuring that if a fire was to break
out, people on the premises have a means to escape. Ensure
you know the equipment that is required and what the evacuation
procedures are as well as fire risk assessments, and how to
record, review and revise all your fire safety plans.
It is important that
as a business you cover yourself in all the appropriate ways
by taking out insurance cover. You will need two types of
insurance advisor; an insurance broker and an independent
financial advisor. Look in to how you should choose your advisors
and how you should present your risks to them, as well as
how you should manage your relationship with them once it
has been established.
You must take out general insurance to insure your business
and its assets against damage and/or loss. Find out how much
it can cost; both are dependent on the risk your business
poses for any potential damage and how much it would cost
the insurance company to pay out in the event of a claim,
and shop around for the cheapest you can get that covers all
the most important things.
Certain insurance policies will insure your employees lives
and health if there was to be any injuries sustained, illnesses
or death. In the event of any of these things happening there
can be serious financial consequences brought to your business
or your employees. It is therefore important that you seek
put an insurance policy that is best for you.
As a business owner, if you employ anyone, you will need to
have employers’ liability compulsory insurance. This is your
legal responsibility as you are liable if an employee or a
member of the public sustains an injury because you have been
negligent. This insurance is used to pay for any legal costs
or compensation that may need to be paid out in the event
of any negligence occurring. Employers’ liability compulsory
provides a means of security to businesses as without it,
if it was needed, could put your business into great financial
difficulty. It also provides assurance to employees if they
know their employer is covered by it as it means they will
always be able to receive compensation, even if the business
and safety performance indicator is another interactive
tool provided here to allow you to assess how well you are
handling your health and safety policies. If you are handling
your health and safety well, this can bring down your insurance
premiums, and it also results in you sustaining a good corporate
image as you will be seen to be looking after the well-being
of your employees and customers.
Using energy efficiently can provide numerous benefits to
your business. You will undoubtedly save money which in turn
will increase the profitability of your business and therefore
its competitive advantage. And you will portray a good corporate
image as you do your share to help the environment by contributing
towards helping decrease climate change.
You can also decrease costs to your business by reducing waste
and the use of raw materials and this will also be beneficial
to you as you gain a good environmental image. You can look
at how much water you use and how you recycle paper and magazines.
Carry out a waste audit to identify any potential savings
that you have not been aware of before.
Help, Finance and Advisors
Your local authority is responsible for providing you with
a range of services that your business may need. They should
cover the following and give you advice.
Collection of business rates
Business support and economic development
Planning and building regulations
Licensing and registration services
Trading standards safety
Health and safety services
Food safety services
As you will be using a building to operate your salon from
you will be required to pay business rates. This is the equivalent
to domestic premises paying council tax and the rate is set
nationally in England by the Department for Communities and
Local Government and it is assessed by the Valuation Office
Agency. You can read about how business rates are calculated
and how you go about paying them, as well as how to challenge
your rate if you do not agree with what you are being charged.
Environmental taxes are in place to try to encourage businesses
to use their resources efficiently and if they do so they
can benefit from tax breaks, for example, by investing in
environmentally friendly equipment. Find information out about
how taxes are levied and who they are collected by, and how
exemptions and credits are made.