Everything you need to know about insurance for your beauty business.
Posted January 26th, 2014 by Jeff Pulford
We here at InsureBeauty happily answer many questions from our beauty industry clients and have certainly heard many…. Some that we think might be helpful for beauty professionals are, as follows:
How do I determine a Business Personal Property limit for my salon?
- Think of all your equipment, inventory, product and any improvements you have done to your business space, such as sinks or basins. Then add up all their values and you will get the amount of Business Personal Property for your insurance policy.
Do I need General & Professional Liability?
- Yes you do. General Liability is for the slip & fall due to water on the floor or trip & fall due to a cord across the floor. Professional Liability is for a burned scalp or an infected finger due to “your work”. Theses are examples of each type of liability.
Is my policy as a booth renter/independent contractor location specific for liability?
- No. The booth renter/independent contractor general & professional liability policy follows you to any location where you are providing beauty services.
- If you’re relying on the salon policy it only covers you when you are working for the salon.
Do I have to pay all at once & upfront to get a booth renter policy?
- No. The company we use offers direct bill payment plans with one to six payment options, with no installment fees! Premium starts at an annual rate of $225!
If you have a more specific question, please call our office toll-free at: 855-257-0088 or visit our website at www.insurebeauty.com
Posted April 3rd, 2012 by Jeff Pulford
This April 2012 Stylist article is part 1 of an interview with Fred Jones and InsureBeauty’s very own President, Jeff Pulford.
CYA: Covering Your Assets! A Salon Insurance Q&A
There are many hungry attorneys out there looking to make a buck off of the mistakes made in salons. In this column, I have turned to Jeff Pulford, of InsureBeauty.com, a trusted and very experienced insurance expert to help explain steps salon owners can take to adequately prepare for such inevitable claims.
FJ Jeff, before we get started on outlining insurance needs for salons, spas, and barbershops, are there some general points you would like to make about insurance?
JP Insurance, just like the world we live in is complex. No policy or insurance company covers everything. Those seeking insurance coverage need to understand what events or accidents will be covered, the dollar amount or extent of such coverage, what is excluded, and how much the premium is. Insurance companies are not mean or nice. They want to help you if there is a claim. They desire honest, complete applications so they understand their obligations to you.
FJ That’s a helpful beginning. So let’s dive into the insurance needs of a typical salon. What should a typical policy look like?
JP Beauty salons, spas, and barbershops are generally small businesses and can take advantage of an “all in one” policy called a BOP (Business Owners Policy). These are standardized packages — which include Property (building and/or personal property), General and Product Liability, and Professional Liability.
FJ Since Property was first on your list, can you provide some detail about the scope of such coverage when salon property is damaged?
JP Property has at least four parts. 1. Building coverage. 2. Business Personal Property This includes all contents, tools, computers, supplies, and retail sale items. 3. Tenant Improvements – Generally those things the salon owns which are built into the building. Examples are water and light fixtures, partitioned rooms and offices, cabinet, sinks, etc. 4. Loss of Income and Extra Expense Lost revenue and moving expenses are covered.
FJ What kind of accidents or events will typically be covered under a Property claim?
JP Examples are fire, smoke, explosion, collapsed roof (snow), water damage, riots, vehicle damage, theft, etc.
FJ That’s funny you mention vehicle damage for a salon … why?
JP Salons are located on busy streets and shopping centers. Autos and trucks somehow end up going through the windows and walls……..I know of three that have happened recently in Central California.
FJ What losses are excluded?
JP The two most important are Earthquake and Flood. Also, you cannot burn or damage your salon on purpose. Salon owners need to closely review “exclusions” to their policy.
FJ That was simple enough, but as an attorney, I know liability matters can be a lot more complicated than property claims. Can you put those matters in simple terms for our readers?
JP Simply put: People are responsible for their own actions. So if you cause bodily injury, property damage, monetary or emotional loss to someone, a liability claim against you is possible.
FJ Perhaps a couple of actual examples will help frame General Liability and Professional Liability matters.
JP Sure. Since all master leases with salon owners will require General Liability coverage, let’s begin there. The first category of such coverage has to do with accidents that happen at the salon, like “slip and falls”, burning down the shopping center, flooding the ladies dress shop next door, and the like. The second category under General Liability insurance covers harm or damage done to customers as the result of retail products (like a hair product that burns the customer’s scalp when they use it at home). A word of caution, it you mix products and sell them under your label, you must buy a special policy. Additional offerings of a General Liability policy include non-owned automotive accidents, “host liquor” and direct medical payments for injured individuals at your salon.
FJ And Professional Liability?
JP The services a salon professional performs on the public are expected to be safe. When a stylist cuts a customer or burns their scalp during a coloring, or a manicurist passes an infection to the client’s toes during a pedicure, or other professional mishaps, the salon will be held legally responsible. Professional Liability protects the beauty professionals and the salon from such monetary damages.
FJ I hear complaints by salons that some beauty services are not covered by the salon’s Professional Policy. Why?
JP Great Question! Insurance companies offer professional liability policies that are specific to beauty establishments, but their policies may explicitly exclude certain services they consider beyond the scope of the barbering and cosmetology industry. The policies can be very different from one insurance company to the next. Generally, most insurance companies cover the skills and services taught in Beauty College. If unique services are offered, special insurance will be needed. Most “BOP” policies exclude the following: Tanning, Plastic Surgery, chemical facials, massage (below the neck and above the elbow), Permanent Makeup, Tattooing, Botox (or any other) injections, and many other medi-spa treatments.
FJ Lawyers like me are involved in most lawsuits, and we’re not cheap. Are the salons covered for their legal costs related to such claims?
JP Yes, all insured liabilities include defense coverage, even if the suit is false or groundless.
Read the entire article at www.stylistnewspapers.com
Posted March 6th, 2012 by Jeff Pulford
The March 2012 issue of California Stylist has great articles this month that really highlight the business side of the beauty business.
Two articles in on page 12 address the recent California Attorney General ruling on the lawsuit against GIB (the company that makes the Brazilian Blowout Acai Smoothing Solution and the Brazilian Blowout Professional Smoothing Solution) . GIB is ordered to pay fines for violating 5 California state laws as well as retesting, reporting, relabeling, etc their products.
The two products were deceptively labeled “formaldehyde free” when they in fact contained formaldehyde, a cancer causing chemical gas, harmful to stylists and clients.
This is an important reminder that unforeseen events and lawsuits do happen in this industry. It’s important to protect yourself with the proper insurance coverage.
Professional Liability Insurance protects you if your client was harmed while receiving your services, in a case like this.
Product Liability Insurance protects you if you were to be sued because your client is harmed by products you sold to them.
For the complete California Stylist articles read here.
For more beauty industry insurance info, visit www.insurebeauty.com or call InsureBeauty toll-free 855-257-0088.
Posted February 1st, 2012 by Jeff Pulford
In this edition of the InsureBeauty Blog, we’d like to help you understand Professional Liability coverage with an example story:
Background Information: Brinley is a long time customer of this salon and Stephanie, her hairdresser, has been doing Brinley’s cut and color for 3 years.
Hairdresser: Hi, Brinley. How are you? Last time you were here you were getting ready to go to Cabo San Lucas for vacation. How was it?
Client: We had the best time Stephanie. My friends and I rented a villa right on the beach and we laid out in the sun every day for a week. The only down part was the ocean wrecked havoc on my hair.
Brinley grabs her hair from the ends and pulls it up towards her root to point out the damage and breakage from the ocean swimming and sun exposure.
Hairdresser: Do you want to do a deep conditioning treatment as well as your color and cut today? I really recommend one to help put some moisture back into your hair. Swimming whether in the ocean or the pool can be really damaging on our hair.
Client: How much extra is it?
Hairdresser: It is about $65 for the conditioning treatment.
Client: I am going to skip the conditioning treatment this time and just do my usual cut and color. Only since it is almost summertime I want to be a little lighter shade of brown. Instead of almost this espresso color I have I want the color to look more chestnut.
Hairdresser: Absolutely! That will look really good with your skin color especially since you are still so tan from your vacation. Can I get you some water or coffee or anything? I am going to go mix your color and will be back in a minute.
Client: No thank you, but I would love a magazine.
Hairdresser: I will be right back with your magazine and color.
Stephanie mixes the color and returns back to the chair and hands Brinley her magazine and applies the color. They chit chat back and forth about what’s new in their lives.
Hairdresser: Okay Brinley, I am going to put the timer on for 15 minutes then come back and check on you to see if it is processed. We may need to go as long as 20 minutes but lets see how the color is lifting after 15 minutes or so.
Brinley smiles; and nods and replies okay.
Ring, ring, ring. Stephanie picks up her cell phone and it’s her boyfriend with an emergency. He is locked out of his car and needs the spare set of keys. He is late returning from lunch back to his job and he is already on work probation for being late so many times. Stephanie panics and is really upset thinking about what will happen if he loses his job then they will not be able to afford the great condo they just bought together. Her mind is swirling with stressful thoughts and all she can think about is racing over to give her boyfriend the spare set of keys.
Hairdresser: Brinley, I am so sorry. I have an emergency. I will be back in less than 10 minutes. I just need to drop the spare set of keys off to my boyfriend who locked his keys in the car. Audrey (an assistant hairdresser) has already said she will check on your color in about 5-10 minutes to see how you are doing. I will be right back.
Client: Please go do what you have to do. I’ll see you in a few minutes.
20 minutes has now passed and Brinley’s color is still processing. Audrey got distracted by a demanding client and Stephanie is just now walking back in the salon door from dropping the keys off to her boyfriend.
Hairdresser: Brinley, I am so sorry it took longer than expected. Let’s check your color and get you washed and dried.
Brinley and Stephanie walk to the sink. You can see the panicked look on Stephanie’s face as the color is washing into the sink and Brinley’s hair color has an orange tint to it. It was over processed.
Hairdresser: In a calm voice, Stephanie says to Brinley… Brinley your hair has lifted with less chestnut colors and more orange tints. We are going to have to apply a toner to tone down the orange and get you back to the color you wanted.
Brinley looks in the mirror and sees the orange tint throughout her hair. At first she looks calm and the longer she stares at herself in the mirror the more angry she becomes.
Client: You promised Audrey would check on me and that you would be back in 10 minutes. Neither of those events took place. I was left with color on my hair for over 20 minutes. My hair is now orange because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do. What am I supposed to do? I am going to my family reunion on Saturday. I look like bozo the clown.
Hairdresser: Brinley, please tell me what I can do to make you happy? We will figure out a solution to rectify this problem. The toner really will help tone down the orange. Of course, I will not charge you and I will offer you complimentary conditioning treatments for the next month. As well as some deep leave in conditioner treatment products. We have a new one that just came out last month that will really help condition your hair from the dryness and damage caused from all that sunning and swimming in Cabo.
Client: Listen I have been coming to you for over three years. This is the first time your personal life has now affected my personal life by ruining my hair but it’s not the first time you have left me in the chair too long. You are always on the phone with your boyfriend and I didn’t mind but now I do! You have ruined my hair! What am I supposed to do? This is unacceptable. I hope you have good insurance because I am going to sue you.
Stylists’ Golden Rules:
- Always remain calm.
- Communication is key.
- Make your customer happy.
What did Stephanie do right?
- She remained calm.
- She communicated with her client by apologizing, offering her free products, and explaining the situation to her and how it can be rectified with the toner.
What did Stephanie do wrong?
- She failed to make her client happy.
- She should never have left the salon with a client processing.
- Yes, she made arrangements for an assistant stylist to check on her client but Stephanie is accountable.
- This incident could have been avoided.
- Emergencies happen but she should have planned better. Asked two people to help cover for her and check on her client that way if one gets busy or forgets she has a backup plan and hopefully out of the two stylists one will remember and check on the client.
- She could have asked a manager, someone she knows will be diligent and check on her client. Managers are also often held accountable by the owners therefore the manager will be most responsible since her or she’s job can be on the line.
Can a client sue a stylist for over processing her hair?
The answer is YES!
How do you protect yourself in case you are sued?
All stylists must carry the insurance called Beauticians & Barber Professional Liability.
This will offer you insurance coverage up to $1,000,000 including legal fees and defense costs.
In the case of Stephanie vs Brinley. Brinley has every right to sue Stephanie for over processing her hair. Even if there is a solution to the problem such as applying the toner.
The professional liability insurance applies to bodily injury, property damage, personal and advertising injury as those terms apply or any other injury arising out of the rendering or the failure to render professional services as a barber or beautician including treatment, advice or instruction for the purpose of appearance or skin enhancement or personal grooming or therapy but only in connection with the operation of your business as a barber shop or beauty salon.
Always make sure your clients comes first but in case of accidents or mistakes that can happen on a daily basis make sure you have the insurance to protect yourself.
InsureBeauty’s Solution: $225 offers booth renters a package of insurance which includes Professional Liability starting at only $225 a year. InsureBeauty’s Solution: $370 offers Salon & Spa Owners and Barber Shop Owners a Business Owners Policy including Professional Liability starting at $370 a year.
Posted May 21st, 2011 by Jeff Pulford
Have You Retreated?
Jan and Artie, owners of J & A Salon in Tucson took their first weekend off in years. It was September of 2010 (Remember when this recession economy started?). They felt they needed to re-evaluate their salon business … and their life. A ‘retreat weekend’ was in order.
Jan and Artie had put their all into their salon business, attracting good employees and booth renters. They leased a space in a neighborhood of middle class working families. . The quality of their work was superb, and they prospered.
Then, ouch! … the recession of 2008 came along… a disaster for them. They worked harder, cut every possible expense, laid-off unproductive employees, and kept their best booth renters. They survived, but it was very difficult for them and their staff.
As their 2010 retreat approached, they were tired, a little scared and unsure what 2011 had in store.
They decided to call Jan’s Dad. He was the one that recommended the beauty industry to them when they were starting out. He also helped them get started financially and knew a lot about running small businesses. Most of all … they trusted him.
Jan’s Dad owned an insurance agency that specialized in the beauty industry (salons, spas, schools, stylists and barbers). He knew all the ins and outs of the business and risk sides of the industry. He knew Jan and Artie could use some business insights to get back to being successful over the coming difficult years. The time of easy profits from plentiful clients in a good economy was over.
Back to Basics
He shared that their artistic skills were a given, but that it was good business practices, smart promotion/PR, good staff training and motivation, strong ethics, and fail-safe contemporary insurance that would set their salon apart, and attract and help them retain their good clients.
He got right to work, reviewing their financials, business practices and procedures, and completed a total business salon inspection based on not only the standard risk categories in a typical BOP (Business Owner Policy) but with the very specific issues around the operation of a salon. The three started a list of things important to the business that included:
- People: Themselves, salon workers, referrals, friends, distributors, and vendors.
- Financial: Accounting, profit and loss, pricing of services, costs of running a business, lawsuits, catastrophes, disability, and very importantly, expensive workers compensation.
- General: Marketing, advertising, education, health and welfare.
- Clients: A huge topic arena. He recommended Artie and Jan surveyed their clients to learn more about why they chose and why they have chosen to stay with their stylist and the salon. The answers were not surprising but gave them the confidence of where to spend their time and money.
Their results were that the happy J & A Salon clients liked their stylist’s:
- Quality of work.
- Ease of scheduling.
- General BTC professionalism.
- Felt service prices were reasonable, competitive, and affordable.
- The salon and stylist reliable and on-time for their appointments.
It was clear that in this difficult economy their clients were watching every dollar; and in the wake of some local stories in where clients had been harmed by beauty services (Nail infections, the formaldehyde controversy, etc.) , their clients were ever more mindful of safety concerns.
Jan, Artie and Jan’s Dad developed simple, inexpensive solutions that addressed to focus on client survey results andquests from their survey
Revamped and created a easier-to-understand menu with competitive pricing and numerous ‘special packages’ that ‘offered multiple service with increased client values. Not discounts … values.
Made it easy and fast for clients to pay for services. Cash (change ready with safety precautions in place). Credit cards and debit cards – revamped salon’s credit card vendor … easy, safe, and a profit-saver. Examined client list and established clients’ special skills for trade and even set up a special payment program for clients on hard times).
Clients were made aware of the excellent insurance coverage their salon had in place for their safety and security. General Liability for slip and falls, products sold, and lease compliance. Professional Liability covering the salon and its employees, that included off-premises events like weddings and outside special events. Often missing from many policies. Booth renters motivated to obtain their own highly affordable insurance policies as independent business people. This policy saved the salon money and didn’t burden the independent booth renter with high premiums. Property and loss of income coverage also to come on line.
Health and Safety
No surprise that a salon is full of plumbing, electrical devices, and of course, chemicals. Inspection, cleaning, and verified safety procedures outlined and clients were promotionally informed of everything their salon was doing that they probably would not be seeing for their safety at other salons. Even down to simple, but client-obvious hand cleaning/disinfection dispensers at each station that speaks volumes about how client and stylist safety was paramount and helps ensure salon staff doesn’t transmit flu or colds to each other and/or the clients.
No Big Deal
After the weekend retreat, within one week, every task on the list was able to be completed. Electrical and plumbing issues repaired, Updated money procedures and insurance coverages reviewed and expanded. Calculate distance . The salon clean and safe, well-marked, and the most noticeable feature to all clients totally spotless bathrooms.
Hardly. Aside from their time, total cost for salon update was $522 including $318 for electrical and plumbing fixups. Jan and Artie were elated, confident they would keep their current clients and excited about their next project.
Have You Ever Done a Retreat?
Posted February 25th, 2011 by Ashley Sebok
We all have heard our fair share of horror stories about bad haircuts and haircolor over the years. I hear them on the client side (and on the salon insurance and stylist insurance side too), and you hear all those, plus others, from your friends behind the chair as well. True, it is just hair and it will grow back, but at the time of that bad cut we are devastated. A bad haircut can bring tears to even the strongest of people. How can we go out in public? To work? To school? OMG! We clients get pretty upset.
There is one particular nightmarish story embedded in my mind. I share some of the aftermath of what I thought was a particularly bad situation.
I was in the chair getting my color done at my salon and a young woman came in and sat down in the chair next to my hairdresser’s station. My hairdresser paused from her work on my hair and leaned down to give her a big hug and asked how she was doing? I could see scars and burn marks on the woman’s face and left side of her neck. I knew this wasn’t one of those cheery, standard ‘how are you doing’ kind of questions; my stylist was clearly interested in the answer. The client said, “I’m doing okay, and just had the second skin graft done”.
Here’s What Happened.
My hairdresser asked the woman if it was okay to tell me what happened and she began to share her horror story. Four months earlier she had gone to another salon to have her hair straightened.
Our hairdresser who normally cuts and colors her hair doesn’t offer relaxing or straightening. The salon this woman went to is well known and highly recommended in our community, so she went there, had a consultation, and the stylist applied the relaxer to her hair.
She was sitting letting it process and some of the relaxer was dripping down the side of her face and left side of her neck. She walked over to the hairdresser and told her it was initially tingling but now it had started to burn slightly.
The stylist told her it was normal to have a little burning and she would check on her in a few minutes. 10 minutes passed and it started to really burn. She said it felt like her face, neck and head was on fire. She was getting scared, anxious, and panicked. She stood up and ran over to her stylist and was on the verge of tears from the pain, and being scared.
The stylist said she was rinsing another client and would be with her when she was done. Another client that was processing her color was watching this nightmare unfold took control of the situation. There wasn’t an open sink at the shampooing area so she rinsed the relaxer out in the bathroom sink. The woman’s scalp, neck, and face had second degree burns. She was admitted into our local hospital and evaluated.
Due to the nature of the burns, and the fact they were on the face area she was told skin grafts would be necessary. The owner of the salon offered to pay for her medical bills and they settled on a large undisclosed amount.
It Doesn’t Always End Well.
We all love going to the salon and spa and leaving feeling beautiful . For the most part, 99% of the time our experiences are good. But in each of our lifetimes we are going to have some bad experiences. The risk and exposure is there.
So to answer the question … Can I sue my hairdresser? … The answer is YES! Pretty easily.
As a hairdresser, can you protect your business and assets in the event of a lawsuit? The answer is YES! Very easily.
The remedy is to make sure you have good Stylist Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance) or Barber Professional Liability Insurance in place for a minimum coverage of $1,000,000. The national average cost for just the professional liability for each stylist/hairdresser/barber whether you are an employee or independent is between $20-$60 a year. This is pennies compared to a lawsuit that could cost you $20,000, $30,000, or even $500,000.
Since we know mistakes do happen to even the most diligent of stylists, the only way to protect your business, your assets and pay for medical bills and defense costs if there is a claim is to make sure you have Stylist Insurance or Barber’s Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance) coverage in place.
You have two responsibilities you must live up to as a stylist or salon owner.
- The responsibility of protecting your client and …
- Your responsibility to protect your business.
What Coverage Do You Have? Comment Below.
Posted February 1st, 2011 by Alex
It Was Great Meeting You!
Our team had an exhausting, but wonderful time meeting up with so many of you during the show. Thanks for dropping by our booth and for signing up to win one of the free Sailing Cruises on Monterey Bay and grabbing your free photo during the show. Each cruise prize is worth $600.
More Than We Expected.
What we found especially gratifying were the number of independent stylists asking why you needed your own business insurance policy. As you learned, the insurance coverage your salon landlord carries isn’t quite as complete as you thought it was under a number of circumstances and can leave you more than a little vulnerable. Thanks for all your questions.
Win the 16GB w/ WiFi iPad!
(Retail value $499.00)
Winners Announced Feb 28th
iPad winners to be announced on February 28th on Facebook. Individual cruise winners will be notified on Facebook and by private email.
Posted January 27th, 2011 by Admin
Who Was That Masked Man?
Someone always asked that at the end of each episode of the Lone Ranger radio and TV programs. After doing their good work, the Lone Ranger and Tonto always quietly disappeared into the sunset not seeking recognition from the very people they had saved. Insure Beauty has been a little like that.
We’ve never made much of a fuss about ourselves. Some of our clients thought we were being silly and needed to get more with the times and show up at a few more parties. So this year we’re taking their advice and have decided to exhibit at a few 2011 beauty industry shows.
Our first is the International Salon & Spa Expo at Long Beach, Booth # 3109 in the Arena.
Frankly, we’re pretty darned excited and hope you’ll drop by for a visit. Don’t forget to ….
‘Sign-In to Win’ Luxury Cruising on Monterey Bay
We thought we’d try to catch your eye with the opportunity to win one of five free cruises for you and up to 5 of your guests aboard the beautiful 47’ “Bella on the Bay” luxury racing yacht. (Retail value $600.)
Sign-In to Win at at the Long Beach Show OR get a leg up and click the register buttom.