4 Risks of Owning a Salon or Barbershop

4 Risks of Owning a Salon or Barbershop

Making the transition from renting a chair to owning your own salon or barbershop has plenty of rewards, but starting your own business is riskier than a bold new hairstyle. Read our checklist to learn the top risks for salon and barbershop owners and how to protect your business, clients, and employees.

1. Client and Employee Injuries

Along with injuries from slippery floors, clients and employees also risk cuts from razor blades, burns from hair dryers and curling irons, and skin irritations from hair coloring and toxic chemicals. To help minimize injury to your clients and employees, add these tips to your safety action plan:

  • Ensure proper ventilation to minimize inhaling toxic chemicals.
  • Regularly sweep and mop floors to reduce slips and falls.
  • Make sure you’re following OSHA’s formaldehyde and hazard communication standards, if appropriate.
  • Keep a detailed record of client and employee injures – OSHA requires it.
  • Got employees? Consider adding a workers compensation (WC) program to help reduce medical costs and return injured workers to work faster after a workplace injury. Depending on your state, this also may be required.
  • Check your insurance documents to ensure you have the right level of general liability coverage to cover against claims or lawsuits associated with bodily injury, property damage or reputational harm before an incident occurs.

2. Product Defects

Many salons promote healthcare products, cosmetics, perfumes, hairdryers, or curling irons. But did you know you could be held responsible for your customers’ injuries if the product fails? Whether you manufacture, sell, or just promote the product(s), if your customer suffers an injury they could file a lawsuit to ask for damages from the product’s manufacturer, designer, distributor, or seller.

How real is this risk? Consider that the vaping industry, for example, currently faces billions in lawsuits because manufacturers claimed e-cigarettes reduced the occurrences of lung cancer—a claim now in dispute. Since anyone in the supply chain can be the target of a lawsuit, that means lots of small mom-and-pop shops are now being sued for damages.  

The good news is that product liability insurance can help protect you against claims or lawsuits that have caused someone injury or harm arising from product defects, malfunctions, or insufficient warning labels and instructions.

3. Property and Contents

Salon and barbershops are at a high risk of fire due to the types of tools and chemicals they use. And, like many storefronts, they are also at risk for vandalism and theft. It can be costly to replace electronics, money, hair products, and styling tools—not to mention the lost work hours and maybe even clientele while a business is trying to recover from a loss. Here are some tips to help you stay protected:

  • Fire safety
    To help guard against fires, make sure to keep your smoke detectors and sprinkler systems up-to-date and develop a fire-response plan that includes safety routes, extinguishers, and battery-powered backup lighting to illuminate exits. Double-check and update aging electrical systems, structural issues, insufficient drainage, and any other structural problems that could lead to a fire loss.
  • Protecting your building
    Secure your building by using deadbolts, shatter-proof glass, an alarm system, and security cameras to make sure you’re as protected as possible. Adding commercial property insurance will help cover losses to your business’ physical assets including the building, its contents (like employee tools and your registers), inventory, and more.

4. Alleged Negligence

It’s a salon nightmare: a customer asks for blonde highlights, but an employee uses the wrong color for the hair and it turns orange. Or perhaps your customer just wasn’t into that pixie cut you recommended. As the owner of a salon or barbershop, a customer could hold you liable even if you feel you didn’t do anything wrong.

Professional liability insurance can help protect you when clients believe they’ve been wronged or didn’t receive the services they expected. A poll found 43% of small-business owners reported having been threatened with or involved in a civil lawsuit. And 60% of the roughly 20 million civil cases filed each year are contract disputes with a business. Adding this coverage to your insurance policy can help protect what you’ve worked so hard to build.

While there are always hazards for salon and barbershop owners, there are ways to help reduce those risks. Talk with your independent insurance agent for more information, and ask how you can bundle coverages to save more without compromising on protection.

This website is general in nature, and is provided as a courtesy to you. Information is accurate to the best of Liberty Mutual’s knowledge, but companies and individuals should not rely on it to prevent and mitigate all risks as an explanation of coverage or benefits under an insurance policy. Consult your professional advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstance. By citing external authorities or linking to other websites, Liberty Mutual is not endorsing them.