With the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reporting that over 70% of businesses never recover from a business disaster such as a fire or flood, the importance of a structured continuity plan for your beauty or hair salon has never been higher.
There are many factors to consider in minimising the damage from a business disaster.
As your Hair Salon Insurance package may extend to cover the property damage from a disaster, a well-managed and organised plan should take into account the associated loss of income and fixed costs under a business interruption extension; without it, your business may never recover.
Business Disaster Planning
Insurers will refer to “Risk management”; effectively, this simply means understanding the threat and potential of accidents or disasters which could impact your business. Business continuity and disaster recovery planning often means expecting and planning for the unexpected.
Effective risk management and disaster recovery plan will maintain the safety of your employees and customers while ensuring the continuity of your business following unforeseen disasters.
These risks may include criminal activity, natural disasters or even terrorist acts. Anyone of these threats could be serious enough to devastate your business, but if you have contingency plans, you can work to minimise their impact.
Without prior planning, you leave your company open to financial disaster, especially if you are forced to close operations for a period of time.
In addition, without a proper plan to cope with a disaster situation, your company may face legal actions from customers, suppliers or even employees claiming negligence.
Secure Your Salon
Your main potential risks are criminal activity, including malicious damage, vandalism, theft and violence.
Though not all security threats can be avoided, some situations can be prevented with clear and appropriate preparation.
- Be aware of any suspicious persons or activity in or around the salon and encourage employees to do the same.
- Consider locking any employee-only rooms when they are not in use; this can be a particular issue in the summer, when back doors may often be left open.
- Keep any cash on hand in a locked safe.
- Survey locks, grills, exterior lighting and other physical security devices to ensure they are in a place where needed and in proper operating condition. Establish a monthly inspection plan of your key protective features at your salon.
- Conduct regular stock takes in any storeroom and products on the shelf, ensuring that these details are stored off-site or electronically in the cloud.
- Pay special attention to areas where you are storing flammable or toxic chemicals. These areas should be properly secured, minimising any fire risk.
- Evaluate all critical areas in your facility for proper security, including the electric, telephone and gas units and any outside storage or recycling units – these can all be targets for fire or arson attacks.
- If your premises have a security or fire alarm system, be sure it is operating properly and that key staff know how to arm/disarm it.
- Review your procedures for issuing salon keys. At a minimum, keep lists of who has been issued keys and have a procedure for handling a situation when an employee is terminated without returning them.
Prepare for Potential Disasters
- Be sure to discuss the extent of your Salon Insurance coverage with your Insurance advisor to ensure all areas of cover and sums insured are adequate.
- Keep copies of your insurance policy and other critical documents in a safe and accessible location (such as a fireproof safe or at your home address).
- Store your insurer’s claims line number in your mobile phone for easy access in an emergency.
- Evaluate which disasters are most likely to occur in your area. Be sure you are prepared for all of the risks you identify.
- Have telephone call lists available so all staff members can be contacted during non-working hours from any location. Review procedures for notifying employees that your salon is closed.
- Remind staff members that they should never attempt to enter areas closed by police or other emergency responders.
- Consider establishing an alternate method for your phone service to become unusable (such as forwarding incoming calls to a mobile phone or alternative number).
- Check available emergency supplies such as torches, batteries, spare fire extinguishers, first aid kits, etc.
Develop a Business Disaster Recovery or Continuity Plan
If you already have one, make sure it is up-to-date – if not, it’s time to create one!
This entails preparing for anything that could disrupt your business operations and planning for a backup option. The following are some of the key backup plans you may choose to review, but every business is different, and it is important to review:
Premises – How quickly and where could you find alternative premises, or do your team have the ability to work remotely?
Supply chains – What would you do if there was a fire at your main supplier’s premises? How would you obtain hair products? Do you utilise any specialist products which may be difficult to obtain?
Staff / Employees – Review contracts with employees and any sub-contractors renting a room or chair. Review financial obligations and contingencies for alternative working should a disaster occur.
Energy supplies – How would you deal with a long-term power cut or water failure? Document this in detail, what are your contingencies?
Communication methods – Chances are you rely on your telephone line or website for bookings. How could calls be re-directed or the website restored if one went down? What are the processes and timescales?
Don’t Forget Your Appointment Book & Customer Records!
One of the most common disasters for hair or beauty salons is the loss or damage to the client appointment book.
It is easy to overlook such a vital cog in your business; whether you are using a manual system or electronic records, you must have backup information on your client database and, ideally, your bookings.
In the worst case scenario, imagine a fire at your premises which destroys your appointment system, and you are left with no way of contacting your clients or knowing who and when they were booked in?!
While the above list is not exhaustive, hopefully, it has given you some idea of the importance of continuity planning and disaster recovery and a basis to build your own plan and systems.