Self-employment in hairdressing and barbering is on the rise according to a new report from the NHF.
The proportion of self-employed workers has gone up from 48% in 2016 to 57% in 2017. Regarding the increase and what this means for the industry, Hilary Hall, NHF chief executive said: “The government is due to respond before the end of the year on the Review of Modern Working Practices which looked into self-employment and the ‘gig’ economy.”
She added: “We expect to see clearer definitions for what self-employment really means and measures to ensure workers are not exploited by employers who are simply looking to cut costs and who can therefore undercut competitors who work on a more traditional employment model.”
Thinking about self-employment for 2018?
There are many reasons why a stylist or barber might choose to become freelance. Sheila Abrahams, the Freelance Hairdressers’ Association founder shares her thoughts and advice for going solo.
Why are hairdressers choosing to be self-employed?
Firstly, employment laws and the cost of running a business is hitting small salons hard, which might explain why many salons are offering freelance positions. On the other hand, some stylists feel they can earn more by being self-employed, while others leave the salon to start a family and decide to return as a freelancer because they feel it offers more flexibility for picking children up from school.
Some young stylists believe it’s an easy way forward and don’t realise the responsibility that comes with freelancing. Young stylists want to be salon owners and see freelancing as a way to put money together in the hope of opening their own salon more quickly.
What are your tips for going freelance?
Gain experience – Not only are you a hairdresser, you are handling the public so you need to be aware of this. When you work in a salon clients are coming into your territory but when you work in peoples’ homes you’re walking into their territory.
Take control – You have to make sure the client knows that this is a serious business – this is all in the way you behave and run your business.
Portray a strong image – Brand awareness for yourself is key – you must be taken seriously. Make it known to your clients, it might be a lower cost option but it’s not a cheap option.
Training – Keeping your skills up to date is so important and continued training must be a priority.
Know your USP – As a business you need to have a point of difference. A lot of freelancers focus on bridal or colour correction services. Decide what makes your service stand out from the crowd?
Don’t isolate yourself – When you’re out on your own you can feel isolated. Join an organisation such as the FHA to feel part of a supportive community. You may work alone but you don’t have to be on your own.