Since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all salons and spas have to close to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, salon owners have been quite rightly concerned about their future.
Being unable to open your salon to customers or even visit your clients in their home means that salon owners are left without any source of income. And if you have rent to pay, staff expecting to be paid, and you had a slow start to the year (as many salons do) then you might be wondering how to get support for your business.
The government recently announced a number of measures that would help business owners to weather this particular storm. The 2020 budget revealed a £350bn cash injection to help support businesses throughout the UK affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
There are also plans to help the self-employed with business support grants. Read on to discover what financial support is available to salon and spa owners and other steps you can take to support your business during these difficult times.
To help companies to retain workers, the government will cover 80% of your employee's salary, up to a total of £2,500 per month. This will be backdated to March 1 and will be available to claim before the end of April for at least 3 months.
Businesses can now apply for The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will offer struggling businesses access to a 12-month interest-free loan. This was first made available from Monday 23rd March.
If you are VAT registered, your next quarter payment will be deferred to the following quarter. No businesses will pay VAT from not until mid-June. Businesses will have until the end of the year to repay these bills.
The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by £1,000 for the next 12 months. The Working Tax Credit basic element will also be increased by £1,000 for the next 12 months.
The self-employed will be able to access Universal Credit in full, this will provide a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
Self-assessment payments will also be deferred until January 2021. This will affect the second payment on account which is due on 31 July 2020.
Renters will receive support in the form of increased housing benefit and Universal Credit. This means that your Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.
In addition to these measures designed to support individuals and business owners, the government announced a second wave of support. This includes:
Homeowners may be eligible for a mortgage payment holiday. This will vary between banks and you will have to apply directly to your bank to find out if you are eligible. This will provide a 3-month break on your mortgage payments that will not impact your credit rating.
No business rates will be payable for salons and spas of any size. This was previously only available to premises with a rateable value below £51,000 but it has now been extended.
Statutory Sick Pay is now paid from day one, rather than day four. This will be backdated to 13th March 2020.
Any business with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be able to access a cash grant of up to £25,000. See here.
If your business does not pay business rates (because you benefit from small business rate relief) then you will be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant (extended from £3,000). Claim Here.
Private renters will be protected from eviction if they are unable to pay their rent due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Business loans of up to £5m will be available on “attractive terms” and with interest-free terms for up to six months.
This might offer some relief to salon owners who are worried about being able to pay their rent and pay their workers during these difficult times. While you might feel reassured that you won’t be left to go hungry over the coming months, you might be wondering what other steps you can take to protect your business.
It’s important that you are prepared for the months ahead and use your time wisely. Here are some suggestions for how you could keep your business on track throughout the lockdown.
According to Ian Egerton, president of the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF), “the Government has promised some welcome relief for businesses which will struggle to survive under the latest measures to control the spread of coronavirus.”
The overarching advice from the industry seems to be this: slow down, and reflect. Salon owners are known for their fast-paced work ethic. It’s rare that we have the time to really stop and understand what is happening in our businesses.
Paying your staff will naturally be your first priority. NHBF chief executive Hilary Hall recently said, “Wages are by far the biggest cost for salons. Our phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from worried salon owners asking for advice on laying off staff or making redundancies.”
If your staff are salaried employees, you will be able to apply for the government’s worker retention scheme. And if you already panicked and laid off staff, don’t worry. The scheme will let you hire them back and pay them 80% of their monthly earnings, up to £2,500 per month. This means that you won’t be left rushing to hire new staff when the lockdown is over.
If you operate a chair rental model, the people working in your salon should be eligible for the self-employed income support scheme.
There are a few steps you can take to protect your business. The first is to adopt a “not now” attitude. Don’t stop business activities entirely, but pause any repeat orders and delay payments where possible. Look at your monthly outgoings and cut them as much as possible.
Try speaking to your landlord about a reduction in your rent or a delay on payments. No landlord will want to see businesses go under as a result of the coronavirus, as this could lead to their property standing empty. They might not be willing or able to help, but it is worth having a conversation.
If you are planning to apply for any additional credit or a business interruption loan, submit your application sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for the rush as you could find yourself at the end of the line.
The 'Rescue the hair and beauty salons UK' petition is gathering momentum. It now has over 100,000 signatories and counting, as of 8th April. This petition calls for greater support for the hair and beauty salon industry, including allowing the coronavirus outbreak to be covered by your insurance as “business interruption” or “civil unrest”.
It also requests that landlords cannot claim a breach of non-payment during this interruption. And finally, it calls for an extension to pay outstanding HMRC debt and support to salons to cover SSP.
Treatwell has also started a petition with similar goals. Get involved, share these petitions and make your voice heard. Even if you will be financially covered by the various support schemes, it’s important to band together and help those who might not be coping as well.
Here at Salon Iris, we are working hard to make sure you have the latest industry news available. Sign up to our newsletter or follow our blog for the latest updates.
We have made available a number of free resources that can help you with your planning and salon management during this difficult time.
We created an email template guide that includes a few email examples you could send to your customers to get them excited about booking with you again.
We also created an SMS template guide that will allow you to connect with your customers by text and drum up some interest before you open the doors again.
When customers are able to book appointments again, hygiene is likely to be at the forefront of their minds. Review your existing practices and make sure any printed documentation is up to date. You could consider adding a page to your website to outline how you protect your customer’s health when they visit your salon.
Some salon bloggers are suggesting you use this time to request reviews from your clients. Your loyal customers will want to help you in any way they can, but review platforms are handling reviews a little differently at this time.
For example, Google My Business has temporarily paused reviews and review replies. And there have been reports of sites like Tripadvisor being overly-cautious with their spam filters, removing some genuine reviews without warning. Your time would be better spent asking your clients to follow you on social media or sign up to your newsletter so that you can engage with them when you are ready to open again.
The Hair and Beauty Charity is raising money to help those hit hardest by this crisis. You can donate to the charity here, or you can find out how they might be able to help your business during this difficult time.