Your beauty salon or spa is only as good as your staff, so it’s important you find competent therapists to man your business.
At the very least, all of your therapists will need a qualification from a recognised government body. Just to secure insurance for your organisation, your staff will need either a level 2 or 3 NVQ or exam equivalent. Standards are developed and set by Habia.
Whether you decide to take on experienced staff is up to you: there are pros and cons. If you are a very experienced therapist, it might be a good idea to bring in therapists with fewer qualifications and pass on your own knowledge. However, if you are less experienced or qualified in therapy yourself, you may want to take on someone with skills to offer.
Kim Ford, of industry body BABTAC, has had success in taking on very well qualified staff, but also advocates taking on therapists straight out of training school.
“The pro with someone unqualified is that you can then train them in treatments, how you’d like them done,” Kim explains. “You’d almost have a sort of corporate team of therapists to train in-house towards a recognised qualification in post-graduate training. But the benefits of bringing someone qualified in is they have skills that you may not have.”
Available qualifications are dizzying. They include: NVQs; City &Guilds; SVQs; Vocational Training and Charitable Trust (VTCT) certificates; BTEC HNDs; Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC); Comite International d’Estethique et de Cosmetologie (CIDESCO); ITEC and Edexcel qualifications.
It’s important to note that training offered by a product company will not result in a recognised qualification.
Kalpana Gurung of the Himalayan Day Spa says the minimum she requires is NVQ2 and 3, but her staff generally have additional certificates for things like holistic massages.
She believes it’s always better to check your staff’s qualifications with the education department. “Some have BTEC, some have ITEC qualifications,” she explains, “or even overseas qualifications. You really need to verify your staff are qualified.”
Therapists usually work a five-day week of 37-40 hours, but some salons operate on six and seven days. Salaries for beauty therapists start at around £10-15,000 a year, while experienced therapists can earn between £15-20,000. Salon managers can earn over £20,000 a year. (Apply ‘London weighting’ for Central London salons and spas.)
Commission is typically 10% of a therapist’s takings.