nail salon

A nail salon pampers customers with manicures and pedicures, but the work is not glamorous. The business requires hefty investments and can carry high health risks for workers. Aside from the risk of disease, salon owners face a number of regulatory challenges and legal issues that can impact their profitability.

A salon can be a small retail location, such as a hair salon or a converted garage. It can also be a mobile unit, such as a van that goes to a client’s home or office to perform services. In most cases, a salon will require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to confirm that the space complies with all building codes and zoning laws. The CO will typically need to be obtained before opening the doors for business, and it may also need to be renewed after a major renovation. It is generally the responsibility of the landlord to obtain a CO, but it is important for prospective salon owners to verify that the property has this vital document before making any financial commitments.

As immigrant workers built the New York City nail industry in the 1980s, it became a path to prosperity for women from all socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s now a multibillion-dollar industry, and many current salon owners started as nail technicians. But the job has never been a piece of cake: The median earnings for nail salon workers remain under $20,000 a year, and some salons have even been implicated in wage theft and misclassification.

Some of the most common hazards in a nail salon are chemicals, dusts and infections. Chemicals can cause respiratory irritation, skin disorders and nerve damage. To reduce exposures, keep work stations clean and disinfected. Store all chemicals in locked cabinets and in clearly labeled containers, especially those containing hazardous solvents or paint strippers. Use ventilation systems when working, and make sure the air filter is cleaned regularly. Use metal trash cans with tight lids to prevent nail polish, cotton balls and other products from leaking into the air.

All nail salons should have a safety program for workers, and provide training on how to identify potential hazards and report them to management. All workers should have a copy of the WHMIS and SDS for all the products used in the salon. All workers should know how to use personal protective equipment, and how to properly wash and dispose of all contaminated clothing and tools.

It’s a good idea for all nail salons to have a supply of medical gloves and eye protection for workers who may come into contact with blood or bodily fluids. In addition, all nail salons should have a policy in place for employees to seek medical help if they think their health problems might be linked to the chemicals used at the salon.

The beauty industry is regulated at the state level, and in some states, it’s illegal to work at a salon without a license. To avoid violations, keep detailed accounts of your expenses and income, separate from your personal account. This will simplify your annual tax filings and build your company’s credit history, which can be useful when raising money.