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HomeARTICLES → Salon or freelance technician?

Salon or freelance technician?

The modern beauty industry offers consumers the opportunity to select various services, procedures and methods of looking after their appearance. Nowadays there are numerous beauty salons in operation with many more opening every day, where clients’ requests can be satisfied at any price level, including less well-off clients. Despite that, there is a particular group of clients for whom economising on time and money is the most important factor and who choose freelance technicians who provide their services at the client’s home, and by making such a choice put their own health at risk.

The premises of a modern registered beauty salon are similar to a hospital treatment room. They have to meet very high sanitary requirements, and their personnel, including managers, have to undergo regular medical checks. After every client all instruments are disinfected and sterilised, and in most cases technicians use disposable materials and instruments. Such serious measures to safeguard the clients’ health are unlikely to be taken by technicians working independently. Manicures, pedicures and nail extension procedures carried out at home present a particular danger. We need to bear in mind that some illnesses can be caught from contact with unsterilised instruments. Simply washing or even cleaning instruments with alcohol does not protect the client from such infections as warts, verrucas, fungal infections, tetanus, tuberculosis, staphylococcus, hepatitis or, most frightening, HIV. Fungal infections can be passed on by dirty nail files, a towel which has not been washed or a badly disinfected water dish. A microscopically tiny drop of blood is enough to pass on the HIV virus to the next client via a small scratch in their skin. Therefore technicians working at their clients’ homes fall within the definition of ‘illegal business activity’ as set out in Russia’s Criminal Code, as they represent a genuine risk of spreading various infections.

Procedures carried out on a client using professional materials can also pose a certain risk if they are performed by a free lancer as some preparations require specific storage conditions which are difficult to ensure in domestic premises. Firstly, any salon guarantees the quality of materials used by constantly checking the use-by dates on the packaging. To this end salons have at their disposal extremely important documents which free lancers do not have: quality certificates issued for professional materials. In addition, as a rule a beauty salon is also an official distributor for major cosmetics companies. This means the client can be doubly confident in the quality of the products provided and used in the salon. At the same time self-employed technicians buy cheap materials in order to economise, and these can be of poor quality or a health hazard. Having once bought an expensive professional product, free lancers subsequently top up the container with a totally different cheap solution, but they do not reduce the price of the procedure and, as a rule, leave the client in ignorance of precisely what product has been used during the procedure.

Frequently free lancers work without any state registration of their business activity, which is a direct violation of their clients’ rights and means that should a disagreement arise it is impossible to prove to the authorities that the technician has made a mistake. A salon, however, will make a contract with their client and give a receipt after payment has been made, in accordance with consumers’ rights legislation. These are official documents which can be presented in court should the services provided prove to be of poor quality.

A factor which plays an important role in a client choosing to have services provided at home is their personal, and sometimes even friendly, relationship with the technician. However, there are more disadvantages than advantages in this situation, and it is precisely the absence of normal conditions: lack of equipment, poor lighting, and the presence of cohabitants or pets (which can be a further source of infection) in the home.

Having services provided at home means the client does not always have the desired range of services due to a lack of choice in cosmetic products or expendable materials for decoration, which are often out of the technician’s price range. The price list of free lancers is not written down and often the final cost of a procedure is much higher than the cost of the same procedure at a salon. Unfortunately, the professionalism of ‘home’ technicians who do not undertake further training regularly will gradually deteriorate as they do not have the healthy competition which exists between colleagues or undergo annual assessment by management.

Of course the choice of whether to have services provided at home or in a salon, in the end, is for the client to make. But it should be made consciously, taking into account not only the immediate financial benefit but also the long term benefits.

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