Sunday 8 July 2018

Importance of Client Contracts for Beauty Therapists

FACT: it is a legal requirement for Beauty Therapists to perform a client consultation before every treatment – even if the client is a regular. Failure to do so can invalidate your insurance and cost you thousands if a claim is ever made against you.

Yet, how often does this actually happen? How often have you entered into a salon or spa and actually had the therapist sit down and go over your medical requirements (allergies or medical conditions) and what to expect from the treatment?
The reality is - it happens more often that you think, especially with reoccurring clients.

That is why, if you are genuinely interested in perusing a career as a Beauty Therapist, you need to know all of the facts. You need to equip yourself with Beauty Therapy courses (there are tonnes of online Beauty Therapy courses to choose from which can help you with this) that will not only ensure that you know how to perform beauty treatments correctly; but that will help you to fully understand your legal requirements and expectations as a Beauty Therapist.

What can you do to protect yourself?
Alongside ensuring that you perform a client consultation before every treatment, it is also recommended that you create a client contract/card.

This essentially takes everything that you discussed during the consultation, and puts it into writing.

And this is vital because should you ever be in a situation where a client forgets to tell you about an allergy or an issue with their back or skin; this written agreement is proof that they never provided you with the information.

In fact, this written agreement can protect your reputation and business in a number of ways, because the truth is… even if they are a regular… even if you consider them a loyal friend… it only takes one time – one mistake – for them to turn on you and launch a lawsuit.
This is why, the following advice is so important:

Step One: Arrange a Client Consultation
Client consultations are a perfect way for you to keep a client’s record up-to-date and accurate. It allows them to update you on any changes to their allergies, skin, hair and nails – which can naturally happen with time – so you can easily modify their treatments to accommodate these changes.

At the same time, client consultations also allow you to talk your clients through the entire process of their treatment, so they fully understand what you are about to do; what to expect; the risks involved, and what you will use to perform the treatment.

And all of this is important information!

Take pointing out potential risks. It is crucial that clients are fully aware of the things that can go wrong during a procedure, so that they can make an informed decision about whether they wish to continue. Yes, these complications are probably unlikely or rare, but it is essential that you are completely honest with them, so that their expectations remain realistic.

In turn, client consultations also offer clients the chance to voice any concerns or questions they may have, and keep the doors to communication open and honest.

Bearing all of this in mind, when performing a client consultation you need to gather the following information:

* Personal details
* Medical history (NOTE: if they have recently had surgery, you should only carry out treatment once you have received a written letter from their doctor stating that it is okay).
* Contra-indications – these are any health conditions that could mean that you need to: approach the treatment with caution; avoid certain areas of the body, or not perform the treatment at all.
* Client lifestyle
* Treatment record

Now contra-indications are a tricky business as not all insurers have the same list. For this reason, it is critical that you speak to your insurance company first to find out which contra-indications you need to check for when speaking to clients. Once you have this knowledge, you will then know exactly which ones you are covered for and which ones you aren’t.

Once you have gathered all of the above information, you will need to get the client to review the form and offer them a chance to ask any questions. These questions can range from anything from the treatment itself, to the products you will use, to what to expect.

Once they are fully satisfied, you will need to get them to sign the form (a bit like a contract) confirming that they are happy for you to proceed with the treatment.

Again, even if they visit you regularly, it is important that you get them to review the consultation form every time, so that they have got a chance to inform you of any changes to their situation.

NOTE: as a Beauty Therapist it is important to remember that clients are trusting you with private information about bodies. They are speaking to you in confidence and expect you to maintain their privacy.

For this reason, when constructing a client contract you need to make sure that you have got data protection policies in place to ensure that their information is stored correctly and remains private and confidential.

Step Two: Client Contract
Whilst one-to-one consultations are a vital part of the process; for your protection you need to translate everything you have spoken about into a written contract. This will protect you in the unlikely event that they make an insurance claim, as the contract will document all of the health information they provided you with, as well as will show that you took all necessary steps to collect their information and inform them of what to expect from the procedure.

Now for a lot of Beauty Therapists, they choose to use consultation cards to store information and keep a record of any contra-indications which might stop them from performing a treatment. Should you choose to follow this route, it is your responsibility to keep these consultation cards safe and store them securely in a locked cabinet (to ensure you comply with data protection).

Step Three: Performing the Treatment
You’ve performed a consultation. You have gathered all of the appropriate information, and the client has reviewed and signed it. You are ready to perform the treatment. Yet the process is still not over.

Following the treatment, it is vital that you assess what happened and make a note of any observations you’ve made. Next, you will need to offer your client clear after care advice which includes any natural reactions they may experience following the treatment.

For instance, if your client has undergone some skincare treatment for acne, and it is natural for their skin to appear inflamed for 10 days afterwards; it is crucial that you make them aware of this.

Protecting yourself
Whether you plan to pursue a career as a Beauty Therapist working in a spa or for yourself, client contracts can offer you the protection you need to keep your reputation and business alive. So if you interested in offering yourself maximum protection, make sure you know all of the facts; have all the correct training, and know how to effectively put these contracts into action.

Do that, and you can explore this industry niche with ease.

* Guest post *

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