Stylist Article March 2014

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Licensees sometimes ask the Board if they can work outside of a licensed salon or shop. The answer is "no" – with a couple exceptions.

One – working in a mobile unit -- is not actually an exception at all. Mobile services are performed in a licensed shop; it's just that the shop is on wheels. While there are a number of businesses that offer home hair and makeup services (for bridal parties, for example), it is a violation of Board regulations to perform services inside a person's home. There are good reasons for this. The Board requires shops have certain equipment and other features so as to protect the health and safety of customers that might not be available in a customer's home. Moreover, the ability to inspect a shop is vital to protect the public. The law authorizes Board representatives to enter and inspect any licensed establishment during business hours. The ability to inspect would be lost inside a private home if barber and cosmetology services were allowed to be performed there.

Therefore, any services outside the typical brick-and-mortar beauty salon or barbershop must be performed in a mobile unit that is at least 24 feet in length and possesses several pieces of equipment required by the Board, including a self-contained potable water system of at least 100 gallons and a non-corrosive metal container for hair clippings and waste. And of course, a mobile unit is subject to inspection.

The other exception concerns clients who cannot visit a licensed shop. Section 7318 of the Business and Professions Code states:

"This chapter does not prohibit the administration of any practice subject to the chapter outside of a licensed establishment, when necessary due to the illness or other physical or mental incapacitation of the recipient of the service, and when performed by a licensee obtained for the purpose from a licensed establishment."

What's important to remember is that visiting a licensed establishment has to be more than just an inconvenience for the client. He or she has to be unable, for either physical or mental reasons, to visit a salon or shop. It might be an elderly person living alone without an automobile or available public transportation, or in a nursing home. It could be someone who is sick in the hospital. Whatever the case, the service provider has to be a licensee from a licensed shop.

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