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Feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and like a thief!

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TheIronLady

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So as many of us are, we are all going through our own nightmares.

I'm based in Edinburgh (My Clinic is around a 35-40 Minute commute from my home address), I set my clinic up years ago when I lived in the local town and have always been happy commuting back and forward and worked this around childcare etc.

So far the only grant that we have been eligible for was £10,000 at the beginning of the first lockdown, every other grant or loan we have been denied and it feels like after speaking with the local council today it's highly unlikely we will get any more and even if so it would be a very minimal amount.

The £10,000 is long gone on rental costs and other costs that come with running the salon, as well as some of it on surviving with mortgage costs at home etc, I'm a single parent and all I receive now (after months of fighting for it) is Universal Credit, which covers essentials for me and my little girl and that's it, it certainly doesn't cover the cost of running a closed down business.

My landlord had been as flexible with me as possible but its now nearly two months he hasn't been paid his rent because quite simply I cannot afford it.

This leaves me in a huge PICKLE! I am registered as self employed not a LTD company, and I specialise in package treatments, i.e a course of 6 Laser Hair Removal Sessions for X Amount. Now most of my existing clients who have paid for packages are either halfway through, had the first couple of treatments or are waiting to begin their first treatment. They pay in advance upfront in full and it can be anywhere from £149 for a package of 6 for the upper lip to £999 for full body. I usually see my clients once per month and some I even class as friends and do live nearby me. Therefore of course I can set some sort of home setup (when we are allowed) and finish their treatment, but is it reasonable to ask the clients who have paid for a package and booked at a clinic 40 minutes away to ask them to change and come to me until I get back on my feet? I'm sure 99.9% of clients will understand but I'd be annoyed! and I certainly don't have the money to issue refunds to everyone.

I don't know where I stand legally, the business bank is empty. So do I put a big spiel on my business page and website explaining we are closing completely, but will aim to treat the clients who are willing to travel when we are allowed and those that cant travel sadly will have lost their money or can they make some sort of legal case against me? I just hate to put my clients in this position as I love them all but I have until the end of this week to get all my equipment removed from the salon so I need to start thinking of what and where I stand for when the time comes in the future and its safe for us to re-open...
 

CFBS

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You're having a really tough time and this 3rd lockdown is the last thing that any of us wanted to hear. As you are in Scotland rules may be different to England so I'm hesitant to give precise advice, but it sounds like you have a very viable business set up which is worth holding on in for.
Your clients on courses will hold on for you to start up again - they know you cannot open (and they can't go anywhere else either!).
No doubt you have already been through all your bills and asked for payment relief/delay wherever possible so it's the issue of business rent payment.
The fact that you have been forced to close should help with getting more money from your council.
A bounce back loan might work for you? The Martin Lewis page is very informative on all the Covid help:

The chancellor has also just announced more financial help for businesses:

A good facebook page to join for up to date and accurate information and mental support is Madge's Chat Show:

Keep hunting for financial help, it's a fast changing situation. Very best wishes x
 

SparklesLeah

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Hi
I think that if you explained your situation to your clients that they would surely understand. You can’t magic rent money etc from thin air. You will always get the odd person who moans but that’s life, for that moaning client there will be many who understand & who will come to your house for the remainder of the treatments they have purchased. Think what is best for yourself right now.
I once had a salon prior to Covid, I closed it as I wasn’t happy anymore and the pressure felt like it lifted from my shoulders overnight.
Good luck! 😀
 

fab fingers

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I'm in Scotland too, and this is my 3rd closure. I think Edinburgh managed to stay out of last one in Nov/Dec. Glasgow were allowed to open on 11 Dec, then closed again at Xmas, so I feel your pain!
Like you, I'm a single parent with no help from my former other half, so it's stressful.
You should be able to claim £500 per week for closure weeks, from your local council. The problem with Glasgow us, it's paid in arrears, so it's hard waiting on it and you'd need some more patience from your landlord. However, if he/she knows the money is coming, maybe they'll be ok with that? It's unlikely they will get it rented to anyone else right now! (Glasgow pays the grant 4 weekly).
If you're self employed, you would maybe have qualified for the self emp grant too? I think there's been 2 or 3, where you get 80% of your earnings.
Having said this.....you haven't said if you want to close, or if you are being forced to, due to your rent deficit? If you're choosing to close, check your lease. Often, there are clauses with penaties to get out your lease early.
With regard your clients, I think travelling 40 mins, is asking a lot, assuming many are based around your salon. I think you would need to set up a good quality salon at home, offer a refund or come to new location type deal, and maybe offer an additional treatment of some sort, to make up for travelling time/costs for those who will travel. I think many clients will be apprehensive about going into other peoples homes right now, for treatments, but quite a few have posted on here with very nice home/garden salons, with separate access, etc. Ud also have to check with mortgage/house ins, etc if working from home.
 

Buggalugs88

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Apply for a bounce back loan ..u can so it more easily through opening an account through lyolds or Halifax bank as they are the same
Ring them up they will tell you the way to apply ..u will get 25% approx of your declared turnover before tax I think ..either way do it now as it's stopping by the end of Jan
 

cola

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For the notification on your website, don't put up a big spiel, 'due to Covid, we're closing for now. We will update here as things change. Jan 2021' Include at least a month, and update it every month. Next month the update could be as little as 'due to covid, we closed the X location in Jan 2021. Feb 2021.'
Do your packages have an expiry date? (I'd assume so) Include something about all packages/gift certificates are extended by 6months/12months/expire Jan 2022. People will want to know if they are still valid, more than about a new location at this point.
People are getting used to businesses closing, but they want to see regular updates so they know you haven't just disappeared.

40min is quite an extra travel time, but for some it could reduce (they're closer to your home), and for some that live on the other side it might go up to 60min. It might be worth going through your records for those with outstanding packages and mapping out where they live, so once you know what's happening you can anticipate those it will be too far. Opening from home, you might be able to say 'extended hours' so those that popped in at lunchtime might consider 7pm or something (but all of that doesn't need to be in the original announcement)

(Off topic, I'm in Australia, packages for upper lip here are only about £30 for a series of 6. The big money packages are currently the fat freezing ones.)

Good luck.
 

TheDuchess

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Talk to your Landlord and check your lease. Can you walk away with no more liability? If yes, Ask him if he wants the premises back to rent to someone else. If he says yes, move out and worry about new premises when it’s ok to restart. You’re bound to find somewhere you can rent by the day and you just need to offer one day a week to finish off packages for 2-3 months.

If he says he doesn’t think he’ll get another tenant during a lock down then ask for 3 months rent free and half price rent thereafter for 9 months until you get back on your feet. It’s a fair offer and similar to deals that are being negotiated in hospitality,

if you check your lease and you can’t break it without penalty, then you’re in a weaker position. You should still be honest and explain your financial situation. Try and work out a deal. Realistically Covid is going to be a problem for a while.
 

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