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Hiring and training apprentices at your salon can be a cost-effective way of growing your business. Here are some things to consider before you take the plunge.

Keeping up with demand

Is the reputation of your salon growing? Are customers flooding in? Do you find yourself apologising for long wait times or a booked up appointment calendar? If so, chances are you need to hire more staff.

Apprentices are a cheaper alternative to hiring new fully trained employees. While they may need to be supervised, salon owners will still have extra time for other tasks, like administrative duties or building relationships with customers.

“Having an apprentice allows the stylists to concentrate on their customers. When a stylist is very busy, I don’t want to be leaving customers to answer the phone or handle enquiries. Quite often it’s hard to find good staff, so my initial reason for employing an apprentice was training them myself,” says Mark Rabone, owner of Brisbane-based Esquire Male Grooming.

Saving money

If your salon is underperforming and you find yourself struggling to pay stylists, apprentices can help relieve some of the financial burden.

Paying the lower pay rates of a junior apprentice lowers your expenses. By training your apprentice, you are best preparing them for a career working with your business. This reduces the future costs of searching for new staff.

If you are concerned that their inexperience will impact your quality controls and scare away customers, you could hire a mature apprentice (aged over 21), although they are paid a slightly higher rate than juniors.

Passing on expertise

The biggest benefit of hiring an apprentice may actually be passing on the knowledge and expertise acquired over the course of your career.

“I personally think it’s a duty to bring them through, and you can train them how you want them to be trained,” Rabone says.

“I look for personality and people who are enthusiastic. They should be able to hold a conversation with a client, have a hard working ethic and be passionate.”

Mentors often find themselves learning skills from their apprentices, who have exposure to the latest education and training available in the industry.

Government incentives

An added bonus of hiring apprentices is support from the Australian government’s apprenticeship program. Since hairdressing is on the National Skills List (NSL), by commencing an apprenticeship in a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation, the government will pay up to $1,500. Upon completion, the government may pay up to $4,000, depending on the qualification obtained and the apprentice’s age.

The government can even help with employing an apprentice through the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network. This provides mentors with essential administrative support, payment processing and regular contact.

Employing an apprentice can be both professionally and financially rewarding for your hairdressing or barber business. And if you need help with business finance, talk to Prospa about securing a small business loan to grow your business further.

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