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As a salon owner and licensed manicurist, my perspective on the nail industry could not be more practical. While some may be offended by the opinions expressed, please understand that I want to share information and stimulate discussion. Whether you want your nails done or do nails professionally, I hope you find this blog both useful and interesting.

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Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unlicensed Activity: Cheaters Never Prosper?

In California, any business that provides hair, skin and/or nail services regulated by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) must obtain a valid establishment license from the BBC before it opens. This law applies to any kind of business, whether a salon, day spa, hotel, medical office or gym. Likewise, any individual providing regulated beauty services must have a valid license, specific to a course of training and scope of practice. The BBC issues licenses for five main categories: cosmetologist, manicurist, esthetician, barber and electrologist.

Although the BBC requires establishment and individual licenses, it appears that many business owners, service providers and consumers could care less. Whereas most consumers don't know any better, the large number of unlicensed businesses and service providers in our state shows their blatant disregard for the law and disrespect for the beauty industry.

Two years ago, I attempted to quantify this problem by determining how many beauty businesses in Monterey County have valid establishment licenses. According to AT&T's The Real Yellow Pages (Monterey and San Benito Counties, November 2007), 468 businesses were listed under the categories "Barbers," "Beauty Salons & Services," "Day Spas," "Electrologists," "Nail Salons" and/or "Skin Care." These businesses were cross-referenced with a complete list of establishment licenses for Monterey County printed from the BBC website on December 23, 2007.

This simple, though time-consuming, license verification process revealed:
· only 282 businesses, approximately 60%, had clear establishment licenses; and yet even of these, 75 (27%) had listed business names in the Yellow Pages that differed from their licensed establishment names;
· an additional 17 businesses were individual licensees with a clear cosmetology license, but no establishment license;
· 115 businesses, approximately 25%, had no license at all;
· the remaining businesses, approximately 14%, had other concerns: Cancelled (21), Delinquent (14) and Fines Due (14) and five businesses had "Clear" licenses that were questionable (e.g. one license was listed as expired in 1999).

We cannot afford to tolerate unlicensed activity and unfair competition, and yet the BBC does not have the resources to eliminate unlicensed activity without our help. Do your part by being licensed and reporting those who are not.

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