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How To Prevent and Deal With Salon Break-Ins

A series of social media posts and news articles caught our attention in the last few months, detailing a series of salon-specific break-ins that have rocked both the international and local hairdressing industries. Where burglars have typically targeted pure cash, these break-ins have tended to focus on actual salon stock, particularly high-end brands, making salons a prime target and changing the nature of salon security altogether.

While we can’t decrease these occurrences down to zero (although we wish we could) we have come up with a list of things you should be doing to reduce the risk and then minimise the damage if you ever are hit. We spoke with Tom Donato, whose salon Xiang Hair was broken into in the last few weeks, and discussed ways your salon can prevent break-ins from totalling your business.

Typically, authorities have suggested leaving your cash-less cash register open to show that there’s no money on the premises, but with stock being the new target, the security measures have shifted. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to lock your stock away at night (although if it’s possible to wheel it to safety overnight and then to the display every morning, go for it!), so other, technologically advanced methods of security have to be prioritised. Alarm systems, security cameras and  innovative shatter-proof glass security films that prevent robbers from breaking into your windows are well advised.

Sometimes, your salon just ends up being the unlucky one, but there are some things you can do to minimise the damage. First, organisation and preparedness are key.

“Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover,” Tom said. “Also ensure that all your invoices are in order – one of the things that you have to do as part of your insurance claim is you have to provide evidence that you own the stuff that you’re claiming you’ve lost. So I can’t stress enough the importance of having a proper filing system so you can go in and check.”

Something that is of major concern, is the salon’s computer system, as most salons would be ruined if their software system, and, on it, all their client details, day schedules, rebookings and business intel, was taken.

“My biggest concern driving from home when I got the call was the actual computer system – if they take your computer you don’t know which clients are coming in that day, unless you’ve done a print out the night before,” Tom said. “We were doing our back-ups and leaving the USB stick in the computer itself, not ever thinking we could get broken into and our computer could go missing, along with the USB stick that we were using to back up the computer in case it ever broke down.”

Aside from actually having the backed-up USB stick on your person (that’s the old school method of security), salon software agencies are increasingly offering online and cloud-based back-ups, automatically saved beyond your actual computer. While these services tend to cost more, the extra research and money could prove worth it at a particularly unlucky time.

As an industry, it’s important we band together against this stock-based crime wave, and Tom advises keeping an eye out for high-end brands showing up in unorthodox places, and reporting it if you sense something out of place. This could prove pivotal to investigations into finding these culprits.

“There’s a lot of stock popping up in places it shouldn’t be, online, in markets and certain retail stores,” Tom said. “As an industry we need to be vigilant about where we see this product pop up, and making the authorities aware that they shouldn’t be having this product, and can they have a look on how they’re getting it?”

Our final piece of advice – don’t ever be complacent. As an example, Xiang Hair was perfectly break-in free for over a decade until they became a target. Without sounding ominous, it can happen to you, so be organised, vigilant and prepared to reduce the risk to your salon.

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