Watching TV while waiting for an appointment in a salon or barbershop has increasingly become an expected part of the client “journey”. Similarly, stylists, barbers and therapists within hair and beauty businesses often watch TV in the background while waiting for their next client to arrive.

TV technology advances mean clients now watch individual wall mounted screens, personal tablets and have access to on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer to keep them entertained.

Due to this rise in television devices, more business owners are needing to purchase licences than ever before. But how much is a TV licence? When do you need one? And what are the consequences of not having one?

TV License

Don’t assume it won’t happen to you…
Did you know that last year, ten hair and beauty salons across the UK were prosecuted for licence fee evasion? And during 2015/16 TV Licensing officers visited more than 36,000 businesses, including salons and barbershops to check they were correctly licensed.

The cost of a TV licence for business

A TV licence is £147 per year. Whichever device you are using in your hair or beauty business, be it broadcasting live television or showing programmes through iPlayer, you will need to have a TV licence, just like you do at home. Otherwise you put your business at risk of prosecution and a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

Create a better client experience

While watching TV has become increasingly popular for clients who want to indulge in a bit of ‘me time’, there are number of additional ways you can ensure they have a top-notch experience. For hints and tips on delivering an outstanding client experience, NHF members can download our free guide today.

However, if you aren’t a member and would like to gain immediate access to our free advice, why not take a look at what benefits our members enjoy.

When does a hair or beauty business require a TV licence?

Although purchasing a licence is straightforward, there are different scenarios that a business owner might not be aware of:

If you live above your salon business

If you live above your business and have a home TV licence, you still need a separate licence for your business’s TV.

TV Licensing, the body that monitors TV licences confirms: “Any residential accommodation within your premises, or separate social clubs or multiple business locations, are all classed as separately occupied places and will need their own licence”.

If you own more than one hair or beauty business

If you own or operate more than one salon or barbershop and they all have TVs, you’ll need a separate licence for each premises.

As TV Licensing again explains: “If you have more than one business premises, or there are areas of your business site which are classed as separate units, you will need to make sure that each one has its own licence.”

However, you can apply through TV Licensing for a Company Group Licence - a single licence that will cover all of your premises, making administration and payment easier.

The cost of this will depends on the number of salons you want to cover, as it is calculated as the multiple of the £147cost of a single licence.
Example: if you want to cover 3 premises, the cost will be £441, or 3 x £147.
The benefit to doing this is not having to deal with more than one licence at a time.

Do your clients watch TV on their own devices?

This is where TV licensing can get tricky and essentially depends on whether or not the client’s device is plugged into your mains:

  1. If someone is watching live television or iPlayer on a device that is not plugged in, then they are responsible for ensuring they have a valid licence for what they are watching. 
  2. However, if their device is plugged in, it is classed as being physically connected to your premises (even if only by a wire) and therefore the licensing of what they’re watching becomes your responsibility.
Caution…If you run a salon or barbershop and don’t have a TV, you would naturally assume that you wouldn’t require a TV licence and the majority of the time you would be right.However, if you allow clients or your team to plug in and watch or download TV on their device, you’re now technically breaking the law and risking a fine.However, if the client or employee has downloaded whatever they are watching previously, perhaps while they were at home, then that’s ok.

The key facts on TV Licensing in salons and barbershops

  • A TV Licence costs £147 pa.
  • £1,000 is the top fine for not having a licence when you should have.
  • 10 is the number of salons prosecuted for licence evasion last year.
  • 36,000 businesses, including hair salons and barbershops were visited by enforcement officers in 2015/16.

Find out more

To help salon and barbershop owners understand the legal implications of watching programmes live at work, TV Licensing has produced a downloadable “TV in the Workplace” guide.