Every couple of months, GlamSquad comes up in my blog feed, promoting their app that allows clients to enjoy professional beauty services at their location. I love their brand and the way they present it, but they’re operating illegally (at least in Florida), sending a dangerous message to other beauty professionals that on-location services in the state are legal and permissible.
I’m frequently contacted by professionals who are considering “going mobile,” and when I present them with the state regulations prohibiting it, they immediately respond with, “How does GlamSquad get away with it?” I assume they haven’t been punished because nobody has brought it to the state’s attention, so to keep any of you from receiving a second degree misdemeanor, being fined $500 for each offense, and risking your hard-earned licenses, I will.
In Florida, our cosmetology regulations clearly state all services must be performed by a licensed cosmetologist in a licensed salon facility. The only exceptions to this are:
- when a client for reasons of ill health is unable to go to a licensed salon.
- when such services are performed in connection with the motion picture, fashion photography, theatrical, or television industry; a photography studio salon; a manufacturer trade show demonstration; or an educational seminar.
- when the service is performed in connection with a special event and is performed by a person who is employed by a licensed salon and who holds the proper license or specialty registration. “Special events” is defined as weddings, fashion shows, and other events as approved by the board.
These exceptions are outlined in 477.0263, and they come with very specific requirements. For example:
“Fashion photography is hereby defined to mean the photographing of one or more human subjects or professional models for commercial purposes where the subject or model receives remuneration, compensation or wages for being photographed. Fashion photography shall not include instances in which the subject pays a photographer a fee to be photographed or instances in which the photographs are made for the personal use and enjoyment of the subject rather than for commercial purposes. [61G5-20.00175]”
“Only hair-arranging services and the application of cosmetic products may be performed in a photography studio salon; and, may only be performed for the purpose of preparing a model or client of the photography studio for a photographic session. Shampooing the hair, hair cutting, hair coloring, permanent waving of the hair, hair relaxing, removing of hair, manicuring, pedicuring, and the performance of any other service defined as cosmetology may not be performed in a photography studio salon. [61G5-20.0015 (3A)]”
Additionally, the regulations state, “Arrangements for the performance of such cosmetology services in a location other than a licensed salon shall be made only through a licensed salon. [477.0263(2)] A mobile cosmetology salon must maintain a permanent business address, located in the inspection area of the local department office, at which records of appointments, itineraries, license numbers of employees, and vehicle identification numbers of the license holder’s mobile salon shall be kept and made available for verification purposes by department personnel, and at which correspondence from the department can be received. [477.025(10C)]”
As far as I can tell, GlamSquad doesn’t have a physical location in Florida through which they can schedule these appointments or keep the required records should an inspector decide to conduct an inspection. I also can find no evidence that they’re even licensed as a salon within the state at all. Without a physical facility to inspect, they wouldn’t meet the requirements set forth in 61G5-20.002 to obtain one.
The exceptions to Florida’s cosmetology licensing regulations are also very specific and clearly worded in 477.0135. GlamSquad doesn’t meet any of the outlined criteria.
To be absolutely clear, on-location services are not the same as licensed mobile facilities.
The regulations for mobile facilities can be found in 61G5-20.010. The facility must meet the same requirements as a physical salon and must submit a written monthly itinerary to the Board prior to the beginning of each month which lists the locations where and the dates and hours when the mobile salon will be operating [61G5-20.010(3A)].
In case you didn’t hear me clearly the first time: In Florida, violation of state board regulations can constitute a second degree misdemeanor, and violations come with fines of $500 per offense.
Just because GlamSquad hasn’t been shut down yet doesn’t mean that they won’t be. Do your own research. On-location services, home salons, and mobile salons are strictly regulated here. If you’re going to go mobile, do it right or don’t do it at all.
It may also be a good idea for these entrepreneurs to stop promoting themselves in the media until they’ve ensured they’re in compliance with state regulations. This Glamour article about GlamSquad CEO Alexandra Wilkis Wilson announces, “Meet Your Beauty Career Coach…”
I’m going to disagree and urge you to find a career coach who diligently complies with state regulations.
If you want to see on-location services become legal in the state, you accomplish that by petitioning the board; not by violating the regulations and hoping you don’t get caught.
EDITED TO INCLUDE:
After posting this article, I’ve been contacted by several current and ex-GlamSquad workers who believe they’re misclassified as independent contractors. Apparently, GlamSquad:
- requires their “independent contractors” to undergo 40 hours of training,
- collects 40% of their income,
- supplies them with product, and
- allegedly takes fees from employee tips.
I have been told there’s also no retainer for cancellations. While GlamSquad claims you can “set your own schedule,” they require you to be available for an eight hour shift on the days you specify.
Many GlamSquad workers were concerned about safety issues, as GlamSquad apparently has no procedure for vetting customers before shipping solo professionals off to their homes or hotel rooms, nor do they have a system for clearing workers before sending them into a customer’s home. This is extremely concerning. If GlamSquad classified workers as proper employees, this would be such a massive liability, they’d undoubtedly have to make client and professional safety a top priority, but since they’re utilizing the “independent contractor” status, they’re able to dodge it…until one of their “freelancers” gets raped, or one of their customers gets murdered.
Now that I’m aware that these workers are classified as “independent contractors,” it’s clear why GlamSquad operates with impunity in states where on-location services aren’t legal.
If you’re caught violating state cosmetology regulations, you will be fined. GlamSquad is extremely unlikely to ever be held responsible for your actions, despite creating a platform that facilitates them.
I believe GlamSquad considers itself a “technology company,” much in the same way that Uber attempts to skirt regulatory requirements by classifying itself as the same. They argue that they’re a platform, but market themselves as a company with employees.
That’s like creating an app that links drug users with dealers or prostitutes with johns, and shrugging off responsibility for the fallout on the basis of, “Well, yeah. Doing those things is illegal, but creating an app that facilitates them isn’t.”
Also, the pay is garbage. Read this article on Glossible before considering working with GlamSquad.