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.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always been suspicious of these app companies. I once applied for a job for one of these apps (I don’t think it was glamsquad, I think it was another company. Can’t remember the name.) and they wanted me to give them all my personal info, including my SSN before I even had an interview. I declined.

    • That was definitely a good call, lol. I’m filing a Petition for Declaratory Judgment regarding the statutes GlamSquad is in violation of to see if the Florida Board of Cosmetology can do anything, or if we need to take it up with state legislators. I can’t stand the thought of professionals getting fined or losing their licenses for a company that doesn’t care enough to inform them that they’re at risk. I find the entire business model disgusting, exploitative, and unethical. They have to go.

      • Zeel and Soothe have to go too. They are misclassifying the therapists. The only thing that the therapists have control over, is with their schedule. They have control over everything else. Everyone should submit the 3949-A form to the IRS anonymously, reporting all these companies for worker’s misclassification (failure to withhold taxes). Also, to submit a petition for a declaratory statement to their board with statutes that you might think is in violation, like fee splitting which is illegal.

  2. In most states the law is “if you are touching someone meaning applying makeup, styling hair, massaging, etc. you must be licensed.” We all know that never happens. They don’t have enough proctors to keep with all the illegal people and shops. It’s sad for all of us who have gone through all the schooling to be professional bencaustic all the others hurt our business.

  3. Wow that sounds horrible!! so much hate in this article. I PROUDLY WORK FOR GLAMSQUAD!!! The best company ever, work with amazing people, make my own schedule, I feel super safe with our procedure of arrival to clients home, and I make great money with them. LOVE GLAMSQUAD!!

    • Hate? Because I think companies should accept responsibility for their workers by complying with the laws that are designed to protect them? I believe I was pretty thorough in outlining the ways in which this company is in clear violation of Florida regulations, and from what I’ve heard there’s a strong likelihood that they’re also in violation of federal statutes. You actually don’t work “for” GlamSquad. You’re paying your own employment taxes, which are 15.3% of your income. That makes you self-employed. Should you be hurt or fined, you may find out exactly how much those “amazing people” you work “for” value you. 🙁

      • Legally, they should have no “interview” process, since you’re not an employee of theirs, but I’m interested to hear if they do and what’s involved also, lol.

  4. Thank you SO much for this (and thanks for the Glossible link)

    Glamsquad and on demand beauty services, while a great idea, doesn’t really work the way they want it to.

    Thanks for a great read! I’ve shared with my peeps!

  5. I am a Navy Wife, traveling with my spouse, as a Makeup Artist, typically making extra income for events like the Navy Ball and official head shots. My state of residence is Florida. I haven’t been back to Florida in years. I started MUA in California. So must I be licensed as a MUA to practice in Florida when my husband retires? I have some work to do!

    • Currently, the Professional Beauty Association is working to standardize cosmetology licensing and education nationally, so hopefully that won’t be the case in the next few years! I’m going to be posting an article about that project soon.

  6. Great Article , yes its frustrating at the lest , to think someone built an app that is really an illegal business set up on the fact that state board can’t enforce it saddens me , Especially for us that didn’t take a short cut and became licensed professional ……… as opposed to kitchen beauticians

  7. The laws in California are the same. This type of traveling service is illegal. It’s so frustrating when I see Glamsquad and similar companies advertisments. The laws are all spelled out in black and white on the board of barbering and cosmetology web site. Look it up.

  8. I have been contemplating working for GLAMSQUAD. I have been doing research on the company and have come across all kind of conflicting information so I decided to call the Board myself. They actually do have a Salon license in Biscayne and when you look them up you have to make sure to tell them to not put a space in between GLAM & SQUAD. Apparently, they couldn’t find any licensing but found complaints until I suggested they try it as on word. So, people, if you do want to complain make sure you’re using the name “GLAMSQUAD” all together as one word. They are also doing business as GLAMGROUP. I’m guessing by the call back that I got from them to come in to do an interview that the interview location & salon are one. I also know that they don’t have a mobile license because they are not performing services in a mobile location. There are exceptions as to going to locations. Fashion shows, weddings, sick people, elderly that are immobile, etc.. Which all have to be done through a salon book which it seems they are since they do have a licensed salon. Now… Are they using the salon…? That’s a question that remains to be answered… Since they mostly offer business executives & other in office and home services on perfectly mobile people that can get up and go to a Salon with out a problem or call a mobile salon to come to them- it seems this is where the illegal activity is taking place… You can go on to the Florida State Boards website and file a complaint or write to them for a fair investigation of practices being executed by GLAMSQUAD to finally get for the bottom of this back and forth discussion but backed with real facts and actions taken. Just like government & police shouldn’t be above the law either should GLAMSQUAD.

  9. Wow!!! THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE. SO I guess I’m the idiot working for beauty apps lol and always had this in the back of my mind. Theres so many beauty apps now. I’m with “beglammed”, “PRIV”, and “theglamapp” that are here in Florida. But now I’m considering just freelancing which yes your right the state has so many regulations and penalties. I’m researching now and your article popped up in my email just in time for more research. I have alot to research and learn still and not new to the Industry been licensed for 16 years now but life has taken me into a roller coaster long story short I’m reinventing the way I’m thinking and gain knowledge in depth within the Nail Industry and in Hope’s I can one day own a salon of my own…..I doing everything by myself as far as getting my business going legit. The other day I registered my fictitious name but didnt know I had to be in compliance by my fictitious name being published in newspaper and they need a physical address. Which I’m stuck and dont want to use my home address. I spoke with local post office for a facility address but applying for a PO BOX which the state might not accept. So I’m stuck and dont know what to do and have til the end of this month to make a move do I wont get then ugly fines and charges. This article opened my eyes in just nick of time. Thank you!!!

    • Well, should that new law pass, the restrictions on home service will be loosened considerably, which I see as a positive change in a state with so many retirees. I’m certain Glamsquad and the other beauty apps were behind this, but I’m not bothered by it, since these alterations will change the lives of both beauty professionals and so many sick/elderly here. So, keep your eye on that law. If it passes, on-location servicing will be easier and businesses that do so can operate without excessive burden or fear of penalty.

  10. Pardon me if I’m wrong but, I thought all Glamsqaud reps were licensed. If they freelance, then more power to them. They are adults and are responsible for themselves. If you’re a professional stylist then be that. If you want to practice law then be that but please stay in your lane and know that there is always more customers than there are professionals. Spreading this notion that someone is “hurting” your business is narrow-minded and comes from a negative orientation. There are over 300 million people in the U.S and over 1.7 million beauty professionals in the US so there’s plenty of business for everyone. If you’ve ever rode in the back of an Uber or Lyft car . it would be somewhat hypocritical simply because neither one of these comapies require that the driver hold a TL&C license nor do they do a background check on the passengers to ensure the safety of their drivers. So will you petition rideshare drivers too who don’t have TL&C licenses and are putting taxi drivers out of business too. Please uphold a positive mental attitude as the licensed professional that you are. Peace and hair grease-toodles.

    • Read the article before you drop a self-righteous comment, thanks. This has nothing to do with businesses being “hurt” and everything to do with unwitting professionals putting their licenses and careers in jeopardy to serve an on-demand app that doesn’t at all care about them or their livelihood. (Also, I do oppose Uber and Lyft, lol.) As much as I’d love to sing campfire songs with you, I can’t bring myself to celebrate abuses that occur in our business and damage the industry overall, but thanks for the suggestion. 😉

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