Hairdressers have appealed to the Government for energy supports amid spiralling costs along with PRSI exemptions to help with staffing issues.
Vice president of the Irish Hairdressers Federation (IHF) Lisa Eccles told BreakingNews.ie that salons are still struggling from Covid closures and are now being hit with recruitment problems.
She said an employer PRSI exemption for small businesses is one proposal from the IHF.
"This year we really felt was our first year to get back on our feet and it's so challenging between recruitment and energy costs, so certainly I think small businesses are going to need huge help when it comes to energy bills and trying to lure people back into the workplace.
"Things like employer PRSI exemptions for small businesses would be really helpful to try to help businesses stay on their feet because I think we're facing a very challenging time.
"What happened through Covid was a lot of people decided they would not come back with things like childcare costs, as we are a female dominated industry. If they can't get enough money to cover these costs a lot have made the decision to stay at home, and unfortunately some people are working in the shadow economy.
"That's really damaging for our industry because it's hard to get stylists back, and then we're losing some customers to the shadow economy as well."
My costs have gone up fourfold and that won't be sustainable in the long run.
Ms Eccles said salons are struggling with energy bills, she cited her own business where she has seen a fourfold increase in costs.
"For example, my own salon... last year our electricity bills were in and around €250 a month, my last bill over a six-week period was around €1,000. My costs have gone up fourfold and that won't be sustainable in the long run."
She said a lot of salons have seen a drop-off in appointments, which is making it harder to increase wages amid the cost-of-living crisis.
"Staff will need pay increases and that will then fall on the customer ultimately. July, August, September we've seen a drop-off in business and people will space out their appointments more, so we're getting hit on all fronts."
Hairdressers are currently on the VAT rate of 9 per cent, as they're linked with tourism and hospitality, and the IHF is calling for this to be extended beyond February 28th, 2023.