This article contains:
- What a hold harmless liability waiver is
- How a liability waiver protects your business
- What signing a liability waiver acknowledges
- How to know if your liability waiver is strong enough
- The essential information every liability waiver must cover
- How Vagaro Forms make liability waivers easy to send, receive, and file
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You’re excited to reopen your business—but let’s face it, you’re a little nervous, too. As you’re preparing and deep cleaning your storefront, you may find yourself wondering,
- What happens if a customer contracts COVID-19, and claims they were exposed at my business?
- Could I be sued?
- How much is my business at risk?
You’re navigating a difficult time, and it’s important to make sure you take every possible precaution to safeguard your business. Here’s how using Vagaro Forms to keep hold harmless liability waivers on file can help you breathe a little easier!
What Is a Hold Harmless Waiver?
A hold harmless waiver (limited liability waiver, release of liability) lets you inform customers that you acknowledge and understand the risk, dangers, and possibility of injury associated with providing services in a specific place at a specific time. The waiver lets customers decide if they’re willing to accept the possible risks and dangers associated with your services. Signed liability waivers are an acknowledgement from both parties that they understand and accept the risks and release your business from associated liability. You might already be using a similar liability waiver! For example, with chemical services, facials, or physical injuries in a fitness setting.
Why It’s Smart to Have a Liability Form on File
Right now, there isn’t any certainty about the possibility of COVID-19 exposure in a salon, spa, or fitness setting. But because COVID-19 is still such a new threat, business owners can’t fully guarantee customer safety. Which is why it’s important to make sure your reopening plan covers risk and liability. Your hold harmless waiver is a measure you can take to protect yourself, your business, and your customers. It explains the risk of COVID-19 exposure associated with close-contact personal services, as well as the steps you’re taking to reduce the chance of exposure. The waiver also allows customers to decide whether they’re willing to take on the responsibility for the risk.
What Signing a Hold Harmless Waiver Acknowledges
When your customers sign the hold harmless waiver—whether it’s for a corrective color or for COVID-19—they acknowledge:
- You’ve explained the risks associated with visiting your business and receiving services.
- That they understand the possible outcome of the risk associated with receiving services.
- They won’t hold you responsible for a negative outcome.
Make Sure Your Liability Form Is Strong
Hold harmless waivers can be challenging to validate and enforce, because they are subjective to the laws of your state. To confirm the strength and protection of your liability waiver, always consult a legal professional to review your waiver before sending it to customers. There are also legal templates available for purchase. Only legal professionals can validate that the document will hold up under legal scrutiny, if necessary.
When Your Liability Waiver Might Not Be Strong Enough
In some situations, even if you have a signed, up-to-date liability waiver on file, it might not be strong enough to stand up in court. Some of these circumstances are unlikely to apply to your business. However, knowing what these circumstances are can be helpful when you consult a legal professional about your hold harmless waiver.
- Some states don’t permit hold harmless waivers in certain situations. Make sure to consult a legal professional and find out if your state has any specific regulations for liability waivers.
- Make sure it’s readable! Your waiver must be easy to read and in plain language that’s easy to understand. Make sure to spell out the details using a conventional size font—no fine print!
- Check to make sure your liability doesn’t go against public good. Consult an attorney to make sure your state’s reopening orders don’t jeopardize reopening businesses.
- Get it in writing and make sure it’s signed! Oral agreements rarely hold up in court. Get written consent from customers, which is easy when you use Vagaro Forms! Use our customizable COVID-19 liability waiver template, or easily upload your own.
What Does a Hold Harmless Waiver Need to Include?
There are five basic pieces of information that all liability waivers must include to be valid in court:
- The names of the business and people entering into the agreement. (e.g., Acme Studio and Eleanor Vance, client of Acme Studio.)
- The location where the services will be provided (business address.)
- Services to be provided at the location. Be specific what services the waiver covers. (e.g. corrective color, chemical treatment, services provided during COVID-19 pandemic.)
- Dates the waiver is valid. (e.g., specify if the waiver covers one visit for a specific service or if new waivers will be required for each visit.)
- Range of risks associated with providing or receiving services. (e.g., chemical burns, hair loss, physical injury, exposure to COVID-19.)
Vagaro Forms Give You, Staff, and Customers Peace of Mind
Vagaro’s Forms feature makes it easy for you to file your waivers. We even included a customizable COVID-19 liability waiver template to help you jump start the process. Signed waivers will automatically be tied to customer profiles. That way, if you’re missing a required waiver, you’ll both get an automated reminder, and a notification will show up on your calendar.
Before you reopen, there’s a lot of planning to do. Making sure that your business is safeguarded against liability claims will help you reopen with confidence and the peace of mind you’ll need to build a business that’s stronger than ever before. Vagaro Forms help you reopen on the right foot, with liability waivers that are easy to send, receive, and keep on file without the added stress.
Icons: Mia Montemayor via Vagaro