They say entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, and we’re inclined to agree with them. Today, people are finding ways to go out on their own in all types of industries, breaking out of their office and being their own boss. If you’re a hairstylist, doing this for yourself could be easier than you realize. In fact, you may be able to set up your salon in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how to get your home salon off the ground.
Tips for Starting a Home Salon
Your expertise and skill may be the top asset you need for your salon, but it’s far from the only one. Here’s how to get started.
1. Investigate the Legal Side of Things
Before you start raiding the beauty supply store and distributing flyers, you need to make sure you can start your business without legal problems.
Are you permitted to run a business in your home? Do you have a home owner’s association that places restrictions on home businesses? Are there zoning issues or permit issues you need to consider?
Every area is unique. It’s important to consult with a local attorney about how to keep your salon above-board. It may be smart to operate as an independent contractor providing services rather than running as an actual business until you’re ready to expand with more stylists.
2. Create a Designated Space
If you truly want to build a client base and a successful salon, you can’t just pull a salon chair into your living room and call it a day.
Set up a designated salon space in your home. Perhaps you have a den or a guest bedroom that you can repurpose.
This allows you to give your clients more of that “salon feel.” You’ll have a place for all of your equipment so it stays organized and available.
As an added bonus, you can decorate the salon in any way you want as a way to start developing your brand.
3. Go for the Real Deal
Everyone says that the first rule of running a small business is to keep your overhead low. That’s true, but there are limits.
Don’t plop down your clients in a chair from your dining room table. You’re trying to create a comfortable salon experience, and for that, you need a real salon chair.
The same goes for your wet station. You don’t have to buy the most expensive salon equipment on the market, but you can’t use a standard bathroom sink either.
4. Become a Stickler for Records
It may not be the most exciting thing in the world but record-keeping can make or break a business, for multiple reasons.
First, it helps you keep your taxes low. Save records for everything you purchase for the salon, from equipment to tissues. All of this can reduce your tax burden and give you a better profit margin.
The other reason to keep records is that it creates a better experience for your clients.
Let’s say you do a customized color on a client’s hair. They love it, and a few months later they come back in for a touch-up.
How do you know what dyes you used so you can match them for the touch-up? You don’t unless you’ve kept records of each client’s history.
5. Have Realistic Prices
When a client pays for services at a salon, they aren’t just paying for the results. They’re paying for the entire experience, from the environment to the conversation.
You need to be realistic in your prices that you’re giving clients a different experience than they’d get in a high-end salon. Even if you’re a stylist with extensive experience, you need to consider the whole kit and caboodle in your pricing.
Many salons charge low prices in their earlier days and work their way up as they build a reputation. Remember that your prices are temporary. You’re trying to build loyalty first, and then you can elevate your profits.
6. Don’t Underestimate Your Software
We mentioned how important it is to spring for a real salon chair and wet station, but your equipment doesn’t end there. Your salon software is another vital element in your salon’s success.
Your salon software makes it easy to book appointments and see your schedule. It can also help you follow up with clients, keep those all-important records, and more.
Speaking of software, even in your earliest days, it’s essential to have a way to process credit cards. Few people use cash or checks on a daily basis, so you don’t want to add an inconvenience to your clients.
It’s a safety issue as well. If you’re taking in significant amounts of cash, it could get down the grapevine to someone who’s looking for fast cash to steal. This puts your home and your family at risk.
7. Avoid Scaling Your Home Salon Too Fast
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have big dreams for your budding business. If you try to rush the growth process, though, it could all come crashing down.
Don’t add new stylists the moment you start to get busy. It’s okay to have a bit of a waiting list because it tells clients that you’re worth the wait.
With that said, if you get to a point at which you’re turning down new clients, expanding is likely to be worth your investment. When you do add a new stylist, make sure it’s someone who has the personality and the drive to bring in business too.
The First Days of a Booming Home Salon Business
Every great business has to start somewhere. After all, it’s only prudent to keep your costs low until your business is big enough to sustain more overhead. A home salon is a perfect way to get started.