Setting up a salon can be expensive work. You need to find your premises, pay for furniture and decor, and then you have to advertise your services. But what many stylists forget is that they may already have the ideal premises for their business. Operating a salon from your own home could help to free you from the financial burden of rent and business rates.
However, opening a home-based salon isn’t right for everyone, and you need to think carefully before moving forward. At best, you might find a home-based salon hard to manage, but at worst, you could face financial woes if a customer were to be injured in your home. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the dos and don’ts of opening a salon in your own home.
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The beauty of a home-based salon is that you can take your time to grow your offering. You don’t have to hit the ground running because you don’t have additional overheads to worry about. You can take the time to build up strong relationships with your customers and build a loyal following. The barriers to entry are pretty low, so you can afford to follow your dreams.
You might be running your business from a spare room, but you can’t ignore the rules. Check with your local council to find out what rules and regulations you need to follow. You may need to be certified by the council. You should also investigate public liability insurance, as this will protect you in the event a customer is injured in your home. Also, check if running a business from your home will invalidate your home and contents insurance.
Treat your home business like a stepping stone to your own salon. This means you should get your systems in place in the beginning to make sure everything runs smoothly. You can supercharge the salon experience by offering online booking and appointment management. This will give your customers the impression you are a real professional. You should also keep on top of your accounts for tax purposes, as you will need to manage your own self-employed tax return.
It can be tempting to take a relaxed approach to running your business when you are working from home. But don’t let your clients decide how you get things done. You should always set the terms, including a cancellation policy, no-show fee, and payment terms. Even if the clients are also your friends, they need to understand that you are running a business.
Ask anyone who runs their own business from home what their biggest challenge is, and most will say it is setting work boundaries. When you work from home, it’s tempting to work around the clock to maximise your income. When you’re fully booked, it can be tempting to squeeze in some late night or early morning appointments. This might be fine for periods of high demand, like Christmas time, but don’t make a habit of this. You’ll quickly face burnout if you keep working at this pace.
If you share your home with other people, you need to make sure they are fully on board with your business plan. They might not be thrilled to have to share their living room with customers waiting for their appointment, so set out some clear boundaries about where clients will be able to access and when. Tension from other residents can make for a very awkward appointment for a customer, and they might not be too keen to book again.
You might start your business on word-of-mouth recommendations, but eventually, you need a marketing plan that will allow you to scale your business. There are plenty of marketing plan templates available online for free, so you can use one of these as a starting point. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in marketing at the start, a professional website alongside Facebook and Instagram accounts should be enough to get the word out. Remember to build a catalogue of your best work and document it through pictures and videos. Past success is often the best way to book future customers.
While you might be out of the salon environment, you shouldn’t forget about the industry. Keeping on top of trends and the latest styles will help you to stay ahead of the competition and continually offer something unique and fresh. Try staying connected online or make the effort to attend training events and conferences to keep your skills fresh. This will also help to ensure that you don’t miss out on any valuable industry contacts.