Home-based salons are ubiquitous in rural Australia, but in recent years we have seen the concept slowly creep into urban areas. This raises the question, is it legal to have a salon business in your home?
YES! It is perfectly legal to run a salon or a barbershop from home, but for success, there are conditions to be met and laws to be followed.
Moreover, you also have to consider:
- What equipment and salon furniture do I need?
- (If renting or mortgaging), what do mortgage and tenancy agreements require?
- How do you attract customers?
All these questions plus plenty more will be answered!
Can I Have a Beauty Salon in My Home?
Today, over 1million Australians run some form of home-based business.
Working from home or rather home-based business is attractive in that you choose the hours you work and overhead costs are a thing of the past. However, this is not the Wild, Wild, West…
Thus, there are some guidelines to consider especially if you are offering services commercially. To clarify, Haircare, nails, and other non-intrusive services seldom require a business license if home-based, but on the other hand, if you are offering services including cuticle cutting, cosmetic tattooing, microdermabrasion or blackhead removal using needles, you should register with your local council.
Generally speaking, the requirements you must adhere to factoring the coronavirus are:
- Proper hygienic procedures
- Good lighting and ventilation.
- Handwashing facilities.
Note: Lack of compliance may result in penalties or gaol time if caught.
If all that is taken care of, the next step is to find tools and equipment for your home-based salon.
The Perfect Furniture, Tools, and Equipment for a Home-Based Salon.
The tools and equipment you need vary on the type of business you intend to run, for example, if it’s a barbershop, you will need a barber chair.
Standard salon furniture will fit any setting, what you need are:
A well-lit workstation
Beauty service providers rely on vision for precise product application, consequently, an ill-lit workstation creates a lot of room for accidents. It also strains the eye.
Admittedly, good lighting allows you to see different flaws from different angles, meaning, you can correct problems before they become irreversible. However, too much light is bad, both for you and the client. Because of that, interior design experts recommend that you stick to workstations that provide cool light as opposed to warm light.
Warm light is simply bulbs that have a colour temperature ranging from 2500K upwards, cool light, on the other hand, is what you see for about 1 hour after sunrise, thus its natural light or bulbs around 5000 to 6500K.
Here are some lighted mirrors that will go perfectly in any space!
Salon Chair Versus Barbershop Chairs: Why you Need One
Aesthetically, barbershop chairs and salon chairs look different. But with a little ingenuity, either can be tasked to do the other one’s job.
The very simple reason why you need a quality beauty chair is, your clients will spend a lot of time on it. What about normal chairs? Normal chairs are problematic in that they cause fatigue and some can exacerbate existing conditions such as back pain.
On the other hand, barbershop chairs and salon chairs have reclining functions and are built for maximum comfort and relaxation. Remember, for you, its back-breaking work because of the long hours, aching back, tired feet, etc. So, you need all the help you can get!
Seth Meyers Psy.D. says going to the salon is free therapy. Thus, the better the experience, the higher the likely hood of a client coming back.
The point is, not investing in a quality salon chair is self-sabotage.
How do I market my home-based salon?
As Seth put it, the salon business encompasses way much more than beauty services, instead, it is about creating a unique experience for anyone who visits you.
Create the right atmosphere
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If you live in a tight-knit community, getting the word out is simply a matter of you providing a service that sticks out. You want your customers to go out there and tell their friends and family that they got their hair, nails, or whatever done at your place.
That of course entails being a social butterfly both offline and online. However, on account of lockdowns in place in some regions, your best bet is to join social media and showcase your work there.
Creating an experience for customers is about showing empathy, being friendly, providing value, and always improving. For example, if you receive feedback, always strive to find ways to improve. I.e. don’t stagnate or be too intrusive. Remember, just one bad experience can cost you your entire clientele, so be kind to your clients even the problem ones.
You also have to learn when to say NO.
If a job is out of your skillset or if the client is problematic, don’t bend over backwards.
Make your home-based salon more welcoming to clients
Although the business is in your home, it is still a business. Thus, you have to separate it from your normal life.
The first step is designating a space in or around your home, could be a storage shed, an extra room, or even outside space for a more outdoorsy and homier feel. If you already have a workstation and chair, what you need next is proper storage for all your equipment.
Don’t forget, all those tools floating around are not only dangerous to kids and pets, but they are also expensive. If left unorganized, you will encounter those sweaty moments where you don’t know where things are and the client is waiting.
Dirty linen and an overall disorganized space encourage judgment.
On the other hand, proper storage tells the client you are organized and know what you are doing!
Make your home-based salon more welcoming to kids
Barbershop chairs and salon chairs, in general, are often made to fit adults. if you don’t have extra money to buy child seats or chairs, consider a booster seat. This will elevate younger clients to a comfortable work level.
Also, keeping very young kids still for extended periods is problematic. Consequently, some chairs such as Glammar’s George kids cutting chair are designed to look like toys. This is to keep their tiny hands preoccupied as you work, thus, lessening the possibility of errors.
Part 2: how to run a home-based salon
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Gain industry experience
If you are fresh from beauty school, it is good practice to get some experience before venturing out on your own. See the thing is, you build your clientele through exposure, meaning, the more people you meet the bigger your client list.
Unlike a commercial salon, your home is not a high traffic area and this type of business targets people near you. Getting exposure helps you find insights, connections, or in some cases a mentor. The rule of the thumb is the more experience and exposure, the better.
Who is your target customer?
Is your target, busy moms, working professionals, or kids?
A targeted approach is beneficial in that it will improve your skills and help you stand out. For example, if beauty parlours are expensive in your area. Target those who can’t afford or an underserved group by offering services that are within their budget.
See the advantage you have over commercial salons is that there are no overhead costs to worry about. Thus, you won’t lose much by offering discounts.
An even better alternative is to start your place, build a reliable clientele, then transition to a home-based salon. Just make sure you are within reach of your clientele.
Is your space up to code?
Homes are not often built to accommodate commercial services, on top of that, you might be renting or mortgaging.
To avoid problems with your lender or landlord, you should get permission to operate or before you make any serious renovations.
The government recommended physical distancing measures for home-based salons
Salon and barbershop work require close contact with clients, as a consequence, contagious diseases such as COVID19 spread very easily in such premises. To keep yourself and your clients safe while working from home, the government recommends:
- Keep windows and doors open
- Ensure proper ventilation in your space
- Avoid face to face interactions (communicate via mirror when working)
- Limit interactions between your family and clients
- Socially distance yourself from other members of your family
- Where possible, reduce the number of tasks to be completed in a day
- Invite clients to leave when done, and request them to come solo whenever possible
- Avoid providing refreshments to clients
- Limit the number of people in your home at any time
Turn a shed into a home-based salon
To limit interaction between your family and clients, you should consider turning an outdoor space into a salon. For example, if you own a shed. Turn that space into your work area. Some hairdressers even get a studio out the back or reconvert their garage!
Find a spot with decent leg traffic
No matter how good of a stylist you are, not many people will go out of their way to reach you. Consequently, your home-based salon should be located somewhere with decent leg traffic or within walking distance of where you used to work before COVID.
If you are building a new shed, it’s important to comply with BCA (Building Code of Australia). Note that these regulations vary from state to state. So, check yours!
Once you have the legal work in order, the next step is:
- Install utilities such as plumbing wiring and electricity
- For equipment security, you may have to replace doors and windows
With COVID 19 changing the way we interact with each other, there is no way of telling when things will go back to normal. Instead of waiting for that day, take the initiative and start your home-based salon business using the guide above. What you need to remember are what laws to adhere to, equipment list that will fit your workspace, and, most importantly, how to keep yourself, family, and clients safe.
Our advice, dedicate a space outside your home or work on your porch.
How are you adapting your business to home-based care? Tell us in the comments!