Starting A Beauty Business: Mobile Vs. Salon

Working as a beautician was once synonymous with doing business from a salon, but in an age where convenience is paramount, many entrepreneurs have found it more satisfying to set up their own mobile beauty business instead. This means pampering clients from the comfort of their own home, but as professionals regularly point out, being a mobile esthetician is not the same as freelancing. Freelancing simply means being self-employed, but not necessarily on a mobile basis. For example, a freelance hairdresser may choose to rent a seat in someone else’s salon rather than traveling from place to place.

Opening a salon and starting a mobile business are two exciting ways to start making money from your passion, but both are very different. Explore the pros and cons of each option to see which is the best path for your beauty business.

Mobile beauty salon customer

Go mobile

To set up

Since you don’t need to find premises to start a mobile beauty business, all you need is your equipment and means of transportation. Public transportation may be an option if your business specializes in smaller-scale services like nail art and makeup, but if you need a full arsenal of tools to do your job, it’s time to invest in a set of wheels.

Working hours

One of the best things about going mobile is the ability to set your own working hours, which is ideal if you want to run your beauty business while working elsewhere. This flexibility also means that you may be able to attract clients who want an early morning or late evening treatment, as many salons are closed during these hours. The downside is that if a client asks you to come over at an inconvenient time, the instability of your income means you may not be in a financial position to refuse.

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Gain

Because you don’t have to pay rent, bills, or employees, it costs very little to run a mobile beauty business and you can keep all the profits yourself. Some of it will probably have to be reinvested in your business, but the rest can be spent as you wish.

Keep in mind that you may have to spend a little more on marketing your beauty business than if you owned a salon. Potential clients may happen to walk by a salon, but since your business requires you to come to them, you should do everything you can to make sure they know you exist.

Please note that you will also have to pay for public transport or to drive your vehicle (which costs around £160 per month for cars in Britain) and petrol costs can add up if you often travel long distances.

Other plus points

  • By working at your clients’ homes, you never have to deal with time wasters who don’t show up for appointments.
  • Home visits add a personal touch to your services and offer the opportunity to build particularly close relationships with your customers and gain their trust. This can help you better earn their loyalty and make them more likely to recommend you to friends and family.

Other disadvantages

  • Traveling can take up your work hours and reduce the number of tasks you could do in a day.
  • Being self-employed means you don’t receive sick or holiday pay, and since you have no employees when you work mobile, there is no one to cover you.
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Opening a salon

Opening a salon

To set up

It can be very expensive to buy or rent a space, especially in prime locations. Beauty salon owners Leah Durrant and Mica Nicole say the cost of starting a salon can range from around £10,000 to £25,000.

Choosing a space is a huge decision because the space must be well located and able to attract a lot of clients without competition from other salons. Figures show that the number of beauty salons and barbershops grew faster than any other high street business in 2018, so if there are competitors in the area you need to make sure your own premises stand out enough to be successful.

Keep in mind that it will also take some time to build a customer base, so you’ll need to have enough money set aside to pay rent, insurance, and employee wages before you start earning an income. And because the salon is the face of your brand, you should also invest in a striking design.

Working hours

Running a salon involves set working hours, which will likely include evenings and weekends. This routine allows you to easily plan your personal life around these fixed periods, unlike mobile beauticians who have to work at sporadic times of the day if their financial situation is not great at the time. If a customer wants you to work outside of stated hours, you can charge extra for this privilege.

Gain

Being responsible for a property and your employees means you have a lot of expenses when you own a salon, which doesn’t allow you to keep as much of your profits. However, if you have a large space and a dedicated team, you can serve multiple clients at the same time and make much more money than if you worked alone as a mobile esthetician. Furthermore, with a physical store on the high street you are much more likely to attract spontaneous walk-in appointments and your bottom line can really be improved by this transient trade.

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Other plus points

  • Because you supervise a team of employees, there is always someone who can support you, so that turnover does not suffer if you go on holiday or become ill.
  • By opening a salon you secure your place on the high street and become part of the community. Locals are sure to recognize and get to know your business in their daily lives, so the next time they need a beauty treatment, chances are you’ll be a contender.

Other disadvantages

  • Salon life isn’t ideal if you like varied work schedules and environments. Regularity is the key to this profession, so you work in the same place, at the same time every day.
  • You are accountable for all actions of your employees, so it is your responsibility if mistakes are made. As a mobile beautician you only have to take your own behavior into account.

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