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Setting up a home-based beauty business – The Beauty Biz

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The key points to consider when starting your own beauty business

Author: Madeleine Pokroy
November 20 2006

beautician standing next to massage table

Setting up your own business

The following is a checklist of things you need to do in order to set up a successful beauty therapy business from home:

1. Suitability of your premises

Before you actually spend any money on setting up your business, you need to firstly decide how suitable it is for a home-based beauty therapy business. You need to consider the following:

  • Do you have a separate entrance to your potential treatment room or will clients have to walk through your front door and hallway?
  • Do you have a separate room that you can devote to treatments, or will it double up as your lounge/sitting room? If it does, you will have to constantly be folding your treatment couch and putting it away, also your living space is no longer private.
  • Do you have more than one bathroom/toilet for client’s use and your use?
  • Do you live in the sort of area where there is a demand for beauty treatments?
  • Is there any local competition, if so, what – high street, other home therapists
2. decide what treatments you want to give
  • what are you qualified in?
  • what treatments do you like doing?
  • What treatments are available in salons/home therapists near you?
  • What sort of clientele do you want to appeal to?
  • How big a range of treatments do you want to offer?How much equipment will you need/how much can you afford to buy?
  • Will you need to use a shower/bath for any body treatments or if clients want to shower before a massage treatment?
3. buy equipment

What equipment do you need for the treatments you want to give?

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  • How much space do you have?
  • How much can you afford to buy?
  • Do you want brand new or are you happy with second hand?
  • Do you want a portable couch or not? If not, do you want an electric couch or static?
4.choose what products you want to use
  • Do you want to use a product you are already trained in or a new one?
  • Do you want to use a product that is only available or one that can be purchased on the high street aswell?
  • How much is the minimum opening order if you do choose a professional product?
  • What sort of products would your potential clientele be interested in?
  • Upmarket/European/Aromatherapy based/unisex/feminine…..?
  • Do you want to have more than one product range?
  • How much emphasis are you going to put on retailing products?
  • What sort of treatments are you offering? Are they spa treatments requiring specialist spa products or general beauty treatments needing more general products?
5. price your treatments
  • What is your competition charging?
  • How much do you need to charge per hour/treatment to make a profit?
  • Do you want to charge for your time or per treatment?
  • Do you want to offer special introductory prices to begin building your clientele?
6. create a treatment menu
  • What treatments to you want to offer?
  • What do you like and dislike doing?
  • What treatments is your competition offering?
  • Do you want to specialise in just one or a few treatments or do you want to offer a bit of everything?
  • What equipment would you need to perform these treatments and do you have enough space to store all/can you afford the equipment needed?
  • Do you need to provide a shower for any treatments?
  • What sort of treatments would your potential clients prefer?
7. get an accountant
  • Can you do your accounts yourself or do you need a professional?
  • I would recommend you use a professional accountant as he/she is able to maximise your tax savings and does all the time-consuming and hard work for you.
  • Try to go to someone who is recommended to you.
8. think about advertising
  • How much money/time do you have to devote to advertising?
  • What types of advertising would you prefer to use?
  • What types of advertising would attract the greatest number of clients?
  • What type of advertising would attract the type of clients you want to treat? Methods include: leaflet drops, local shops, local paper, local magazines, local newsletters, word of mouth
  • Remember word of mouth is often your best form of advertising so try to drum up business with friends and neighbours and let them do the talking.
  • Offer incentives, for example, set up a ‘referral scheme’. If a new client was recommended by an existing client, the existing client gets £5 off their next treatment.
9. consider your overheads
  • This is really part of your business plan, but you need to be aware of
10. mobile/land phone
  • Do you want to use your existing land line for business as well as home, or set up a second land line for business or do you just want to use a mobile line for business?
  • It is probably best to keep home and business totally separate and it is imperative, whatever your choice, that you have an answerphone service as you cannot take calls whilst in treatment.
  • You should also ensure that your mobile/phone/answer phone are set to ‘silent’ whilst in treatments and ideally kee p them outside the room altogether.
11. contact your local council

Contact your local council to find out what steps you need to take to work from home. This normally involves applying for a provisional ‘special treatment licence’ and putting a notice outside your house for one month letting people know of your intentions and giving them a chance to lodge objections.

Once this month is over and any objections have been attended to, you will have to pay for a ‘provisional licence’ and arrange an inspection from the council. They will inspect your home to see if it is suitable for treatments. They will then provide you with a work schedule which must be completed before you can commence giving treatments.

Most of the criteria involve aspects of health and safety (see below). Once you have completed the works schedule another inspection is done by the council and subject to them being happy, you can begin giving treatments.

12. consider health and safety/smoke detectors and clinical waste

Apart from the obvious health and safety measures such as keeping your metal implements in a suitable sterilising unit or fluid, the council will probably insist on some or all of the following:

  • A n.a.c.o.s.s. approved electrical installation inspection
  • Emergency lighting
  • Mains linked smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Clinical waste disposal for any waste containing bodily fluids eg wax strips
  • Sharps boxes for needles
13. check out the competition

it is essential that you not only collect treatment menus and prices of all your local competition, but you should also sample some treatments.

Make sure that you go to your local salons as well as any other home or mobile-based salons. You can then suss out, what treatments they are giving and what they are like.

Also, the benefit of visiting someone else who works from home is that you pick up tips for how to run a home-based business.

14. plan your financing

Setting up a business, however small, requires capital. Unless you have enough savings to buy all your equipment and products, advertise and provide living expenses whilst building your clientele, then you will need to borrow finance from somewhere.

Business plans normally include foreseen expenses, projected turnover and profits, budgets

15. consider training for specific treats/products/equipment

If you are going to use a product you have no prior experience of or limited experience, you will need to do a product knowledge course. This normally includes both product and treatment training and can take up to a week to complete depending on how many products/treatments you plan to take on. The courses normally take place at a specific training centre and are free.

16. visit professsional beauty shows for deals

Trade shows take place in different cities around the country.They are a good place to see and try out products and equipment and they may offer good introductory deals for opening orders.

Lots of the stands will offer special prices on supplies.It is also a good chance to network with other therapists and attend free lectures on health and beauty related matters

17. wholesaler contacts

Contact wholesalers to see what kind of deals they can offer you

18. make special/opening offers to entice clients

In order to get clients through the door it can help to entice them with opening offers. You can either offer money off (specific amounts or percentges), or offer a complimentary treatment with all or a specific treatment, eg, complimentary back massage with every facial booked.

This can also help you to promote treatments that you prefer to do or specialise in.

19. purchase sufficient towels/gowns/slippers

In addition to your equipment and products, you will need a large supply of towels and sheets for your couch and, if you are doing any body treatments, slippers and gowns.

20. get professional indemnity insurance

You cannot legally practice beauty therapy without being insured.Not only will it protect you if something adverse happens to a client as a result of using a product or receiving a treatment, but if a client injures themselves whilst on your premises.

There are many different insuring bodies, each offering different annual rates. You will have to prove you are qualified in each treatment you are offering by sending your qualification certificates.

21. decide your opening hours

Do you want to open late nights?Do you want to open weekends?What sort of clients do you want to attract and when will they be able to come to you?

22. subscribe to professional magazines

It is a good idea to do this as it will keep you informed of the latest beauty trends and products as well as information on forthcoming events and suppliers’ information.