Setting up a mobile beauty business
Thinking about setting up a mobile beauty business? Here’s what you need to know.
Setting up a mobile beauty business is an attractive option for many beauticians. But if you’re thinking of going your own way you have a lot of hard work ahead. However, if it leads to having your own successful company and all the joys that come with it, you’ll find it’s well worth the effort.
Here’s our guide to setting up a mobile beauty business in the UK.
To become a mobile beauty therapist or beautician, you’ll need relevant qualifications. There are a range of training providers and accrediting bodies, so you’ll have to make sure yours is widely recognised before you commit.
- NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Certificates and Diplomas in courses like Beauty Techniques and Hair and Beauty Services are available at many colleges, either full or part-time
- CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology) offers Levels 1-5 qualifications in a variety of beauty specialisms, including complimentary techniques like stone therapy
- CIDESCO (Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie) accredits diplomas in beauty and spa therapy as well as courses in management that could be useful for your new business
- Apprenticeships can also offer a way into a career as a beautician. You could also study part-time while working in a junior role at a beauty salon.
Word of mouth about your skills will only take you so far. If you want to attract new customers who don’t know you personally, it will help greatly if you can advertise your qualifications. Trust is a valuable commodity, especially in the beauty industry.
Don’t forget to look into licensing regulations, too. If you perform certain treatments you may need to register with the relevant care quality commission and/or local authority.
Pros and cons of starting your own mobile beauty business
Beginning with the positives, the start-up costs for mobile beauty therapy businesses are relatively low. You’ll need all of your equipment and products, a reliable vehicle, a marketing budget and some money left over for insurance and other expenses. However, you won’t need to invest large sums in a business premises and all the costs that come with it.
Compared to working as a salaried employee, you’ll have the freedom of being your own boss, and you’ll keep 100% of your net profits.
So far, so good. But what about the negatives?
Firstly, no sick pay, holiday pay, or guaranteed income.
Secondly, even though you have no boss, you’ll be accountable to your customers. If they want regular slots, last-minute appointments, or weekend services, can you afford to refuse them?
Thirdly, your travel time can eat into your ability to earn. If your clients are spread far and wide, you’ll have to factor in the amount of time driving when you could be making money.
Finally, how do you feel about the tasks involved in running a business? Are you happiest when you’re spending every moment with clients, or could you also enjoy tasks like marketing, bookkeeping, and sales?
If, after reading these pros and cons, you’re still excited about starting a mobile beauty business, read on.
Naming your mobile beauty business
A lot of people looking to set up their own beauty business spend a long time agonising over their company name. How important is it? Most business experts would answer ‘very’.
The name says a lot about the business.
- Using your own name suggests a personal service, but also hints that it’s a micro-business without plans to grow
- Made-up or abstract names can be confusing until people become familiar with the company and what it does
- Purely descriptive names (like ‘Mobile Beauty Services’) are clear but can be easily forgotten. They also limit your options if you want to launch different services in the future.
Keep it simple, fairly generic and try to ensure that it says something about your business, personality and values.
One useful technique is to look at other businesses in your industry and try to work out why you prefer some names over others.
Finally, it helps to choose from names that are web friendly. Can you buy a domain (the name of the website or URL) with your company name or have they all been taken? If so, it could be a good idea to go back to the drawing board.
Writing a mobile beauty business plan
It should be straightforward to write a mobile beauty business plan if you need one to secure a loan. Your business plan will need to answer these questions:
- Why are you starting a mobile beauty therapy business and why will you be good at it?
- What services will you provide?
- What’s the market like in terms such as size, value, customer segments and buying patterns? Who are your competitors?
- How will you find customers?
- How will the logistics of your mobile beauty business work?
- What will you charge for your services?
- What are your financial forecasts?
There are lots of templates for business plans available online. Be concise and ask a friend to check your writing for typos and other errors before showing it to any decision makers.
How to promote your mobile beauty business
If you’re planning to start small, you may be able to rely on word of mouth at first. But to turn your sideline work into a fully-fledged mobile beauty business, you’ll need to use other ways to get noticed.
Here are some tips on how to promote your mobile beauty business:
- Invest in a website and update it regularly with interesting content. Do some research into search engine optimisation (SEO) to help people searching online for a local beautician find you
- Set up a Facebook page and Twitter account. Use it not just to advertise but to run competitions or give beauty tips and product advice. This will help people get to know you and appreciate your skills
- Offer incentives to encourage your existing customers to recommend you to their friends. Consider offering discounts to particular groups, such as employees of large local companies, pensioners or members of certain clubs and societies
- Don’t neglect traditional advertising methods like flyers, posters or newspaper advertisements. Including unique promo codes will help you work out which methods have been successful and which you can drop.
Mobile beautician insurance
Last but most certainly not least, get insured. An appropriate small business insurance package is a must, but you’ll also need to be insured for the miles you drive as part of your job. Standard commuting cover may not typically include trips to clients’ homes. So you could find yourself uninsured if you experience a traffic accident in the course of your business. If you took out van insurance for instance, you'd also need to make sure you have business use cover.
Don’t let a single accident or unhappy customer jeopardise your mobile beauty business. Find out about hair and beauty insurance now.