How To Become a Mobile Hairdresser
December 7, 2021
As people lead progressively busier lives, mobile hairdressers are in higher demand. For many customers, getting their hair done in the comfort of their own home means that there’s no need to arrange childcare, no need to spend time and money on travel and allows them to be more flexible.
Whether you plan to break away from your salon and venture alone or are completely new to the world of hairdressing, we’ll explain how to become a mobile hairdresser.
Pros and cons of working as a mobile hairdresser
Before you take the plunge and become a mobile hairdresser, you may want to weigh up the pros and cons.
- Be your own boss – You decide everything. There’s no need to open and close shop at set times, giving you more flexibility in the way you work
- Loyal client base – It’s easier to build a loyal client base as you can gain stronger rapport by visiting their homes.
- Low overheads – There are no rental costs that come with owning a salon and you likely won’t employ any staff.
- Travel – This can be a benefit and a drawback. Mobile hairdressing allows you to reach a wider client base as you aren’t restricted to your local area. But if you don’t drive or you’re not a fan of driving, this can quickly become a hassle.
- Lack of help – Going solo means you have to do everything yourself, including cleaning equipment and other menial tasks.
- Variable workload – No day is the same when you become a mobile hairdresser. Without the comfort of a salon to fall back on, you’ll experience both busy and slow periods.
A guide on how to become a mobile hairdresser:
In this guide, we’ll talk you through how to become a mobile hairdresser in 8 simple steps. Follow this model to build a successful mobile hairdressing business!
- Create a business plan
- Get your qualifications
- File for self-employment
- Buy equipment
- Take out insurance
- Build a website
- Connect to a booking system
- Market your services
1. Create a business plan
When you become a mobile hairdresser, you also become a business owner. Therefore, your first step should be to create a business plan. Getting this step right is fundamental so a lot of time should go into deciding your business strategy. We’ll talk you through the things you need to include in your business plan.
Name of the business
Most mobile hairdressers simply use their name but there’s no harm in brainstorming some ideas if you’re feeling creative. Once you decide on a name, just make sure that it’s not already used by another company.
Goal setting helps to motivate you and gives you a clear vision. You should set short term (6 months – 1 year) and long term goals (5 year vision). These goals can be financial such as ‘generating 20% profit’ or could relate to your presence in the market e.g. ‘become a household name in X, Y and Z location’. It’s a great feeling when you reach your goals, and when you do, celebrate them and then create new ones!
This is where you scope out the competition. Are there any other mobile hairdressers in the local area? Or are you competing with an established salon? Look at the services and prices that they provide and try to offer something better. Many people remain loyal to their hairdressers, so you’ll have to make some bold moves to stand out.
Defining a target audience is an important step as this will help your expansion and pricing strategy. If your services and prices are suitable for all ages and incomes, then that’s fantastic!
Just keep in mind that some treatments like temporary hair colouring will be more of a hit with millennials, for example. Social media is your biggest friend here – see who is following certain beauty bloggers or salon pages. This can help you understand which trends appeal to particular demographics in the market.
When you create your financial plan, you’ll need to consider fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs must be paid regardless of the amount of client’s you’ve seen in a set time period. An example of fixed costs for a mobile hairdresser would be your salary. Whereas variable costs will depend on the amount you spend on hair products and petrol, for example. You may have to make the odd compromise here and there but if you plan your budget carefully, you can set your business up for success!
The services you provide will depend on your experience and qualifications. The broader your skill set, the better as you will be able to create an extensive list of services. If you’re a specialist in a certain area of hairdressing, you should upsell this service to stand out from the crowd.
The price that you charge as a mobile hairdresser will depend on how experienced you are in the industry. Take all of your direct and indirect costs into account and make sure that you can turn a profit. Don’t undervalue yourself, even if your first clients only include family and friends.
The best thing to do is conduct competitor research and charge the same or slightly less to win clients and build your portfolio of contacts. It’s also a nice idea to offer discounts for certain packages such as a cut and colour to drum up business. No matter what, you should always be transparent about your pricing and clearly communicate it across all of your promotional materials.
When you become a mobile hairdresser, travelling is going to take up a lot of your time. Think about how far you’re willing to drive to a client and work out what’s financially viable. It’s not worth trekking miles and miles to a client’s house if the cost of petrol is more than the price of the haircut.
One of the joys of mobile hairdressing is the flexibility that comes with it. But it’s still good to have some sort of structure so plan out your working hours. You should expect to work most Fridays, Saturdays and evenings as this is the prime time for people to book a hair appointment.
You need to consider how you’ll market your services. We’ll give more details on this later on in this guide on how to become a mobile hairdresser.
2. Get your qualifications
If you already have years of experience working in a salon, of course, you can skip this step. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to get a handful of qualifications to become a mobile hairdresser. There are four levels to an NVQ that unlock different aspects of hairdressing. We’ll give you the rundown:
- Level 1: This gives you a basic introduction to hairdressing and won’t be sufficient to gain a role in hairdressing. This level is aimed at people who don’t have any formal qualifications e.g. GCSEs. Level 1 provides a pathway to NVQ Level 2.
- Level 2: To be accepted onto courses at this level, you will need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent. Level 2 will give you the essential skills to practise as a hairdresser and is the minimum requirement for many salons.
- Level 3: To begin a Level 3 NVQ, you will need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent. This NVQ provides you with technical and supervisory skills to become a professional hairdresser. This qualification is highly desirable and must be completed if you wish to progress to a managerial level.
- Level 4: Although Level 3 will be enough to become a mobile hairdresser, a Level 4 qualification may be on your mind as you plan to expand your business as it’s aimed at management roles. Earning this NVQ demonstrates that you can cope with a high level of professional responsibility. To achieve this, you’ll have to show that you can apply a variety of technical and professional skills in the real world.
3. File for self-employment
To keep your finances in order, you’ll need to file for self-employment. This sounds daunting but the process is really simple. You only have to head to the government portal and provide basic information such as the date you started your business, personal details (including your address and National Insurance number) and a description of the job you do.
Once you’ve completed these steps, HMRC will provide you with a 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) within 10 days. After this, you will have access to your online account which offers a number of digital government services. Now that you’ve filed for self-employment, make sure that you file your tax return before the deadline to avoid any fines. GOV.UK highlights all of the deadlines you need to be aware of.
4. Buy equipment
This is the fun part! Go on a shopping spree to get kitted out with the essential equipment you need to be a mobile hairdresser. You can often get trade discounts if you shop with specialist salon suppliers such as Salon Supplies, Salons Direct, Cool Blades and Capital Hair & Beauty. We’ll give you a checklist of the essential equipment for hairdressers:
- Scissors – It’s important to invest in one or two pairs of high-quality scissors to start with. Pay attention to the size and type of handle as you want the scissors to sit comfortably in your hand.
- Sectioning clips – To provide the perfect cut, sectioning is key. A pack of hair clips only costs a couple of pounds.
- Comb – A fine-tooth comb is needed to section hair during the cut.
- Brushes – For the perfect blow-dry, you’ll need a range of brushes. Invest in a small and large barrel brush, a vent brush and a paddle brush.
- Hairdryer – This is going to get a lot of use so invest in a salon-standard dryer.
- Straighteners/curlers – If you prefer to give dry cuts, straighteners are essential to give a precise finish. Also, include curlers in your kit so that you can offer a range of hairstyling services.
- Rollers – Much like the curlers, rollers assist you in creating particular styles and adding volume.
- Gown – You can buy basic gowns for a small cost, or to get the professional look, get your branding printed on them.
- Protective floor covering – Being mobile means that you’ll be meeting clients in their homes. To cut down on the mess, add a protective floor covering to your kit so it’s easy to tidy up hair cuttings.
- Hair dye – Start off with the most popular hues and you can build up your portfolio as you understand your regular client’s shades of choice.
- Shampoo, conditioner and hair treatments – Purchase a variety of hair products to suit different hair types. You could even ask your clients for their preferences. Some extra products that add that salon feel include serums, gels, waxes and oils.
- Hairspray – After spending hours creating a complex hairstyle, you want it to stay in place! So don’t forget to add this important product to your toolkit.
- Towels – Don’t scrimp on cheap towels. Clients want to feel comfortable and luxurious towels take your service to the next level. Take a number of towels to each appointment as most people will use two.
Another consideration to make when becoming a mobile hairdresser is travel. Public transport can be ruled out as it’s not the most reliable and you’ll have a lot of kit to carry. The best option is to invest in a car. Make sure that you maintain it and see to any issues as you can’t afford to miss appointments due to breakdowns.
5. Take out insurance
Hair dye spills on the client’s cream carpet and a customer trips over towels. These are just some of the accidents that may happen on the job. Unfortunately, slip-ups do happen so protect yourself with a comprehensive policy.
The main types of insurance you should consider as a mobile hairdresser are public liability insurance and business equipment cover. To make sure that you have everything dealt with, there are specialist mobile hairdresser insurance policies out there. Do your research and take out insurance that protects both your and your clients. Also, remember to change your car insurance policy to business use and update the estimated annual mileage.
6. Build a website
As mobile hairdressers often travel further afield, a website will help you to get your name out there on a large scale. Building a website doesn’t have to cost the earth, and it’s a great asset to have. Some of the main things to include on your website are:
- Bio – including your experience and hairdressing qualifications
- Your services
- Price list and the payment methods you accept
- The areas that you serve
- Photos of your work
- Examples of the products you use
- Client testimonials
- Contact information
Don’t forget to add a link to your website in your social media profiles to boost your online visibility.
7. Connect to a booking system
When you’re visiting a client, you want to pay them your full attention to offer an outstanding service. This means zero distractions. It can be tiresome when your phone rings for what feels like the hundredth time that day. Although this is a great sign that business is booming, clients shouldn’t have to call you every time they want to book an appointment.
This is where an online booking system can come to the rescue! Using a scheduling solution such as BookingLive allows you to spend quality time with your clients. Simply connect the booking system to your mobile hairdressing website and embed a ‘book now’ widget next to every service you offer. Clients can then schedule their hair appointment in five simple steps at any time of the day. They can browse your available slots and book instantly so the days negotiating different dates are long gone.
With an online booking system, you can ditch the bulky address book too. All of your client’s details will be securely stored in a database. So you can easily find their location before you set off to the appointment. There are many plates to spin when you become a mobile hairdresser and a booking system can calm some of the chaos so it’s a step not to be missed.
8. Market your services
Now, you’re almost good to go out there and take on your first client! To help your diary fill up, you need to make people aware of your mobile hairdressing business. You can market your services using a range of methods.
Seeing as you’re mobile, it’s likely that you’ll bump into prospective clients whilst you’re out and about so it’s good to have a business card at hand. Every mobile hairdresser’s business card should include the following details:
- Your name/business name
- QR code to your website
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Social media username
- Your services
- The locations that you operate in
To become a successful mobile hairdresser, it’s so important to be active on social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook. Regularly post your work to really showcase your skills – we’re all a sucker for a before and after transformation!
Instagram is all about interacting with your audience so upload polls to your Instagram story. For example, you could get people to vote on their favourite hair trend or gain feedback on any hair products your clients would like to see. Whereas Facebook is a great place for you to post reviews from clients and connect with other mobile hairdressers. Join as many groups as you can and get involved in discussions; it’s a great, free way to develop your industry knowledge!
Starting a blog will help to boost your website’s visibility in Google. The higher the visibility, the more likely prospects will click onto your site and book your services. You could write about hair tips and tricks or perhaps review the latest hair tool or give your opinion on the latest product craze.
Keeping to a regular posting schedule will help to establish your authority in the industry and set you apart from the competition. Another tip is to promote your latest blog post across all of your social media channels to give it the extra push.
We hope that our guide on how to become a mobile hairdresser sets your new business up for success! If you’re interested to learn more about how a booking system can help you to run your mobile hairdressing business, contact us today or book a demo now.
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