Thinking about opening a home salon business? Chances are you’ve already given a haircut, facial, or nail service to family or friends in your home. Now you’re wondering if it would work on a bigger scale – a full-on business in your home.
You may be asking yourself a few questions about opening your home salon.
- What are the pros and cons of a home salon?
- Are home salons even legal?
- What other things should I consider before going this route?
- How do I start?
A home business is still a business and requires careful thought and consideration. It isn’t for everyone. But maybe it is right for you.
It certainly was for me. I learned a lot over the years and know with careful consideration and hard work, a home salon can be an incredibly successful and rewarding business adventure. I would pick it over a busy salon any day.
Today, I am going to cover and frequently asked questions about home salon businesses. I will also cover the pros and cons plus some tips to help you get started if you think this arrangement is right for you and your clients.
Pros of a Home Business
Cost and Low Overhead
This one is just simple math. Not only is a home business usually cheaper to set up, but it is also easier to maintain. No rent, one utility bill, and other savings can add up and make a home salon an excellent financial choice.
While home business taxes can be a pain, millions of people every year are able to run a business from their homes. A good accountant or tax advisor can help you get the most out of your home business and tax deductions. My accountant saves me more money than I pay in for her service fees.
No hauling laundry and supplies back and forth from home to work. Sheets and towels go straight from the table to the washer.
Salons are noisy. And some people love that noisy, almost chaotic environment. I do not. I desire a relaxing environment for my salon and skincare services. So for my home business, a peaceful and calming environment has been a bonus to me and my clients.
I have young kids that I homeschool at home. Here is how I make that work. My husband also works at home. Everybody mostly stays downstairs when I have clients. I know this might sound like bragging, but I also have kids that know how to be quiet when needed. They know when clients are around, it isn’t the time to ask Mom for a snack.
Cons of a Home Salon
Legal Issues and Red Tape
We should probably start out here. It is the most important hurdle and one that really dictates whether this is worth the effort to begin.
No businessowner gets excited about the permits, licenses, and possible legal hurdles. But, they are part of owning a business. Here are a few things to consider.
- Salon Licenses and Inspections
Many states not only require you to have your professional license (cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician), but they also require you to have a salon license. Often, these salon licenses require an inspection of the premises to make sure it is safe for the public.
- No Salons in Homes!
Check with your state board if you have questions about whether a home salon is legal in your state.
Example: Florida does allow salon licenses to be issued for homes. Click here to learn more about Texas salon licenses.
- Check Special Laws and Rules
Are there regulations such as separate entrances for your home-based business or state laws and rules? Florida requires a salon have a separate entrance that does not go through the living quarters.
- Local Government
Just when you think you have jumped through all of the hoops, you remember there may also be local government requirements. Check with your county/local government about zoning issues and occupational/business permits or licenses for your business and home business.
Even in Florida, where home salons are legal, the city of Orlando still forbids them last I checked.
- Homeowners Associations, HOAs, and Neighbors
I do live in an area with a HOA. Our by-laws state that you can home business as long as it does not “create an unusual amount of increased traffic”. One client at a time certainly isn’t causing too many traffic issues on our street.
- Register your Name
You may find that you need to set up a DBA, doing business as, or fictitious name with your state. Here is a little more about DBAs.
- Get Help, If Needed
When all else fails or you are getting overwhelmed by all of this. Contact the Small Business Association in your area or a lawyer for legal assistance.
Some people want to keep their work and home life separate. Having a home business means you are inviting people into your home on a regular basis. This can create some boundary issues. Clients will see a part of you that they would not see in the salon. Is your yard clean? Are your dishes all putaway? Is your bedroom door open? Is there a basket full of underwear in your hallway?
A separate or private entrance for a home salon can really be helpful in keeping your home and business separate.
Adding a colleague, or expanding your business is often a goal for most entrepreneurs. However, with a home salon, there isn’t really room to expand in that environment. But, if you’re using a home-based business as kind of a jumping-off point to something bigger someday, go for it.
Speaking from experience, my homeowner’s insurance found out that I had a home-based business they dropped my homeowner’s coverage because I wouldn’t buy my business insurance through them. I argued that my professional liability insurance protected me and my home business and was $2,000 cheaper a year. They still dropped me, but I was able to find a carrier that did allow me to have a business in my home.
So, check with your homeowner’s insurance to check with home business conflicts.
Since you will not have co-workers, you may feel alone. Yes, you will still have clients, but having co-workers to talk with about your profession. For some people, this relationship is really important to their professional happiness. Co-workers understand your professional issues (“Hey, this client called and wanted a cut and color for under $50.”) more than clients.
Salons have unique odors. There are chemicals, hair, and cleaners. Think about this and some mitigation before bringing them into your home.
Other Issues You Should Consider
Is it professional?
My business isn’t any less of a business than the ones downtown. I definitely give it the respect and attention it deserves.
You can still offer a professional service in your home. My room is a mini-retreat center for every client. And the environment is just as clean and professional as any salon.
Is it in the best interest of some of my clients?
I do not have pets that would irritate any clients with allergies. If you have pets, I know you love them. But, your clients with allergies may not love it.
Is it safe?
Most of my clients had been with me for ten years before I moved my business to my home. I knew all of my clients. I knew who I was inviting into my home. And my clients knew me. They knew whose home they were going to. If you are just starting out, this is a hurdle you may have to address.
How and Where to Start
If I did not scare you enough and you are still into this idea, then it is time to move on to planning.
Make It Legal
Like I mentioned above, you need to make sure you get through all of the legal issues and licenses. This may mean setting up a DBA, or fictitious name, with the state, checking with your state board, county, city, zoning board, insurance, or homeowners association to make sure you are not breaking any rules, laws, or ordinances.
Get creative. I mean, I already know that if you are in the cosmetology field, you are creative. But dream up that space where you are going to unleash your creative spirit with your clients. Maybe it isn’t a room in your home, maybe it is a camper, she shed, he shed, or tiny home trailer.
Fix the Obstacles
Which obstacles do you have for your business or clients? Stairs, a front door that freezes shut when it is under 10 degrees (Yep, that is me.), or snow removal. Make it easy and safe for your clients to visit you.
Prepare Your Space
Make it your own. Make it a place you and your clients will get excited about.
Last, but certainly not least, I hope you enjoy this arrangement. Having your own business can be stressful and exciting. It can be challenging and rewarding. I have no regrets and know it was the right decision for my business. If it is right for you, I truly wish you the best!