Every so often, I like to idly consider the insane idea of establishing a home salon. I can’t do it. My HOA would never allow me to and the idea of modifying my home and opening it to my clients makes me nauseous with anxiety. However, I know many of you are genuinely interested in doing it, so here is a Pro/Con list just for you!
1.) Your investment is minimal, especially when compared to that of a physical location. Your mortgage is an expense that you are destined to pay every month (unless you want to end up homeless). Depending on the type of mortgage you have, you should own the house completely in 15-30 years. However, if you are renting a physical work space (like a booth or a treatment room), you will never own it and your rent will be an eternal expense.
Most states require you to alter your home by erecting a permanent wall and installing a new door to separate the salon from the living quarters. The costs of performing these alterations is fixed and once they’ve been paid for, that’s it. If you’re working from home, you won’t be paying rent to a landlord, you’ll be paying a mortgage you would normally be paying for anyways.
2.) Because you will no longer have to travel to work, you will save money on gas and vehicle maintenance. Most people drive 10-20 miles to work. Your home office is 10 steps from your front door. ‘Nuff said.
3.) Last-minute cancellations suddenly become less obnoxious. Sometimes you’ll be at your salon and a client will have some sort of catastrophe (broken hip, sick kid, flat tire, or a standard lapse in judgement) that causes them to miss their appointment, leaving you with a big open gap of nothing on your book. Instead of stewing in your treatment room for that hour, thinking about all of the things you have to do at home, you can actually DO those things with that time.
1.) If you are accepting new clients, you will be allowing strange people into your home/home salon. They will know where you live. With this comes the possibility that some clients will abuse that knowledge. I’m not insinuating that your clients will rob, rape, or murder you (thought that unlikely possibility also exists). What I mean is that some clients may not respect your time, “popping in” for unscheduled, unannounced services on their way home from work.
You will need to establish clear boundaries, set your working hours and abide by them.
Make it clear to the clients that under no circumstances are they to show up unannounced outside of business hours. (This is why separating the entrances to your home and business is crucial. Even if you’re not required to by your state, you really should do so anyways.)
2.) If you are not extremely disciplined, your quality of work and professional image will suffer. I have seen some talented, high-end hairdressers open home studios and absolutely fall apart professionally.
It is not acceptable to work in your pajamas.
One professional wrote to me that she often worked barefoot, with her dogs and kids running around while she worked on clients. Another wrote that she couldn’t afford to install a proper shampoo bowl, so she was using her bathroom sink. This is a.) gross, b.) unacceptable, and c.) very likely why these two home salons were failing.
The only difference between your home salon and a traditional salon should be the location. Adhere to the same professional standards your clients have become accustomed to.
3.) Your home becomes your office…obviously. If you have a problem with the fact that you will be in your home essentially all day long and all night long, day in and day out, a home studio probably isn’t for you.
4.) Attracting new business may be a bit difficult. If you’re located in a purely residential area, you won’t be seeing much in the form of walk-in business. You’re not in a salon, so referrals may be hard to come by since you won’t be working alongside other professionals.
Some clients may not feel comfortable coming to a private residence for their services.
These are all hurtles you’ll have to overcome. It is better to establish any microsalon (booth, studio, mobile, or home salon) after your clientele is solid. If you aren’t already established, you will be spending the rent money you’re saving on advertising for the first few years.
If you’ve read this list and you still want to go ahead with opening a home salon, read this post for a detailed list of things that need to be done for that to happen and buy The Microsalon Owner’s Toolkit, a downloadable system that will help you set yourself up for success!