Have you ever thought about escaping the salon and starting your own mobile hair business?
Imagine the perks! Keeping all of your revenue and product sales. Controlling your own schedule. Escaping the salon drama. Enjoying more privacy with your clients.And having the freedom and independence to run your own business on YOUR terms, not someone else’s.
Sounds great, right? Well, it’s within your reach! But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Lucky for you, we at Cribcut have done the research and gathered all the practical, hands-on experience you could ask for. And we’ve put together the 7 steps you NEED to take in order to operate your own successful, independent, mobile hair business.
Maintain—or start—your online presence.
Mobile-Responsive Website: In today’s world, having an online presence is a MUST. If you don’t have a professional-looking, mobile-responsive website, clients will find the next stylist who does. At a bare minimum, your website should:
- Highlight your hair background and education
- Showcase your work through client photos
- Include testimonials from some of your most loyal clientele
- Give a breakdown of your prices and services along with your contact information
Social Media: Your social media profiles can’t be forgotten, either. In fact, they’re equally important as your website. Having a regularly updated social media presence is critical in giving your potential clients confidence that you’re both active as a stylist and on top of your game!
The most common networks on which to build your profile are Instagram and Facebook, but if you have the bandwidth, try experimenting with Snapchat and Twitter too. Whichever platform you choose, just make sure to keep your profiles up-to-date weekly—if not daily! It’s also good to mention that you’re a “travelling hair- stylist” somewhere in your profile description.
Make scheduling and payment easy for clients.
Instant Payments: As instant payments, credit cards, and on-demand services become more and more prevalent, asking your clients to text or DM you for a booking doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to remove as much friction as possible from your clients’ booking experience. It will result in more appointments booked for you and a larger client list! Use a scheduling tool to accept payments online and give your clients up-to-the-minute information on your availability.
Automation: Having an automated system is also going to make your life a heck of a lot easier. Instead of texting back and forth and constantly looking at your calendar, an online booking system acts as your “virtual receptionist” and shows clients up-to-date information on appointment availability. You want to be so busy that you don’t have time to be texting back and forth with clients!
Have the right equipment.
Lean and Mean: As a mobile stylist, you have one huge advantage compared to your fellow salon owners: you have basically no overhead! While salon owners have to pay monthly rent, make constant cosmetic upgrades to their storefront, and keep all the physical equipment in the salon clean and updated, you can stay “lean and mean” as you travel from client to client.
But you will need some equipment as a travelling hair professional. After spending years as mobile stylists, here’s our list of “must have” items for your travelling hair business:
Rolling Case: You want a case that is portable and large enough to store your tools, yet lightweight to make traveling easy. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy case all day! There are several travelling stylist cases on the market, and you’ll need to find the one that fits your needs best.Professional-grade cases have plenty of individual storage compartments, which can be rearranged according to each stylist’s specific needs. We can even give you expert recommendations for organizing it!
Portable Vacuum: If we could give new mobile stylists one piece of advice, it would be not to forget to clean up the mess when you leave a client’s home or office! Clients LOVE having you come to them and will oftentimes pay more for that luxury, but they do expect a certain level of cleanliness. In our expe- rience as mobile stylists,the number-one question we get before a client books an appointment is this: “What happens to the mess?” So grab a portable vacuum, put it in your backpack, and don’t forget to clean up before you leave. You might even get some big tips because of it.
Shampoo Tray and Hose: We’ve found that most clients, as long as they’re mobile enough, don’t mind simply washing their hair in the sink. However, some clients such as seniors or hospital patients may not have that luxury. It’s a good idea to keep some shampooing tools in your car for those times you might need them. These tools could include a shampoo tray, an inflatable basin, a portable hose, or even something as advanced as the WashMeGo mobile hair washing system.
Mind your safety and insurance.
Make Safety a Priority: As a mobile stylist, safety is your number-one priority. In the unlikely event that something unexpected were to happen on your day-to-day journeys, you want to be prepared.
On top of your safety, you also want to make sure you’re protected financially with business insurance. Every smart business owner insures themselves and their operation. What if a client trips over your cord? What if you take a tumble at a client’s house? These events are all unlikely, but that’s why insurance is there—just in case!
Here are a few ideas on how to stay safe as a mobile stylist:
Research Your Clients Ahead of Time: Do they have Facebook? A LinkedIn account? Doing a quick Google search on your new clients should give you a pretty good indication of who they are.
Have an Emergency Contact: Whether it’s a significant other, parent, or best friend, it can’t hurt to have someone on speed dial and ready to ring.
Keep a Record of Your Appointments: On top of the day-to-day convenience of an online scheduling system, there’s one more benefit: an easily viewable record of all your appointments. This way, you’ll have a track record of where you are and who your clients are.
Get Credit Cards for First-Time Bookings: By only accepting credit cards, you’ll have a form of “identity” on file for each new client. This will deter any would-be troublemakers from using your services. One step ahead of this even? Find a sche- duling system that makes clients create an account with Facebook login—which is exactly what we do at Cribcut. This is just one more step of verification for you to ensure your safety.
Have the proper independent business structure and licensing.
Business Structure: When you become a mobile stylist, you become a business owner! For many reasons, including tax breaks and protection, you should set up the proper business structure.
This is oftentimes very affordable and easy to set up, but it will vary by state or province. Typically, registering yourself as a sole proprietor should do the trick. Lots of legal firms offer free advice on this type of information, so do a quick Google search and find out the rules for your area!
Licensing: You’ll want to check with your local hair association on the licensing requirements for mobile stylists. Some areas are more lenient than others, but a call to your local rep will answer any questions you might have.
Establish a strong financial foundation.
Stay on Top of Your Finances: One of the most important decisions you can make as an entrepreneur is staying on top of your finances. This means putting the right amount away for taxes and keeping track of your eligible expenses (which you’re able to write off, by the way!).
One of the easiest and best investments you can make is hiring the right bookkeeper. They’ll pay dividends many times over and save you from any unexpected surprises come tax season. If there’s one person you want to pay, even before yourself, it’s the tax man!
Build your client base.
You love doing hair, right? It’s probably why you became a stylist in the first place. But how do you find clients and maintain relationships with them? Perhaps more than any other step listed above, finding new clients and keeping them happy are the keys to your success.
Clients will already love the fact that you come to them (instead of making them travel to the salon), so you have a built-in advantage. But it will still require some hustle to build up a group of loyal and high-paying customers.
Here are some ideas you can start implementing today:
Maintain and Active Socia Media Presence: Post frequently and use popular hashtags to attract more viewers.
Ask for Referrals: Have a happy client? Now’s the time to ask for a referral! Leave business cards with your happiest clients and encourage them to spread the word about your new mobile business.
Buy and Sell Groups: Actively post on Facebook, Kijiji, Craigslist, and other local groups. Keep an eye out for those seeking a new stylist. Including discounts for first-time customers is a good idea in these marketplaces.
Post Flyers at Local Establishments Grocery stores, community halls, and churches are some of the best places to post a flyer.
Hospitals and Senior Communities: Reach out to your local hospital or retirement home and to see if you can leave business cards or flyers. Those with limited mobility, no means of transportation, or who just need a “boost” with a fresh hairdo may become some of your most loyal and happy clientele.
Advertise While You Drive: Why not display a magnet on the side of your car? You’ll be visiting so many different homes and offices that this is consistent free advertising!
Leave Brochures at Local Businesses: Business owners love helping other business owners, so it’s worth reaching out to a few to see if you can leave some marketing materials around their offices. Perhaps even offer a discount to incentivize those booking with you for the the first time.
What are you waiting for? Begin your mobile stylist journey today!
Running your own mobile hair salon can be both extremely lucrative and rewarding. But you’ll need to be willing to put in the work to make
it happen! The 7 steps listed above should give you a good indication of what it takes to be a successful mobile hair stylist.
If you’re interested in taking on this new opportunity but don’t want to go at it totally alone, consider joining us at Cribcut! We’ve already done the heavy lifting with many of the above issues including client acquisition, safety and insurance, and recommendations on equipment, business structure, and finances—all for a fraction of the cost you’ll find anywhere else. By partnering with Cribcut, you’ll have an experienced guide and helping hand as you take the leap into mobile hairstyling.
If you’re interested in partnering with Cribcut, apply today at cribcut.com/become-a-stylist!
Whether you go out on your own or join a service like Cribcut, going mobile can be a game changer for your life and career. Even if you choose to venture out on your own, we’re only an email or call away for some advice! As you decide on your next professional steps, just ask yourself one question: is it worth giving up half your revenue to the salon? Wishing you the freedom and success you deserve!
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