Knowing how to start a mobile hair salon is a sure-shot way to beat the local competition and attract more customers. That’s because the only thing more comfortable for customers than going to a hairdresser is the hairdresser paying them a visit.
And it is beneficial to you as well since you don’t need a large investment to rent/buy a space or hire more than 2-3 staff. Plus, you can serve more clients including customers with mobility issues.
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- What Is a Mobile Salon?
- How Much Does a Mobile Salon Make?
- How to Write a Mobile Hair Salon Business Plan?
- Mobile Salon Requirements
- How to Start a Mobile Hair Salon Business?
- How to Run a Mobile Hair Salon?
What Is a Mobile Salon?
Mobile Salons are salons on wheels where you visit the clients with an appointment rather than them coming to you for a haircut, hair styling, etc.
Coming to the question, how do you start a mobile hairdressing business, choosing the right business model is the first step. Here are your options.
Totally Mobile Salon in a Van
If you want a full-fledged salon without the hassle of renting or buying a space then this is exactly what you need. And if you already own a van or truck, most of your expenses are covered.
Also, you can serve customers with time and age constraints while establishing the same trust a walk-in salon would.
On the downside, you’d constantly be left asking yourself where can I park my mobile salon. You also need to consider traffic, weather, petrol, etc. so you can reach different locations on time.
Home Visiting Mobile Stylist
For freelance stylists and barbers or those hairdressers that work full-time and want to earn a few extra bucks during their offs, this is the mobile hair salon business to consider. It requires the least investment and you can serve customers in the comfort of their homes.
On the downside, not every house is fit for work due to lack of light or room. There’s also a risk of damage to the property of the client. And lastly, you also need to keep travel expenses to a minimum to make it profitable.
Complimentary Mobile Hair Salon Service
In this model, you have both a walk-in hair salon and a mobile hair salon and only use the mobile service for appointments with clients with time or moving restrictions.
While it helps you scale your business and reach out to more clients, it sure doesn’t come cheap. You need additional staff, more equipment, a van, etc.
This is on top of the money you have invested for the permanent setup and thus, should only be done by well-established and profitable salons looking to scale.
How Much Does a Mobile Salon Make?
Do mobile hairdressers make money is a question we are often asked. Well, since your expenses include only the vehicle lease and some basic equipment you can break even faster than physical salons.
Though keep in mind that you’ll need to spend a tad more on branding, salon social media marketing, search engine optimization, etc. to get your business up and running quickly.
According to Zip Recruiter, a successful mobile barbershop can earn the owner around $75,000 a year. On the other hand, Chron states that a traditional barbershop owner earns between $36,000 to $47,000.
The difference is mainly because they have more expenses in terms of staffing, rent, water, electricity, etc.
How to Write a Mobile Hair Salon Business Plan?
This is a blueprint for your mobile hair salon. It details the services you’ll offer, the area you’ll cover, when you are going to start making profits, your salon marketing strategies to use, expenses, etc.
Here’s what you should include when writing your mobile salon business plan:
Executive Summary: This is where you list your objectives, steps you’ll take to achieve them, ingredients for success, and where you see your business in the next 5 to 10 years.
Target Market: This includes everything about your audience like their location, age, difficulties they face, etc. Also, include why you are targeting them and why you think they will prefer you over the existing competition.
Competitive Analysis: List out your competitors, whether you are targeting the same clients or not, and also reasons why you are better than them.
Products and Services: This is where you go into detail about the services and products you’ll offer along with their brands and why you think they are the best on the market.
Marketing Plan: Mention in detail your social media strategy (whether you’ll run online ads and do SEO), the promotions you plan to run, etc. You can further list details like keywords you plan to target, their volume, and so on.
Financial Plan: Make sure it has details like the projected profit and loss, when you think the salon will break even, balance sheets, loans, debts, etc.
Mobile Salon Requirements
Mobile hair salons need to be registered with the state’s Secretary of State office. Just fill-up the form with the name, contact, and other required details of your business. You’ll also have to pay a registration fee that varies from state to state.
Next up, you’ll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) which is a must for submitting taxes to the Internal Revenue System (IRS). The registration is free and if you are a sole proprietorship, you can use your social security number for the registration.
Apart from that, you’ll also need the following licenses:
A Cosmetologist License for any hair or skin treatments you plan to give. This requires 1000-2000 hours of training.
General Business Licenses.
A Commercial Driver’s License if you plan to drive a truck or RV.
A Retail Seller Permit in case you plan to sell products as well.
Note: Documents, licenses, certificates, etc. also might vary from state to state so don’t forget to check out these details beforehand.
Maybe you burn your client’s hair from hot curlers or the hair color used gives them an allergy.
Therefore you need to protect yourself from potential liability with a good insurance plan (one that covers any legal costs and payouts you are liable to pay.
Depending on your budget, you can either get a new truck/RV or modify a used vehicle. You can also get a pre-built mobile hair salon van on sites like Used Vending where the prices vary from $88,000 to as cheap as $18,000.
You also want to get your vehicle insured before hitting the road.
Cabinets to Store Chemicals Safely
For hair treatments, you’ll be using a variety of chemicals and you need to store them at specific temperatures or maybe away from sunlight for them to stay effective.
You also do not want someone to end up with burns due to a spill or leak and thus you must build cabinets accordingly. If you are using a pre-built vehicle, you should be covered.
How to Start a Mobile Hair Salon Business?
Purchase Necessary Equipment
Wondering what do I need to run a mobile salon? Well, here is a list of some basic hair salon equipment every salon needs:
Hair straightening irons
Brushes for various purposes
Aprons, brushes, water bottle sprays, gloves, etc.
Hair wash station
Salon cleaning and hygiene products
Choose Your Operation Area
Running a mobile barbershop gives you the flexibility to take appointments from far-off clients traditional hair salons would miss out on. This brings variability to your client base. Just make sure you do not spend most of your working hours driving.
Come Up with Pricing
When deciding on the price for any service, take into account these factors:
Your professional experience
The time the service will take + commuting time
The products you use
Your expenses (electricity, water, as well as petrol and parking fees)
Equipment and vehicle maintenance
Usually, prices at mobile salons are higher than traditional salons as you provide more comfort. Plus, you’ll be serving lesser customers as well.
Don’t forget to check your competitor’s pricing. This will ensure you aren’t charging too low or too high for your services.
How to Run a Mobile Hair Salon?
Let's take a look at some tips to help you operate a mobile barbershop profitably without killing yourself over it.
Get Salon Managing Software
A salon managing software is even more important for mobile hair salons compared to a traditional physical salon since you’d always be on the go.
It will save you time, make you more efficient, and also help you scale your salon business. Wondering how? Here’s a glimpse of some of its most useful features.
Helps manage your calendar by scheduling/canceling appointments (you don’t want to do it behind the wheel).
Inventory management (your stock is limited and you don’t want to run out of it).
Preparing all the reports (you don’t want to spend your evening hours going through your accounts).
Improves customer loyalty with loyalty programs (because there’s nothing more gratifying than returning clients).
Market Your Mobile Hair Salon
You need clients and relying on word of mouth alone isn’t enough. It’s important to build your brand on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if it seems like too much, a good salon marketing agency can help you with that.
They’ll also make your website, do the SEO and branding (which includes the logo, graphics, etc.), and get customer reviews that further help get more clients.
Since you cannot hang a store sign, you’d want to brand your vehicle. So make sure it has the name, logo, contact details, etc. painted on it.
You’ll also want to consider partnering with other businesses (e.g. weddings or event planners), local media outlets. If you work in a particular area you may consider advertising in a local newspaper or local radio station as well.
Stay in Touch With Your Clients
Staying in touch with your clients is easy. Just send a follow-up message asking for their feedback or to drop a review on Google or your social media channels.
You can even create an email list and send them hair tips every week. It’s a great way to build relationships while continuing to provide value.
Keep Up with the Trends
Your work doesn’t stop when you get home. You still need to compete with salon stores, meaning continuous education, trends research, etc. For this, you could sign up for more courses, read magazines, and so on.
Take Extra Care of Your Equipment
Your equipment is your best friend including your RV. In a mobile hair salon what you bring is what you have, no spares, so keep your hair dryer, curling irons, scissors, combs, etc. in an excellent condition. The last thing you want is for the hairdryer to die with no replacement available (just not the kind of review your business needs from customers).
There’s everything you need to know on how to start a mobile hair salon business. Create a good plan as it is the backbone of your business. Then choose the right mobile hair salon vehicles as it sets the tone for the number of clients you can have, spare tools and equipment you can carry, etc.
Don’t forget to register as a mobile hairdresser and get all the required licenses and certificates. You’d also want to get in touch with a good insurance company to find the right insurance plans.
Next up, take time to market your mobile salon, setting up online ads, website, social media profiles, and your mobile hair salon business should be up and running in no time.
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