With so many new developments in the beauty industry, figuring out how to start a lash business can seem intimidating at first, but there are a number of things you can do to make it easier.
What You Will Learn
In this article, we’ll go over the requirements for owning an eyelash extension business, basic costs, how to start a lash tech business at home, as well as some tips and a helpful checklist.
Jump to The Section You Like
- Requirements for Owning a Lash Business
- How To Start A Lash Business At Home
- How Much Does It Cost To Start An Eyelash Business?
- Eyelash Business Starter Kit
- Starting A Lash Business Checklist
- Owning A Lash Business Pros and Cons
Requirements for Owning a Lash Business
When you’re preparing everything you need to start a lash business, it might be tempting to jump in and search for equipment first. But before you buy the right tools and decide on your services menu, you’ll need to do some research.
The licenses and permits that you’ll need to run an eyelash extension business will vary by state, so be sure to research what’s required in your area. You can include these costs in your business plan and startup budget, too.
You may be wondering “How do I start my own lash business, and what are the basic requirements?”
You’ll want to start with the following:
Get Your Licenses and Certificates
What licenses do you need to open an eyelash extension business? It depends on where you are.
While some states require anyone offering lash extensions to clients to have a cosmetologist or esthetician’s license, others will let you obtain a simpler certification by attending a course or completing an apprenticeship program.
Check your state’s website and familiarize yourself with local education and licensing requirements.
Cosmetologist License: You’ll usually need to be over 18 and have graduated from an accredited program or served an apprenticeship, then passed a series of professional exams and completed on-the-job experience to obtain this.
Eyelash Extension Business Operation License: This is the standard license that all small businesses need. Check your state’s website or apply directly to the U.S. small Business Administration with your name, business name, and social security number.
Certificate of Occupancy: A building inspector will check your lash studio’s safety, including fire, electrical safety and water hookups.
2. Register Your Lash Salon
Apply for a TIN: Your Tax Identification Number is a 9-digit number you can get from the IRS. Even if you’re not employing other lash artists, you’ll still need one.
Check State Name Rules: You’ll need a professional lash business name, but some states have specific requirements for this. Check the state’s website before you decide on one.
3. Get the Necessary Permits
Retail Seller Permit: You’ll need this to sell lash supplies or products to clients if your state collects sales tax. Check the U.S. Small Business Administration or your state’s website for more information.
Building Permits: These are state-level permits to cover any building or renovation work at your new location. Costs vary by state.
EIN: Your Federal Employer Identification Number is used when filing federal and state taxes, staff payroll, and other paperwork. Provide the IRS or your state’s website with your business license, personal information and a description of your services.
4. Get Insurance
Insurance costs usually vary between $50 to $250 a month. The most common kind is “general liability” insurance. This protects against property damage and claims against your business.
5. Sign a Lease
You may want to check with a lawyer, but there are online templates available, too. Take care of this step before investing any money in renovations. If you’re buying the space, contact a lawyer to help with the sale.
We recommend you to check out our post on lash business cards.
How To Start A Lash Business At Home
Maybe you’re wondering how to start a lash extension business at home, but you’re not sure where to begin.
Starting your career as a home-based lash artist can be a great way to be your own boss and earn money, and having your lash studio at home will certainly cut down on rent.
Here are some tips to help:
Create a Professional Space: In order to make your brand successful, you’ll need a separate area that’s free from distractions and dedicated just to this service. Make sure clients will have privacy.
Understand Local Laws: Each state has health and safety laws governing home-based businesses, so search your local website and make sure you can comply with health and safety requirements.
Set Goals: Get your business plan ready (more on this later), create your budget and figure out what your customer base will be. Where do you want to be in six months and how will you get there?
Be Money Smart: Even if you’re only operating part time, create a separate bank account and get another credit card for business-related expenses. This makes it much easier to keep an eye on income and expenditures.
Line Up Marketing: You wouldn’t perform eyelash extensions without the right tools, and marketing your home-based business is just as serious. Have a plan to reach new customers and spend time every day on getting the word out.
Bookkeeping: Take balancing your books just as seriously as you would if you were operating a large lash studio. If in doubt, ask an accountant to look things over.
Use Lash Salon Software: Whether you’re home-based or running a large lash shop, this software makes online booking, inventory, scheduling and customer-relations much easier. It’s a huge time and stress-saver.
How Much Does It Cost To Start An Eyelash Business?
You’re probably wondering “How much does it cost to start a lash business?” The amount can vary by state, but here’s an idea of what to expect.
Licenses and Fees
Licenses: A small business license in the U.S. usually costs between $100-$400, including processing fees.
Certificates: A Certificate of Occupancy requires different inspections depending on your state, but you should budget at least $250 for the process, plus the price of any repairs if required.
If you have other lash artists on staff, they’ll need cosmetology licenses or certificates and their training will need to be kept up to date. The fee to renew these varies by state, but is usually around $50.
Permits: Retail laws will vary by state, but permits are usually required if you plan on selling products to customers. Make sure to keep this in mind if you’re going to market retail products to clients along with eyelash extensions or other services.
Legal Fees: Ask a lawyer to review your lease or bill of sale, help you file all the paperwork correctly and navigate state and insurance requirements. They usually charge about $200 per hour for their services.
Rent Deposit: This is your first month’s rent, but may sometimes include an additional deposit to cover things like furnishings.
Eyelash Studio Fit-out: These costs can vary a lot based on your tastes, the brand image you want to create, your client base, budget and the size of the room. Get multiple price quotes before deciding.
Furniture: To begin, a good-quality eyelash bed or recliner can cost $200 or more. Add to that any furniture for your client reception areas and staff break rooms.
Signage: A professional-looking sign featuring your lash business logo helps boost your brand and bring customers in, but keep in mind that a graphic design business can charge several hundred dollars. It’s a good idea to shop around before selecting a local artist.
Eyelash Supplies/ Lashing Equipment
When it comes to supplies and lash tech equipment, how much do you need to start a lash business?
It’s usually best to start with the basics that you’ll need to offer services to clients, then order more as your business (and client base) expands over time. See our post on Lash Supplies for more details.
A complete set of new equipment and eyelash extension tools can start at several hundred dollars, but you can easily spend more if you’re investing in different ranges of lashes and providing clients with multiple specialty services.
This is among your most powerful marketing tools, especially if your target market is young, professional clients.
You can offer online booking, post your services and price menu, and take advantage of social media for easy marketing- who doesn’t love Instagram, after all?
Websites are essential for success and brand awareness nowadays.
You can create an eyelash extension business website by using a free online template, or hire a web designer to help. They charge between $300- $700 for this service.
This can be divided into salon products (everything you’ll use on clients, like glue, eyelash extensions, etc.) and retail products that you’ll be selling. Make sure to budget and track the prices of these separately.
Pro tip: If you’re wondering how to start a lash business with no money on hand, check out the small business development centers sponsored by the SBA. This is just one source of funding you can search through- there are also many options available in each state.
Do not miss our post on lash supplies.
Eyelash Business Starter Kit
Before you schedule your first client for eyelash extensions, you’ll need to plan your shopping list. With so many eyelash business ideas out there, deciding on what supplies and tools you’ll need might seem overwhelming.
The best way to start is by developing a list of “needs” and “wants.” The list of items you’ll need can serve as your starter kit. Then, you can buy the extra supplies you want later as you expand.
You’ll most likely need:
Furniture: Eyelash beds, recliners, reception desks, waiting room furniture, product displays, lighting,trolleys, shelving and wall decor.
Tools and Supplies: Magnifying lamps, rolling stools, eyelash extensions, glue for lashes, primer, swabs, cotton pads, gloves, tweezers, makeup remover, eyelash curlers, mascara, under-eye pads, and glue remover.
Management: A dedicated cell phone or landline, computer or laptop, management software for eyelash businesses to help you with scheduling, appointments, inventory, etc. , a POS system, and a cash register.
Starting A Lash Business Checklist
There’s a ton of things to consider when you’re getting ready to start a lash business, and having a plan is important.
Here are the basic steps to follow:
Choose a Business Model: Do you want to join a franchise or be independent? Also, do you plan on working alone, hiring lash artists or renting space to others?
Draw Up Your Business Plan and Service Menu: This plan is an outline you’ll follow as you develop your business, and small business loan providers will ask to see it. It usually includes your target clients, budget, marketing plan, cash flow projections and a description of the services you’ll offer.
Also included are recurring expenses like staff salaries, supplies, rent and insurance.
Choose a Location: Will you do lashes at home, in a shopping mall or have a mobile lash studio? This will help you understand your clients and expenses better, too.
Secure Funding: Try for at least six months worth of expenses at startup. You can use savings, ask friends and family or your local credit union. There are also loans and grants available for startups. Have a repayment plan and budget ready.
Get Separate Accounts: Set up a dedicated bank account and credit card to avoid mixing your income and expenditures with personal finances.
Develop Your Brand: This will help define your business. Start by brainstorming a logo, choosing your interior design style and above all, have fun with it. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration.
Create a Marketing Plan: Design your website and social media pages, choose a logo, and reach out to local groups. Your family and friends can help promote you, too.
Be sure to set up your Google My Business account information, along with photos to make you easier to find. This is another way that software for managing a lash business can help- you can connect with clients and boost your reviews.
Get Software For Eyelash Businesses: this will save time, money and stress. You can offer easy online booking, manage schedules, track inventory, receive payments, and get fast feedback.
Choose a Credit-Card Processing Provider: Different companies provide a range or equipment and rates, so shop around for the best deals.
Get Staff and Plan Training: Unless you’re the only lash artist on site, you’ll need to do some recruiting.
Decide on your staffing needs, any specialty training, course certifications or skills you require, and then post advertisements on local job boards. Finally, allow enough time before opening day to get to know your team and train them.
Find Suppliers: Check your plan again- the staff and services you’ll offer will determine how many supplies to order. Shop around and see what suppliers offer, and don’t be afraid to compare prices.
Your free lash business opening checklist will look like this.
Owning A Lash Business Pros and Cons
If you’re about to start a mink lash business or are getting ready to open a home studio, then it’s important to understand that there are both advantages and disadvantages that you should prepare for.
Pros of Running Lash Businesses
Independence: You can be your own boss, set your own hours and keep the profits that you bring in. Talk about a great career!
Creativity: This is your chance to shine as you nurture your dream, make your ideas a reality and learn exciting new skills. Plus, working with people can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.
Opportunity: A full set of classic lashes can cost over $100, and this can multiply many times over if you’re fully booked. These numbers can translate into significant income, if you manage things well.
Cons of Running Lash Businesses
Admin Work: Of course, there’s a lot to keep track of- including updating your social media pages, managing the schedule, keeping track of inventory and more. The right software for lash businesses can help and make this all much easier.
Taxes, Legal Knowledge and Bookkeeping: You’ll need to stay on top of the paperwork, insurance and make sure that all legal requirements are met and inspections are kept up to date.
Slower Times: All businesses, even the most successful ones, will have ups and downs. Even during the quieter weeks, you’ll still have to make sure you can pay your staff and meet expenses.
Lash businesses are a great way to make money doing something you love while also meeting some amazing people in your community.
When you’re first figuring out how to start a lash business, it might seem like there’s a lot to keep track of. Don’t worry- a bit of planning as you go along will make a huge difference. The best way to be (and stay) successful in this industry is to stay organized.
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