Hair on The Go
Who has ever heard of a mobile hairstylist? I can almost bet not a lot of people. But that’s a great thing! The world truly needs new inventions, and a mobile hairstylist is one of them. It’s the next best thing, and only a few people have started to hoop on the bandwagon. Most of us have gotten up early on a Saturday morning and headed down to our favorite hair salon to get styled up for the week. The hair salon is the place where womanhood starts, where you laugh until your belly hurts and most importantly creates friendships. But times are changing, and I’m predicting that mobile hair salons are about to take over the hair industry. Have you thought about becoming a mobile hairstylist? Tired of working under someone at your local hair salon? Well, a mobile hairstylist may be your next big break. Below I will discuss in full detail all the tools you’ll need to jump-start this new pathway.
Now, before you start any business, you must do your research and find out all the information that you can. First things first, if you’re not already a licensed cosmetologist, that is the number one thing you must do first before anything else. Since this business is on wheels, it will be extremely important to make sure you read about all laws, regulations and zoning laws in your state and states you may want to travel in. There also may be a specific license you will need to operate a large vehicle. Because of course, we aren’t running this hair salon in a Camry! But RV’s and vans may have special licenses when it's used for business purposes.
Once you decide on which vehicle you are going to use, you will need to purchase it and have it go through expectations. It’s crucial that you make sure you’re vehicle safe especially if you will have other people in it. Don’t assume that the expectation test would be the same for your regular car either. As mentioned earlier, it’s a high chance there will be special regulations that you will have to know about and follow.
Health and Regulations
Because you’re a hairstylist, and mobile at that, you will most likely have clients that will want hair color or a certain type of chemical put in their hair. Therefore, you will have to check out what your state says about that to ensure that you comply with everything so your business can run as smoothly as possible.
Focus on your Why
What is your purpose for becoming a mobile hairstylist?If you were able to answer that question with more than a “because I want to” response than you’re on the right track! Focusing on your why is what’s going to keep your focus while planning everything out. It’s also going to keep you grounded as your business continues. Too many people plan out a business focusing on their “what” first, and then later if things mess up they ask themselves selves “why am I doing this?” Always start with your why because from there you will always know where you’re going. And of course, if you ever get lost, always resort back to your “why.”
Will you specialize in anything?
All right, so you want to become a mobile hairstylist but what exactly do you want to be doing? Will you be doing all types of hairstyles and catering to all types of people? Just like in hair salons, there’s always a few stylists who only focus on specific things. You may only want to be a hairstylist who services people with natural hair. Or you may view yourself as a “weaveologist” and want to focus on installing extensions. You may also want to focus on quick styles and then drive to the next client. You may even decide that you want to be a mobile hairstylist who travels for occasions only, such as weddings and parties. It’s important to know what you want to do because it will help you while you’re in the preparation stage. Depending on what pathway you decide, you will determine what types of tools you will need. So before we get to the budget section, have a general idea of what your focus will be. Also, remember it’s totally up to you if you want to cater to all types of hair and not limit yourself.
Location Location Location!
Finding the right location is so important while having a mobile salon! It’s also important to know that the chances are slim of you becoming a mega hairstylist in a little town in Arkansas! Well, we love Arkansas, but it may be wise to head to some up and coming places or locations that are already doing good business. Scoping out different locations before you start your hair business would be a good move to do. You may want to research other mobile hair salons and mobile hairstylist to see what kind of action they're around, just to get an idea of what you may want to do. You may also want to think about setting up shop in cities. Doing business in cities is always good because you run into all types of people and city folks are the most supportive, so I hear. Location always plays a big role when it’s time to set up your prices. If you decide to set up in a rich area, then your prices should match that as well. You shouldn’t have low prices in an area that's upscale and has millions rolling in; I’m just saying!
Location is key
Just as I mentioned earlier, how you will need to find out the laws and regulations for your state, well you will need to do the same when or if you decide to travel to other states and counties. When you first start out, you may want to stay local until you get the hang of things and then branch out long distance. So have an idea of a few states you may want to work in and see their laws ahead of time, so that’s one less thing to worry about when it comes time to go there.
Money TalkNow that you have done your homework and figured out your game plan now it’s time to figure out a budget! You have to come up with a figure for how much you’re willing to spend on your business as a mobile hairstylist. Earlier I mentioned how important it was to know what your focus was going to be because that’s how you’re going to gauge your budget. For example, let's say you want to only services people who have natural hair. You will need to invest in different types of all-natural hair products, deep conditioners, hair steamers, etc. If your focus were all types of hair, you would need all different types of styling tools, a wide range of hair products, hair color, bleach, etc.
You will also need standard items such as:
- Chairs and mounts
- Portable sinks and hoses
- Tabletop equipment
- Variety of scissors
Always remember that even though you're a mobile hairstylist, you still want to make your client feel as comfortable as possible. Having great customer service can take you far!
Networking is major in the business world. If anyone told you that you could get to the top alone, they lied. We always need help no matter how big or small. Now even though you will have a budget in place, you still want to try and save money as if you can. Researching out to retired hairstylist is a good way to see if they are willing to sell some of their tools or hair items. If they're retired, they most likely aren’t using their old equipment. Asking them for advice and tips can also save you money. You may have thought you needed to purchase something but find out you don't need that item anymore because of their advice. And remember, it’s always a great idea to reach out to people who are doing the same things as you. Seeking out other mobile hairstylists to see how their business is going or see how they started may help you out. You will be surprised at how many people want to help you. Since you’re a hairstylist, it would be a great idea to get to know your local hair store staff! I’m sure wherever you set up shop; there will be a time when you need to stock up on certain items. The staff could also give you heads up when new products come in and when their shipments drop so you could be the first to have them. They also may give you discounts!
I spoke briefly about this earlier in the article. When setting your prices, the location needs to play a factor. You also need to take into account how much you invested in the business and then make that money back over time. When setting your prices, try to be as detailed as possible. It's nothing worse than a confused customer asking a bunch of questions because your sign wasn't clear. One thing about pricing that a lot of people fail at is knowing their worth! Only you know how much your worth. Only you. Do not be scared to set a price based on your experience and value. When coming up with your pricing always remember that if someone doesn’t want to spend his or her money on you, then someone will!
We all know there’s no better feeling than when you get a paying customer! But you must think about how you plan on receiving payments. Since you’re going to be mobile and may not have tons of room for a register, you could think about having an electronic card-processing device.
Major Card-processing devices:
If you have a customer who is paying cash, you could have a money pouch that stays near you or even around your hip.
Save Save Save
Besides the fact that saving money is important in general, but you’re going to want to always put a little something away in the bank for a rainy day with a business. Because your business is on wheels, it will work the same way as your normal vehicle. You will need to make sure you stay on top of the upkeep. Make sure your tires are good, get oil changes when needed and always listening for weird noises. Not only is your safety important but also the customers. Even though you aren’t driving them around, I’m sure the vehicle will have to stay running to use certain equipment so you wouldn’t want them hearing anything strange. Plus, you just never know if you have to drive them somewhere. It’s always better to stay ready and prepared, so you don’t have to do it later.
Now for the fun part! You’re all set up to start running your business, but how will you get the people to you? This section is where you must be creative with marketing and show the world who you are. It’s best to invest in business cards, ads on the Internet and flyers. There are a million different ways to market your business; you just have to find a way that works best for you. You may also want your friends and family to help out in the beginning. Have them pass out business cards to all their friends, family and coworkers, too.
When you’re looking for new clients, running specials is a good way to bring attention to your business. You may want to do something like 50% off of a certain style or give them a discount on their next salon visit, etc. Just know people love a good deal especially in the beauty world.
If you’re transiting from a salon worker, then I’m sure you have old customers, and they should know about your new business! Make sure you reach out to them and even offer them a deal as well! If those clients were with you before, then I’m sure they are loyal and will go wherever you go.
Remember, your mobile salon, is indeed your business and you want the world to know it! Investing in signage that goes on your vehicle is advertisement working for itself. While you’re parked doing hair, on the roads driving, etc., people will see that your vehicle will have your business name, phone number, and schedule. You want as much information on it as possible. Also, try to stick to a color scheme that’s catchy to the eye! You want to draw in as many people as possible. Since your main focus will be getting your mobile business up and running, you may feel as if you don’t have time to market and that’s okay too! If you have it in your budget, you could always hire someone to do the work. They could run ads for you, run your social media and email accounts. Don’t ever feel too proud to ask for help. While you’re making your customers feel happy you want to make sure you have a clear mind and not stressed over the business.
As I just mentioned, you may need to hire someone to run your marketing information, but you may also just need an assistant. It would be someone who can take care of things while you’re busy doing hair all day. You’re assistant can have their car and follow you around to pick up things you may need. Let's say if you ran out of a particular hair product, they could go to the local hair store for you. They could take calls, set appointments and run your calendar for you. Having an assistant takes the stress off of you think you have to handle everything. Being a mobile hairstylist does not have to be stressful! If you decide to go that route, make sure the assistant is someone you trust and is business orientated. You want to make sure you both align together and stay on the same page.
Time to Start Rolling!
Well if you made it this far, then you should be ready to begin preparing to become a mobile hairstylist. You should be proud of yourself for wanting to do something out of the box. Doing hair in the salons has been going on for many decades. Although, its nothing wrong with it, but its time for a change and you are now a part of that. Remember, it’s going to be very important to do all your research on everything you need to do. Laws and regulations are serious business, and you should make sure you’re always in compliance.