Working from a home salon?

If you’re already one of the one million Australians running a business from home, you’ll be well aware of the benefits both financially and in terms of the flexible lifestyle that operating a home-based salon has to offer, says Michael Gottlieb.

While you get to take advantage of the reduced overheads and working the hours you choose, there’s also a considerable amount of time, energy, thought, and planning that goes into operating from home. Whether you’ve been in business for some time or just starting up, there are a few considerations that contribute to the long-term success of your business.

Maintain a dedicated work space
You may work from home, but how you conduct your business should be as professional as the service received in any other beauty salon. Spend time ensuring you have a separate and well-designed work space dedicated to your business where both you and your client’s feel good being. Not only will it help you to get into the ‘work’ mindset, a proper salon environment will provide the relaxing atmosphere in which clients can escape their daily grind.

Ensure this space is closed off from the rest of your living areas and free from distraction. That includes not having your phone ring whilst you are in the middle of a treatment! It’s a good idea to either train others in your home to answer the phone with a pleasant greeting or invest in a separate line you can switch to a message service when you’re not able to answer.

Work on your business, rather than just in it
It’s typical to get caught up in the daily running of your business and making sure you provide the best service to your clients, especially as a one-man or, should we say, one-woman show. But from time to time it’s wise to take a step back to work on your business, rather than just in it.

Who knows; you could be missing out on the opportunity to make a meaningful change to your business. Taking time out to work on your business includes looking at your finances and insurance, re-assessing your advertising or marketing efforts, identifying a time-consuming task you could outsource, or finding a cheaper supplier. It’s essential to keeping you motivated and ensuring your business thrives.

Find a good balance between business and personal life
When working from home there’s often a fine line between business life and personal life. And while being able to move between your salon and the rest of your house in a flash has some great advantages, the problem with having a home-based salon means you’re always at work, even when you’re not!

While it’s understandable that you’ll want to put a lot of time into making your home business a success, it’s still important to make time for your health and your family.

Ensure your family has set expectations regarding the times when you’ll be working and therefore unavailable, and vice versa for your clients. Be upfront about what times you’re available for appointments to avoid them turning up on your doorstep unexpectedly for that last minute spray tan. Family time should be kept sacred.

Your business is already established and running smoothly so take a break every now and then to clear your head and rejuvenate yourself as well.

Keep thy neighbour happy
Unhappy neighbours can be bad for business. Emma Jones, author of ‘The Start-Up Guide: How to Start a Successful Small Business’ advises it’s worth keeping your neighbours sweet and firmly on your side by sticking to your promise of keeping disruptions to a minimum.

Avoid deliveries and a flow of clients at antisocial hours; ensure you have visible signage so that your clients don’t accidentally knock on the wrong door, and if parking is an issue in your street, try to keep enough space available in your driveway where possible.

It’s also a good idea to thank your neighbours for their co-operation and let them know you are open to feedback if any disturbances become a problem. Ensure you’re on top of and up-to-date with local zoning laws.

In some cases using your home for business can require a planning permit, building permit and/or health registration. Therefore, it’s important to keep up to date with the necessary regulations you need to continue operating your business from home, and also any that are unique to providing beauty services.

As your beauty salon is operating in an area zoned for residential use, if you haven’t already done so you should contact your local council to check that your business complies with local zoning regulations, and whether or not you need any special permits. For instance, you may be required to seek permission for parking or erecting signage. Don’t rely on advice from family or friends because individual councils set their own regulations that are subject to change.

Are you complaint with government regulations?
If you’ve previously worked in a salon you’re probably already aware of the health and safety regulations set by the various state and territory governments.

Most governments require you to register with your own local council; for example, in New South Wales under the Public Health Regulation 2012 you must lodge a Development Application (DA) with your local council if you intend to undertake any skin penetration procedures, including hair removal (except laser hair removal), blackhead removal using a needle, microdermabrasion, cuticle cutting, and cosmetic tattooing.

More information can be found on the Australian Business License and Information Service (ABLIS) website at https://ablis.business.gov.au/pages/home.aspx

There are also additional requirements that must be adhered to when providing a beauty service such as the surfaces, lighting, ventilation and hand washing facilities of your premises, as well as hygiene procedures, both for your utensils and personal hygiene.

Failure to comply with regulations can result in penalty infringements. And don’t forget, if you plan on moving house and setting up your business in a different location you need to re-apply with your new council.

For additional support, and to ensure you comply with regulations, it’s a wise idea to maintain a membership with an industry organisation, such as Hair and Beauty Australia (HABA), who will represent your interests and provide advice and professional services to help you run your business effectively.

Review your insurance
As with any other business, having adequate insurance for a home-based beauty salon is absolutely essential. A homebased business is exposed to many risks and hazards and it’s important to understand that your home and contents policy generally doesn’t provide cover for home-based business activities.

One catastrophic event could wipe out your home and your business, so it’s better to be prepared than to risk losing everything. Consider the following insurances:

Public Liability
Protection against damages from a claim for personal injury or property damage that occurs as a result of business related activities, either at your home-based salon or at another location.

Professional Indemnity
Protection against financial losses for any legal action taken against you for services or advice that has been provided.

Business Insurance
Tailored cover to protect your business against:

  • Material damage loss due to an unexpected event like, fire, storm, theft and accidental damage.
  • Financial loss due to an insurable event (business interruption).

Personal Accident & Illness
Covers you for lost income in the event you suffer injury or illness that means you can’t perform your usual work and earn an income.

Even if you already have cover it makes sense to do a health check on your insurance to make sure you’re still adequately protected should the unthinkable happen. It’s also a good idea to compare other policies in the market. Whilst it may seem easier to go with the same provider you use for your personal insurance, they might not offer the best product for your business, or provide the best value.

Michael Gottlieb is the founder and managing director of Biz Cover, a leading online business insurance service. BizCover is a corporate authorised representative of Mega Capital. This is general advice only. For more information visit www.bizcover.com.au

 

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