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Ultimate Guide – How to Start a Mobile Hair Salon

How to start a mobile hair salon

Table of Contents

Do you love cutting and styling hair, but hate working in a traditional salon? Do you want to start your own mobile hair salon business and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss? If so, this guide is for you.

This guide is comprehensive and practical, with step-by-step instructions, tips, examples, and resources to help you along the way. Whether you want to offer house calls, have a salon on wheels, or do both, this guide will show you how to make it happen.

By the end of this guide, you will have a clear plan and a roadmap to launch your mobile hair salon business and achieve your goals. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Mobile Hair Salon

Register Your Business & Get Legals Out of the Way

The first thing you need to do is to choose a business name and a business entity that matches your goals.

You can run your business as a sole proprietor, a partnership, or an LLC (limited company), depending on how much legal protection, tax benefits, and flexibility you want.

You can use online tools like ZenBusiness to help you with the registration process.

The second thing you need to do is to get the licenses and permits that your mobile hair salon requires.

These may vary depending on your city, state, and country, but generally, you will need a business license, a cosmetology license, a health permit, and a zoning permit.

You can contact your local municipality office to find out the specific requirements and fees for your area.

The third thing you need to do is to secure the right insurance for your mobile hair salon business.

You will need liability insurance, auto insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance, to cover yourself, your vehicle, your equipment, and your employees from any accidents, damages, or injuries that may happen during your operations.

Remember, every area is different and you’ll need to do your research for this one!

Determine Which Type of Mobile Hair Salon You Want

The type of mobile hair salon you have in mind will contribute to your overall cost. Some types of mobile hair salons will be cheaper to run than others.

The different types of mobile hair salons are:

House Call Hair Salon

The house-call hair salon is when you visit your client’s home or any other location to offer your services.

This option helps you save on some initial and operating costs, as you don’t need to pay for electricity or water – or a lot of equipment like a basin for that matter.

Also, you can personalize the experience for each client, which could be a great selling point.

However, you should remember that you have to tidy up after you finish, which may take some extra time.

The drawback of doing house calls is that you can only serve one client at a time. This means that you will spend more on fuel driving from one place to another.

The Mobile Salon

The mobile salon operates much like a fully-fledged salon but on wheels. Usually, you can choose between a van or a trailer – depending on where you are.

This option requires more investment, resources, and planning because you have to bring a water source and a way to get rid of any waste properly.

Also, depending on where you live, you may need a special license or relevant permits – so make sure to check your city’s requirements.

However, this option allows you to scale better, as you can offer haircuts and other services to more than one person at a time – as long as you have the manpower later on down the line.

The Hybrid Model

The hybrid model offers the best of both worlds, in terms of scalability and personalization.

With more staff, you can serve 2 or 3 customers at the same time and also have the option to visit them at their homes or other locations.

However, this option requires more investment in equipment and more fuel expenses when you do house calls – as your vehicle may be heavier.

Therefore, you may need to increase your prices if you choose the hybrid route.

Select the Suitable Mode of Transportation

Depending on which route you go, the right mode of transportation matters. To decide on the right mode of transport, three main things matter the most and should be prioritized:

  • Cost: You need to weigh the initial and ongoing costs of purchasing or renting a vehicle, as well as the upkeep, fuel, and insurance costs. Vehicles depreciate over time, so you’ll have to take that into account. Some places like the U.S., allow you to write off a portion of your car’s depreciation (according to the IRS), however, we’d always recommend doing your research – depending on where you operate!
  • Size: You need to think about the size and capacity of the vehicle, as well as the weight and dimensions of your equipment and supplies. You want to have enough room and comfort for yourself and your clients – if you’re going the mobile salon route, as well as enough storage and power for your tools.
  • Functionality: Assess the functionality and features of the vehicle, primarily the layout, ventilation, heating, and sanitation. You’ll need to create a professional and comfortable environment for your clients, as well as a convenient and efficient workspace for yourself. Remember, you’ll also need to make sure you read up on your local regulations for safety and sanitation!

A mobile salon on wheels is going to need to carry a lot more equipment and you’ll more than likely need something on the bigger end. Not to mention a place to store a water tank and power generator.

However, if you’re focusing mainly on house calls, you’re more flexible with your options. You can opt to use a car, motorcycle, or even a bicycle – depending on your range of services.

If you need to carry curlers, and hair dyes alongside your set of scissors, you might need to go with a car.

For basic haircuts, just the basics like scissors, combs, and a hair clipper would do – which means you can opt for something as mobile as a bike.

Generally, we’d recommend a car for house calls to have a bit more space to store things like hairdryers and other equipment – if you decide to expand your range of services in the future.

However, a salon on wheels will almost always require a van, trailer, or bus.

Source the Relevant Equipment Depending on Your Setup

Equipment matters!

The equipment you choose will also depend, as different setups will have different requirements. The key is to find equipment that fits your unique setup and the space you have.

If you lean towards offering at-home services, you need portable and multifunctional equipment.

Look for things like foldable chairs, collapsible basin stands, and lightweight yet powerful tools like small hairdryers and curlers. This way, you can easily move them from your car to your client’s place once you’re parked.

On the other hand, if you plan to have a salon on wheels, such as a van or trailer, you might need more types of equipment and supplies like a basin, towels, capes, or maybe even a hood dryer.

You should ideally invest in durable and space-saving salon furniture that optimizes the interior layout.

Choose ergonomic styling chairs, wall-mounted storage solutions, and portable tools to make more use of the limited space.

Also, look for water-efficient shower heads and low-voltage equipment to save on water and electricity usage!

Decide How Much You’re Going to Charge

To decide how much to charge, you should do market research and see how much competition there is for the mobile salon niche.

Ideally, you should match your competitors’ prices, as pricing too high will make people choose the competition (unless they are your regulars). If you price too low, your brand image will suffer as people may doubt the quality of your service.

In richer areas like central London or Hong Kong, you can charge more because of the location and convenience, and people there usually value convenience over cost.

Remember that transparency in your pricing strategy builds trust. Clearly explain your services and their costs simply – always prioritize long-term loyalty over short-term gain.

Once you have a loyal client base that trusts you and the quality of service you provide, you can gradually increase your pricing while also potentially providing better value.

When you have few or no competitors in your area, you can set the price as you wish. However, be careful not to charge too high as people may prefer to go to a traditional salon instead!

Make Sure It’s Easy for Customers to Book an Appointment

Online Appointment System for Mobile Hair Salons
Our system even allows for QR validation and voucher creation, if you want to!

Making the appointment booking process easy is essential for your mobile hair salon’s success in the long term.

An online booking system helps you make the process smooth, take bookings after working hours, include important features to reduce no-shows, and more.

According to Zippia, 40% of online bookings are made after working hours, which means that you’re missing out if you don’t have a booking system with this feature.

Moreover, 94% of individuals would switch to the competition if there was no online booking available – which is a big deal.

We at KlikNRoll understand this very well after being in the industry for more than a decade.

Before, we customized and designed many of the complex features from scratch. And now, we’ve used our years of knowledge and experience to bring these features to all businesses!

You can add personalized features such as virtual hairstyling consultations, making the interaction more attractive and tailored to their preferences.

Of course, you’ll get all the basics like flexible scheduling, and popup reminders – along with any other feature you can think of!

If you’re interested, check out our product page to learn more about our booking system, which you can find using the button below!

Market Your Hair Salon Through Social Media

Hair Salon Influencer Marketing Example
You can take inspiration from them and thrive on online platforms!

Once you’ve simplified the booking process for your customers, you should focus on marketing your services on social media.

Platforms like Facebook & Instagram are essential and posting testimonials and results is a way to attract attention. On the Facebook front, you can also advertise your services on local Facebook groups.

Nowadays, platforms like TikTok are becoming very popular and there are a lot of salon-focused content creators like Hairdoc (12pell) with more than 775,000 subscribers on YouTube posting before-and-afters, hair-styling tips, and funny skits.

Content that is engaging, entertaining, informational, and funny does well on social media platforms, so try to make it as fun as possible for your viewers.

You could try out ideas like “a-day-in-the-life” and behind-the-scenes type content, that usually do well for service-based businesses!

Another less-known way to promote your services is through platforms like Pinterest, where people might find inspiration and ideas for their next haircut.

Make sure to include your location and your direct booking link to make the process easier and optimize for conversion!

Set Up Your Website & Google Business Profile (SEO)

Mobile Hair Salon SEO
Yes, you're able to rank here as a mobile hair salon!

Aside from marketing, you should also optimize for search, as a large portion of clients will find a salon from search.

The power of search engines like Google is that your conversion is going to be higher than that of social media, this is because of search intent.

If someone is looking for a hair salon, chances are that they’re already looking to get their haircut so they’ll be more likely to book an appointment once they see your profile.

Speaking of profiles, the first thing you should get started with is to optimize your Google Business Profile (used to be called Google My Business).

This is the single best way to start gaining traction in your local area. To keep it short, here are the things that you should do to optimize your mobile hair salon for search engines:

  • Determine your keywords: Keywords are how search engines match the searcher and your business, and you’d ideally want to determine commercial keywords like ‘mobile hair salon’, or maybe ‘beauty services at home’. You can get started by playing with Ahref’s keyword generator and entering your location and keywords.
  • Maintain NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency: It’s very important to have your NAP identical (or at least as close as possible) on your Google Profile and social media. This helps Google recognize that this profile and this social media belong to the same brand name, which could improve your ranking in search. Even though you are a mobile service, we suggest having a fixed business address, preferably in the area that you cater to.
  • Include as much information as possible: In your Google Business profile, aim to include as much information as you can. Here’s a checklist to get started:
    • Contact Information
    • Proper Business Description (include your keywords that we talked about earlier and list your services)
    • Location Serviced
    • Opening Hours
    • Special Features (Wheelchair accessibility, etc.)
  • Encourage reviews and photos: Detailed reviews with photos play a huge role in terms of ranking. Simply put, a business with more reviews (preferably descriptive and with photos) will see better rankings and visibility.

Other than that, having a website directly plays a big role in terms of local rankings and visibility (according to Google itself).

There’s a lot to talk about for website building and optimizing for search, so we recommend you check out our full article on search optimization for restaurants here.

Yes, it’s targeted towards restaurants, but a lot of the things will be relevant to your up-and-coming mobile hair salon business!

Build a Loyal Customer Base and Continuously Improve

Your long-term goal should be to build a loyal customer base. This will help you have a steady flow of customers and bookings, and reduce your dependence on getting new customers.

People return to the hair salons that they trust, and if you offer excellent service, fair prices, and great customer experience, they will surely come back.

Interacting with your customers can be great, as you can form authentic relationships and friendships that go beyond the barber-customer interaction – and friends will support each other!

Also, a loyal customer base will refer you to their friends and families, which will bring you more customers in the long run. Make sure that you make the booking process easy for them too!

You should aim to collect as much feedback as you can and use it to improve your business quickly and create a feedback loop.

A feedback loop is a process where you gather feedback, analyze it, implement changes, measure the results, and repeat the process.

Improvement is the key to any business and you should spot the patterns that emerge among your customers.

For example, if many customers complained that their cuts take too long, you could think about investing in faster blowdryers or stronger hair clippers to speed up the process.

Conclusion

In summary, starting a mobile hair salon involves important steps like registering your business, getting licenses, and choosing the right insurance.

Deciding between offering services at clients’ homes, having a mobile salon, or a mix of both affects costs and growth. Picking the right transportation and equipment is crucial for efficiency and client satisfaction.

Remember, building a group of loyal customers is a long-term goal. Listening to feedback and making improvements regularly is incredibly important for any up-and-coming business.

If you’re thinking of starting a mobile hair salon, consider giving KlikNRoll a shot! Our booking system will definitely come in handy and can fit any type of requirements you’re looking for!

Contact us using the button below to get started!

Last Updated by February 19, 2024

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