Welcome to my new online series. Over the coming weeks, I will be helping you learn how to build a new lash business from the ground up – from scratch! I’m going to provide you with the know-how that I have gained from decades in the industry, so that you can watch your new eyelash extensions business blossom, and avoid some of the pitfalls that can happen with new ventures. We are going to get into the nuts and bolts – the behind the scenes – of how a salon comes to fruition.
Deciding Which Way to Go
When starting your eyelash business, there will be a lot of questions that need to be answered… How do you decide if you want to take on a full salon or spa, or just rent your space – either in a salon or a salon boutique? Which way is best for you?
In this first post, we will touch on the boutique space. We will review:
- Your current goals
- Your future goals
- Startup costs of booth rent or boutique
- Time and commitment
At the end of this blog post you should have a good idea of what you need to do to start up your boutique, and be aware of the time and financial costs to move forward.
Make Your Vision a Reality
If your current goal is to finally get your own place, will you go for a salon chair or boutique? If you have a solid base of clients, can easily handle your expenses and are ready to make a change, this is what you need to focus on.
So, let’s review what your future lash tech goals might be… Have you always had a passion or burning desire to be your own boss? Have you dreamt of running your business the way you want to? Are you uncomfortable with the style of management you have been working under? You may be at the tipping point.
If your goal is to conduct your business the way you want and not be at the whim of a salon owner who doesn’t share your vision, then you should seriously consider a move into the future. This process can be scary. It’s all going to be uncertain. There are no guarantees. This requires a “leap of faith”. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can!
A Little Bit About My Own Experience
I was working in a small salon in Florida right out of cosmetology school. I knew I needed experience, and it was a safe place for me. Sweet old ladies, who didn’t require much, were the name of the game. They were happy just to get their hair done… Nothing fancy. I knew I wanted to do more. I wasn’t satisfied, I saw myself busy. I saw myself happy with my own place. I wasn’t sure how it would ever happen, but in my mind, I could picture it.
A few years later, I wandered into a hometown salon and met an old classmate. She wanted to have a baby and turn over her clientele. She was sharing the rent on a room in a salon. I reluctantly agreed and took over her liabilities of rent, products, insurance, utilities and so on. I was scared. I actually had to sign a lease. I took the “leap”. It was the best thing I ever did. I worked hard, promoted myself, and was highly successful. So, when the time came to move into a real salon, I had some confidence.
My startup costs for the boutique were minimal in the grand plan. I needed good credit first of all. Most reputable landlords will run a credit, and possibly a background check. I had to put up the first and last month of rent, and a deposit of the first four weeks. After that, I paid my weekly rent. I only had to be responsible for keeping my boutique clean. They did the towels, kept the common restrooms clean, and the building maintained. It was easy.
Let’s Give This Plan Some Dollar Value
My rent back then was $300 weekly. The initial amount I put out was $3,600. My landlord gave me six weeks free startup time. So, I hustled and built my business. My other hard costs were my phone, insurance licenses, and products to run my business. My hard costs came to about $500 a month. $1,700 a month to keep my salon boutique doors open. These costs broke down to $425 weekly.
In order for me to make any money, I had to cover these costs first. It had to make sense for me to make my move. I knew what my previous employer was taking from my service totals – 55% commission went to my employer. I was doing about $1,500 a week behind the chair. They were taking $825 a week from me. After I worked the numbers, I decided it was time. Keep in mind; you will lose a small percentage of clients in any move. Don’t forget to factor in client retention on any move.
Doing it By The Book
The biggest benefit of joining with other like-minded salon professionals, who want to experience the freedom of owning their own business, is the ease of ownership. You turn the key and you are up and running. Very easy. They provide the equipment, the lighting, and storage in most cases.
Last but not least, you should register your business name with the local authorities; you wouldn’t want another salon to get your name first. Apply for your salon license with your state board or provincial authorities. Check with your city or town if you need a business license and or a Sales Tax License. You will need a Sales Tax License if you are going to sell retail products to your clients, these are important things that you must do.
There can be fines, and some severe, if you don’t cross all the t’s and dot the i’s. No short cuts here. Do everything by the book. Get your start on the right foot; double-check all the small details, and you won’t forget anything vital. Some of you may want to have your lease agreement and any other legal documents reviewed by a legal professional. If your lease agreement is more than a few pages, you should have a lawyer review it for anything that may not be in your best interest.
The landlord is always going to protect themselves, do not mistake their friendliness with leniency. They will always put their business interests first. If you are late on rent, they will not be friendly. If a client doesn’t pay you, you get upset. You did the service, you want payment. This is how your landlord will view you as well.
Stay Positive and Move Forward
Keep a professional attitude, do your due diligence, and go out and get your salon boutique! In the next post in the series we will delve into the world of a salon or spa ownership. For more information around eyelash extensions business panning, check out some other posts in my series.
Stay tuned, and please, if you have any experiences you would like to share, or questions to ask, leave a message in the comments section below, and I will get back to you.