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Becoming a mobile beauty therapist

There are lots of reasons why beauty and massage therapists consider setting themselves up with a mobile beauty business. Sometimes finding paid employment can be difficult and they turn to setting themselves up with a mobile business out of desperation to avoid having their hard earned beauty qualifications wasted. And sometimes it's in a bid to gain more freedom in their working lives, to work when they want, where they want and at a price they choose for themselves.

If you're thinking of running your own mobile beauty business but are not sure where to start or what sort of things you should be considering then have a look at some of the key areas below:

Insurance

You'll need to arrange specialist insurance cover for yourself and have it in place before you carry out your first beauty treatment. There are plenty of organisations on the internet offering specialist liability insurance for therapists. Take your time and shop around for the best deals. If you're going to join an organisation (i.e. BABTAC) then choose the one whose membership offers the best selection of benefits. Some will offer you free business marketing on their website. discounts off Yellow Pages adverts and the opportunity to partake in newspaper promotions.

Register yourself as self employed


Mobile therapists have to register themselves as self employed with HM Revenue and customs. There is a helpline for newly self employed persons that will enable you to register for National insurance, tax and VAT. They can also arrange for you to attend a free workshop with one of their business support teams.

Market Research

As with any business venture it's essential you carry out some market research before you take the plunge. You need to gauge what the local competition is like, what the other therapists are charging, treatments they are offering so that you can offer something that is different from them and also charge realistic prices for your treatments. You don't want to price yourself out of the market!

Equipment

Mobile therapists have to be practical with the equipment they purchase. Remember you'll be travelling to client's homes and have to take the equipment with you. Some of your client's may live in flats that involve you taking the equipment up stairs. Look around for specialist suppliers of beauty equipment designed for transporting around; portable couches, manicure tables etc. Pay attention to the logistics of carrying products around. For example would it be advisable to purchase a trolley on wheels?

If you're going to be offering waxing treatments how are you going to transport the wax around? Many a mobile therapist has had their wax pot fall over in the back of the car spillling wax everywhere.

Treatments

The following are considerations when choosing what treatments you're going to offer clients;

- Treatments likely to prove popular with customers
- Try and include an unusual beauty treatment that make make you stand out from your competitors
- Are you particularly good at providing a particular service? Where do your strengths lie? If it's manicure then make sure it's a part of your repertoire

Building your client base

How are you going to build up your client base? This is perhaps one of the most crucial questions you need to consider as without clients you don't have a business. Long term, giving excellent customer service will be the best way of building your client base as word of mouth and repeat business will see your business grow.

In the early days however you may need to factor in some early advertising costs. Consider the following:

- Business cards
- Treatment cards
- Local newspaper or magazine advertising
- Listing or advert in local business directory
- Your own website
- door to door leaflet drop

Of course you don't always have to spend lots of money (or in fact any money) in promoting your business. Incorporating the following into your marketing plan will pay dividends:

- Friends and family at a discounted rate of course!
- Local networking such as mum and toddler coffee mornings
- Free online business directories i.e. Hotfrog

Remember, your customers are your business. Treat each of them incredibly well by turning up on time, being considerate of the fact you are in their home, giving them a good service and aftercare and rewarding them for their loyalty i.e. 10% off the next visit. With this philosophy it won't take long to build up a loyal following of happy customers

Costs

There will be set up costs that you need to be aware of such as specialist mobile equipment, product starter kits, business cards, promotional leaflets, treatment cards etc. And then there are your ongoing running costs such as fuel, phone bills, rewewal of products etc.

Having a good undertsanding of your likely costs is really important as it will give you an indication of how many treatments a week you'll need to carry out and at what cost to generate a decent income for you.

Safety

You'll be travelling to people's houses that you've never met before. Make sure you have a back up diary at home that details your whereabouts on a daily basis. Get in the habit of making a call (to a real person or not) in front of your client when you arrive detailing you've arrived, how long you'll be there for and again another call just as you're leaving.

Supplementing your income

In the early days and during quieter periods you may consider supplementing your income by joining a freelance therapist agencies. They recruit freelance and mobile therapists to carry out treatments for clients on their books. This is an excellent way of securing regular work for yourself, still on a self employed basis whilst you build up to your client base to the extent that you don't require additional work.

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