Our Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Self Employed Hair Extensions TechnicianEstimated reading time: 16 minutes, 31 seconds.
Are you ready to gain freedom over where you work, when you work and how much you earn? Well great! Plenty of like minded people in the UK are catching on to the lucrative practice of becoming a trained, self-employed hair extension technician. In recent years, we have helped dozens of advanced and beginner hair stylists learn the skills necessary to fit professional hair extensions.
And in doing so we have learned everything there is to know about the business of hair extensions. Not just the necessary training, but also the practical business knowhow on how to establish yourself in the industry as a self employed individual. So hopefully, this no-holds-barred guide will answer any burning questions you have.
A quick introduction to the business of being a hair extension technician
If you wish to pursue being a hair extension technician as a full-time career, then you need to be aware that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Yes, ensuring you are fully skilled and trained is important, however, there is more to consider. Such as:
● How will you manage your finances?
● Where will you operate your business from?
● How will you find new customers?
We’re not trying to discourage you from your aim. Instead, this guide should provide you with all of the tools and information you need in order to manage your own successful business. Covering everything right through from marketing ideas to arranging suitable insurance.
First up, how will you provide your services?
There are a few different options available to you, when it comes to deciding how you will provide your services to customers. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so that’s have a look at your four main options.
1. Working from homeIf you have space in your own home for clients to come by, then this can be a very attractive solution. There is no need for you to buy your own salon, but can instead turn a certain part of your home into your own personal work space.
Advantages● Saving time and money on not needing to travel ● You can customise the room and create a warm, inviting space ● Save a lot of money on not paying for a business premise
Disadvantages● You will need to carefully investigate the insurance implications of working from your home and whether you are covered under home or business insurance ● This doesn’t work well if you have a small home that is usually very busy ● Not ideal unless you live in a central location ● Your work/life balance can be harder to manage if you are always at home and working at all hours
2. Visiting clients in their homeAlternatively, have you considered a mobile service where you visit clients in their own homes? You could do this exclusively, or incorporate it into the overall range of services you offer.
Advantages● Save a lot of money by not needing to rent or own your own premises ● Adds a personal touch to the relationship you have with the client ● The enjoyment that comes from not always working in the same place all day
Disadvantages● You will need to transport lots of equipment to and from every clients house ● Will cost you a lot more in transportation costs ● You can’t guarantee that the client will have a suitable space to work in
3. Building your own salonWhat hair extension technician wouldn’t love to have their own custom salon!? You could brand it exactly how you wish and customise the look and feel of the space. It also gives you the flexibility to extend into other services if you ever wished to do that.
Advantages● Complete control over creating a custom, high quality environment ● Creating a real company image that people can discover when passing down the high street ● The ability to expand your services and possibly hire employees
Disadvantages● By far the most expensive option ● Will require more time and effort to get set up ● You will then need to handle ongoing monthly expenses
4. Renting chairs in another salonIf you don’t have the necessary finances to own your own salon just yet, but you are still looking for a more professional working environment, then this option could be a great middle ground. There are plenty of salons out there that have too many chairs to fit their own demand, so rent these out to freelance hair stylists and technicians.The cost of renting such a chair can vary, however, they usually work on one of the following systems.● You pay a fixed monthly or weekly amount to rent the chair ● You pay the owner of the salon a percentage of all money you take ● A combination of the two, with a lower upfront fee and lower ongoing percentageIf you do choose this option, bear in mind that this does not make you an employee of the salon itself, but rather, still an independent freelancer. You will still be responsible for your own taxes, insurance and everything else.
Advantages● No need to shell out lots of money for your own salon ● Flexibility in only renting for a few weeks or months at a time ● A more professional environment in which to work with clients ● No need to worry about things like electricity and water bills ● The chance to grow your customer base by networking with other customers at the salon
Disadvantages● These chairs don’t come cheap, so you will be sacrificing a fair amount on every job you do ● It can be hard trying to find a suitable chair and location ● You lose some of your own branding by working in another company’s environment
How do you become self employed?
Okay, let’s look at a fairly menial, yet highly important task … becoming self-employed. If you have only ever worked for someone else, the process of becoming self employed may seem daunting and confusing. But don’t worry, we’re here to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.
The first step is to head on over to this page here and register directly with HMRC. This will require you to create an account and you will have forms sent to your home that confirm and register your new status. Be aware that you will now be responsible for filing your own taxes; more on that below.
Depending on which route you follow, you may wish to consider setting up a limited company. Ultimately, this is quite a big decision to make and is probably more beneficial only if you are planning to buy and own your own salon and then potentially take on employees. For more information on different types of companies, check out this useful guide.
How to manage your finances as a self employed hair extensions technician
In the UK, the tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th. After that final date, you then have until 31st January the following year in which to file your tax return and pay any owed taxes. This can be slightly confusing to get your head around, so here is a recent example.
● The Most recent tax year ran from April 6th 2018 – April 5th April 2019
● From April 5th 2019 onwards, self employed individuals have been able to file their tax returns
● These returns must be filed by 3st January 2020
● If this deadline is missed, then there will be a fine to pay
To help you stay on top of your finances, we recommend you choose one of the 2 following options.
1. Hire an accountant
Though this is the more expensive approach to staying on top of your finances, it can save you a lot of time and unwanted stress. They take you through, step-by-step, what financial information you need to record, such as costs and revenues, and what needs calculating and submitting.
They can actually save you money as well, by helping you to realise what expenses are tax deductible. The good thing is that there are all sorts of accountants out there specialising in every imaginable industry. If you are a small private business owner or just starting out as a freelance hair extension technician, then you should be able to pick up a cheaper accountant by asking around and searching online.
2. Use online accounting software
This is becoming an increasingly popular option as individuals are realising the incredible benefits on offer from cloud based accounting solutions. For a small fee every month, you have access to online software that allows you to add in all necessary figures and it then have all the complicated calculations done for you.
You will need to play around with it a little and learn some accounting basics, however, once you’re up and running it is much cheaper than having an accountant. For help deciding which accounting software to opt for, here is an in-depth review of three of the best.
Considering your costs
Before you get started as a self employed hair extension technician, it’s a good idea to run the numbers. What does this mean? Well, by putting together a rough idea of expected costs, you can then work out what sort of prices you will need to charge in order to be successful. It’s not worth plucking a number out of thin air and then trying to make ends meet further down the line.
Instead, having a good understanding of your costs and prices will allow you to plan ahead to project earnings. But what costs does a self employed hair extensions technician have? Well, things like …
● The upfront cost of buying and owning equipment
● Any ongoing monthly rental costs – chair space in a salon for example
● Rates – Cost of electricity, gas and water if you choose to work from home or salon
● Taxes – These will vary depending on your business structure and your annual income
● Supplies – The basic cost of extensions from a wholesale supplier
● Ongoing marketing costs
● Online bookkeeping software or accounting costs
● Insurance – This is important, so keep reading below
A bit about insurance
Insurance is a vital thing to have as it covers you, your business and any clients you work with. Though you don’t want to think about mishaps occuring and people getting hurt, it does happen in any industry, and that’s when insurance comes in useful. So what sorts of insurance will a self employed hair extension technician need to consider? The following …
1. Public Liability – This covers the cost of compensation claims and legal costs in case someone gets injured and makes a claim against you.
2. Professional Indemnity – This covers to cost of paying a client in case you or your business causes them to lose money or reputation.
3. Business insurance – This covers your business against any major losses that occur as a result of day-to-day practices.
4. Equipment insurance – this covers your expensive tools and equipment in case they are damaged or stolen.
Once you have your business name setup, you can call up and speak to insurance providers who will give you advice on exactly which insurance you need, and up to what level of cover. You can then find out about annual prices and find a provider that suits your needs.
How will you market your services?
You can have a great business name, brand, salon, equipment and all the skills necessary to fit extensions, however, if no one knows about you, then what’s the point? This is where marketing comes in. Marketing yourself correctly will make all the difference in succeeding and failing as a newly self employed hair extension technician.
Your primary aim in the first few months and years of business should be to build your reputation and client base. And luckily for you, there are tonnes of ways out there to market yourself and find clients. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more popular choices.
Advertising in local stores
It might sound a little old-fashioned but yes this still works! If you have a local post office or newsagent, ask about sticking a business card or leaflet in their window or on the wall. Every day, dozens of locals will pass by and see this and be exposed to your services. Once the notice is up, there’s no telling just how many enquiries you might start getting.
Social media offers almost endless potential for your business! We recommend starting with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. To start, invite all of your friends and family members to like and share your accounts, in order to start building followers. Every time you have a happy client, you can then share images and testimonials of their work.
Better yet, happy customers can share your page and open you up to hundreds of new potential clients. If you really want to step things up, you can even get into the realm of Facebook advertising. Yes, it can be complicated to get set up, but if done right allows you to reach thousands of local women all looking for extensions.
Having a website
As well as social media accounts, websites are a great way to add an air of professionalism and trustworthiness to you and your company. You can link through to your website from all of your social media accounts, as well as listing it on business cards and flyers.
On your site, you can have images of your work, availability, testimonials from clients and prices you offer. From here, the possibilities are endless as you start promoting your site with Google AdWords, Facebook advertising and Google My Business.
Word of mouth
What is the number one way to drum up new business? That’s right, word of mouth! Word of mouth advertising is the best as it is 100% free! Once you start showcasing your skills and customer service, you will find that word of mouth takes off as all of your clients start recommending you to their friends.
But initially, gaining traction with word of mouth marketing can be tough. So, start with your closest friends and relatives and go from there. Let them know about your services and have them round and show them what you can do. They are naturally inclined to want you to succeed so can help drum up a lot of initial business.
Should you offer additional services?
It’s been mentioned a couple of times in this guide, but is worth talking about again. Just because you are choosing a career as a self employed hair extensions technician, it doesn’t mean that this is all you need to do. From here, you are easily able to learn new skills and diversify the sorts of services you offer clients.
For example, you can learn how to professionally dye and style hair. If you already have your own home salon, then all this will require you to do is buy some new equipment. But all of a sudden you can offer all of your clients these new services and make a lot more money. Yes, you can go back to school and spend a year or more learning the ins and outs of being a full hair stylist.
Alternatively, you could just slowly expand on your skillset over time and gradually start to offer more services. The great thing is, as you are now your own boss, you can do whatever you like! You don’t have to choose a set approach but can instead craft a career plan that suits you best.
What else should you consider when becoming a self employed hair extensions technician?
Here are a few extra things you might not have considered when becoming a hair extension technician.
Starting this as a side business and building from there
Just because you want to become a hair extension technician, it doesn’t mean that you need to immediately go full-time. It is understandably quite a big career choice and, if you go full-time straight away, could have a big effect on your finances. Instead, what many other beginner technicians choose to do is start part time.
Once you have gained your training and qualifications, you can start building up a client base on the side, perhaps only working in the evening after your full time job. Then, as business grows and you start to gain more traction, you can start to cut back hours at your full-time job until you reach a point where it’s easier to take the leap to full-time self employed.
The importance of great customer service
We really can’t stress enough the importance of great customer service. Why is it so important? Well, it’s crucial in helping you to maintain an existing customer base as well as expanding. If you go above and beyond for your clients, then they will go above and beyond for you, recommending you to everyone they know. So, how can you go above and beyond? Here’s some ideas …
● Always be friendly and talkative during your appointments
● Be flexible in your timetable
● Do the best job you can, every single time!
● Treat each client like they are your first of the day and make every appointment fun
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
When people start up a new business, it can seem very natural to start working every hour of the day. With no strict working times like you’d find in a regular job, you can easily fall into a habit of working all hours and failing to have any real downtime. Though this might sound good for business, it can be very detrimental in the long term.
If you don’t take enough time to look after yourself and your relationships at home, then it can have a massive impact on your happiness. Even if you are making more money, this doesn’t mean you’re more satisfied with your lifestyle, especially if you have no time to enjoy your increased income. So try to set aside strict time every day to spend at home with your family or with friends.
The training we offer at Hairs & Graces
To finish off, let’s take a look at how you go about becoming a qualified hair extension technician. As you’d imagine, it takes a lot of skill and practice to fit hair extensions correctly, which is why it’s possible to make quite a successful business out of it. And here at Hair’s And Grace’s we offer a few courses to help get you all set up and on your way.
The courses we offer
1. Tape Fitting Training – Includes a certificate of completion and ongoing support
2. Micro Ring, Nano Ring & Micro Ring Weft Training – Includes a certificate of completion and ongoing support
3. A Complete Package Training Course – Leaves you fully qualified in all of the above, as well as offering ongoing support
Common questions about our courses
Where does the training take place?
Courses are usually held in our salon in Birmingham. However, if you are a salon owner and are looking to have your team trained, then we are able to travel to you.
How long does a course take?
All courses tend to be take just 1 day to complete (9:30am till 4:30pm).
What do I need to bring with me?
Just yourself! We provide all equipment and tools. The only thing we do ask is that you have no extensions fitted on the day, as we like to have all students practice and learn from each other.
Why get your training from us?
We pride ourselves on being the go-to authority for hair extensions in the UK. Not only do we provide the best quality extensions to salons and independent technician all across the UK, we are also expert trainers. Combined, we have decades worth of experience in this field, spent helping untrained and inexperienced technicians gain the skills they need.
We are also extremely passionate about what we do and in supporting newly self-employed individuals. We go above and beyond in providing you with the support you need in getting set up and having access to quality supplies after your training is complete. It is this service that helps us stand out in our field.
How can you find out more?
You can head on over to this page here which gives a more detailed run down of all the courses we offer. If you have any other questions or need further advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact our team directly.