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Kelly Mansfield

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Hi all,

I'm wondering whether anyone who runs their nail business from home could help me by giving your response to a letter I received from a Nails reader for our Postbag. This lady wants to know about the real benefits of working from home, and I thought some of you who have experience of this would be able to give some tips.
Hope you can help!

Kelly x
Ed
Nails mag

Dear Nails,
I am thinking about setting up a nail salon in the spare room of my house. I trained in nails some years ago and gave up when I had my first child. Five years down the line and another child later, I’m wanting to get back into the business and I thought working from home might give me a bit more flexibility. I want to be able to work hours that suit my children and I love the idea of having my own business. I’m unsure though because I can see it could involve a lot more work than getting back into the salon world, especially in terms of advertising and set up costs. Can you offer me any advice.
Natalie Griffin
 

Peppercorn Nails

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I have had a home run salon now for about 3 years, moving to my present address about 18months ago. The benefits I have are that my hours are my choice, nobody elses. I also have 2 young children (both are at school) and working from home allows me to be there to take and pick them up; if they are ill, I don't have to feel guilty about leaving them with a childminder. Again I don't have to feel guilty about leaving them with a childminder during holidays. My time is my own, if I have a 'no-show' and have no-one to slot in, never mind I can take the dog for a walk, prepare the dinner, or do something else, yes it's annoying but I'm not sitting there twiddling my thumbs!

In one sense I would love to set up in a shop somewhere, but in reality, nothing at this moment in time is going to give me more flexibility than working from my home studio.

The downside (as there always is :? ) is that it can be quite lonely and also you don't have another tech to share ideas with. I'm very fortunate and have a lovely mix of clientelle, they know I have children and therefore are very tolerant of them (I must point out, my children have grown up with me working from home and they know exactly how to behave around my clients - that's not to say that the youngest hasn't let me down on occasions :shock:).

As for advertising, use your local shops to put nicely printed (off your own computer) adverts in the window; Yellow Pages has been probably the most successful for me and costs approx £11 per month. I personally have not had much success with local papers but I'm sure some have. Others have commented on speaking to your local Avon/Virgin Vie lady and see if she would be happy to hand out leaflets for you.

Set up costs can be as high or as low as you want to make them, within reason. Obviously, you will need products, a table and 2 chairs (look in Ikea - very cheap) and a decent lamp (Woolworths - about £8). If you have been out of nails for 5 years, you may also be wise to consider a 1-1 training session just to bring you uptodate. I initially took out a loan of £1000, but this was also for me to do my training. My products and retails items have increased with the more money I have earnt.

Another option would be to do a couple of days in a salon and the rest in your own time. The choices are there for you.

Good luck in whatever you choose,
Adele Cutler
Peppercorn Nails
Bildeston, Ipswich
 

geeg

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I started my business called 'Designer Nails' from my home salon in the early 1980's.

I loved my time in my home salon. Exactly as Adele says, the flexibility I enjoyed with the children was so wonderful. It truly is being your own boss in the purest sense and you can make everything work for you. Barring having to do perhaps a little more to get your name out and about in the public eye, I can see no down side.

Someone once told me "small is beautiful" ... well I went on to own a small chain of 3 salons and looking back, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and heartache and worry not to mention money if I had stayed a bit smaller and kept things a bit more simple!! I was so happy the day I really went full time into training and distribution ... for me it was wonderful to leave all the problems behind.

Certainly don't hesitate but again you've had some very good advice from Adele. Get back into the class room and update your skills and reaffirm your knowledge. There have been many changes in products etc. And Good Luck.
 

JackieMc

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When I moved to Dublin from the UK earlier this year I had the perfect opportunity to set up my 'home salon'. I prefer to keep my 'home' separate from 'work' though and had a Summer House built in the garden which has been converted into a small salon. Prior to this I did work from the spare room in my other house.

As Adele said, there are numerous benefits. You are your own boss. You choose your own hours, which, if you have children is a huge bonus. If someone cancels their apppointment (or not, as often is the case), you're not left sitting there wasting your time, you can do one of those chores you'd planned to do later.

One downside could be that you don't get holiday or sick pay as you would from an employer, so that would be something to take into account. However, this is something I quite happily forego as I enjoy a much better working environment now.

I don't feel at all isolated as I have a number of friends who are nail technicians and we regularly keep in touch to swap stories/problems etc. I make regular visits to a local Nail & Beauty company where I can pick up supplies and catch up with all the latest news. Get to know the people at your local suppliers, visit if you can rather than ordering by mail all the time.

I also find nail-related internet message boards a great source of information, especially www.BeautyTech.com - an American message board - as it all seems to happen over in the States first! You also have the opportunity of making international 'nail tech' friends.

I find 'word of mouth' advertising has worked best for me. From my own experience I don't recommend 'mail drops' - just a lot of worn out shoe leather and broken fingers from dodgy letter boxes! Print some leaflets from your pc and if you have a laminator - laminate them! They last much longer on shop notice boards that way. Also, fold the bottom inch or so back up and staple the sides of your leaflet - this gives you a small 'pocket' at the bottom in which to place a number of your business cards (also printed on your pc). People can then just pick up one of your cards from the pocket in your leaflet instead of rummaging around to find a pen.

With regard to setting up costs, keep it simple. Don't go overboard buying products, buy what you need immediately and don't overstock. The most important thing is to catch up on your training - products and techniques will have changed enormously over the last five years.

Keep in mind that it may take longer than you expect to build up your client list - don't become dis-heartened, just be patient and it will come together in time.

Best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

Jackie
Liberty Nail Design
Dublin
 

grace

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Hi,
I also was in a similar position, studied and worked for a short while back in 1997 then had my son and last year decided I should venture back into the beauty world, with enphasis on nails. I work from the dinning area of my kitchen and it has many benifits, yes as every one has said you can fit clients into your time, which is great with children but another thing that I have found out is some of the rules and regulations.

I was wanting to originally run my business from the integral garage we have, not altering any part of it just painting the walls and putting some wood laminate flooring down, hm i was informed that I would need planning permision for this by my local council and would have to pay business rates, yes even though I did not plan to alter the building or add windows or change the garage door, so it made me have a re think.

I have now been told that one does not have to pay business rates if the room in which you use is also used for part of your residence and not souly for a business, hence why i choose to work in the dinning area of our kitchen, it is private enough and looks very purpose built but is still classed as part of the kitchen, so keeps me from paying business rates.

I have not advertised I work on word of mouth, ok I only have a handful of clients at present but my name is getting about and I enjoy spending quality time with clients no rushing, pamper them and let them feel that I am not just after there money they are not a number but very important.

Choice of salon or work from home, well a dream is the salon but reality for me home wins hands down every time, for the cost of running, the flexibility, privacy, and no one to answer to, its just great.

Hope all goes well, you can never have enough education so grab another course to top up, another thing that i also plan to do.

Kind regards
Grace x
 

Nails At The Hat Hire Company

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I too have a home salon. A converted part of a double garage, insulated with laminate floor.it is attatched to house so you enter through kitchen.

The plus sides for working from home:
Flexibility for you and your clients (ive even done a manicure at 8 am on a sunday morning - and as hubby was working away that weekend, my daughters just stayed in bed, can you imagine the hassle of getting them up and to a salon at anytime before 11am on a saturday or sunday!!!)

Free parking for clients

Eve,weekend,last minute appointments.

low overheads

I can put the washing out/walk the dog/collect girls from school in between clients.

downside

lonliness - until i found www.samuelsweet.com that it

advertising/reaching new clients - been an uphill struggle but im getting there, i guess that takes time in ANY alon, home or not.


I think the lady who wrote to you should first update her training, then start of small , just a table,2 chauirs and the basic equipment, then build up as the clientelle build.... until , like my cousin whom started the same way, had too many to accomodate and she HAD to move to a salon (which i hope will happen to me one day - but with my youngest still at primary school, im enjoying school sports day/christmas plays etc too much to be too tied to a shop/salon

wish her luck from the sam sweet geek board.
 

Heli

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I also work from home,i've only been qualified since July and the 'home salon' has been running since mid-September...I'm 18 and have had various problems with regards to a job because i have M.E (also known as CFS - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and anyone who knows what this is should understand why i've had troubles!...Working from home seemed my final choice,so i found a field i was interested in and went for it!

I had alot of support from my family and friends and working for myself has proved really helpful for the sake of my illness.As has been said above many times before,the flexibility is amazing,for instance when i'm having a bad week i know to only schedual what i feel i can cope with and the odd emergency appointment,i can even go back to bed for a little nap between a client ;) although that would be pretty drastic and i havn't had to go that far just yet..thank god!

Pretty much all my clients know about the M.E and most are very understanding,the only problem i face is feeling a little unprofessional having to cancel an appointment because of the M.E,my clients are a lot like friends more than anything now though,so i don't mind fitting a client in between the Simpsons ans Eastenders from time to time ;)


I know this is a little off subject,but there's another spin on the Benefits for you now :) hope this has helped in some way

heli x x x :shock:
 

Mani-fique!

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Hi Heli,

Well reading your post is like listening to myself. I too have M.E. and I completely know where you are coming from!

I was a filing clerk but my health just got worse and worse as I was working set hours day in day out and couldn't work within my limitations.

I was also feeling stifled in my job as I wanted something more creative to do and desparately needed to work whatever hours I wished! The anxiety itself was making me more ill so I had to think of something quick!Then I discovered nails!!

I've not got as far as you have as, as I'm still in the training process to become a qualifed tech but your comments have spurred me on no end. Its great to find other M.E. sufferers who are doing nails! It means that I have found the right employment to get involved in and so far its brillliant

I too plan to work from home for the time being and I'm really hoping that it will all work out. Its great to hear of others who have managed it, it gives you the encouragement when sometimes you feel quite alone with this illness.

Thanks Heli!

xx Tamm
 

Winky

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I'm working in a salon and am seriously considering working from home. What i'm wondering is do any of you have problems with clients showing up unannounced because they broke a nail or something and figured you might be home? I'm worried about people not respecting my schedule because i'm at home.
 

JackieMc

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Hello Winky,

You need to be very firm from the beginning and inform any new clients that you work strictly by appointment only and cannot take casual callers at your home. If anyone does try it on, you really do have to stand your ground (even if it would be convenient for you at that particular time because you can be sure they'll do it again when it won't be!). Let them know that all it takes is a quick phone call for 'an emergency' and if you can fit them in, then you will. Just remember (and if you have to, remind them) that it is your home as well as your place of work and they must respect is as such. As long as you're pleasant about it, they shouldn't take offense.

Jackie

www.LibertyNailDesign.com
 

pinkshell_nails

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and have a large handful of regular clients. I have never recieved an unannounced caller, hoping for me to fit them in (apart from my sister!!), but i do receive quite a few calls from clients-old and new, trying to get last minute appointments, well appointments in 5 minutes time!. This i do not mind, obviously, but even if i have a whole day apointment free, and a client calls me and asks to come around straight away, i always make out that i have a client, and put them off, if only for 20 mins or so, as this gives the impression that im a very busy nail tech, and also that my clients cannot expect to pop around whenever it takes their fancy.!! Some may feel this is not the right thing to do, but i honestly believe that this is the reaseon that i havnt had any unannounced callers, and i ALWAYS, ALWAYS fit my clients in, i just let them know that it isnt possible to just arrive unnanounced, and on the other hand, my clients feel extra special because i do fit themin, they just have to wait 20 mins or so!!. I stress that i never, ever turn clients away just because they call and want an appointment in the next 10 mins, i'm just letting them know that i am not available at the drop of a hat, and they must call me first for an appointment. It works for me!!!...( and i have been known to do a house visit t a client who wanted all sorts of nail treatments and beauty treatments at the drop of a hat, and i didnt leave her house until 12.30am! so now i get them to make appointments!
 

amberrowlands

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i think only offering your mobile number and not a home number is important, leave a message that you will return any missed calls and make sure you never answer your phone on your day off! its your day off!

appointments can take a little longer as you always seem to end up having another cup of tea and a chat, but your over heads are a lot less so prices can be really competative compared to nearby salons.

i found word of mouth my only source of advertising at the beginning, nice nails speak for themselves. since then i've taken out adverts in the yellow pages which has worked well for me.

i had worked in a salon for 4 years but moved to belfast and started off at home in the evenings after my day job and 3 years later i own a busy nail salon and have 4 girls working with me, and this is the girl who had no real qualifications leaving school - nails are great!!

good luck to anyone starting out on there own, it takes hard work but you meet some great people and the satifaction of seeing a nail bitter with beautiful hands for the first time still gives me a wee thrill!

amberx
 

Winky

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Thanks! That was some great advice. I think i will get a second mobile phone to use just for work and i won't answer on my days off, or answer the door if someone decides to just show up!
 
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