Your home salon space can be anything from a carefully arranged corner in your front room, to a large converted garage (the thing of dreams for most people starting out). Everyone has to start somewhere and I’ve heard of very successful therapists starting in their kitchen, conservatory or utility room (that was me!) If you want to make it work, nearly anywhere is a possibility, but often the biggest obstacle isn’t the space, but the other people using it. So if you are thinking of opening your home to clients you might like to think about the following when it comes to your room placement:
- How far from the front/side/back door is it? The closer the better, as this area really needs to be kept clear of clutter and as much as possible hides the “family life”.
- Is there a toilet close by? Again if possible this needs to be close by so you don’t have clients having to walk through the rest of your home.
- Kitchen smells. Its amazing how far smell can travel, even with doors closed and is something I’m always battling against. (Not always winning)
- If its a shared space can it be depersonalized easily and could you use some sort of clever screening or storage?
- Can you keep pets out of the space. Some people may love to meet your pets, but with more and more people having allergies its probably best to keep them separate.
- Can you keep noise to a minimum in the space you choose? No one wants to hear the kids fighting in the next room!
- Will other family members take you seriously and keep out of the space while its being used?
Wherever the space is that you decide to use, you need to make sure its clean, tidy and as much as possible free of family stuff. How can you give off a professional feel if you have old trainers in the hallway and kids toys in the corner? We all have these things, no-one is expecting perfection, but if you want to be taken seriously, get rid (or hide) the crap. Whether that’s all of the time or just when you know you have clients coming in, this is up to you and your family. It may be different if you only have the odd friend coming over for a treatment (more of a hobby) but if you want people to take your business seriously and to be able to charge high street salon prices, then you need to portray a more professional image. But also don’t let this put you off getting started, you’e business will evolve over time. If the environment isn’t quite perfect, but you are good at what you do, then they will most probably be back again.
Over the years I’ve had many different treatments in other therapists homes. They’ve all been lovely, bar one. This was for a £100 an hour therapist. When I arrived I was shown through an entrance filled with children’s paintings, shoes and coats. I had to wait in her kitchen while she finished making lunch for her small child (who was supposed to be at nursery), the toilet hadn’t been flushed (always a possibility with kids, I can sympathise) and there was a cat litter tray in the bathroom. Once we got to her room the treatment was good enough, but I really wasn’t impressed and felt like £100 was a lot of money for the environment I was in. Perhaps if the environment was fabulous or the treatment was outstanding, then I would of probably been back, but both were “okay”. See what I mean, you really don’t want clients leaving you feeling like I did.