Secret Guide to Starting Your Home Based Salon

Have you ever played with the idea of going out on your own and setting up a boutique or home salon? Complete independence, working your own hours, not having to commute and maximising your share of the earnings are what could be waiting for you. This is the dream shared by thousands of Australians in the hair and beauty industry, and it is much more achievable than you’d expect. In fact, it’s never been easier and more professional stylists are making the move to independence now than ever before.

My partner shared this dream also and a year after our first child was born, she was looking to get back to work, although couldn’t bare the thought of being separated from our son 5-6 days a week. We got to work and over a couple of weekends managed to clean up an unused office and bought all of the bare essentials from Facebook Marketplace on a budget, Lady Godiva Hair Extensions was born.

Since then, we have set up multiple salons ourselves and helped a number of friends and family do the same. We learnt a thing or two along the way and feel that it’s worth sharing our experiences with others looking to maximise their potential in the industry. This post will cover the basic things that we have personally found to be important and have worked for us in the past.

Legal Jargon

Before we start the fun stuff, you will need to get into the nitty gritty of the legal obligations required by your state or local government to operate the business. Don’t worry, there’s not much.

At a minimum you should:

  • Set up an ABN (Australian Business Number), it is probably fitting to register as a Sole Trader while you are starting out.
  • Register a business name directly through the ASIC government website. Many third-party businesses offer registration services at much higher prices, you don’t need them.
  • Take out a Public Liability Insurance policy.
  • If you are renting your home then you should obtain permission from your real estate or landlord.

Home Salon Approved Stamp - Sophia Hair Australia

Choosing the location

Whether you want to use a nook in the corner of your home or have decided to sell the couch and tv to set up in the loungeroom, this is your salon and the most important thing is that its practical for your needs. I’ll cover some of the things our experience has found to be important factors to consider when choosing a location.

Good Lighting – Lighting is crucial to your work and it will give your photos that extra edge when creating content. We once painted and installed new floorboards into a bedroom to set up a salon, only to move it back to the original room two weeks later due to poor lighting.

Adequate Space – Give thought to the space you have to work with and everything that needs to fit into the room. You want at least enough space for you and your client to move around each other comfortably, and some clients may bring a friend.

Easy access & Privacy – If you are living with family or friends, you will need to consider them when picking the location. You’ll want your clients to have easy access to the salon. Also, some may feel vulnerable to prying eyes whilst getting work done in the salon chair, consider choosing a room with a door, running a curtain or even buying a cheap second-hand Japanese paper partition to close the space.

Once you have found the perfect spot, clear the area and clean it from top to bottom, leaving you with a blank canvas.

What You’ll Need

You don’t need a lot of furnishings to operate your salon and it can be easy to overestimate what it really takes. In fact, in the beginning it is better to start with less and then slowly implement new furniture and gadgets into your space as you find them necessary. Our first salon had a mirror that was sitting in the garage collecting dust, a used salon chair from Facebook Marketplace, a couple of floating shelves, an unnecessary corner bench for taking payments, and a cheap salon trolley. Think about the next step before deciding on which furnishings to introduce.

Lady Godiva Hair Extensions Original Salon - Sophia Hair Australia

Lady Godiva Hair Extensions Original Home Salon

Setting The Mood

Consider the types of clients that you want to attract, and give your salon a vibe that matches your energy. Some well-placed plants and positive quotes on the wall can go a long way. Our style was to go with a modern boutique setting, implementing shades instead of colours, and adding in some interesting décor.

Home Salon

Payments Types

Make it convenient for your patrons by setting up a selection of payment types and you will open yourself up to a larger variety of clients. Buy-now pay-later platforms have become very popular in recent years, so you should take advantage of that and display it on your business page/posts. Just be aware of the fees that different methods of payment may incur.

Cash – Because who doesn’t love cash?

Osko bank transactions – Osko payments are received in less than a minute and all of the big four aussie banks now use it, along with many smaller banks.

Afterpay – Register an Afterpay Merchant’s account. They charge a small percentage fee for each transaction, just let your clients know and add the fee amount to the bill before processing the payment.

Square – An easy way to take credit and debit card payments. You will need to create a Square account and purchase the physical Card Reader.

Square Card Reader

Establish your prices

It can be tricky to know what to charge in the beginning. Starting out you may not feel confident enough to set your prices at the market rate. Don’t worry this is completely normal. A great strategy is to set your prices 5% - 10% lower than your closest competitors while you build your portfolio and establish the businesses reputation. If you are lucky enough to have already built up a good name for yourself and filling your schedule is not an issue, then go ahead and match your competitors or even charge a little more. Most clients are willing to pay a little extra if they are confident that you will do a fantastic job. Remember that large commercial salons have a lot of overheads and generally their prices are going to be higher than what yours need to be, take advantage of this fact.

Consistently Creating Quality Content

Getting seen on social media can provide a MASSIVE source of clientele to your business. The key to standing out from your competitors is to consistently create quality content that directly appeals to your target audience. The content could include posting a before and after every other day, or sharing a funny relevant meme to your story. Try to set a theme for your posts too, whether it’s a watermark on your work or the background colours in your photos matching up, it all helps with the flow of your page.

A Dirty Little Secret

Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are excellent places to get free advertising in your local area. Facebook doesn’t actually allow you to create classifieds for services as they want you to pay for ads and boosted posts. If you word your Marketplace post just right you can get it approved as an “item” but potential clients will understand that you are actually offering a service. Seriously, we would have posts rejected multiple times and tweak the most unsuspecting things to get them approved.

Our Goal

If you’ve made it to the end of this article then you are serious about taking the leap. I wish you luck in achieving financial independence and hope that our experience can have a positive effect on you. Know that we intend to continue providing you with thought out, tested, and realistic information that you can actually apply to your situation, so stay tuned.

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If you’d like training in professional hair extensions applications, techniques, industry secrets and business fundamentals. If you’d like to live a balanced and profitable lifestyle working from the comfort of your own home.
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Looking forward to hearing from you,


Lucas Miller

Sophia Hair Australia

Thank you Sophie ever so much, your information has helped me sooo much into what else I needed to do to kick start my home based hair salon

Crystal Borell | Feb 18, 2024

Thank you Sophie for this helpful information that I was hungry for ,especially on my side as a new resident in
Australia..I braid African hair for 10years now and this is my first year in Australia, thank you so much

Bianca Chimutasha | Jan 31, 2023

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