Matt M., owner and operator of Practical Esthetics shares his advice on operating a beauty industry business from home.
So Matt, how and when did you decide to join the beauty industry?
I’ve always been interested and loved the beauty industry personally, I was known growing up for the only guy with flawless brows. I got my university degree, did that career for years but was really unhappy with my life and dreaded going to work. A change needed to happen and I needed to be happy.
Yes, you can change career paths even at 30 years old!
Do you have a specialty? If so, why did you choose that specialty?
A friend of mine told me about body sugaring and how she goes to a home business for it as well as how much she paid per session. The gears got turning.
Being part of the LGBT community, I know many men and trans people have a hard time getting hair removal services because many providers will not service men or people who were assigned male at birth.
I’m personally comfortable with accepting everyone so this was a HUGE demographic that was untapped. Along with a large number of men (as well as some women) simply aren’t comfortable going to a woman for their services.
What are your favourite benefits of having a home business?
WRITE 👏 OFFS👏 Home businesses drop your living costs significantly. Internet, electrical, gas, rent/mortgage, lawn maintenance… you name it, odds are it’s connected to your home business in some way and can be partially written off come tax time. Everybody likes keeping more of their money right?
Another benefit is I can work whatever hours because I’m always “at work” so accepting a client at 9pm on a Sunday night because her wedding is coming up and her photographer had to last minute reschedule… That can happen. I set boundaries but am also able to be a better service provider due to flexibility.
What challenges have you faced as a beauty Industry home business owner?
Biggest challenge of me being in the beauty industry… I’m a dude. I hate to pull that card but it’s been thrown in my face many times. Another hurdle of having a home business regardless of gender is being taken seriously.
There are too many people who fly by night and give home “businesses” a bad name. Keep yourself professional and treat your business as your business. Greet your clients in your uniform, make sure everything is spotless and try to remove the “home” atmosphere for a place of business.
What is your advice for beauty service providers considering starting their own home business?
Make yourself professional. Having a good website is HUGE! Make sure your SEO is optimized to the nines and the site is easy to navigate as well as interact with.
Make sure you’re registered, insured and inspected. Get your name out there any and ALL ways possible. If you’re not on a main road with lots of traffic, people won’t know you exist and you will flop. Advertise wisely, pinch pennies, get flyers and business cards made (I have little lexan stands to put flyers and business cards at other relevant businesses so we can work together).
Have 3-6 months of living expense money ready at hand or keep another job. It takes a while to build a client base to turn a profit. It will be slow but if you are persistent, you can make it successful.
Google reviews are priceless! Yelp is a waste of money and a trap. Always look for free/inexpensive ways to advertise and shamelessly plug your business whenever you can as well.
EXECUTIVE SPA GROUP
Beauty Industry Resource Centre
(780) 604 2772
Hiring apprentices in your salon can be beneficial. Here are some FAQs employers have when considering hiring apprentices versus licensed hairstylists.
Can I hire an existing staff member as an apprentice?
Yes, for example, you may choose to promote your receptionist. Some people may even say that its a good idea to promote your receptionist/assistant/etc. This is because taking on an apprentice is a long term commitment and investment.
How much supervision is an apprentice required to have?
The supervisor has to be a certified hairstylist. This person will be a mentor and should have the qualities to mould the apprentice with correct technical skills and theoretical knowledge amongst other things.
Your apprentice must complete 1450 hours during their first period (12 months) and another 1450 hours on their second period (12 months)
You can stretch this out how it best works for you, but this works out to 30 hours per week on average.
Can an apprentice offer services at my salon before being licensed?
Yes, they can offer the services you teach them as they practice their skills. Your apprentice will have to enrol in technical training at some point during each period (start dates vary), but you can teach them the skills you want them to learn in the mean time.
What is the application process?
Your apprentice must apply online. There is a $35 apprenticeship application fee. After, you will receive an email asking you to complete the employer portion of the application.
A contract will be created from there which will be signed by both of you and voilà, you have an apprentice.
Find your apprentice!
You can use our job bank to search for your next apprentice!
The year 2020 is bringing many anticipated changes to government-regulated industry standards.
While some occupations in the beauty industry are heavily regulated, others remain relatively unsupervised. This has led to numerous consumer complaints varying from spa and worker hygiene to severe injury resulting from negligence to Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.
Through discussions with industry representatives, business
owners, and provincial, territorial and federal health partners and
stakeholders, the government of Alberta (Alberta Health) has updated previous Health Standards and Guidelines. For
clarification purposes, the new updates apply to all types of personal
services businesses including commercial, home-based, mobile, special-event,
and vehicle-based businesses.
This article breaks down
and interprets the updates into 5 sections of the Personal
Services Standards guidelines.
If you are new to the beauty industry and are operating a home business, we recommend our Canadian Spa Industry Standards course to ensure that your business meets regulatory requirements and obligations for the protection of public health and your growing business.
The report focuses on Stacey Zielinski , owner of The Beach Beauty Bar in Martensville, Saskatchewan. Like many others, Stacey was under the impression that chair renters are independent contractors and therefore are not governed under employment laws and regulations.
Luckily for Zielinski, her tab was not too high, as only 1/5 hairstylists was a chair renter. This got us thinking though, how does this impact the industry?
What does this mean for salon owners who only rent out chairs?
Renting out chairs to hairstylists has always been an attractive option for salon owners. Renting out chairs produces consistent income, removes employee-related issues, and was formerly believed to eliminate the cost of wages and MERCS.
It is widely believed that the salon owner does not pay money to the renter; but they do however collect money from the renter. Typically, the hairstylist pays a monthly fee to offer services to their growing clientele from an already established salon. In exchange for this fee, the salon owner allows use of the chair and fixtures during operating hours.
Contrary to popular belief, salon owners are liable to pay
Employment Insurance fees to the CRA for chair renters. Normally, independent
contractors from other industries are not eligible for EI, however, there is an
exception for barbers and hairstylists.
Normally, EI is paid to employees based on the hours worked per pay period. Because chair renters dictate their own hours, the CRA calculates EI fees on the number of days the chair renter offered services in the establishment.
Why is there an exception for barbers and hairstylists?
As it was explained by a CRA representative, this exception was put into place to secure the income of a hairstylist in the event that the salon owner is no longer able to provide the chair renter with a space to work from. Examples are salon owners who are evicted from their rented space or go out of business.
What is the difference between independent contractors in the beauty industry versus other industries?
Nothing really. We searched for answers but could not find a clear explanation for this exception.
The exception to the exception.
While a salon owner must pay the employer portion of EI fees for independent contractors, this fee is eliminated IF the chair renter is incorporated.
What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a corporation?
All of the above are forms of entrepreneurship. They differ in a few ways including the annual costs and taxes payable to the CRA. The main difference is that in a sole proprietorship or partnership, the business is an extension of you (and your partners if applicable) whereas a corporation is viewed as an entity external to you. It even has its own SIN, however, it’s called a BN (Business Number).
There are many benefits to registering your business as a corporation. Learn more.
Where does this legislation come from?
It is believed that this legislation was created to protect the
income of women and single mothers based on the occupation’s demographic at the
time the legislation was created.
Two conditions apply to this employment insurance regulation:
The barber or hairstylist offers services out of the establishment.
The barber or hairstylist is not the owner of the establishment.
What if the salon owner also owns the building?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. Salon owners who own the building must also pay EI fees.
What if the hairstylist does not pay EI?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. The onus is on the salon owner to pay the employer portion of a chair renter’s EI whether or not they pay their own premiums.
Does this legislation affect room rentals for esthetics services?
No, this legislation only applies to Hairstylists and Barbers at the time this article was published.