Business Management

Home-Based Salons: No Driving in the Snow and Other Perks

You can tend to your kids and other household matters throughout your workday. It may also be the worst thing. Below four salon owners discuss the pros and cons of having salon in their homes.

The best thing about having a salon in your home is that you can tend to your kids and other household matters throughout your workday. It may also be the worst thing. Below four salon owners discuss the pros and cons of having salon in their homes.

Salon: Natural Nails by Janayre, Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Owner: Janayre Vaughan

Situated: in the basement with a separate entrance

Square footage: 800

Number of Rooms: 5

Years in business: 8

Number of employees: 1, except for spa days

Service besides nails: Waxing, lash and brow tinting, Tooth Fairy tooth charms, and airbrushing

Specialty: Light-cured resin nails

Why home based? “I worked in a salon for a short time and was not happy with the ‘rush them in and rush them out’ policies and the lack of privacy with the clients.”

Pros: “I feel I can offer more personal and individualize service in a quite relaxing environment I have low overhead, tax-write offs, and larger profit margins. Plus no winter driving! P.S., don’t cut your prices! Why lessen your self-worth because you work from home?”

Cons: “Fighting the stigma of home-based business. (My little home-based business has been recognized by my community paper as “The Readers’ Choice” for the past six years.) If you are going to work from home, do so professionally. Separate it from your home space. Keep the salon atmosphere. Don’t let your kids answer the phone or interrupt the clients’ service by coming in and out. The client is paying for your undivided attention. Another disadvantage is having to rely on advertising in the beginning, since you don’t get walk-ins.”


Salon: Country Nails & More, French Creek, W. Va.

Owner: Barbara Lee

Situated: 50 feet from Lee’s house in a modular home

Square footage: 600

Number of rooms: 2 ½

Number of employees: 1 (plus 7-year-old who helps out for tip money)

Service besides nails: ear piercing, temporary tattoos

Specialty: Nail art

Why home based? “I am a full-time mother and wife to an owner/operator truck driver for whom I do a lot of paperwork. I can work at home and care for my kids and any tuck-related business.

Pros: “I’m there for the kids. I set my own hours and work by appointment only. I work only the days I am able to and don’t worry about getting fired for taking days off.”

Cons: “It’s hard to accommodate walk-ins. I haven’t turned any away yet, it just makes getting other things done more difficult.”

Salon: Kristine’s Fancy Fingers, N. Ogden, Utah

Owner: Kristine Lee Howell

Situated: in the back of the house

Square footage: 225

Number of rooms: 1

Years in business: 2

Number of employees: 1

Services other than nails: Nails only

Specialty: Freehand nail art, diabetic foot care

Why home based?: “I have a sister who is ill, and I help care for her on daily basis. I want to be readily available to her when I am not actual working. I also enjoy being a stay-at home mom.”

Pros: “My clients feel they can be more casual and they feel more relaxed in this homey, comfortable atmosphere. Between clients, I can take care of household chores and care for my family much more easily. I have minimal overhead charges, so I am able to pass savings on to my clients. I also like being able to choose my own works hours. I have many loyal clients who work and sometimes need to make appointments early in the morning or late in the evening, and I am able to accommodate them much better”

Cons: “Being with my kids all of the time is a challenge. (I always promise my clients friendly service in a relaxed atmosphere – unless my kids are home!) I’ve also found that working alone can be a challenge because there aren’t other nail technicians with whom to share ideas and experiences, and there is no one to fill in for me if I have an emergency. I also find that family members and friends expect me to take care of their nail care needs after hours, and they expect me to do work for them for free because I have low overhead charges.”

Salon: Salon 29 at Main, E. Greenville, Pa.

Owner: Lynette Madden

Situated: Along the front of the house

Square footage: 500

Number of rooms: 2, plus 2 powder rooms

Years of business: two

Number of employees: 1 (except for parties)

Service other than nails: facials, makeup application, waxing, microdermabrasion, and massage

Specialty: Gels, brow and Brazilian waxing

Why home based?: “I work at three places before opening my own salon. At two of the places, the owners had no clue how to run a business. I felt the other place would never make it and I had to get out. It just made sense to run my own business – to do it my way and make the decision I knew would be right for me and the business.

Pros: ‘The biggest benefit is that in the winter I do not have to drive to work. Snow and I do not get along well. When I have a moment, I can run through a couple of doors to let my three Yorkies out, start dinner, do laundry, or even take a nap if I feel like it., I also can run in and check my e-mail and read the Nailtech List or Message Boards. I f a client has a complaints, she comes to me, not an owner who does not know about my end of the business. I also have the advantage of decorating the salon my way without having to ask the landlord if it is okay.”

Cons: “Sometimes clients call my house if I do not answer the salon line. I learned early on that it was a mistake to answer any client call coming into the house. Thankfully we have caller ID. Also, my husband thinks that since I am home, I am able to do all sorts of chores as if I were not working. And, because I don’t have any travel time, I somehow feel I have to compensate by working more hours. I need to get out of this mindset. Since clients know I live here, they think that I can just work all hours of the day and night.”

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