mobile beautician

Guide to being a self employed beauty therapist

guide to being self employed beauty.jpg

You’ve been thinking about this for a while and you are sure you’re now ready to become self employed. The benefits are infinite - choose your hours, choose your clients, your products and freeeeeedom when you want but do you know everything that’s involved? Before your sign up for a room or stick those vinyls on your car, read on for our easy to follow guide on what you need to be aware of before you make the jump!


You must have the necessary qualifications for the types of beauty treatment you want to offer. Your insurance will not cover you for treatments you are not qualified to carry out. Remember that training offered by a product supplier will not result in a recognised qualification.


You’ll need to work out the cost of running your self-employed business and make sure you’ll end up with a profit and enough to live on. In addition, you’ll need to consider:

• Your target market and the prices they might expect to pay or can afford.

• How much local competitors are charging – but don’t let this dictate how much you charge. For example, you may not want to be seen as the ‘cheapest’ option if you are aiming for a more upmarket client base.


You will have to register with HMRC as self-employed and make sure you pay the right amount of tax and National Insurance. You must do a Self Assessment tax return every year and pay your tax on time. You must keep accurate records as you go along of all your income and outgoings. You can use this information to fill in your own Self Assessment tax form each year, or you can pay an accountant to do this for you.

Don’t forget that if your turnover goes over the VAT registration threshold, currently £85,000 per year (2018/19), you will have to register for and pay VAT at 20%. VAT is normally payable every three months. You should consider using the Flat Rate VAT scheme where you only pay HMRC 13% instead of 20% as long as your turnover stays below £150,000. See the HMRC web site for more info on this.


You’ll need insurance to cover your own goods, equipment and belongings. You’ll also need public liability insurance to cover injury or damage to a client or their property. Check with your provider to make sure you are covered for all the treatments and services you provide for your clients. If you employ anyone, the law says you must have employers’ liability insurance. As a member of the NBF, we get great advice and discounts from their partner ‘Coversure’. More info can be found at


Your business will have to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). GDPR means you must protect the data you hold about your clients. You will also need your clients’ specific permission to send them marketing information and to collect and keep health-related info. We cover this in more detail in our salon owners welcome pack, but you can find info here to keep you covered.


If you plan to ask someone to stand in for you (a ‘locum’) when you are ill or on holiday, this must be included in the contract with your salon owner or landlord. The contract should state if the salon owner will have the right to vet your proposed locum and if there is a time limit.


Whether you plan to go mobile or rent a space or chair in somebody else’s salon, this will have an effect on which treatments you can offer. If you are driving from house to house, how much product do you (can you?) fit in your car? If you are renting a room in a salon, what will work in the space? How much money do you have to put up front with new brands - ask reps about their minimum orders and find the companies that do not have a minimum in place (for example, some companies ask for a minimum of £4,000 plus training) which is unrealistic when you are starting up!

When selecting products, also consider the retail option of it as this can be a great supplemental income for you. If you are working in a salon under somebody else’s name, the likelihood is that they will choose the brands and any retail opportunity for you is limited.


When you are ready to get going you need to think about how your clients are going to book appointments and make payments. There are so many great services for online scheduling and payments available which are very competitive in terms of features and pricing and it’s an entirely personal decision. In our welcome pack for salon owners we go into the details of our preferred options but in a nutshell we advise you to take advantage of the great introductory rates available and ensure that you are not committed to long term contracts.

For scheduling software, as a minimum we would recommend you choose a partner that offers:

  • calendar integration

  • text reminders (this will help reduce your no-shows significantly)

  • review facility

For payment software, look for a partner that offers

  • quick and easy access to money - they may have the lowest commission rate but is it any use if you have to wait 5-7 days for your money?

  • Easy to use software

  • slimline and stylish models (really - you don’t want something huge that looks like a calculator in your treatment room, do you?!)


Getting the right relationships in place is going to be crucial for your long term success. In his best selling book ‘Good to Great’ business author Jim Collins talks about getting the right people in place from the beginning. He advises ‘if you have the wrong people (leaders, partners, etc) on the right bus, it won’t go anywhere but if you have the right people they will make every effort to ensure you get your bus moving in the right direction’. Choose partners wisely.

We suggest you take time to find the right partners that work for you - at Salon Studios we provide a space and have no restriction on the products you choose, the treatments you do (as long as they are legal) and the hours you work. If you are looking to rent a chair in Edinburgh, why not visit us and see how much more we can offer you!


Once you have these basics in place it’s on to the next exciting step of getting the word out there about your salon and the fact that you are now IN BUSINESS! That’s not small topic and will be covered in a future blog!

All info is accurate at date of publishing. We have extracted this information from sources including the UK Government web site & the NHBF guide being a self employed beauty therapist’. For more information on the great benefits that the NHF NBF (National Hairdressers Beauticians Federation) can offer you, visit them at