Self Employed Hair Extension Technician: An Ultimate Guide to Starting as Self Employed
Most people dream of being self-employed. You can play your own schedule, work the hours you want, and probably the biggest draw, all of the profit is you. Over the past few years, Crown Creations has helped countless people start their careers as a hair extension technician through our training courses, but along the way we’ve also picked up the business know-how which we now want to share with you! We’re going to break down exactly what a hair extension tech is and does, what equipment you’ll need and also some free tools to help you get started!
What is a hair extension technician?
A hair extension technician is someone who installs hair extensions, usually specializing in one or two ways of installation, e.g. weaves, micro bonds and rings etc. As a hair extension tech, you can work in salons or for yourself, but there has always been high demand for good techs!
When working as a hair extension tech, there are a few things to consider such as where will you work, how will you manage your finances and how will you find new leads/customers? This can seem like a lot of information for new techs to take on, but don’t feel overwhelmed, we’ll break it down for you.
How does being Self Employed work?
Put simply, being self employed means that you work for yourself. You have no upper management to answer to and all responsibilities are your own, however you get to keep all of the profits. It can seem an overwhelming prospect, especially to those of us who have only ever worked in someone else’s employment, but for a hair extension technician, it can be a really great way to up your profits and get all of the benefits like setting your own schedule, choosing your clients etc.
Keep in mind though, that you will be responsible for everything that comes with running a business. You’ll need to fill out your own taxes (you can read about this on the HMRC site or get an accountant), manage your own diary, marketing, client list and keep account of your stock. You’ll be responsible for all of your own expenses but you get to keep all of the profit and charge what you want.
Pros: Keep all of the profit, set your own schedule, choose your own clients, choose what materials you work with, and be independent.
Cons: you’re responsible for all costs, you need to make sure to file your taxes properly, responsible for getting your own clients, you need your own business/liability insurance
Where will you work/ what services are you offering?
There are several options open to hair extension technicians, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each:
Work from home:
- If you have a spare room, or fold up equipment, working from home can be a great option for techs as you get to manage your diary without needing to worry about commuting and lugging equipment around. However, this also means inviting strangers into your home which some people may not be comfortable with.
- Pros: No travelling, customers come to you, you can create your own work environment, no need to pay for a business premise and you can even claim VAT back on your house if you work from home (check with a solicitor first)
- Cons: Strangers will come to your home, make sure to check with your home and business insurance that you can do this, not ideal for smaller houses/flats and can be harder to manage your work/life balance.
Travelling/Going to clients’ homes
- This can be a great option if you don’t have the space to set up a work environment in your home, or if you don’t like being cooped up in a room all day. Travelling between appointments can give you some de-stress time if you have a stressful appointment and you can charge more to cover fuel and travel time costs. Plus, you may open yourself up to new clients who don’t have the ability or time to travel
- Pros: can reach more clients and set up around their schedules, get to travel and stay out of the house
- Cons: you’ll need to be able to transport a lot of equipment and carry it to your clients residence, your client may not have a suitable space for you to work and you’ll be paying more in travel costs
Forming your own salon:
- This is probably the dream for most techs; having their own salon. You’d be the boss, could hire who you wanted or rent salon space to freelancers etc. You’d also be able to build your own brand, decorate how you want and not run the risk of strangers knowing where you live. You may also open yourself up to walk in clients.
- Pros: be your own boss in charge of your schedule etc, get to have a designated and suitable work area that you can decorate, build your own team or rent out space to freelancers.
- Cons: You have to pay a lot more overheads, you’ll need initial start up funds, ongoing monthly expenses
Rent salon space:
- One of the easiest options for start up technicians, renting space in a salon adds some legitimacy to you and you can still take walk-ins to build your client base. You get all the perks of the salon (designated and suitable workspace, a place of business to advertise so clients can easily find you etc), but without the massive overheads. However, since you’re renting, you will be paying for that space so it is a more expensive option compared to working from home.
- Pros: No start up funds required to buy or rent an entire salon, don’t need to worry about building a team, don’t have to bring clients into your home, no travelling required
- Cons: You have to rent a space and if you end up falling out with the salon owner, you can be locked into a lease that you have to wait to end, you have to pay to rent the space
Insurance – Ever Hair Extension Technician Needs it!
It’s vital for all business owners to have some form of insurance to cover them in case of injury or lawsuit. As much as you can take all the proper precautions and plan for every eventuality, unfortunately accidents do happen. People trip over, treatments are left on for too long etc, insurance will cover you in the case that this happens. There are different types of insurance that you may require depending where you work so make sure your insurance covers what you need:
- Makes sure you’re covered for compensation and legal costs in case someone gets injured and makes a claim against you e.g. someone’s slipped on your salon floor and broke their arm.
- Covers the cost of paying a client in case you or your business causes them to lose money or reputation.
- This covers your business against any major losses that occur as a result of day-to-day practices. You’ll also need to make sure that if you’re a travelling tech, you have business insurance included on your car insurance.
- Covers your expensive tools and equipment in case they are damaged or stolen.
Marketing As A Hair Extension Technician
Whether you’re just starting out or are a veteran tech, you’ll need to market your services. Marketing will be the key to making or breaking your business as it will enable you to bring in new clients and expand! It may be overwhelming at first but it’s really easy to get the hang of and some of these techniques you may already be doing or you’ll be able to outsource. There are several ways to do this which we’ll break down:
Social Media Marketing for Hair Extension Technicians :
- This will probably be the most effective way to market your hair extension prowess as you can use apps like Instagram, Pintrest and TikTok to market your services to your target audience (presumably young women). Instagram and Pintrest will allow you to essentially make a portfolio with very little effort, all you have to do is upload high quality pictures of your work, perhaps a few before and after’s, use hashtags like #hairextensions #hairtech and you’ll steadily start to build your platform.
- With TikTok and Instagram reels, you’ll be able to show potential clients how you install your extensions and really get your personality out there. On all of these platforms, you’ll need to interact with the community as well e.g. commenting on other techs photos, liking posts etc, but it’s really worth the time if you want to build a platform.
- Consistency is key when it comes to social media and there are many tools to help you stay on track. You can use the Facebook Creator Studio to schedule your posts to Facebook and Instagram for free! It’s a great tool and it means that you only need to spend a few hours a week scheduling posts and then you don’t have to think about it again.
- We advise keeping your platforms mainly photo based as this brings in the most clients/attention and shows your work, but sometimes you need to advertise an offer like a 2 for 1 or discount on services for a limited time. In this case, Canva will be your best bet! They have thousands of pre-made templates that you can customise for free and download in a variety of formats like jpeg, PNG, mp4 etc.
Make sure you have a website!
As a hair extension technician, most of your marketing will be done on social media, you might think that you don’t need a website when really the opposite is true! While your social media should work as a demonstration/portfolio of your work, you’ll need a website to explain your prices and services, and tell potential clients information about you and your business like your qualifications, how long you’ve been practicing etc. You can also put self booking forms so clients can see your schedule and book when it’s convenient to them which saves you time!
You can create really beautiful sites from templates on many sites such as Wix, WordPress and SquareSpace. You’ll need to buy a domain which you can purchase from Google and usually only costs around £10 a year depending on how competitive the phrase you’re wanting to use is.
If setting up a site seems a bit too time consuming for you, and you have the funds to do it, you could hire a web designer. We recommend Dzines Digital (you can find them here) as their work is high quality and they actually specialise in the beauty industry! You can also hire them to run online marketing campaigns!