Managing a mobile hair salon with online tools

Running a mobile hair salon is becoming increasingly popular for hairstylists in the era of COVID-19. And freedom is the biggest benefit that comes with it — freedom to work with clients anywhere, freedom from a physical location, and freedom from a boss and the associated expenses of working at a brick-and-mortar salon.

However, this arrangement has its own set of issues, especially related to administrative support and payment processing. Fortunately, there are several online and digital tools available to help.

Here’s a list of tasks you’ll need to complete — and the best online tools for each one — to successfully manage your mobile hair salon.

Registering your business and forming your company

Many mobile hairstylists are fine working as freelancers and reporting their income to the IRS with a Schedule C. However, if you want to formalize your mobile hair salon as a business entity — or laws require you to form a business in order to practice — you’ll need to complete the proper registrations and incorporations.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers an in-depth guide online, providing information on the different ways to register your business. With the excellent online tool, LegalZoom, you can create business entities — as well as take advantage of a number of crucial legal services — at a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer.

Buying your equipment

Running a mobile hair salon frees you from needing a physical space, but you do need the basic equipment to cut and style hair. If you plan on providing coloring services and other specialty salon offerings, you’ll have to find mobile equipment that you can easily transport and carry to and from your clients’ homes.

Fortunately, you can find all of this online, and it’s easier to compare and find the best prices that way.

Wholesale Salon Equipment, Salon Equipment USA, and SalonSmart are some of the most popular online retailers. Look around for specific equipment, and you’ll be surprised by what you can find online.

Marketing to clients

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing, and undoubtedly, your mobile hair salon has gotten much of its business from referrals.

But when it comes to finding new clients, online is where it’s at. Social media marketing is the key to making people aware of your services. And since hair and beauty services are so visual, it’s a great idea to market on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

You can also create business pages for your mobile hair salon on Yelp. Increase your visibility on the platform by getting your client base to leave glowing reviews.

Automating scheduling

Working in a salon has many drawbacks, including paying rent, giving a cut of your profit to the owner, and not having the power to make big-picture decisions. On the other hand, one of the biggest perks is having a front desk receptionist there to schedule your appointments.

JotForm makes it possible to automate appointment scheduling by publishing your calendar and allowing clients to choose their own time slots. This saves you from answering the phone or replying to texts, allowing you to focus on what you do best. And it’s great for your clients because they only have to press a few buttons on the form instead of picking up the phone themselves.

Taking payments online 

Online payments revolve around convenience. And with COVID-19, they can now also help protect your customers and you from the coronavirus. Digital payments remove germ-ridden cash from the equation and eliminate the need to pass a credit card back and forth, making transactions much safer and more convenient.

JotForm offers a number of online payment solutions that you can build right into your website.

Doing accounting in the cloud

Running a mobile hair salon puts more money in your pocket from each client since you don’t have to pay a cut to the salon owner. But you’re also entirely responsible for your own bookkeeping.

QuickBooks Online makes it incredibly simple to keep track of your income and expenses with their web and cloud-based platform. Pay a monthly subscription, and you can do your bookkeeping anywhere you have internet access. Their smartphone apps make it easy to upload receipts from your phone or even scan important financial documents so you can import them to the platform.

Hiring help

If you’re so busy cutting hair that even these online tools don’t provide you with enough time to keep up with administrative tasks, you’ll need to hire an assistant to help run your business. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools for this as well. Upwork, one of the longest-running freelancer job hubs, has an entire job category dedicated to virtual assistants who specialize in a wide array of industries.

The Upwork platform allows entrepreneurs to post part-time, freelance job opportunities that “Upworkers” can apply to. Once you choose an applicant and begin working with them, the platform manages all payment transactions, timesheets, and other HR-related tasks, offering even greater convenience.

Running a mobile hair salon is an incredibly rewarding experience for entrepreneurs, allowing them to fully design their lifestyle and achieve a level of freedom not possible at a traditional salon. It also requires more limber tools than a brick-and-mortar salon. Fortunately, technology has evolved to help.

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