How to Start an Eyelash Extensions Business | Things We Wish We'd Known When We Were Just Starting
You’re about to open the doors of your own lash extension business for the very first time, excited to welcome customers into your lash space and start reaping the rewards that come with being your own boss. Before you get too carried away though, there are a few things you might not have considered that you really should! Here are 5 things we wish someone had told us when we were just starting out.
This is one that we would encourage you to have in place immediately, if not sooner! Deposits cover your time in the event that a client doesn’t show up or cancels at the last minute, meaning that you’re not working for free when you’d otherwise accounted for taking however much you take for the service they were booked in for.
With regards to how much you should take for a deposit, think about how much your time is worth. We highly recommend taking a 50% deposit as this will cover your time, but it’s really down to you how much you take for a deposit – the most important thing is that your business stays afloat and you are able to put food on the table!
Have a Clear Cancellation Policy
This might be one of the most important things to have in place early on – the longer you leave it to introduce one, the more daunting it becomes. The fact of the matter is though, that not having a cancellation policy in place from the get go will end up costing you money, especially as clients get used to being able to drop you at a moment’s notice.
So, what is a good policy to have where cancellations are concerned? Well, you already have a deposit system in place so you’re covered either way, but you should consider what the cut off should be, and that comes down to how quickly you can fill someone’s spot if they cancel on you at the last minute.
Of course, your deposit system covers you if someone doesn’t show up at all, but if someone cancels on you with 5 hours until their appointment, you’re so unlikely to be able to fill the spot you’re guaranteed to be losing out on revenue. Something that’s very common is that up until 24 hours before the appointment, deposits can be refunded and/or the appointment moved to a different day so that they don’t lose their deposit. Anything within the 24 hour window counts as a no-show, and they won’t be getting that deposit back.
You’ll find that from time to time, like with so many things, you’re going to be a little bit flexible on this – let’s say a long term client has a family emergency and can’t let you know in good time that they can’t make it. It’s perfectly fine in these cases to ignore your own policies, so long as it’s on your terms, with the health of your business in mind.
Charge What You’re Worth
We can’t emphasise this one enough! We get a lot of questions from lash techs who are just starting out about how to set prices and what they should be charging their clients for whatever services they’re offering, and we know all too well how easy it is to want to charge very low prices so that we can entice lots of new clients to us, but the thing is that then it’s difficult to put your prices up to what they should be, whilst keeping your existing clients happy.
So what do you do? Well, by all means have an introductory offer price to get people interested, just be clear that this is an introductory price, and that your prices are usually higher so that they’re well aware that your prices will go up eventually. Something else you can do to entice clients once you’re offering treatments at full price is to ensure you have a really good portfolio that you regularly update – make good use of those cheaper appointments or the practice lash sets on friends and family by taking lots of photos and videos for your social media and/or website so that clients know what to expect from you!
When it comes to setting prices for your lash extensions treatments, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, as your pricing will depend on a range of factors such as your location, how long you’ve been lashing for, how many courses you’ve taken, which products you use, etc.
What About Patch Tests?
Well that’s a tricky one with a few caveats. In a way though, there are two sides to the answer to this question (and this is a question we get a lot as well)
Patch testing for eyelash extensions is a little on the tricky side in itself, as a negative patch test (ie. one that showed the client was not allergic to the lash extensions glue) doesn’t necessarily indicate that the client won’t have an allergic reaction once they have a full set of lash extensions applied, and that’s because during a patch test we’re applying a much smaller amount of lashes than we are during a full set. That being said, some insurance companies and even some governments require them for any and all beauty treatments, so before you even open up your books for clients, it’s worth checking whether this is something that’s required of you by law or not.
If it’s not, it’s entirely up to you whether you want to enforce a patch testing policy, or whether you will simply advise your clients to have one after you’ve explained the possible risks, and let them make their own choice based on that.
Make Time for Admin
It’s very easy to block out your entire day with appointments and then end up working on the business side of things at evenings and weekends – let us tell you from experience that even self-professed ‘workaholics’ will burn out eventually, and no-one wants that!
Schedule time in your day to day to answer messages that come through your social channels or website, time to shop for your lash extensions supplies, and time to keep the place looking nice and tidy! Actually setting aside time for this means that you’re far less likely to ever run out of products that you need and didn’t realise you were low on, and that you’ll be far less likely to become overwhelmed and run down by your workload.
If things start to feel way too much for you, it might be time to think about expanding your team and taking on another member of staff to provide additional treatments, or to take over the admin side of things.
All in all, when it comes to your business it’s got to really feel rewarding for you, so taking the time to really consider these things before you open your doors to clients will only save you time and stress in the long run!