Home-based beauty salons boom since start of pandemic

Up to 30% of self-employed beauty therapists changed how they work since the start of the pandemic, according to a new survey. 

Therapists have chosen to convert garages and rooms in their homes or have gone mobile with their businesses since the Covid-19 crisis took hold.

The report, conducted by trade associations British Beauty Council, British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC), UK Spa Association and the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF), found that almost two thirds (60%) of people working in the beauty sector are self-employed.

Among that 60%, 40% use home salons or converted garages and rooms as opposed to renting or owning a salon space, as well as offering mobile services to clients.

For those who are self-employed, 62% choose to do so because of "career autonomy", while family life balance is also a major motive. Three in five workers have found that they are earning more since becoming self-employed, with 83% stating that they expect to continue working for themselves in the future.

British Beauty Council chief policy officer Victoria Brownlie said: “The survey findings make it clear that self-employment within the personal care sector is a trend that is here to stay. The freedom and autonomy that working in this way gives to practitioners, who are predominantly women, to balance their careers and other commitments such as family is impossible to ignore.” 

Unregulated short courses and manufacturer-led courses accounted for just under two fifths (39%) of training undertaken by freelance beauty professionals.

Brownlie added, “As self-employment grows, it is likely that practical learning opportunities in salons will decline, creating a worrying skills gap.

“This represents a new challenge to maintain the visibility, standards, and level of service our sector needs to continue building its reputation with policymakers and wider society. Adequate skills, training and insurance and operating legitimately are essential to this."

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