No-shows, burnout and upskilling top beauty freelancers’ challenges

The focus group took place at Professional Beauty’s offices in Wimbledon, London, on Wednesday, February 19, and brought together 10 freelance professionals from across the industry, from nail technicians to make-up artists to lash techs, to discuss the issues facing freelancers.

Client cancellations 

Time management with clients was raised as an issue across the board. Many had experienced no-shows from clients, and many mobile therapists had taken bookings for two or more treatments, but when they turned up to their client’s home, they found that they no longer wanted one of the treatments, meaning a loss of profit for the therapist. 

Others have experienced similar instances where they had travelled far to a client’s house, only to find they no longer wanted a treatment but had not cancelled their booking.  

Possible solutions discussed included setting up strict deposit and cancellation policies, and saying no to repeat offenders. However, once you have a loyal client, you can make exceptions for the occasional cancellation, due to illness, for example.

Booking apps and safety

Many freelancers in the group had worked with third-party booking platforms, with varying levels of success. Some found them to be expensive as a large proportion of profit is payable to the platform owner. 

However, many liked the fact that you can set a radar for how far you’re willing to travel and it is a reliable way to gain new clients. 

It was agreed that mobile therapists are heavily vetted for safety purposes; however, the same process is not applied to clients, so when you are entering a new client’s home there is an element of risk. The freelancers commented that with some apps, payment is taken and that’s all they need to think the client is “above board”.

Perhaps surprisingly, some in the group said they had been propositioned more often by female than male clients. 

Work-life balance

With long working hours, the issue of burnout was a hot topic in the focus group, particularly around events such as fashion week. 

Many had received requests for treatments in the early hours of the morning, whereas one focus group member worked an 85 hour week in the run up to Christmas, and many others agreed that it can be hard to say no to work when it arises. 

The importance of having the confidence to say no to work at times was raised, with several stating that they wanted to cut down their working days or hours to achieve a better work-life balance. Many also have a part-time job already to support themselves alongside their freelance work. 

Widening your offer 

Freelancers in the focus group have begun retailing products at the end of treatment as part of their overall service in an effort to improve profits, and reported success from doing so.

Others have also extended their services to events in other industries, such as catering or hospitality, by offering their services as a bolt-on feature to the event. 

Additionally, some offer their services in co-working spaces, which are focused on workplace wellness. 

Many have trained in new services to upskill, so they could also raise their prices accordingly. Additionally, winning an award or competition has helped raise their profile too.

Looking to raise your profits? These are the top 5 most profitable beauty treatments