Skin Care On-The-Go: Mobile Estheticians
If you’re a trained and licensed esthetician, you might consider launching an exciting and potentially lucrative mobile esthetician career. Unlike traditional estheticians, who work in salons, spas, medical facilities, and other fixed locations, mobile estheticians bring their tools, equipment, and skills to the client’s location. It’s not possible everywhere, and the lifestyle wouldn’t suit all beauty professionals, but mobile estheticians who have made it work often enjoy a challenging, interesting, and profitable career or side business.
Where Can Mobile Estheticians Work?
Mobile estheticians can work wherever their services are required or desired. This can include private homes, businesses giving their workers a treat, assisted living facilities, special event venues—anywhere an esthetician can provide services, they go.
As a mobile esthetician, you can work independently or as part of a company. Two such companies are Eternal Beauty Mobile Esthetics and Spa O on the Go. Eternal Beauty described the many ways they bring the luxury day spa experience to their customers via video.
Some of their clients are individuals who can’t or don’t want to make a trip to the spa or salon, so they hire Eternal Beauty to perform their services in their homes. The company also travels to care facilities, bachelorette parties, corporate events, and businesses where generous bosses reward their staffs with spa days. Lisa Dominguez, founder and CEO of Spa O on the Go, provides the same services—and also works at children's parties.
If a life in the creative arts sounds more your speed, you are in luck—mobile estheticians work on the sets of movies, TV shows, commercials, and theatrical productions. You can find them at fashion shows and modeling shoots. Estheticians who are also trained as makeup artists are especially desirable.
It’s important to note that in some states, mobile businesses are called “off-site” or “concierge” esthetician services to differentiate between them and estheticians who offer spa services out of vehicles such as converted campers or vans. The latter type of esthetician creates a soothing environment directly in the vehicle and performs treatments like facials and massages. If you choose this route, and if your state allows it, plan on making a significant investment in a luxurious and professionally branded vehicle. No one is going to feel pampered in the back of a work truck!
What Are the Most Common Services Mobile Estheticians Offer?
Mobile estheticians offer many of the same services you’d find in a spa or salon to their clients on location. This includes waxing, threading, and other hair-removal treatments, manicures and pedicures, makeup, facials, massages, masks, and brow shaping.
The biggest difference is mobile technicians generally don’t offer services that require complex, big, or expensive equipment. This includes laser or LED light treatments, oxygen treatments, or tanning, although spray tanning and bronzing might be an exception.
To offer the widest variety of treatments to please your customers and build your brand, you might consider earning a dual license. Some of the most popular are esthetician/nail technician, esthetician/massage therapist, esthetician/makeup artist, and esthetician/cosmetologist.
For complete information on the many options and what it takes to earn them, visit our dual license page.
Insurance and Licensing for Mobile Estheticians
The laws and regulations governing mobile and off-site esthetician services vary dramatically from state to state. Some states, like Alabama, Idaho, Kentucky, and Georgia, don’t allow any mobile or off-site services. Others, like Colorado, allow mobile esthetics work of all stripes, but require a special freelancer license. Still others, like Florida, allow mobile services as well as off-site services, but only for the ill or homebound. Several states allow mobile or off-site services if they also offer services in a brick-and-mortar spa or salon.
In most states that do allow them, mobile services are heavily regulated, occasionally by seemingly arbitrary stipulations. In Ohio, for example, vehicle-based services can only take place in a Class A RV. Tennessee allows salons in mobile units, but the units can't actually be mobile—they need to be on a permanent foundation. And in nearly every case, a special license or permit is required. Check with your state's board for any restrictions.
You’ll need special esthetician insurance as well. Companies like Beauty Insurance Plus offer esthetician liability insurance, as well as specialty insurance that covers stolen or damaged equipment, rental damage, etc. In some cases, your state will dictate what insurance you’re required to carry.
How to Build Your Mobile Esthetics Client Base
If you’re already working as an esthetician, the best way to build a client base for going mobile is to inform your current clients that you make house calls or work at parties. Print flyers and other literature with available services and pricing and hand them out to clients when you’re finished with their treatments (make sure to ask your boss for permission first).
When looking for mobile esthetician services, many potential clients begin their search online. Create a dedicated Facebook business page and other social media accounts—separate from your personal accounts—specific to your mobile esthetician business.
Also, consider creating your own website. There are many affordable DIY sites like Wix that will allow you to create a website with information, pictures, blog posts, and, most importantly, contact information.
Finally, create profiles and list your services on freelance sites like Fiverr.
The Pros of Being a Mobile Esthetician
There are many potential benefits to bringing your career on the road. You can enjoy flexibility in terms of when and where you work, which gigs you take, and which ones you don’t. It can be exciting work, too, with no two days, no two parties, and no two events being the same. And, you may be able to offer your services to artists on-location. If you want to work with performers and designers, this is your best option as an esthetician.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits, however, is that going mobile allows you to expand your client base and increase the prices you charge because of the convenience your service provides.
The Cons of Being a Mobile Esthetician
One of the greatest drawbacks of being a mobile esthetician is the previously discussed web of inconsistent and complex laws and regulations—and in many places, you’re not allowed to do it at all.
Another drawback is in finding clientele. Some people enjoy going to the spa and salon, and they may not want to give up the experience for the sake of convenience or novelty. Additionally, the availability of this service may not be widely known in your area, and many who would pay for a mobile esthetician’s services aren’t aware they exist.
The final cons are physical and financial. You will likely have to pay for special licensure if required by your state. If you plan on providing mobile services in a vehicle, you can expect significant barriers to entry in terms of cost of the van or RV and relevant insurance. Also, unlike in a spa, a sick day could mean no one can take over for you. You would have to either risk working sick or losing that day's pay and, potentially, repeat or expanding business opportunities. Finally, your equipment must be transportable—you’re the one who will have to transport it, so bear in mind how much weight you can carry.