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How sex workers can reduce their business costs

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of saving money. 

As well as your living costs, running your own business as an independent sex worker can be quite costly.

But you can help your financial situation and have a smooth-running business by cutting down your work-related expenses.

Here are 11 ways sex workers can save money while running their business. 

Free photoshoots

Many photographers require volunteer models to help build their portfolio or test some new equipment. 

You can offer to help them out in return for free quality photos, which can potentially be used for your escort profiles, ads, private galleries and social networks.

Do some research online for ‘test shoot’ photographers or advertisements for wanted volunteer models and see what opportunities arise.

You can also search on social media for photographers as well as find them at photography workshops, model networking sites, or even by contacting a model agency.

Make sure you research the photographer properly as if you’re screening a client to make sure they are legit and they are who they say they are. 

Note: It’s important that a contract is drawn up between you and the photographer to protect your privacy and ensure you’re both in agreement with how these photos will be used.

 

Photographer taking photo of woman in sexy lingerie

Take your own photos

If you don’t feel comfortable being photographed by someone else, you can always just take your own photos to save money.

If you have a phone with a good-quality camera and a tripod, you’re already halfway there to taking high-quality selfies for your own escort portfolio. Here’s what else you need to make it picture-perfect.

  • Background: Make sure your photographs have a clear and neutral background to show professionalism
  • Lighting: You can experiment with different lighting, such as using lamps or exploring natural light to capture your most flattering looks
  • Editing: Whether it be lighting, filters, or colour enhancements, you can use editing apps to make your photos more appealing. But be careful not to go overboard, as you want to ensure your photos do not mislead potential clients

Use public transport

If you’re going to meet your client and your transport is not included in their booking costs, public transport is your cheapest option. 

Avoiding cab fares, fuel and congestion charges (if you live in London) is a great way to save money.

If you’re living in a busy city, you may be able to reach your destination quicker on public transport too, saving you time. 

Sometimes, depending on your journey, you may need to plan ahead in advance, as public transport could take longer than travelling by car. 

You can even split your journey between public transport and cab, so the latter is cheaper.

If your destination is in close range, there is also no cost for walking or riding a short distance while getting some exercise. 

However, you should always travel in a way that ensures you’re safe and comfortable regardless of cost.

 

People travelling on public transport

Use free sexual health clinics for supplies

If you’re providing sexual services, buying over-the-counter condoms in single packages can become quite costly for your business.

It would be more cost-effective if you purchase condoms in bulk from retailers like Amazon. 

Not only does it save money in the long run, but it increases your chances of safe sex, as you’re likely to be more well-prepared.

Better yet, why not get them free of charge from a sexual health clinic? As a sex worker, it’s important to get regular checkups, and you can grab some free contraception while you’re at it.

There are also organisations like Umbrella Health, Basis Yorkshire, and All East Clinic that provides contraception in abundance specifically for sex workers.

Please read our guide for more sex work resources.

 

Colourful condoms

Buy affordable lingerie 

As appealing as it is, there is no need to buy expensive lingerie for your clients. 

It’s very unlikely that your clients are going to be searching for the brand labels in your lingerie and garments.

Affordable lingerie from high street stores such as Primark, H&M, Ann Summers is just as flattering and sexy, and you can get full sets for as cheap as £10.

If you really want to buy branded undergarments, you can greatly reduce your spending by purchasing them online at discounted prices or waiting for seasonal sales, such as on Boxing Day, and stocking up. 

If a client requests a specific type of lingerie, then this should be added to the booking cost.

Never throw out your lingerie too. A way to make extra money on the side is by selling your old lingerie online on fetish sites like House of Fetish. You can use this new income to fund your new lingerie.

Do beauty treatments at home 

How much money do you spend on beauty maintenance?

MindBody reported that men and women in the UK are spending over £3,000 on average towards beauty treatments annually.

While some people spend more, especially for those in professions where your physical appearance is part of the job, this works out to be a minimum of £250 per month, which is a large expense that could be considerably reduced in your monthly budget.

Beauty is something you can do quickly and free of charge at home. For this reason, it’s worth spending some of your free time learning basic hair and nail care and even waxing. 

For hair removal, it might be worth investing in some devices to use at home. You can purchase your own waxing machine or laser hair removal equipment.

Not only will it cut costs but you can create a “home spa” feel for self-care, which may help boost your mental health.

 

Woman doing beauty treatment at home with wax strip on leg

Buy from affordable makeup brands

Your physical appearance is a big part of your business, which means makeup is on the agenda.

But that doesn’t mean you need to opt for expensive makeup brands, unless there is a specific brand that’s best suited to you, such as its hypoallergenic properties.

No one will be able to tell the difference between your Estee Lauder or Bobbi Brown makeup to cheaper brands like Sleek or Nyx.

If you can, save money by purchasing from cheaper makeup brands and stick to what you need instead of overbuying. 

 

Makeup products

Purchase wholesale bed linen and towels

If you provide erotic massages or sexual services, then bed linen and towels will need to be changed frequently.  

You can buy these items wholesale to save money, as it’ll be cheaper to buy them in bulk than individual pieces, and without compromising on quality.

Value can ​​vary widely by retailer and fabric type. But you can find bed sets and towels at hotel-standard at affordable prices.

Phone plans 

If you’ve had your phone plan for a long while, it’s easy to get comfortable and stick with it.

Always keep an eye out for better phone deals and compare plans so you can get the most bang for your buck.

Phone calls with clients can contribute to an expensive phone bill.

A great site to look on to compare phone deals is Money Super Market.

You can even get in touch with The Dialtone Project who provide second-hand free phones for sex workers who need them.

Pay your taxes

As sex work is a legal profession in the UK, independent sex workers are required to pay their taxes.

According to HM Revenue & Customs, sex workers who are constituting a trade or profession in this line of work will need to declare their earnings and are liable to Income Tax like all workers. 

Paying your taxes might not seem like a money-saving tip. However, not doing this while working could end up costing you a lot more in the future, and you could end up in debt.

If you need support with your taxes, read our guide on managing your taxes.

 

Woman filling out a taxes form

Claim work-related expenses

As a sex worker, did you know that you can claim back work-related expenses?

From clothing to sex toys and advertising costs, you can save money by claiming part of your expenditure from your escort business costs.

In the long run, this can also help keep your business going.

All you need to do is make sure you keep your receipts and invoices for proof of purchase.

Read more information on what sex work items you can claim money back for.

Start saving money today

Once you begin to cut down your work-related expenses with our tips above, you’ll notice some improvement in your finances.

There are many other ways you can reduce your expenses, which can help you manage your money better.

All you need to do is make a record of what you spend money on and how much while working, and research ways to cut these costs.

If you have any tips on saving money, share them with your fellow sex workers in the comments below.

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