10 Things to Do Before Opening a Salon

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Written By Obaid Ur Rehman

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If you’re thinking about opening a salon, these 10 tips will be critical in helping you develop an effective, successful business plan.

  • A hair salon may be a reliable, lucrative company, but you need to be well-prepared and have a solid business strategy before you can operate one.
  • You may build a devoted clientele for your salon by identifying a niche in the market.
  • The most crucial elements for a salon to prosper are a positive workplace environment, competent staff, and an appreciation of the value of its offerings.

A hair shop is a very secure choice when it comes to company ownership because the beauty sector is worth $532 billion annually. Additionally, the beauty industry is consistent and frequently unaffected by economic downturns.

Even if you are skilled in style, starting your own company may be a difficult procedure that calls for persistence and knowledge. A basic setup for a salon costs roughly $62,000, but it may cost up to $500,000 or even more. You’ll want to do everything you can to assure the success of your salon, regardless of how much money you put into your new venture.

Also Read: Salary vs. Hourly: What’s Better for Your Business?

The cost of opening a salon

You should think about your precise financing needs before organizing your finances and obtaining cash. Here are some typical salon startup costs for would-be proprietors:

Licenses and permits:

You will need a business licence and all other local licences in order to operate a salon. You’ll also need a seller’s permit if you intend to sell goods.

Real estate:

You’ll need to look for a place to rent or purchase. You’ll probably need to give a security deposit up advance if you decide to pay for your lease on a monthly basis.


This includes the salaries or wages you pay the workers you recruit, as well as any other perks you decide to provide.

Salon equipment:

Salon supplies: A salon needs a tonne of materials, including cosmetics, sinks, chairs, and hair dryers. A POS system, computer, company phone system, and more can be required.


You should stock up on your inventory before opening if you intend to sell cosmetics or other goods.


You should budget money for a quality insurance plan if you wish to legally protect your company.

These are only a few of the numerous expenses involved in starting a salon. Keep a note of potential salon costs so you’ll know what to budget for when applying for financing.

Financing for a salon

Many banks are reluctant to invest in salons because they are frequently viewed as high-risk enterprises. But there are several of alternatives to conventional lending. Here are a few well-liked salon financing alternatives.

SBA loans

SBA loans are ideal for small enterprises since they have low interest rates and short payback periods. You will need a high credit score to qualify for these loans, though, since the market for them is rather competitive. Also, you should search elsewhere if you want cash right now.


Microloans are far more accessible than conventional SBA loans since they don’t require a long credit history or a history of running a business. SBA microloans have a $50,000 maximum. Just make sure your company strategy is sound before attempting to get a loan.

Alternative lenders

Alternative sources of funding are frequently considerably more readily available (and quick) than traditional ones. Consider a term loan, an asset-based loan, a credit card, or a company line of credit if you require rapid cash.

Equipment financing

To operate a salon, you need a fair amount of equipment, such as chairs, sinks, and hair dryers. It may be challenging to afford all these products when you first start out. With equipment finance, you’ll get a loan to cover these upfront costs so you can get going without going bankrupt.

Consider leasing equipment to lower the initial cost rather than purchasing brand-new items. Some lenders can provide equipment financing, where the equipment is used as security. You would make recurrent payments until the equipment’s worth plus interest is returned.

How to develop a salon marketing plan

Every firm has to use marketing, but some strategies are more effective for some companies than others. You should put a lot of effort into integrating into your neighbourhood when starting a local salon. Building your local following is essential for you to attract and keep repeat customers since you are a brick-and-mortar business (i.e., you operate out of a physical location).

Marketing for salons needs to be strategic and reliable. The following advice can help you promote your salon:

List yourself in online directories.

You must make sure that your company is listed in internet directories if you want to appear in digital searches.

Manage online reviews.

When evaluating local companies, consumers frequently rely internet ratings and reviews. Every review you get needs to be responded to, even the negative ones.

Partner with local small businesses.

You may increase your reach and establish your brand’s image in the neighbourhood by collaborating with another company in the region. To provide your consumers a unique experience, host events or arrange partnerships with your business partners.

Offer referral discounts.

You should provide a discount to a current customer who brings in a new client to your salon. This will motivate individuals to promote your company to others.

Create loyalty incentives.

Dedicated clients deserve special consideration. Create incentives for your customers, such as discounts, punch cards, and special promotions, to show them how much you value them.

Utilize social media.

Customers may learn more about you personally through your social media accounts. Follow nearby small companies, interact with your target market, and provide behind-the-scenes information (such as before-and-after shots of client haircuts) to establish your credibility and grow brand recognition.

Opening a salon

Check out these 10 professional pointers to launch your salon successfully.

1. Create a salon business plan.

Your first action when launching any firm should be to write a business strategy. It gives you a specific goal to work toward, explains how you’ll get there, and gives you a decent understanding of what you need to do to succeed. [Read related article: A Templated Guide to Writing a Business Plan]

The Dry House owner Ali Ryan stated that having a business strategy is essential when opening a salon. “The plan provides salon owners with a step-by-step guide and encourages company owners to think about all facets of their operations. Before investing a lot of time and money into a new salon, make sure you set up a measure for success and take the finances into account with a business plan.

Make sure you have a thorough awareness of the salon industry that already exists in your region, including its size, if it is expanding, and the trends. This will aid in your ability to precisely design how you will compete with rival salons.

Michelle Lee, co-owner and chief designer of Salon Eva Michelle, advised having a clear understanding of your target market. “Consider the type of salon you want to operate, as well as the culture you want.”

2. Research your local laws and regulations.

Depending on where you reside and the kind of salon you’re operating, different laws and regulations apply. A salon that just offers hair services, for instance, may need a separate licence than one that also provides facial or massage services.

Do your homework, said Jettset Mobile Studio owner and hairdresser Shanell Jett. “Make sure you are abiding by the rules and laws of the state. If rules and laws need you to make changes to your strategy, do it as soon as possible to prevent having to suspend operations later or [having to pay a fine].

The following are some examples of the typical licences, rules, and permissions needed for salons:

  • Salon license
  • Cosmetology license(s)
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Building permit
  • Sanitation
  • OSHA requirements

3. Find a way to make your salon stand out.

According to Pamela Jeschonek, owner of Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio, “Salons are on every corner, even in tiny towns, so entering the market with a specialization or service niche may substantially enhance awareness and press about your opening.”

Consider what distinguishes your salon from others. Are these the services you provide? Your courteous staff? your personalized encounters? Try to make it the center of your identity, whatever it may be, and expand your company from there. Find your specialty, in other words. It is far simpler to expand your firm in a specialist market than it is to try to be successful in a broad, general market.

Through closer consumer interaction, a niche market affords you greater protection against failure and the opportunity to learn what works (and what doesn’t) for your company.

Even if you provide a wide range of treatments, Jeschonek said, “advertising a speciality or niche service can help you draw in a highly devoted clientele and instantly provide credibility to your salon as the experts in your specialized field.”

4. Talk to distributors.

You must speak with a distributor to order items for your salon, such as chairs, mirrors, washing and drying stations, shampoo, conditioner, pins, and brushes. Local agents can help you locate local, wholesale, or national distributors.

You must collaborate with a sizable wholesaler like Takara Belmont or Belvedere Maletti if you want to sell larger things like chairs and dryers. Smaller goods can be bought directly from a manufacturer like Paul Mitchell or Estée Lauder or via a regional distributor.

When you start looking for a distributor, keep in mind to comparison shop and take into account every possibility. Look at the pricing ranges and customer assistance (such as guidance or consultation) that various distributors provide, and inquire as to whether they provide any discounts or benefits.

5. Develop a solid client base.

As a salon owner, you should priorities your customers’ needs and their whole experience. As a result, you’ll get repeat clients who eventually build a solid clientele.

According to speaker and businesswoman Sandra LaMorgese, “My top piece of advice for prospective entrepreneurs before they start up a salon is to have a number of professional clienteles of your own that will pay your overhead.” “You’ll be in a better position to make the decisions if you have a strong client base of your own.”

6. Choose the right location to open your salon.

Your site is one of the most expensive aspects of starting a salon, and whether you own a building or rent a retail space, there are numerous things to think about. It needs to be near a lot of people and simple to get to by automobile or public transit. Additionally, make sure you are sufficiently far from other businesses that provide the same services as your salon.

According to Jim Salmon, vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union, “get a reliable location with lots of parking.” Making it easy for people to visit your salon will result in more clients, which will result in more sales to pay off your original loan and cover growing expenditures.

7. Hire a designer.

If you have the money, hiring a designer to assist you in setting up your salon may decrease stress and provide a beautiful, practical environment. A designer can assist you in choosing an aesthetic that complements the image you wish to convey.

According to Miriam Deckert, marketing director of Salon Smart, “working with a designer or space planner [can] ensure you are optimizing your earning potential for the area.” “Try to negotiate such expenses in your lease agreement if building work is required.”

Deckert suggests using the area in the salon’s middle for double-sided stations or sofas for waiting clients. Before you go shopping for furniture or equipment, you should be aware of the measurements of each space.

8. Focus on your staff.

The staff members you hire to assist in running your salon determine its quality. Because the beauty business is so individualized, it is crucial to keep a talented, educated, and welcoming workforce.

As a new salon owner, Jennifer Quinn of Phorest Salon Software remarked, “I would urge any new salons to invest time in the training and motivating of the personnel.” The success or failure of your salon will depend on how well-equipped your stylists and technicians are to sell additional services and goods throughout the whole brand.

It will benefit your company’s operations and professional reputation to provide your personnel thorough training.

Being enthusiastic about the development of your workforce is crucial, Lee stated. “Lead, don’t be a boss.”

9. Think about your clients.

Bellacures creator Samira Far advised creating a vision for how clients should feel, what they should experience, and the adjectives they should use to describe their experience. This will aid in creating an environment, appearance, and feel.

Start by asking your customers for comments on the aspects of your salon they enjoy and dislike. Show your consumers that you respect their feedback and take it into consideration by describing in your business plan how you aim to satisfy their requirements and wishes to the greatest extent feasible.

10. Charge what you’re worth.

Choosing a price for your services may be challenging, especially in the early stages of running your own business. You should carefully analyse your own abilities and expertise and decide a price based on that—not what others in your region are charging—after doing some research and getting a general sense of what someone with your level of training may charge.

Sheryl Miller, proprietor of Fringe Hair Art, stated, “You don’t know anything about them or their skill set. “When I initially began in a community where the costliest haircut was $38, I charged $60. To get here, I underwent 25 years of training and study. Some folks didn’t get it and believed I was insane. In addition to getting it, I then increased my charges to $70 and continued charging. People will pay you if you are excellent at what you do.

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