how to open your own beauty salon

Table of Contents

So You’re Wondering How To Open A Salon?

Will you be opening a salon in 2020?

It’s never been a better time to start, and we want to help share with you what it takes to open a hair salon today.

However, before we start, let’s look at some numbers I think you’ll find interesting with how to open a salon.

Here Is A Bit Of Market Research For The Hair Salon Industry

  • The estimated revenue is projected to be over $47 billion.
  • The hair Salon industry is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2019
  • The industry has grown 2.1% per year on average between 2014 and 2019.
  • The estimated employment is 317,210 hairdressers.
  • Employment rise is up by 1.5%
  • The average hourly wage was $14.51 an hour, up from $11.89 in May 2018.
  • The annual wage of a hairstylist is $30,190.
  • The rise in wages will be estimated at 0.7% growth.

How Much Does A Salon Cost To Open?

Depending on the size and whether you will go with a salon suite rental or multi-chair employee location, it could range from $5000 to $250000.

It’s always good to have more money in the bank first two years to prepare for unforeseen expenses.

If the cost of owning your salon seems overwhelming, start smaller, and save and invest in growing more prominent.

A salon suite is a great way to start as an entrepreneur, and once you feel confident, you can move into a bigger retail space.

It’s better to grow a business slow with money in the bank than to jump in with a lot of debt.

As you can see from the statistics above, being a hairstylist in 2020 is a growing profession.

However, we aren’t here to talk about being a stylist; we are talking about becoming a becoming salon owner.

We are here to discuss opening your own hair salon business and becoming an entrepreneur.

Hair salon ownership plan

Benefits Of Owning A Hair Salon On Your Own.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Let me set the path to what I think will be one of the most rewarding journeys you will take in your career.

Here are a few reasons it’s rewarding to own your salon.

  • Let’s start with the obvious you get to be your boss and business owners.
  • You get to design your salon the way you want.
  • Choose the haircare product brands you enjoy working alongside.
  • Build the team you always wanted to do with or fly solo as a solopreneur.
  • Make more money and decide your pricing and worth.
  • You get to call all the shots!
steps to being a hair salon owner


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Is Owning A Hair Salon Profitable?

Opening your salon can be profitable if you have the right systems and hire the right hairstylist team.

Knowing the numbers and setting a budget each month will guide you to a profitable business; realize you will need to work hard the first couple of years.

I’m going to be brutally honest here the hair salon industry has changed in the last decade.

With booth rental salons everywhere now, you will need to offer employees and customers a unique salon environment.

The key to a successful salon is knowing your target market and hiring and training the right employees.

Take These Steps To Open A Salon With Confidence

If you are serious about opening a salon, you will need to sit down and put a plan of action in place.

Making such a big decision should never be taken lightly or rushed.

Let’s look at the fundamental decisions you will need to make when opening any business, including a hair salon business & marketing it.

Being a little afraid is normal when opening a salon, but you got this!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to find yourself a business mentor.

The truth is you will make mistakes along the way, but as long as you recognize and learn from them, you will continue to grow confident.

Commission Or Booth Rental?

Are you prepared to go all in and hire staff and manage others?

Today’s hair salon industry is broken down into two types of models.

Commission based salons and booth rental/suite salons.

Let’s look at both.

Commission Salon Model

The most traditional salon model is to hire a stylist and pay them a commission on services they provide to customers.

For years salons have worked in this manner where you are the employer and stylist are employees.

Although a more complicated approach, it can be gratifying.

It requires more from you as an owner with such things as providing the entire salon’s products, payroll & taxes, and marketing for the whole salon.

Running a commission-based hair salon may also require you to balance taking care of your own client’s needs and your employee’s and their client’s needs.

It may be a good idea to hire a salon manager to help with daily systems and structures.

Booth/Suite Rental

A similar way about going into business for yourself as a hair salon owner is to find a booth rental salon and rent a chair weekly.

Today there are companies like Phenix Salon Suites where you can rent a suite.

Renting a booth/suite lets you live your dream of owning a hair salon and not worrying about hiring staff, payroll, or marketing others.

You can book your clients when you want and have the freedom to be responsible for yourself.

Here is an excellent article on starting a salon booth rental business from Salon Iris.


Start a hair salon partnership

Open Your Own Hair Salon Business Solo Or With A Partner

Let’s say, for this article, you decide to go for all the glory and open a commission-based salon.

Something you might consider is having a business partner.

Lots of successful businesses start with partnerships.

Having someone go in on your dream of owning a salon business can take some of the pressure of running the daily task off just you.

Maybe you handle the creative responsibility, and your co-owner takes the bookkeeping and managerial responsibility.

Another reason for having a business partner is the startup cost.

You both would bring financial funding to the new business, and most banks look kindly on partnerships when giving financing of a small business loan.

When doing a partnership, make sure your relationship is, and you can communicate well.

Like all relationships, communication is, and the ability to let go of the reins sometimes will take much stress off of you.

Start With A Hair Salon Business Plan

Having a business plan is one of the essential steps to jump into the hair salon business.

A salon business plan will keep you on track and answer any questions in the first couple of years in business.

Not having a strategy for your business needs like a marketing plan, a lease agreement, equipment needed, and the amount of money you need to run your hair salon can be catastrophic.

Whatever you make sure not to skip the small business planning process.


Write A Detailed Hair Salon Business Plan

Ready to open your own hair salon business

Don’t go in without a plan of how you will go about opening your dream salon.

It’s a huge decision, and having a detailed business plan will help you lay out all the critical decisions you will have to make.

A business plan requires you to do some intense research, which is necessary.

Think of it as a road map to follow even a year down the road; you will have it to revisit.

Most local colleges in your area will have a small business class you could take if you feel stuck.

Don’t rush and take your time with your research. You will thank me later.

Most people think they only need to write a business plan if they need to borrow money.

By the way, if you don’t need to hire cash, congrats, you are ahead of the game.

Although it is a great tool to help a bank or a family member understand you are serious about opening your dreams’ hair salon.

So What Is Included In Your Business Plan?

According to the small business association, here is what you should include.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Service or product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections
  • Appendix

To understand these points visit the US Small Business Association Website.

Make Sure You Have The Financial Funding You Will Need To Start A Hair Salon Business

How will you finance your new salon? One of the biggest reasons salons fail is weak financial planning.

Once you figure out how much you will need to get started, you should have six months of reserve in your bank account to cover expenses.

You have options for financing your business; let’s take a look at a few.,

  1. Your savings – have you been planning and saved enough to start your new business?
  2. Local Bank: Do you have a relationship with your bank? Banks are tight when it comes to financing a new business but worth a try. I’d say even if they don’t offer you a loan, stay in touch as, after the first year in place, you could apply for a line of credit.
  3. Friends and family – Who believes in you more than your close ones? Talk to them about helping you get started. Work out a contract that will allow you to pay them back once you are up and running. I bet you will be surprised by the support you will receive from them.
  4. Grants: Check with the small business administration to see if you qualify. There are individual grants for minorities, women, and ex-military.

Remember, you will have to pay back any loans after you open your salon.

If you find getting a business loan is more than you are ready to take on, consider starting in a salon suite and continue to save more money until your ready.

How To Open A Salon

Find A Location & Space For Your New Hair Salon.

As the old saying goes, location, location, location.

Finding the right space for your hair salon is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Decide how many hairstylists you plan on hiring and the stations you will need. Also, will you be selling retail products?

Will the new location provide easy access to parking and enough spaces for your clientele & staff to park?

When leasing a space, be sure and ask the landlord what is included in the monthly rent.
Are there CAM charges built-in, and what is covered?

Are they willing to offer a few months of free rent while you build the space out?

Do they offer any money toward the build-out?
Ask if you sign a longer lease, with they consider a discounted rate per month.

Ensure the HVAC maintenance is covered, and the roof is covered as well.

Before signing the lease, have a general contractor inspect and give you a bid on the build-out.

You should know what it will cost you to get the building space ready to open before committing to a long lease.

While looking and choosing a location, make sure it has good traffic flow and visibility.
What are the demographics of your clientele you want to reach?

Are there big-box retailers nearby that can attract customers your way?

It’s essential that customers can find you and you have plenty of parking and outdoor lighting.

How To Open A Salon

What Equipment And Products Will You Need To Start Your Own Salon Business?

Purchasing Or Leasing Which Is Right For You?

Equipment and products can quickly eat into your opening budget.

Your options are to buy new equipment or look online for a closed salon selling off used equipment.

The savings can be huge, and after you are up and running and generating profit, you could purchase new chairs and shampoo bowls.

Another option is to lease your equipment.

Minerva Beauty is the leader in salon equipment and offers to finance on their beautiful styling equipment.

Leasing is helpful when money is tight in the beginning. 

You can also write it off on your taxes, which is a benefit.

You will need Miscellaneous equipment and a washer & dryer, Phone systems, computers, and even a sign for the front of the building.

Be sure and shop around and again consider buying used if possible.

Retail & Backbar Products

When it comes to products and opening your new hair salon business, it becomes more personal. 

As a hairstylist, you probably have a company you enjoy working with.

Contact the company and ask if they offer a new salon discount and help you get set up in your retail area.

Trust me; they will want to support you since you will frequently be ordering.

Most companies have back bar programs and offer discounts when you buy in bulk.

Having a sound inventory system in place can save you a lot of money over the years.

Retail sales will never make you rich but can offset your monthly expenses like rent and utilities.

Legal Requirements For Opening Your Own Hair Salon Business

To start a salon business, you will need specific licenses to operate legally.

Now I’m no lawyer, so I advise contacting an attorney that deals with setting up small businesses.

You can also check with Legal Zoom; they are a great resource and can be a little cheaper than local attorneys and send updates when it’s time to renew your licenses.

  1. Here are some ideas of the licenses you will need to obtain if you want to open your own hair salon businessState Cosmetology or Beautician’s License
  2. Salon Retail Seller Permit
  3. Salon Business Operation License
  4. Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  5. Certificate of Occupancy

If you are resourceful most, all the local state agencies can provide the information online google each license + state.

If you are resourceful most, all the local state agencies can provide the information online google each license + state.


How To Open A Salon

Hire Staff For Your Hair Salon Business

Finding a qualified hairstylist for your new hair salon business is the next thing you will want to do. Maybe you know local stylists in your area who are qualified.

Offer an incentive to have them come and interview at your new salon or do an open house and send out invites to have them do a tour.

While you have them in the salon, explain what your goal is with your new salon.

When you open the hair salon business, you must hire at least a couple of experienced hairdressers to start.

Then maybe contact your local schools and ask for their top students to come to do a tour.

Hiring from schools can create an opportunity to train the future of our industry.

Set up a training program and teach them everything from the start.

Go to the schools often and volunteer to teach a class for the teachers.

There is no better way to connect with cosmetology students than to motivate them with a technique they haven’t learned yet.

Here are some schools you might try reaching out to if you have them in your area.

Paul Mitchell, the School

Aveda Institute

Toni & Guy

Attract New Customers With Hair Salon Marketing & Social Media Planning

Website Design

The first thing you want to do with your marketing when you start a salon business is to hire a professional web designer.

Your hair salon website will be the foundation for all your future online marketing.

Your website’s design should reflect a strong brand and incorporate the color scheme of your logo and salon interior.

A website should have a homepage, about page, services page, contact page, and landing pages for each city you serve.

If your salon software supports it, you can integrate an online booking feature.

Having an online booking feature is like having a receptionist 24 hours a day, and clients can book even when the salon isn’t open.

We suggest hiring an expert web design company like Top Social Leads who specializes in web design, SEO, and Online lead generation for Hair salons.

Next, we will go over (SEO) Search engine marketing and how powerful it can help new customers find you online.

How To Open A Salon

SEO Search Engine Marketing

If you are going to open your own hair salon business, you will want to do SEO.

Each month people search for a hair salon near me 817,851 times in the United States alone.

I promise you will want to be the hair salon in your local area to monetize from Google.

hair salon buford-ga google search

One of the first things you will do is set up a Google my business page for your new salon.

Then have a Seo expert write content for your new website.

Someone who understands what exactly Google wants to see on your web pages.

Next, you will want to expose your website to online directories such as these below.

SEO is one of the best ways to market your website organically.

I would at least advise having an SEO expert do a setup for your business online.

Social Media Marketing And Your New Salon.

It’s 2019, and if you aren’t marketing your hair salon or any business on social media, you may be the only one.

The internet is a busy place; it’s easy to get lost without a defined plan.

Focus your social media marketing in these two ways.

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media marketing account, local marketing keeps your focus on the local client.

Many hairdressers spend way too much time posting and don’t direct it toward the clients.

Instead, they use #hashtags that focus on the industry, techniques, and products.

Look for local forums on Facebook and interact with the locals.

When the time is right, and it feels natural, invite them to visit the salon and offer them a new customer voucher.

When posting on Instagram, look for #hashtags with your city in them.

You can still add the industry tags but use local ones in your post.

Post with intent – You always want to inform the user and educate.

The second option when posting on social media is to send traffic to your website.

Now, why would we want to do this?

The more traffic your site gets, the more it shows Google that you are doing something right and that if people are visiting, you must be sharing useful content.

Google loves content

The more traffic your website gets, the higher in the search engines it will rise.

Traffic to your website will help new local customers to find your salon.

Any marketing, including paid advertising, is not an overnight opportunity.

It will take time and many posts to see the maximum results.

So if you are going to open a new hair salon business, you will want to set up a marketing plan.

So Are You Ready To Open A Hair Salon?

Now that you understand how to open a salon it’s time to get to work.

I know you are ready and excited to get your small business started.

I hope this article gives you somewhere to start for your journey to come.

It’s time to get your new business going, and one of the easiest ways to hold yourself accountable is to make sure you surround yourself with friends and family who will support you.

Good luck and go live your dream!

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How much money do you make from owning a salon?

The amount of money you make from owning a salon will vary depending on several factors, including the size and location of your salon, the services you offer, and how well you manage your business. However, in general, salons can be lucrative businesses if done well.

Some things to remember if you're thinking about starting a salon: first, do your research and understand what it takes to run a successful salon. Second, be sure to price your services appropriately; charging too little could mean you don't make as much money as you could while charging too much could scare away customers. Finally, always put your customers first and strive to provide excellent service in order.

How do I open a hair salon?

If you're thinking about opening a hair salon, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you'll need to choose the correct location. Look for a place convenient for your target market with good visibility. Secondly, you'll need to design your salon stylishly and invitingly. Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that will make your clients feel comfortable. Lastly, make sure you hire talented stylists passionate about their work. With the right team in place, you're sure to succeed!

How do salon owners make money?

There are a few ways that salon owners can make money. The most common way is through haircuts and color services. Salon owners may offer services that include styling, perms, and waxing. Many salon owners also generate income by selling hair products and tools.

Why salon is a good business?

There are a few reasons why salon businesses can be very successful. For one, the hair and beauty industry is always in demand, regardless of the economy. People will always want to look their best, so there will always be a steady stream of customers for salons. Additionally, salon businesses can be relatively low-cost to start up and run, especially if you already have the necessary equipment and supplies. And finally, if you're good at what you do and build up a solid reputation, you can charge top dollar for your services - meaning big profits for your business!

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