10 Things to Do Before Opening a Salon

10 Things to Do Before Opening a Salon

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 can be a steady, profitable business, but before you open one, you need a strong business plan and preparation.
  • Finding a niche for your salon helps you attract a loyal client base.
  • The most important things a salon needs to succeed are a good culture, knowledgeable employees and an understanding of what its services are worth.

datachannel.org10 Things to Do Before Opening a Salon. When it comes to owning a business, a hair salon is a pretty safe bet – the beauty industry is valued at $532 billion per year. Beauty is also a steady business, often remaining unaffected during economic recessions.

But even if you have the styling skills, launching your own business can be a challenging process that requires patience and know-how. The cost of opening your own salon is around $62,000 for a basic setup, but it can go up to $500,000 or even more. No matter how much you invest in your new business, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure your salon’s success.

The cost of opening a salon

Before mapping out your finances and securing funding, you’ll want to consider what, exactly, you need funding for. Here are some common salon setup costs for aspiring owners:

  • Licenses and permits: To open a salon, you’ll need a business license and any permits required in your area. If you plan on selling products, you’ll also need a seller’s permit.
  • Real estate: You’ll have to find a place to either rent or buy. If you choose to pay a monthly lease, you’ll likely have to provide a security deposit upfront.
  • Payroll: This involves salaries or wages for the employees you hire, and all the associated benefits you choose to offer.
  • Salon equipment: A salon requires a ton of equipment, like beauty supplies, sinks, chairs and hair dryers. You may also need a POS system, computer, business phone system and more.
  • Inventory: If you plan to sell cosmetics or other products, you’ll want to stock up on your inventory before opening.
  • Insurance: To legally cover your business, you’ll want to set aside money for a decent insurance plan.

These are just some of the many costs of opening a salon. Keep a checklist of possible salon expenses so you know what to account for when acquiring funding.

Financing for a salon

Salons are often seen as high-risk businesses, and many banks are hesitant to invest. However, there are many alternatives to traditional loans. Here are some popular salon financing options.

sba loans

With low rates and fast repayment times, SBA loans are perfect for small businesses starting out. However, these loans are relatively competitive, so you will need a high credit score to qualify. Also, if you need immediate funding, we recommend that you look elsewhere.


Microloans are much easier to obtain than traditional SBA loans because there is no need for an expansive credit history or time in business. SBA microloans can go as high as $ 50,000. Just make sure you have a solid business plan before trying to secure your loan.

Alternative lenders

Alternative lenders tend to be much cheaper (and immediate) than other sources of capital. If you need money fast, you might want to consider a term loan, asset-based loan, credit card, or business line of credit.

equipment financing

You need a fair amount of equipment to run a salon, such as chairs, sinks, and hairdryers. When you start out, it can be difficult to pay for all of these purchases. With equipment financing, you’ll receive a loan to cover these payments, so you can get started on the right foot without breaking the bank.

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Instead of buying brand new equipment, consider renting it to reduce the upfront cost. Some lenders also offer equipment financing, which use the equipment as collateral; it would then make regular payments until the value of the equipment is repaid with interest.

How to develop a salon marketing plan

Marketing is an essential process for every business, but certain tactics work better for some businesses than others. When opening a local salon, you’ll want to focus on becoming a part of your community. Since you’re a brick-and-mortar business (i.e., you operate out of a physical location), building your local following is crucial for you to attract and retain loyal clients.

Salon marketing requires technique and consistency. Here are some tips for marketing your salon:

  • List yourself in online directories. To show up in digital searches, you’ll have to make sure your business is listed in online directories.
  • Manage online reviews. Consumers tend to trust online ratings and reviews to vet local businesses. It’s important to address every review you receive – especially the bad ones.
  • Partner with local small businesses. Partnering with another business in your community will help you broaden your reach and build a reputation for your brand in the area. Host events or coordinate deals with your partner businesses to offer your customers an exclusive experience.
  • Offer referral discounts. If an existing customer recruits another client to your salon, you should reward the recruiter with some sort of discount. This will encourage people to spread the word about your business.
  • Create loyalty incentives. Loyal customers deserve special treatment. To show your clients you appreciate them, create incentives like discounts, punch cards and special promotions.
  • Utilize social media. Your social media is a place for customers to get to know you on a more personal level. Connect with your community by following other small businesses in the area, engaging with your target market and sharing behind-the-scenes content (like before and after photos of clients’ haircuts) to build your credibility and cultivate brand awareness.

Opening a salon

Check out these 10 expert tips to start off your salon on the right foot.

1. Create a salon business plan.

Writing a business plan should be your first step when starting any business. It provides you with a clear objective, outlines how you will achieve that objective, and gives you a good idea of what you need to do to be successful.

“A business plan is key to starting a salon,” said Ali Ryan, owner of The Dry House. “The plan offers a road map for salon owners to follow and helps entrepreneurs consider all areas of the business. A business plan makes sure you set up a metric for success and consider the financials before you invest huge amounts of time and money in a new salon.”

Make sure you have a good understanding of the existing salon market in your area, including how large it is, if it is growing and the trends. This will help you to plan exactly how you will compete against other salons.

You should also have a strong idea of your target audience, said Michelle Lee, co-owner and master designer of Salon Eva Michelle. “Think about what kind of salon you want to open [and] what culture you want.”

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2. Research your local laws and regulations.

Laws and regulations vary by where you live and what type of salon you are opening. For example, a salon that strictly provides hair services will require different licenses from a salon that also offers facials or massages.

“Do your research,” said Shanell Jett, owner and stylist at Jettset Mobile Studio. “Ensure that you are complying with the state laws and regulations. If you have to make some adjustments to your plan because of regulations and laws, do so early so that you can avoid potentially having to stop your operation later or [having to pay] a fine.”

These are some of the common licenses, regulations and permits required 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.

“With salons on every corner, even in small towns, entering the market with a specialty or service niche can greatly increase the hype and press about your opening,” said Pamela Jeschonek, owner of Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio.

You think about what makes your stay unique. Are the services you offer? Your attentive staff? Your personalized experiences? Whatever it is, try to make it a focal point of your identity and grow your business from there. In other words, find your niche. Growing your business in a niche market is a lot easier than trying to be successful in a large general market.

A niche market gives you more security against failures and the opportunity to find out what works well (and what doesn’t) for your business by allowing you to interact more closely with your customers.

“Even if you offer many services, promoting a niche or specialty service will not only help you attract a very loyal customer base, it will instantly give your salon credibility as an expert in your niche space,” said Jeschonek.

4. Talk to distributors.

To get products for your salon, such as chairs, mirrors, washing and drying stations, shampoo, conditioner, pins and brushes, you will need to contact a distributor. You can find local, wholesale or national distributors with local agents.

For larger items like chairs and hairdryers, you’ll need to partner with a large wholesale distributor like Belvedere Maletti or Takara Belmont. You can purchase smaller items from a local retailer or directly from a manufacturer, such as Paul Mitchell or Estée Lauder.

As you begin your search for distributors, remember to shop carefully and consider every potential customer. Look at the prices and customer support (such as tips or advice) offered by different retailers and ask if they offer any offers or benefits.

5. Develop a strong customer base.

As a salon owner, you need to put your clients and their experience at the top of your priority list. This will create repeat customers who, over time, will build a reliable customer base.

“My # 1 advice for aspiring entrepreneurs before opening a salon is to have a number of professional clients to cover overheads,” said speaker and entrepreneur Sandra LaMorgese. “With a strong customer base, you will be in a better position to make decisions.”

6. Choose the right location to open your salon.

Whether you are buying a building or renting a commercial space, your location is one of the biggest expenses for opening a salon and there are many factors to consider when making this decision. It must be in a well-populated area and easily accessible by car or public transport. Also make sure you are far enough away from competitors offering the same services as your salon.

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“Protect a strong position with ample parking,” said Jim Salmon, vice president of business services for the Navy Federal Credit Union. “If you allow customers to easily visit your salon, you will have more customers, which in turn means more income to pay off your initial loan and growth expenses.”

7. Hire a designer.

If you have the financial means, hiring a designer to help you create your salon can reduce stress and ensure an attractive and functional workspace. A designer can help you determine an overall look consistent with the image you want to project.

“Working with a designer or space planner [can] ensure you are maximizing your earning potential for the space,” said Miriam Deckert, SalonSmart Marketing Director. “If construction work is needed, try to negotiate those costs in your lease.”

Deckert recommends taking advantage of the space in the center of the room with double-sided workstations or sofas for waiting guests. You need to know the size of each area before purchasing equipment or furniture.

8. Focus on your personal.

Your salon is as good as the people you hire to help run it. Because beauty is such a personal industry, it is vital to maintain a knowledgeable, knowledgeable and friendly staff. “I would recommend any new salon to invest time in staff training and motivation,” said Jennifer Quinn, director of digital marketing for Phorest Salon Software. “Your salon will be built around your stylists and technicians, [so] making sure they feel comfortable selling products and other treatments through the brand is the difference between success and failure.”

Taking the time to thoroughly train your employees will help your company perform better and maintain a professional reputation.

“Being passionate about growing your people is important,” said Lee. “Be a leader, not a boss.”

9. Think about your customers.

“Create a vision of how you want customers to feel, what you want them to feel and what adjectives customers will use to describe their experience,” said Samira Far, founder of Bellacures. “This will help develop a look, feel and atmosphere.”

When you start, you collect feedback from your customers about what they like and what they don’t like about your salon. Describe in your business plan how you intend to meet customer needs and wishes as much as possible and show your customers that you value and act based on their inputs.

10. Upload what you’re worth.

It can be difficult to decide how much to charge for your services, especially when you are just getting started with your business. After doing some research and getting a rough idea of ​​what someone with your level of education might charge, you should carefully consider your skills and training and determine a price based on that, not what they charge them. others in your area.

“You don’t know anything about them or their skills,” said Sheryl Miller, owner of Fringe Hair Art. “I charged $ 60 per haircut when I first opened in a city where the most expensive haircut is. it was $ 38. I had 25 years of training and education to get here. Some people thought he was crazy and wouldn’t understand. Not only did I get it, [but] I have since raised [the prices] to $ 70 and am still billing. If you’re good at what you do, people will pay for it. “

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