How to Start a Salon Business


The beauty and personal care products and services market has grown in the last few years. Somehow, even the pandemic seems to have affected the market and caused the growth of 4.35% globally. As the Mordor Intelligence report shows, the biggest growth was registered in Asia, but the largest market for this sector remains North America.

This is why starting a salon business today can be a great idea. In this article, we’ll dig deep into any detail of how to start a salon business. We aren’t just going through the practical steps of launching your salon business, but we’ll also discuss how to be prepared so that you can mark your presence as an excellent and reliable salon that can become a point of reference for its clients.

How to Start a Beauty Salon Business: A Guide

We are going to break down the process of how to start your own salon business into steps. In this guide, we’ll take you from your initial idea or purpose to the opening day!

Step 1: Make research to finalize services for your salon

Market research should be the first step of any business strategy or process. You need to know what you’re dealing with if you want to have success in some area.

Part of this market research is already done: we’ve already discussed in our introduction that the beauty services market has been growing and it’s still growing. In fact, forecasts expect the market to grow even further up to - at least - 2027 (Mordor Intelligence Report).

Your market research should move on in two ways: on one side you need to understand who your audience is; on the other, you should also focus on understanding the competition.

Many studies and articles show what you may already have noticed, that the target audience of beauty salons is mostly women, but men are also starting to take more and more care of themselves.

Furthermore, you should check the residential and commercial areas around your spot: what kind of people live and work there? What is their age, their job, what do they do in their free time? Answering all these questions will help you understand what kind of specific services you can offer in your salon, at what price, and how to market them.

Last but not least, you should do the same with your competitors: discover what active beauty salons are working around, and what kind of service are they offering? Can you offer different services? Can you provide a better service than them? Can you offer better prices? Find your way to distinguish yourself from your competitors, whether it is because you're more affordable or more expensive, quicker or more attentive…

Step 2: Build your salon concept

Based on the information you gathered during your market research you now need to start designing your business concept. That is, you need to understand what kind of services you’re going to offer, what your brand identity will be, and how many employees you’re going to need…

You need to sort of build a virtual image of your salon in your mind that can guide you during the actual construction of every aspect of your business. However, this shouldn’t be limited to daydreaming, you need to answer specific questions like:

  • How will you interact with your clients?
  • How are you going to find new clients?
  • What will be your personal touch?

It’s around this concept that you are going to build your business plan.

Step 3: Create a business plan

When we think of a business plan, we usually think of a budget. Of course, this is the time when other than how to start up a salon business, you need to find answers to how much to start a nail salon business: budget is an important aspect but it’s not the only one.

In fact, you need to focus on a balance, a compromise between the business concept you’ve built and how much money you can actually spend. If you don’t write it down, you risk running out of budget even before you can open the doors of your salon.

How to start a hair salon business plan

What should be included in a beauty salon business plan? Other than financial estimates, it should include the following:

  • your targeted audience
  • an analysis of the competition
  • your goals
  • a time frame for your goals
  • your budget
  • your detailed expenses (rent, supplies, salaries - your own included!)
  • an estimate of the number of employees you need to hire
  • an estimate of your employees’ salary

Step 4: Pick the location

When you start wondering how to start a salon business, your first thought can be “I’d need a location first”. As you can see in this guide, however, this is only step number 4. That is, you should start searching for your location only after you’ve already analyzed the competition in the area, understand what your beauty salon business is going to look like, and you’ve redacted a detailed business plan that tells you exactly how much you can spend on the rent for your location.

Avoid focusing only on your budget, however: pick a location that is in line with your brand identity and your audience's needs and expectations.

There are some additional aspects of a location that can level up your business. These are not “mandatory” but they can help make your salon business more successful (even though they may make the price grow). We are speaking about:

  • if you can, pick a location that is easily accessible from the street;
  • pick a place where parking a car is easy;
  • pick a place that is already comfortable for clients with special needs, for example, people in a wheelchair. This way, you want to need to pay for those accommodations or justify with your clients because those accommodations are absent.

Step 5: Choose high-quality beauty & salon furniture

You now have a business plan to guide you through your adventure and a location to start your business. It’s time to fill your space with everything you need to provide your services to your future clients.

Again, a balance between quality and budget is vital. You need to be careful to stay within your budget, but saving as much money as you can isn’t a good strategy either. When your main goal is to avoid spending, you always end up opting for the lowest-quality items, furniture, and equipment.

This isn’t, however, the time for being cheap: your furniture contributes to building your brand identity when a client enters your salon. Furthermore, they’ll need to stay there for a long time: what is the point of buying cheap furniture if you’ll need to replace it all next year? Plan a bigger investment at this stage to avoid spending more money in the short future.

The same stands for your equipment: the quality of the service you’ll be able to provide, whether you’ll take care of nails, bodies, or hairs, will depend on your equipment. Furthermore, take into consideration that the quality of the equipment and products you use for your treatments will affect the price of those treatments. You need to find the right balance between three aspects: your budget, the quality of your equipment, and the price you’ll set for your services.

Step 6: Prepare for the grand opening

Everything is now set up for the grand opening. However, your job isn’t over: you now need to let people and potential clients know that you are there, what kind of services you provide, what problems you can fix, how you are different from the competition… In one word, you need marketing.

A beauty salon isn’t a service you can provide online, and it has nothing to do with digital business; still, you should never underestimate the importance of the Internet when it comes to marketing. Even though your business has nothing to do with tech or the digital world, digital marketing should have great importance in your marketing strategy.

Of course, you may want to target the audience that lives and works around your location: the great thing about digital marketing is that you can set up a couple of settings, and you can target any age range, area, or social group you like.

Conclusion

We’ve just gone through every step of how to start a salon business. The salon business is a very generic term that can include hair or nail salons, tattoo studios, skin care salons, and more… However, the steps and principles discussed in the above article are valid for all those declinations.

If you perform these steps in this order, before your first opening day, your climb to growth and success will be faster and smoother, and - above all - you’ll be avoiding bad surprises during your amazing journey.


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