Eight Short Steps to Open a Hair Salon

If this title caught your attention, you are probably thinking about opening a hair salon. And although hair salons demand a lot of work and energy, they can also be very profitable and rewarding businesses!

The beauty and cosmetics industry is booming — amounting to $46 billion a year. More so, it is expected to bring in more than $190 billion by 2024.

But, as you know, success requires much more than a thriving market and a good disposition. A hair salon can only be successful with adequate planning and proper management.

If you want to increase the chances of your salon’s success, you will need to follow these essential steps:

1. Establish a business model
2. Outline your strategy
3. Draft a solid financial plan
4. Choose an adequate location
5. Design your salon
6. Hire a professional team
7. Promote your services
8. Plan for the future

Step 1 – Establish a Business Model

A business model describes how your salon creates, delivers, and captures value and will determine how you run and manage your business.

Thus, ask yourself:

  • Will you develop your brand, or will you buy an established franchise?
  • Are you going to buy an existing salon and remodel it? Or are you planning on building one from scratch?
  • Will you hire a full-time/part-time staff? Or are you going to rent the space for stylists and cosmetologists and charge them a fee?

Once you have established a business model, you can move on to your strategy. Nonetheless, keep in mind that business models are not static. You can (and should) pivot your business model periodically to create opportunities to expand revenue and grow your business.

Step 2 – Outline Your Strategy

Now that you have established your business model, you will need to outline your strategy. The best way to do so is by drafting your salon’s business plan.

A business plan will help you focus on your goals and describe the objectives that will help you accomplish them. Plus, it is a great way to keep your priorities organized and straight.

It is important to note that your business plan does not need to be a complicated document. However, it will need to include:

  • An executive summary of your project
  • A brief description of each of the services you plan to offer
  • Thorough market analysis to help you understand where you stand within the industry
  • Your salon’s operation and management plan
  • Critical financial data and projections

If you are unsure of what or how to create your business plan, there are plenty of resources online that can help.

Step 3 – Draft a Solid Financial Plan

The next thing you need to focus on is your finances — how much will you need to open your salon, and how will you secure those funds. Here is where you decide to apply for a bank loan, look for possible investors, or fund your business with your capital.

Know that, as a rule of thumb, you should have at least six months to a year of your business’ capital before you even think about opening your doors.

Owning a salon comes with a series of fixed and fluctuating expenses ranging from utilities, payroll, and inventory to insurance policies, marketing, and equipment.

Hence, make sure your plan outlines and addresses each of these expenses effectively. Creating a monthly budget ensures that your costs will not exceed your profits.

Step 4 – Choose an Adequate Location

Real estate is all about location, location, location! Therefore,
before you sign a lease or decide to buy a place, analyze your options.
Below a list of some of the most important things you need to consider:

• Visibility and Accessibility

Is the space located in a high trafficked area? Are people able to access the salon easily? Will your potential signage be visible?

• Target audience

Which location will best fit your target audience’s needs and wants? Are you near an epicenter based on your potential customers’ demographic?

• Competition

Are there other salons in the area? Will you be competing with an already established brand within the neighborhood?

Once you can answer all these questions, you can decide what the best location for your salon will be.

Step 5 – Design Your Salon

Now it is on to the fun part, designing your salon! You might already have a pretty good idea or mental picture of how you want your salon to look. But, before you set your heart on a specific style or design, you must consider your audience.

Does your idea suit the sort of customer you plan to attract? If the answer is “yes,” then you can start choosing furniture. If your answer is “no,” then it might be time to consider tweaking your vision.

A considerable chunk of your capital will go towards designing or remodeling your salon. Nonetheless, you must adhere to your budget. You do not want to spend all your liquid capital to keep up with your interior design plans.

Step 6 – Hire a Professional Team

Finding exceptional salon employees can be challenging. But, you must take your hiring process very seriously. Know that a hair salon is only as successful as the people working in it!

To create an environment that your clients will love and appreciate, your customer service needs to be top-notch.

Plus, owning a hair salon is a great responsibility. As the owner, you are responsible for the welfare of your consumers. And thus, you should only hire experienced and skilled professionals.

Once you have a reliable pool of candidates, make sure you take the time to train and prepare them. After all, your business’ reputation depends on it.

Check out our tips on finding a the best employees HERE.

Step 7 – Promote Your Services

A good marketing plan will draw clients and help you build a solid brand. Thus, it would be best if you began promoting your salon months before you open shop. To do so, you must:

• Develop a cohesive corporate identity

To stand out and for clients (and competitors) to take you seriously. In that case, you will need to develop your hair salon’s corporate identity. In other words, you need to invest in a logo, uniforms, and other tools that will help you portray a professional image.

• Create an attractive website

As your platform is an extension of your brand, you want a decent website that includes your location, hours, services, and rates. If you can splurge, invest in an online booking system.

An online booking system will not only allow you to keep better track of appointments. It will also make it easier for potential customers to book your services.

• Roll-out a grassroots-based campaign

As a new brand, your best bet is to ease your way into the community by immersing yourself in the culture. Hence, think about ways to grab local audiences’ attention by hosting an event or partnering with other well-established brands.

• Embrace social media

Social media can be an essential aspect of your marketing plan. Because it is affordable but also a great way to expand your network and secure new leads.

Step 8 – Plan for the Future

From the very beginning, you must have a clear path of what it is you wish to accomplish in a 3-year, 5-year, and even 10-year time. Success can make some people complacent, but only the truly exceptional salon owners will keep up with market trends, grow their business, and think about expansion.

Thus, make sure your planning includes future goals and objectives that could result in more profits.

8 Steps to Start a Hairdressing Salon

If you want your hair salon to succeed, you must create and follow a plan. In the cosmetics and beauty industry, there is no room for improvisation. The competition is fierce and so following the steps mentioned above can go a long way!

But, as we explained before, planning alone will not make your salon an over-night sensation. You also need skilled staff, effective marketing, adequate branding, and good customer service.

Don’t forget to think about what you want your business to become; setting future tangible goals can also help you grow and succeed.

5. Rotate the Salon Promotions Rotating your salon promotions will keep your business interesting to new and old clients alike. You can host different new client specials that rotate monthly to attract different types of clients into your salon. Don’t forget to also have store-wide promotions for old and new clients, especially after the new client special has already been exhausted for someone. Salon promotions for new clients or store-wide specials could be along the lines of: Wash, cut, and blow dry is 15% off. Any color treatment service is 10% off. Kids’ haircut special for only $5. Weave sew-ins are 10% off for repeat customers. Hosting a “perm” month where they are Senior discounts of 10% off. Student discounts could be 10% as well based on your discretion. Buy one get one (BOGO) free promotion for any of your salon retail products; perhaps hair accessories. Buy 3 get 1 (B3G1) free promotion in the salon retail section perhaps on shampoo and conditioner. And so much more! 6. Run Giveaways at Your Salon Running giveaway at your salon will build client anticipation and even publicity for your business. To fund the giveaway, you can have the client earn an entry for every certain amount spent at your salon. This would be a great way to encourage upselling, so that you can fund the giveaway’s prizes without having to worry about the source of funding. Say that for every $20 spent on a salon service earns the client an entry into your current giveaway. If your client’s bill is $118.50 for their hair care services, let them know that he or she can receive a 6th giveaway entry if they reach the $120 mark by purchasing some hair scrunchies or their favorite shampoo from the salon retail section. Employing this tactic will be a great way to move products of any kind, especially if it is something that is not purchased as much as another inventory item. Giveaway ideas could be: $100 gift card to use at your salon and/or its retail section. A spa day kit that includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, facial masks, hair masks, foot masks, and etcetera. Multiple care packages with sample sizes of lotion, hand cream, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner samples so that 10 or more entrants have a chance to win. Free hair care service of up to $50 at your salon. Have multiple winners to give away products that are not moving off your shelves as quickly, but it is still within date to be used. Worse case scenario, the winner can just give it to someone that they know will definitely use the product. 7. Find Your Salon’s Niche If you have not done so already, find your salon’s niche. A niche is something that is your salon’s speciality to help you compete with other local salons that may not have the same prowess as you in this specific practice. Your niche could be color services, perms, weave sew-ins, super bomb haircuts, and more. To find your niche, find a common specialty amongst all your Hair Stylists that they love to do for your clients. Have them continue to perfect that service over time, so that you can market it as your salon’s niche. If your salon’s name is “Color Hair Care Haven”, your slogan can be, “The destination for all things hair coloring in (insert your city or town name)”. Now that’s definitely making a name for your salon by also choosing a slogan to go by once you have your niche figured out. This goes back to also listening to your clients and observing their purchasing activity with your available haircare services. Review your point-of-sale transactions to see the service that was most purchased over the last few months. You can also base your niche on the popularity of the haircare service requested from clients. Have your Hair Stylists perfect their ability to perform this most popular hair care service, so that they are always prepared for the next client that requests it to be done. Practice can be done on a salon dummy or on a willing friend or family member that does not mind being a practice model for the Hair Stylist. As a business, you can even have the Hair Stylists practice on one another or on you, so that you know they are really ready for this specific service to your salon’s niche. 8. Have a Retail Section in Your Salon Yes, we have made hints already in this blog post about having a retail section in your salon, but now we will emphasize it more so here. Be sure to have a large stock of the following in your salon retail section. Professional brand shampoo and conditioner Relaxers Clip-in weaves Hair wraps Salon towels Hair color Professional brand hair care tools Combs Hair brushes Hair accessories High quality at-home hair styling tools Curling irons Flat irons Hair dryers Analyze your demand before over ordering. Less people may be looking for hair styling tools, so keep only a few of them in your inventory at a time, so that they are not taking up space or growing outdated by sitting in your inventory too long. If someone is interested in a hair styling tool in which you do not have too much stock, you can place an order for them that comes directly to your store for the client to pick up or it can be sent right to their home. Of course, you will sell shampoo and conditioner the most at your salon retail section, but be sure to limit your ordering on that as well. Look at your sales for the last month in your retail section and base your ordering around those numbers. Don’t order specifically the amount that you sold last month, but maybe have 5-10 bottles extra just in case sales pick up on that specific product. Find that balance where you do not over order or under order or any of your product. There could be some months that you order much less because of the surplus you have had on hand from prior months. 9. Offer Free Amenities in the Salon Waiting Area Go the extra mile and offer some free amenities in the salon waiting area. Especially if it’s spring or summer and more people are wanting to get their hair done, it would be best to offer some amenities as your clients wait for a free salon chair. A television with some reality television or a new channel would pique the interest of clients in the waiting area. Offer free WiFi to your clients waiting for a service, so that they can surf the Internet efficiently during their wait. Have a small Keurig available for people who want a free cup of coffee or tea on the house. This small free amenity will be seen as a great courtesy where the client will feel like he or she is truly at home in your salon when receiving your services. Go as far as having a vending machine available where clients can use their spare dollar bills and change to get their favorite beverage or snack while they are waiting for services. 10. Treat Your Clients Like Your Best Friends Besides listening to your clients, treat your clients like your best friends. Think of it like you are hooking up your girlfriends with the best hair deal in town, and you will bring back even more clients. Encourage the Hair Stylists to make small talk with the clients to make them feel valued and comfortable while in the salon chair. Maybe the client has had a bad day and that experience of treating clients like your best friend can help that person to have an even better day. Just be genuine and kind and you will be rewarded. Related Questions How often should I host giveaways at my salon? How often you decide to host giveaways at your salon is totally up to your discretion. Of course, you could lose money if you do too many giveaways throughout the year if you lack the proper funding for them. Consider starting with 1 giveaway every 4 months which means you will have 3 per year. You could even host giveaways around key holidays for the salon industry such as New Year’s (new year, new you mentality), Mother’s Day (women love salon trips for their special day), and Christmas (great gift idea). It’s up to you! Should I hire a Social Media Manager for my salon? If you need some part-time assistance in managing your social media accounts, consider hiring a Social Media Manager. However, to reduce labor costs for your business, you can learn the tricks of the trade with social media and manage it yourself. This is great if you have enough Hair Stylists on staff to serve the clients as you focus yourself more on the business tasks behind your salon.1. What permits are required to open a hair salon business?

Before opening your hair salon, you will need to comply with various legalities, including:

  • Business licenses
  • Specific professional licenses
  • Insurance policies (e.g., General Liability, Workers Compensation)
  • Zoning and building permits
  • Re-seller permits (if you plan to sell products)
  • And more

The legalities needed for your salon will depend on your location, scope of work, and type of business entity. Hence, make sure you find a professional to help you navigate the bureaucracies.

2. How much does a salon owner make per month?

The average annual income for a hair salon owner in the United States is $47,249 per year or $3,937 per month. Nonetheless, your income might vary (from $22,000 to $65,000 ) depending on a series of elements, including your salon’s experience, location, services/product offering, number of employees, and more.

Furthermore, according to recent statistics, salon owners have reported up to $90,000 per year. In other words, there is plenty of room to grow and generate more significant profits.

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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.