The most important part of any new business is making sure you know what to do before the doors even open. So when you’re considering opening your own hair and nail salon, you need to make a budget of how much it is going to cost to open and run your salon—but how do you know what has to go into that budget?
The cost of opening a salon on average is $125,000; adding nail services to that same business makes the initial cost jump to around $150,000. General annual upkeep, equipment and supplies, and wages cost around $100,000 annually. Cosmetologist or Beautician’s courses: a one-time cost of $5,000 to $15,000. Nail Specialist courses: $3,000 to $10,000. Licensure: annual or every other year: $100 to $5,000. Legal fees and insurance: annual cost of $1,500 to $5,000. Equipment, Supplies, and your Business Location: varies; annual cost around $100,000. Marketing: variable, usually $250 to $750 to start.
If you think this number is high, don’t worry—these are just the start up costs. Depending on the choices you make, your monthly costs will be much lower. But what goes into each budget line item? Read on to find out more.
1. Cost of Cosmetologist or Beautician’s Courses.
This is your most important piece of your puzzle before you even consider opening your business. To even start, you need to have the proper knowledge and licensure, meaning you need to make sure you go to school before you set up your salon.
In some cases, your cosmetology courses can help you learn how to set up your own business, so it may greatly help you in the long run.
In certain states, you do not need to have this certification if you are simply running your own salon. In that case, you would have to hire someone with that certification before you can open, and you are not permitted to do any of the styling.
Read more about cosmetology school at the American Association of Cosmetology Schools website to find out how you can attend and where in your state these classes are available. Most cosmetologist or beautician’s courses cost $5,000 to $15,000 and are a one time cost.
2. Cost of Nail Specialist courses
Because a hair salon does not typically include a nail specialist, this is something you’ll have to do separately. It still falls under the American Association of Cosmetology Schools purview, so they will have more specific information for you regarding what classes you would have to take to get your certification.
Like in the case of the previous courses, you are not required to have this licensure—if you aren’t the one providing the services. If you intend on hiring this position out, the person you hire must have the course information and the licensure that comes with it. Typically, you will find nail specialist courses running $3,000 to $10,000.
3. Cost of Licensure: annual or every other year:
Because these positions require education, you are required to have a license to prove that you or your employee has put in the work. Making sure you have the proper licensure following your courses is key to get to your next steps.
The next part you need to consider is making sure your business is legal with the government. You will need a certificate of occupancy, which is determined by your local government, once you find a physical location. You must also receive a federal employer identification number to make sure your business is taxable, which you can get through the Internal Revenue Service website. In addition to that, you need a business operation license, which can protect you from certain liability and make sure your business is recognized by local and state governments. More information about that can be found at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.
If you are selling any retail items, like most salons do, you must also acquire a seller permit or vendor license, which you can get through your state. As a general rule, the cost of licensure is $100 to $5,000 annually.
4. Cost of Legal fees and insurance
You wouldn’t want an unskilled person cutting and styling your hair, so it’s important to employ someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to the legal side of your business. Making sure you have that lawyer or attorney on retainer means you will have a certain annual cost associated with them if you use them.
On top of legal assistance, you will need to make sure to insure your business and you. Depending on whether you hire your employees or if they rent a booth, you may need to pay for them too, so budget that into your annual costs. As a general rule, the annual cost of legal fees and insurance is $1,500 to $5,000.
Want to know what equipment you’ll need to start a salon?
5. The Cost of Salon Equipment, Supplies, and the Business Location.
When you’re starting out, the cost of the physical location of your business could greatly vary. Whether you purchase or lease could shift that cost as well—for a 2,000 square feet building, you could be average $20,000 to $50,000 annually for rent. Purchasing is even higher at $40,000 to $250,000 for an existing salon building and up if you wish to build. Ongoing costs typically average about $1,600 to $5,000 per month. While this is a large range, it typically depends on your loan, how you decide to pay for the building, and your location.
Your equipment also will run about $55,000 to $70,000 for both nail and hair equipment. You’ll need your typical hoods and dryers, but also colors, clippers, shampoo and conditioner, nail polish, nail care sets, etc. Don’t forget your point-of-sale system when making these purchases.
Your utilities also fall into this category—up to $1,000 per month, depending on your location.
You can expect to spend $100,000 annually for salon equipment, supplies and rent on your salon.
6. The Cost of Marketing the Salon. : variable, usually $250 to $750 to start
Making sure you get the word out about your business is the only way to get people in your doors, so you’ll need to make sure you have at least an online presence. Creating a website and social media pages can be fairly inexpensive if you do it yourself, but note that you get the amount of hype that you put into it. Invest some time and money into your initial marketing to make sure you get customers inside your business.
Whether you’re doing this on your own or with someone else, it’s important to both budget your money and time wisely. Make sure you have the proper education before heading on this journey, and you’ll be able to plan the best business you can. Know what is within your limits, but be optimistic—you can always grow when you get further down the road to success.
You can expect to spend $250 to $750 on marketing the salon in the first several months.
What furniture do I need for a nail salon?
Like a hair salon, you need certain furniture like chairs and tables. You should also consider getting appropriate storage for your supplies, along with stools and trolleys you can move around your business. Also consider getting specialized pedicure chairs for your salon.
What equipment do I need to start a nail salon?
There are certain basics you must have to start your salon, including a professional nail file kit, polishes, cuticle oils, table lamps if you are using gel polish, nail drills, clippers, and separators, to name a few.
Looking to start your own Salon? Get the documents you need to get organized and funded here.
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.
Shawn Chun is an entrepreneur who has owned several types of businesses from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now creates online resources for those interested in starting a salon business. It is demanding work he loves to do it. Shawn says “I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive.”
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