Starting a salon out of your home is an excellent way to build up your client base and also keep your overhead costs lower. Without paying monthly booth rent at another salon or renting a commercial space on your own, you will have more funds available to spend on other aspects of building your business. Starting a salon in your home includes a list of many essential steps you need to take, which can feel stressful. To help you launch your new salon business with ease, we have created a step by step guide to keep it simple.
The process of starting a salon business from your home includes:
- Decide on Your Services
- Research Local Requirements
- Plan the Space in Your Home
- Register Your Business
- Obtain Insurance and Permits
- Set Your Pricing and Rates
- Purchase Your Supplies
- Announce Opening Day
- Consider Selling Retail Items
- Get Visible Online
- Invest in Advertising
- Add Additional Stylists
Step 1: Decide on Your Services
The very first step in starting your salon from your home is deciding on what services you want to offer. Are you going to only offer haircuts? Will you offer color services and extensions as well? By creating a list of what services you will offer in the very beginning, you will be much more prepared for the rest of the process of starting your salon.
Other services you can offer include nails, hair removal, professional makeup, and facials. You don’t need to worry about not being certified in any of these services yourself. If you want to eventually offer those services, you can always bring in professionals that are certified and are looking for a salon to join.
We recommend widening the services you offer when possible. By offering more services, you will be able to accept more clients, and you will build your client base much quicker. If you only provide haircuts, your salon can still be successful, but you will have a harder time building your client base. Offering more services equals more income for your salon in the long run.
When deciding on what services you will provide, you want to think about what services you enjoy! Do you love doing color, but you hate doing hair removal? Then you may want to consider waiting to add hair removal services until you bring on additional professionals in the future. To help your business really grow and thrive, it’s important for you to enjoy the process of opening your salon and enjoy the services you provide yourself.
The second factor you want to consider when deciding on your services is supplies and pricing. Each additional service that you provide in your salon will often result in you needing to purchase more supplies. You need to compare the price of the supplies verse the price that you would charge clients for those services. Will you be profiting enough money for it to be worth it for you to provide those services?
Ultimately, deciding on the services your salon should not be a stressful experience! You should have fun creating your list of services! As your salon grows and you increase your client base, you can always add new services. Your list of services is something that can change throughout the life of your salon.
Step 2: Research Local Requirements
An important part of starting a salon business out of your home is knowing what your local state requires for salon businesses. Each state will have different regulations and requirements that every salon must follow in order to operate legally. It is essential to know what is required in your own state.
As part of the requirements, the building that your salon will be held in may need to meet specific guidelines. Therefore, we recommend researching your local requirements before you start planning the space in your home. If your home doesn’t meet certain guidelines yet, you may need to make changes to your space.
Most states will provide a list of their regulations and guidelines on their state website. Your state may even have a page that is made specifically for salon type businesses. If you have any questions or are confused about any regulations, we always recommend contacting your state to clear up any confusion. It is always better to ensure you have a very clear understanding of what will be required for your new salon business.
Step 3: Plan the Space in Your Home
Planning the space in your home for your salon is one of the most exciting steps of starting your salon! This step includes deciding on the area that your salon will be, planning where you will set up your equipment, along with deciding on how you want to furnish the space where your salon will be.
We recommend setting up your salon in a space in your home that is more private. This could be in your basement or in a private room. When your clients come to get services done, they want a relaxing atmosphere. Therefore, the noise level should also be lower in the space where your salon will be.
If you plan on growing your salon and bringing in additional stylists, you want to ensure that the space is big enough to allow for growth. For a growing salon, basements tend to be ideal, especially if they have a separate entrance for your clients to use.
We recommend setting up at least two stations to begin with, if you plan on growing your client base at all. If you want to keep your salon very intimate with a limited amount of clients, then one station will work fine. During the phase of planning your space, you want to decide where each station will go and also decide where you’re going to place a sink.
Since you should have already researched your local requirements, you also want to make sure your space follows each regulation that is required from your state. Are there any requirements that your home doesn’t pass yet? During this step, you should make all the necessary changes that are needed to ensure that your home meets the requirements.
If your home doesn’t meet the requirements for your state after this step, you will have trouble registering your business and also have trouble getting any permits for the building that you may need. Therefore, it will be easiest for you to make those changes now before you are trying to obtain your licenses and permits.
During the step of planning your space, you also want to start thinking about how you want the overall décor of your salon to look. This should reflect your personality! The décor for your salon should be pleasing to the eye and make you proud of your in-home salon. We recommend staying away from color schemes that may be too bright since the goal is to have your salon be as relaxing as possible for your clients.
Step 4: Register Your Business
Once you know what services you want to provide and you have ensured the space in your home for your salon meets your local requirements, it’s time to register your business with your state. For most states, you will be able to complete this step online. If you can’t complete it online, you may need to go into your city’s local courthouse.
Similar to building regulations, each state will require different items in order to successfully register your business. You will need to have all of your information as the owner, like your full name, social security number, or tax ID number, along with your address. Your state will also likely ask questions about the location of the business at this time.
While filling out your application for your business license, it is important to take your time and ensure that all of the information fields are filled out correctly. If there are any errors on your application or you need to make changes after submitting it, you will likely delay the process of getting your business license and can also end up having to pay fees. We always recommend being thorough and taking your time while applying for your license.
Depending on your state, the process of registering your business can take anywhere from a week to a few weeks. For some states, you will be able to track the status of your business license online through your state’s website. However, for other states, you may have to call your state to get an update.
Step 5: Obtain Insurance and Permits
For your new in-home salon business, you will need to obtain insurance and any required permits. The required permits will vary depending on the state you will be providing service in, since each state will have different requirements. During this step, you want to ensure that you have obtained any required permits for your state.
You will need to invest in business insurance, no matter where you live. Some states will require business insurance, but we highly recommend making this investment even if your state doesn’t require it. Business insurance acts as a protection for both you and your business. If an emergency or situation arises, your insurance can protect you financially. Without insurance, you can be personally responsible for covering the costs.
When you are investing in business insurance, we recommend taking the time to shop around. You should call around to at least three different insurance companies to obtain quotes. You want to ask questions about how much coverage they recommend, what the cost would be for the policy, if you need to pay the premium upfront or if you can pay monthly, what the deductible will be if you submit a claim and if they have any other benefits.
Once you have your quotes, you want to evaluate each of your options. By shopping around and getting quotes from various insurance companies, you are ensuring that you are getting the best deal and also the best policy for your specific business. If you get insurance from the first company you call, you may be missing out on certain benefits you may have found with another company (if you would have called around).
The amount of insurance coverage you need will change throughout the life of your salon business. As you are starting, you will likely need less insurance. However, as your business grows and you bring in additional stylists, you will need to increase your coverage. You can easily increase your insurance coverage by reaching out to your insurance company.
One factor we recommend considering when calling around to various insurance companies is how easy each company is to get a hold of. If an emergency arises and you need assistance quickly, you want to be able to trust that you’ll be able to get a hold of your insurance agent or submit your insurance claim easily.
Step 6: Set Your Pricing and Rates
One of the most important factors in determining how successful your salon will be is your pricing. If your pricing is too low, your business can end up going in the negative financially. However, if your pricing is too high for your experience and your area, you can struggle with building a loyal client base.
Your pricing and rates should reflect your experience in the area you are specializing in, the area you are providing services in, and the overall experience that your client has while in your salon. If you have a large amount of experience compared to other stylists, then your prices can be slightly higher than other salons in your area.
When deciding on your pricing, we recommend having a clear understanding of what other salons similar to you are charging in your area. You can achieve this by calling around to 3 to 5 different salons in your area that are the most similar to your salon. You want to ask each of the salons what they charge for various services that you would like to provide yourself.
Once you’ve called around to the different salons, you want to compare the prices. Is there a similar rate for a haircut or an all-over color? If you are in the beginning phase when it comes to experience, you want to stay around this price. If you have more experience and a large number of examples to show of your work, then you can charge slightly higher prices. However, you want to ensure that your prices don’t go too high compared to what clients are currently paying in your area, though.
Your clients are paying for your services, but they are also paying for the overall experience. The experience you provide will vary depending on what you specialize in. For example: If you specialize in speedy haircuts, the experience your client wants is getting in and getting out of the salon quickly with a great haircut. However, if you specialize in a luxurious experience, then your client is seeking a much different experience.
Step 7: Purchase Your Supplies
Once you’ve set your pricing and rates, it is time for you to go out and purchase your supplies. This includes all of your hair supplies like scissors, color, shampoo, conditioner, and any styling products you’d like to use. This also includes supplies for your salon and getting your space set up properly for once you open for business.
As mentioned before, we recommend having two stations set up if you plan on growing your business in the near future. You will need supplies for each station, including the proper chair, mirrors, and protection for the floor. You will also need a sink station where your clients will be able to lay back and get their hair washed.
If you plan on providing hair removal services, you want to think about what area you plan on providing these services. Some salons will use the salon chairs if they only provide facial hair removal services. If you are offering a wider range of hair removal services, you may want to invest in a salon bed. We especially recommend getting a salon bed if you plan on offering other services like facials or eyelash extensions, along with hair removal.
If you are providing nail services, you will need a desk for your clients to get their nails done. You will also need to ensure that you have a great selection of nail polish colors and all of the nail supplies that will be needed. If another stylist is providing these services, then it is likely that they’d bring in their own polishes and nail supplies. However, you would still need to provide the desk, a chair, and proper lighting.
During the step of purchasing your supplies, we recommend also purchasing items like towels, business cards, cleaning supplies, and salon décor. By the time you are done purchasing your supplies, you should be ready to open your salon for business. This is the final step you need to complete before you can start accepting new clients!
Step 8: Announce Opening Day
Once you have all of your supplies and you are ready to start accepting new clients, it is time for you to announce your opening day to all of your friends and family. The easiest way to do this is through social media channels.
By announcing your opening day, you ensure that any of your past clients, along with your family and friends, are aware that your new salon is opening, and you are ready to accept new clients. The other benefit of announcing your opening day is it will promote word of mouth marketing. Once you tell your friends and family that your new business is opening, they can then tell their friends about it as well. This increases your chances of getting new clients!
Some new salon owners choose to have some sort of celebration for their opening day! This can include having a celebration with treats for your new clients during the first week of your salon being open. You could also celebrate your salon opening by offering a sale on your services to attract new clients.
Don’t be afraid to share the exciting news that your in-home salon is opening! You have put in a large amount work to get your salon to the point of being ready to accept clients. You should be proud of your salon opening and allow those around you to share the excitement.
Step 9: Consider Selling Retail Items
A large amount of salons, both in commercial buildings and based out of the owners home, choose to sell retail items within their salon. By purchasing retail items at a wholesale cost and then selling them at a retail cost to your clients, this can be an excellent way to bring in more income for your salon.
Another benefit of offering retail items is the convenience it provides to your clients. Your clients will be able to pick up their shampoo and conditioner while they are at your salon, instead of having to make an extra shopping trip. Plus, this also increases your chances that your clients will be using the quality products you recommend for them.
If you want to offer retail items, we recommend making a list of the products you want to sell. What are the top brands you love and would recommend that your clients use? You can include shampoo, conditioner, and any styling products that you are a huge fan of yourself.
Once you have the list of products you want to offer, you can check online for salon supply stores or wholesale salon sites. You want to find a place that you can purchase the products at a cheaper cost, so you can earn income off selling the products to your clients. Your time and effort in securing the products are worth earning a profit!
If you have a large amount of products you love and can’t decide what products to offer, we recommend asking your clients! You can ask your current clients what their favorite products are and ask them what products they would love to see you carry in your salon! Your clients will appreciate that you care about their feedback.
Step 10: Get Visible Online
To grow your salon and increase your client base, we recommend getting visible online. The easiest way to do this is by creating a website and joining social media platforms. When potential clients are looking for a new salon, it is extremely likely that they will search online or go to their favorite social media platform to find you.
For new salons with a small budget, we recommend getting a business account for both Facebook and Instagram. It is easy and free to create the accounts, but it is an excellent way to increase your client base. By having official pages, your current clients will be able to share your business page as well on their own social media.
Instagram is especially helpful for salons because this is the perfect place for you to share the beautiful photos of your work! By uploading photos of the work you’ve done, your potential clients will be able to get an idea of what they can expect if they visit your salon. This will increase your chances of securing them as new clients.
If you have the budget or you have extra time available, we recommend also investing in a website for your salon eventually. You don’t have to complete this step right away if you are short on time or funding. However, if you delay getting a website, we recommend at least ensuring you are visible online through social media.
If your budget is tight, you can save money by creating your website yourself. Many website hosts will offer tools where you can easily drop in your content. These tools are easy to use, even if you aren’t tech-savvy. The important part here is ensuring that you have the time to complete the website on your own. You can host your website through sites like GoDaddy (including the tool to design the website yourself) for around $20 to $30 per month.
However, if you have a bigger budget and you don’t have the available time, then you could hire a website designer to create the website for you. When considering the two options, you want to consider how much money you are looking to spend on a website and also how much time you are willing to put in.
Step 11: Invest in Advertising
Along with being visible online, advertising is an excellent way to increase your client base and ultimately grow your salon. There are advertising options available for you, no matter what your budget may look like.
If your budget for advertising is small, we recommend starting with social media advertising. By creating Facebook and Instagram business accounts in the previous step, you can easily create ads for your business on both platforms. The biggest benefit of social media ads is you can control the budget for each ad. You don’t have to spend a lot!
Another benefit of social media ads is you can put in characteristics that describe your ideal target audience. This will increase the success of your ad and help you build your audience online. Without putting in characteristics of your ideal client for your ad, you are less likely to get new clients from your ads.
Step 12: Add Additional Stylists
Once your salon is up and running, it’s time for you to consider bringing in additional stylists. This is an excellent way to increase the amount of services you provide, without taking the time to get certified in those services yourself.
You have two options when it comes to adding additional stylists to your in-home salon. You can either hire them as employees, or you can allow other stylists to pay booth rent in exchange for providing their services in your salon. The most popular option for most areas is having other stylists pay booth rent.
When it comes to paying booth rent, the stylist will then pay you a set fee per month to be able to provide their services in your salon. Most of the time, in this scenario, the new stylist would then receive their own payment from each of the clients that book their services. Instead of receiving money from each client, you would receive funds upfront as booth rent.
The benefit of renting out booths in your salon is you don’t have the overhead of hiring employees. When a stylist rents out a booth space, they are working as an independent contractor and are self-employed. You would then not have to pay certain employee insurances, taxes, benefits, and other costs that come along with having employees.
Adding additional stylists to your salon is an excellent way to increase your own client base as well. For example: If you bring in a nail technician for your salon, they will also be bringing in their current clients. Their clients would then be more likely to book your hair services since they would already be visiting your salon now for their nails.
Should I start my salon from my home or rent a commercial space?
Starting your salon business from home or renting a commercial space depends on your budget for your new business. Starting your salon out of your home lowers your overheard amount by a large amount since commercial buildings can be expensive.
Starting your salon from your home is also a better option when you don’t have a large amount of clients yet. This is a great way to help you build up your client base, while still having control over your services (which you may not have if you rent a space from another salon).
What type of overheard will I have when I open my salon business from my home?
When you open your salon in your home, there are certain essential expenses you will have. To start, you will have to purchase your business license, permits, and salon equipment. Also, you will need to regularly purchase your clients and restock supplies as they run out.
Your expenses will be higher as you are preparing your salon space. However, once your business is up and running, your expenses won’t be as high.
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.