Opening a salon is no easy task and there is a lot that you may not know. A lot of this information can be extremely helpful, if not crucial when it comes to opening your salon. That said, today we are covering everything you need to know about opening a hair salon!
These are the six things you should know about opening a hair salon:
- Marketing is crucial but tough
- Clients are your main focus
- Choosing the right staff is important
- Standing out is good!
- Finding funding can be crucial
- Opening a salon isn’t easy, but it’s worth it
Marketing is crucial but tough, especially at the beginning
Marketing, in the simplest words, is how you are going to attract clients. A good marketing strategy can make your business a roaring success.
However, marketing is a very tough task and in many cases is the toughest part of running a salon.
When deciding a marketing strategy, you have to decide how much you want to spend, who you want to market to, how you want to market, and what aspects of your business you are looking to advertise.
If you don’t market well it can break your business as you will no longer be able to drive in customers.
So you may be asking, what are some tips that can make marketing for my salon easier?
Well luckily enough, I came prepared.
Tips that can make marketing for your salon easier
Research your desired market
When you are creating your marketing plan, one of the most crucial steps is to know who you are marketing to. This will help you decide how you want to market your business.
For a hair salon, the market you will want to be aiming at is usually women between the ages of 16 and around 50 years of age.
Once you have your target market nailed down, your marketing plan will go that much smoother.
Utilize free tools
The internet is full of free tools to help you make marketing easier.
This includes videos on sites like Youtube, blog posts from marketing experts, social media, and other sites where you can advertise on, as well as a plethora of other free tools.
These tools will help you in your marketing journey while not costing you anything! It’s a win-win for you.
See what other salons are doing
Watch other salons in your area, particularly the ones that are seeing the most business, and see what they are doing when they advertise.
This will give you an idea of what works in your area, which you can then take and spin into your marketing plan.
This might mean seeing where they advertise, how they advertise, and who they advertise to, whatever they are doing that’s working for them is something you could do as well.
Form a business alliance (for lack of a better term)
By this, we simply mean find other businesses in the area that are also in the beauty industry and work out some kind of deal with them so that you both recommend each other to your clients.
For example, let’s say you own a nail salon. A great thing you could do would be to go to the owner of another business that owns a hair salon and make a deal with them.
In this deal, you would recommend them for any potential hair needs that your customer may have and they would recommend you for potential nail services.
This approach is not only free but it targets customers who are already interested in beauty services!
All in all, it’s a win for both sides.
Check out our marketing tips and tricks HERE!
Customers are your main focus
When operating a salon, you are in the business of customer care.
When customers go to your salon they are expecting to be treated as though they are your top priority so make them feel that they are!
The better you can make a customer feel the more likely they are going to return and the more likely they are going to be to refer others to your salon.
How do you make your clients feel like they’re your top priority?
There are several ways that you can make your customer feel like they’re your top priority, but let’s go through some of the best ways you can do so to increase customer satisfaction.
Make your customer care seem individualistic
While this may seem a bit ambiguous, it’s a fairly easy thing to do.
One of the best ways to do so is to call the customer by their name and make sure they hear you do so.
Although this seems fairly obvious, many salon stylists either don’t call their clients by their name or they do so in a way where the customer does not hear them.
Numerous studies have shown that calling someone by their name increases trust and makes conversations more relaxing.
Both of these things are important for customer satisfaction so doing so is an easy and effective way to increase customer satisfaction.
Make sure to thank them
Thanking your customers for choosing your salon for their beauty needs is a great way to make them feel like you care.
In doing so, you are not only showing that customer that you care about their business but also that you care about them as an individual!
Open up a line of communication
You should allow your clients to be able to provide feedback to you on what they like and what they wish was different.
By allowing them to have the line of communication open, you are showing them their opinions matter.
When customers feel heard in this way, they are much more likely to return for repeat business because you made them feel like a priority.
Choosing the right staff is important
Your staff is going to help decide whether or not your salon is successful.
This is because of two crucial reasons.
For one, salons are a customer-driven business.
As a result, customer care is of the utmost importance, and if this care is bad or even simply slightly worse than what a customer was expecting, this care greatly damages your reputation.
A salon with a reputation for treating customers poorly is not going to be very successful.
Because of this, you need to hire customer-hire staff that you know will be great customers and will hold up the reputation that you want your salon to have.
The second reason as to why the staff is so important is because your staff is going to be the key as to whether or not your business is successful.
You can not run a salon yourself, there is simply too much for one person to do.
Thus, if you want your salon to be run efficiently and well, hiring staff you can trust can make this process so much easier.
How do you know if you are choosing the right staff?
When choosing the right staff for your hair salon, some traits are more important than others.
Identifying what these traits are and looking for them in your potential staff is arguably the best way to determine if you are choosing the right staff for you.
Your staff should exhibit some if not all of the following characteristics:
- Working well with a team
- Communication skills
- Great listening skills
- Effective time management
- The ability to learn on the job
- High level of organization
All of these skills are important when working in a hair salon. If you can identify potential staff that has all of these traits you will be in great shape!
One of the best ways to identify if a potential employee has all of these traits is to establish several scenarios that include some of these skills to ask potential employees.
You can use these scenarios in interviews to ensure that your potential employee is exactly what you are looking for.
You can also have potential employees go through test runs at your salon to see how they respond during certain scenarios.
These are both great options to choose from and if you want to you can even use both! You can do whatever you think necessary to ensure that the staff you hire is going to work great for your business.
Standing out is good!
Many companies are afraid to stand out too much in fear that it will make them seem too different or alienate them.
But the truth is standing out is good!
When it comes to your salon, standing out is going to help you in so many aspects of your business.
For one, standing out and making yourself unique will do you wonders in the marketing world.
Having something unique about your salon will allow you to take that thing and use it in any number of marketing campaigns.
If your campaign is successful, you may become known for that thing that makes you unique which is fantastic!
This thing that makes you unique can be anything. It might be the name of your salon, or a specific service you offer, or maybe even your logo or slogan.
One great company to look at is Wendy’s.
For a long time, Wendy’s was known for their popular “where’ s the beef ads” that aired in the 80s. These ads became a massive part of pop culture and are still somewhat prevalent today.
This unique ad is what put Wendy’s on the top of many consumer’s minds.
Now, Wendy’s is known as the company with a great online presence, where it once again becomes known for something unique!
These strategies which have made Wendy’s unique have made the company millions.
So making your salon unique in some way may prove to be a great marketing ploy that can end up making your salon very successful in the future!
Another reason that making your salon unique is that it may make you memorable!
This is particularly likely if you choose to offer a unique service or have a unique set of some sort.
Essentially, if you make yourself unique in these ways people will see your salon outfit simply for whatever it is that makes you unique.
If you are offering a service that no one else offers you will very likely become the go-to destination for this service.
Or if your salon has a very unique design you may have customers who have heard about your salon and are spending their money there to experience it for themselves.
Either way, it’s great for your business and can help you make your salon successful!
Finding funding can be crucial
Opening a salon is not a cheap venture to take on.
Assuming you are purchasing an existing salon, as it is cheaper than building one from the ground up, you are going to end up with a bill between $40,000 and $250,000.
That is a big difference between those two numbers, but no matter what, opening a salon does present a pretty large upfront cost.
Unless you can bankroll that money out of your own pockets, you are going to have to look for funding in one form or another.
When it comes down to it, there are two main sources you can look to complete this kind of fundraising.
These sources are either a loan of some kind, whether from a bank or a private lender, or from investors who are presenting the upfront fees in exchange for some of your profits.
Which one should you choose to open your salon?
Choosing between the two options depends on what you are looking for.
If you know that your salon is going to do well, such as in a situation where you already own multiple salons and have established a well-known brand, then a bank loan is more likely what you are going to be looking for.
This is because while a bank loan will come with interest, once you pay it off then you are done.
This is in contrast to investors who take a percentage of your profits. So if your salon ends up being very successful, it may cost you more to go with the investors than it would have taken to pay the bank off.
On the other hand, if you are a bit unsure as to how successful your salon will be and don’t have any other sources of income to fall back on, investors are the better choice.
Banks are notoriously ruthless, so if your salon falls through and you still owe money on your loan, you are simply going to go into debt.
But if you choose to go with the investors and the business falls through then you (usually) don’t owe them anything.
When deciding between the two options, you have to weigh your situation and decide what is best for you.
Opening a salon isn’t easy, but it’s worth it
Just as with opening any other business, opening a salon is not an easy task by any means.
There is plenty to do, some of it is administrative taste such as handling paperwork and dealing with orders of supplies.
Other aspects of opening a salon are more of a manager type of responsibility where you are more focused on finding the right staff and ensuring that your customers are being taken care of.
Every aspect of the job however deals with doing everything you possibly can to ensure that your salon succeeds.
Needless to say, it is not an easy task and is one that not everyone can handle.
But if you can handle it, the rewards are amazing and worth all of the hard work that you had to put in to get there.
Not only do you get to be your boss which is a dream in itself, but you also get to see something that you started and put all of your energy into succeeding.
Not only that but if things run smoothly, you get to hear all of the positive things that customers have to say about your salon.
All in all, opening a salon is going to be tough.
But if your someone who loves hard work and enjoys seeing something they put their blood, sweat, and tears into pan out just the way they wanted it to, I can’t recommend opening a salon more!
What licenses do you need to open a salon?
To run a salon as a manager or owner, you will only need a business license.
However, if you would also like to work in the salon performing care on customers, you will also need a cosmetology license.
To get a cosmetology license, you need to go to cosmetology school and complete the program in its entirety.
However, if you only want to handle the administrative and business side of things, a business license should do.
How much does it cost to open a salon?
Although this was mentioned previously, a little iteration never hurt.
On average, it costs about $40,000 to upwards of $250,000 to purchase and open an existing salon.
But if you want to build an entirely new salon from the ground up, the cost is going to be closer to somewhere between $100,000 and $500,000.
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.”
Our mission is to empower you as a strong leader of your client base. We’ll teach you online marketing strategies, smart branding moves, and more that will make your salon business memorable and worth talking about.