Five Steps to Follow When Opening a Salon [+Information on Costs]


If you want to start your own business, a beauty salon is a great choice as the beauty industry is a lucrative sector and it’s on the rise. But if you’re a beginner you’re probably wondering how to open a salon and what qualifications are required?

No need to worry, because in this guide you will find all the answers you need to be confident enough to start your business.

Who Can Open a Beauty Salon?

Anyone who is ready to use their talents to help other people look their best can open a beauty salon. Depending on what type of beauty salon you are interested in, however, it will probably be necessary to obtain some kind of professional accreditation. For instance, you need to meet the requirements to open a hair salon. Additionally, you need to make sure to acquire the permits and licenses required in your desired area.

DID YOU KNOW: Typically, the annual earnings of a hair salon owner in Florida are around $54,000, while in New York they are $93,000.

How to Open a Salon in 5 Steps

Here are the most important and basic steps that you must consider when opening your salon:

Create a Business Plan

The first and most important step when starting any business is preparing a business plan. Opening a beauty salon is exciting but that excitement can quickly vanish if things don’t go as planned.

That’s why you need to create a salon business plan so you can at least consider all the possible scenarios. It will force you to consider all the aspects of your new business, map out the specifics, and discover some unknowns. A business plan is crucial for your success!

When creating your business plan, consider a few important topics such as:

  • “What are the one-time and ongoing costs?”
  • “How can you obtain a business license?”
  • “Who is the target market?” preparing a business plan
  • “Ideas for creating a business name and logo

Decide on Financing

You have several financing options to choose from when opening a salon. You’ll need to research them. Don’t make rash decisions. You can choose one of the following:

Self-Fund Business

Many people starting their own business use at least some of their savings to finance their ideas and plans. Before taking the first step, take financial advice to make sure you get the advantages and disadvantages of self-financing. Also, you should explore alternatives that can be more acceptable for you and your business.

SBA Loans

SBA loans are great for small startups, such as opening a nail salon, because of their fast payback periods and low rates. In order to qualify for an SBA loan, you need a good credit score, as these loans are quite competitive. In case you need instant funding, this type of loan is not quite right for you.


In order to obtain a microloan, you don’t need time in business or expansive credit history. Microloans are much easier to acquire. You can get up to $50,000, you just need to make sure to provide a solid business plan before attempting to secure the loan.

Alternative Lenders

If you need the money for starting a hair salon as soon as possible, alternative loans and peer-to-peer lending are the best choices for you. They are much more accessible than other sources of capital. If you want to get the money right away, you should consider an asset-based loan, a term loan, credit card, or business line of credit.

Choose a Location and Find Staff

The location of your salon can be crucial for your business, therefore, it should be one of the top priorities in your beauty salon business plan. You should do plenty of research before you make a decision. Whether you decide to purchase or lease a place for the salon, make sure that it is easily accessible by car or public transport and well populated. Another thing that you need to take into consideration is for your location to be far enough away from the competition.

If you have the financial means, it’s advisable to hire a designer to organize the salon in a way that will reduce stress and provide a captivating and functional workspace.

Another vital point for your business is your staff. Having knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly staff is important because your salon will be as good as the people you’ll find to help you run it. It’s also advisable to invest time in the training and motivation of your staff. This will help your business work more smoothly and be more professional.

Decide on Pricing

You should charge based on what you are worth, not based on the competitors. When you’re opening a beauty salon it can be difficult to decide about the pricing for your services. You should do some research and find out what someone with your level of training and skills can charge, then decide about the price based on that.

Market Your Salon

Social networks are the perfect place to promote and market your business. Constantly update your feed with all your successes and satisfied clients. If you’re following the trend and showing them on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll attract attention. It’s also a good idea to follow digital marketing trends.

A press release is another great option for spreading the word about your business. You can either write the press release yourself or hire a specialized press release agency. Nevertheless, these companies have a vast network of media and journalists, so it is definitely one of the fastest ways to make your business known to the public.

When starting a hair salon, find out what exactly the client wants and then fill in the gaps. For instance, there may not be many salons that work late on weekends or perhaps you may have better quality color treatment which lasts longer compared to the other salons. You can also set a referral or loyalty program to inspire clients to promote you. This kind of discount will ensure that the clients tell others about your salon and return for your services.

DID YOU KNOW: The basic cost of starting your own salon is around $62,000, but it can go up to $500,000 or more.

Key Takeaways

Before opening a salon you need a strong business plan and good preparation.
Do your research and make a wise decision on how you’ll finance your business.
Choose a suitable location for the salon and find knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly staff. Also, invest time in the training and motivation of your staff.
Marketing and promotion is the key of every successful business, so make sure you work on that!

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Salon?

Depending on your particular business model, salon startup costs can vary greatly. You’ll need to consider particularities in order to pin down an accurate estimate.

Thus, the type of salon you have in mind to open will influence the initial, one-time costs to start with. The other important aspects include whether you plan to lease or own the physical location, as well as how big the operation will be.

Before opening a salon, create a checklist for all the things you need to research and evaluate.

These are one-time costs that you need to take into consideration:


You need to cover certification before everything else. To run a salon, you must hold a state cosmetology license or be registered in an accredited beautician program. Your license must be issued in the same state as the location of your salon and you must display it in the salon. The acquiring certification costs will vary depending on your specialties.

Licenses and Permits

You need to obtain a business license before opening your salon and the salon start-up cost can vary depending on the state and city of operation. Also, you will have to look into the required safety and health compliance permits for the location. If you plan on having a retail section as well, you’ll need a seller’s (resale) permit. Keep in mind that permits and proper licenses are a must.

Physical Location

If you plan to rent a place, you’ll most likely need to pay a deposit and a few months of rent upfront. The salon start-up cost can vary depending on the size and the location of the salon however you can ask around the neighborhood and compare the prices. In case you want to buy an already existing salon, you’ll need to set aside $40,000 to $250,000. If you want to build your own salon from the ground up, the costs will be between $100,000 to $500,000 on average.

Salon Equipment

Depending on the type of salon, opening a nail salon or fully equipped beauty salon, for example, the equipment costs will vary. For instance, you’ll need approximately $27,000 for a fully equipped hair salon. For a nail salon or a barbershop you’ll need less equipment, and you can always choose the equipment that will fit your budget. The price of the styling stations with chairs can range from $200 to $1,000. You can find trolleys and carts for organizing tools for $40 or high-quality ones for approximately $300.

Initial Supplies

Both nail and hair salons use specialty products and the costs differ according to the brand you’ll choose. For starters, you should put the basics on your “opening a salon checklist”, including sanitizers, hair capes, shampoos, towels, conditioners, specialty polishes, etc. All the supplies you need to start will cost you up to $20,000.


Having insurance is a legal necessity, therefore, you need to account for it in the budget. It will cost you approximately $500-$700 per year.

Space Improvement and Remodeling

If you are taking over an existing salon, perhaps no renovation will be needed, but in case you are starting from zero, you have to consider all the fixtures and design elements essential to your business. So, you might add an average cost of $32,000 to your hairdressing salon business plan for interior decorating and furniture.

Computer and POS System

You need to have a computer and a POS system to be able to accept various forms of payments, such as credit and debit cards (Venmo, Apple Pay). Also, you need to be able to issue receipts, so depending on the provider you choose, it’ll cost you $550-$2,300 per year and probably twice that amount to get started.

Operating Cash

You must have cash in hand. You need at least $500 on the first day for normal business operations.

In general, these are one-time costs that you should put on your hair/nail salon business plans, but as your business grows the recurring and ongoing costs will grow as well. Those are month-to-month or year-to-year costs that you can’t avoid. Such costs include lease or mortgage payments, permits, insurance, self-employment taxes, utilities, etc.

DID YOU KNOW: The value of the beauty industry is estimated at $532 billion per year.


In order for your business to function well, you need to prepare a good business plan and stick to it. You should carefully choose the products you will offer, your employees, and your target clients. If you have a pleasing atmosphere, friendly staff, and happy, returning clients you have achieved the main goals.


How much money do you need to start a salon?

You will need around $62,000 for a basic setup, however, it can vary and go up to $500,000 or more.

Is owning a salon profitable?

It is. The salon industry is on the rise. An average salon makes $19,100 in profit annually. The average profit margin for a salon is 8.2%. Depending on how well the salon is managed, its profit margin ranges from 2% to 17%.

How can I open a salon with no money?

If you’re wondering how to open a salon with no money, you need to compose a detailed business plan minimizing all the salon equipment investments. Also, you need to be wise about other salon operation costs and consider some of the top-rated business loans.

Do you need qualifications to open a salon?

It may be necessary to acquire some kind of professional accreditation, depending on what type of salon you’re opening. For instance, you’ll need the following licenses and permits: Salon Retail Seller Permit, state cosmetology or beautician’s license, Salon Business Operation License, Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), and Certificate of Occupancy.


I learned a lot about finance after working for a digital marketing company specializing in investing and trading stocks, forex, etc. After that, I got exposed to other verticals such as wealth management and personal finance, which further improved my understanding of the financial world.

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