Opening a Salon: A Comprehensive Guide to a Successful Hair Salon Business

Opening a Salon: A Comprehensive Guide to a Successful Hair Salon Business

Opening a salon is an exciting venture, offering a chance to provide great work opportunities to salon professionals while providing a valuable service to your community. But where do you start? From creating a hair salon business plan to hosting a grand opening, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to launch your salon successfully.

Hi there and welcome to the ultimate salon owner’s platform, Salonspa Connection! My name is Susan Wos, I work with salon owners across the world with recruitment and selling salon businesses. I put together this guide to help you understand how to navigate how to open a salon!

Key Takeaways

  • Create a comprehensive salon business plan and define your niche to stand out.

  • Conduct market research, set financial goals & obtain licenses/permits before opening.

  • Design an inviting atmosphere with essential equipment & hire the right salon staff for success!

Table of Contents

Creating Your Salon Business Plan

The initial step to open a salon involves writing a business plan. The beauty industry includes hair salons, nail salons, barber shops and spas is worth around $532 billion a year. To succeed in this competitive market, you need a well thought out plan. Think through your business model, do market research, and get your head around financial goals.

Connecting with fellow business owners in the hair salon industry provides valuable insights and advice, especially when starting your own salon as a new business. There are ton of great Facebook groups chock full of owners, ready to give advice.

We also recommend booking a free call with a salon coach who aligns with your values and goals as a salon owner.

Defining Your Niche- Starting a Salon with Specifics in Mind

When planning the kind of salon you want to open and the culture you want to create, it’s important to consider your target beauty salon clientele. Tailor your products and services to suit the specific needs of your target customers, and be open to adjusting your offerings should things change.

By defining unique or niche services you set your salon apart from other salons in the area. This will not only make your salon stand out but will also help streamline your marketing efforts. Targeting your ideal salon clients, (and employees), is key to exponential growth!

Conducting Market Research When Opening a Salon

Doing market research helps to identify potential opportunities, such as buying an established salon, reduces business risk. Outpacing the competition will be one of your top concerns for not only salon clients but for employees as well.

You can conduct market research by joining salon owner and manager groups on social media, attending trade shows, and keeping an eye on industry trends.

Assessing the results of your market research will help you spot patterns, assess the competitive salon landscape, and uncover hidden growth opportunities.

Setting Financial Goals Before You Open a Hair Salon

Setting realistic financial goals is vital for your salon’s future. This includes projecting revenue, calculating startup costs, and determining your break-even point.

You should also consider leasing or purchasing salon equipment. Styling chairs and stations can be purchased at wholesale prices or through equipment financing to save on start up expenses. By working with an advisor or utilizing financial tools, you can ensure the long-term financial health of your salon.

Legal and Licensing Requirements

Before opening your salon, you must navigate legal and licensing requirements, such as registering your business and obtaining necessary licenses and permits. Ensuring you meet these requirements will help protect your salon’s success and avoid potential legal issues down the road.

Registering Your Business

To register your business, you’ll need to officially set up your salon with the state regulatory board and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This unique, nine-digit number will be used for tax purposes and is an essential step in legitimizing your salon.

Obtaining Licenses and Permits

Licenses and permits, including a business license, are official documents issued by government authorities that grant permission for your salon to operate. Depending on your location and the type of salon, you may need cosmetology licenses, health and safety permits.

To meet the necessary requirements you will need to pass cosmetology inspections to maintain a compliant and successful salon.

Choosing the Perfect Location

The perfect location for your salon space greatly influences visibility. Getting access to clients and giving the competition a run for their money is an essential factor to consider. Jo Hopper, a salon owner with 15 years of experience, recommends finding a great spot with ample parking to make it easy and enticing for clients to visit your salon.

Evaluating Potential Locations

When considering locations for your salon, think about factors such as foot traffic, nearby businesses, and growth potential. Assign numerical values to these factors and make an informed decision on the best location for your salon.

Lease Negotiation and Property Acquisition

Once you’ve chosen the perfect location, it’s time to negotiate lease terms or purchase the property. This process may involve working with real estate agents, salon brokers or attorneys to ensure a smooth transaction.

Make sure to keep future growth in mind when negotiating your lease or purchase agreement, so your salon has the flexibility to expand as needed.

Designing and Equipping Your Salon

With your location secured, it’s time to design and equip your salon with an inviting atmosphere and essential equipment. This includes creating a comfortable and welcoming environment that reflects your salon’s brand, culture and aesthetic.

You will likely need to purchase necessary equipment like styling chairs and stations. Hiring a designer or space planner can help you achieve the perfect layout and design for your salon.

If you are opening a salon suite, utilize this checklist to ensure you have everything you need. Read more about the salon software technology needed to run an efficient salon and get the right insurance to protect yourself against the unforeseen.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere Salon Owners Would Envy

A salon with an enticing atmosphere plays a huge role in attracting and retaining both clients and potential employees. Consider the colors, design elements, furniture, and decor that best capture your salon’s brand and aesthetic.

Additionally, think about the music, scents and the overall “feel” of the salon. Create a pleasant atmosphere in line with your salon’s identity- the kind of salon you would want to spend time in.

Purchasing Essential Equipment

When purchasing equipment to provide top-notch hair services, such as styling chairs and salon stations, consider buying at wholesale prices or exploring leasing options to save on initial expenses.

To make sure your salon operates efficiently and effectively, ensure you have all the tools and supplies needed. Hair dryers, shears and other personal items tend to come with the hair stylists that will be working for you.

In a booth rental salon business model, you will supply much less tools and equipment. An employee based salon, spa or barbershop will require you to supply most everything for employees.

Assembling Your Salon Dream Team

Engaging the appropriate team of stylists and support staff is imperative for the success of your salon. Focus on aligning your team with your salon’s culture and values, and invest time in the hiring and training process to ensure your team provides the best service possible.

Hiring Stylists for New Salon Owners

When hiring stylists, look for individuals with the right personality, skill level, and compatibility with your salon’s culture and values. Vet salon pros carefully to ensure they have the necessary qualifications to provide quality service to your clients.

Get familiar with salon recruiting resources, networking events, classes, and trade shows that can help you connect with talented stylists.


Traditional Marketing Tactics When You Open a Hair Salon

Don’t underestimate the power of traditional marketing tactics to build your salon business. Marketing efforts such as local advertising, partnerships with local businesses, and referral programs. These methods can help you build relationships within your community and draw in more customers.

Combine traditional and digital marketing efforts to create a well-rounded marketing plan that effectively reaches your target audience.

Launching Your Salon

As you prepare to create a business plan for your salon’s launch, ensure all aspects of your business are ready, from staff training to inventory management.

A successful launch includes a memorable grand opening event that generates buzz and attracts new clients, ultimately contributing to your salon’s success.

Preparing for Opening Day

Prior to opening day, ensure your staff is well-equipped with necessary training and your inventory is well-organized. This includes training in customer service, product knowledge, and safety protocols.

Proper organization and preparation will help ensure a smooth and successful launch, setting the stage for your salon’s future success.

Grand Opening Event Get in Front of Business News Daily

A grand opening event is an excellent opportunity to showcase your salon and generate excitement among potential clients. Contact the news or local media channels for coverage to get in front of a ton of new people. Here are some tips to plan a memorable event:

  • Offer refreshments, discounts and giveaways to guests.

  • Organize activities that highlight your salon’s unique offerings.

  • Promote your grand opening event through social media, email campaigns, and word of mouth.


Opening a salon is an exciting and rewarding journey. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful salon that reflects your unique vision and serves your community with exceptional service. Remember, preparation is key, so invest time in planning, training, and marketing to ensure your salon’s long-term success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is owning a salon profitable?

It appears that owning a salon can be profitable, but may not be the most lucrative business. How much you can make depends on the salon business model you choose.

The average salon profit is 8.2%, but it can range from 2-17%. Success in a salon requires a combination of effective hairstylist recruitment and business management.

How much money should you have to start a hair salon?

Starting a hair salon typically requires an investment of at least $40,000 for taking over an existing salon or up to $500,000 to build one from the ground up.

What are some essential steps to take before opening a salon?

Before opening a salon, it is essential to create a business plan, obtain necessary licenses and permits, select the perfect location, design and equip the salon, assemble your team, and market the business.

How can I effectively market my salon?

Tap into both online and offline marketing channels. Social media, local ads, collaborations with other businesses nearby, and referral programs, help to effectively market your salon.

What should I consider when choosing a location for my salon?

When deciding on a location for your salon, think about the foot traffic, surrounding businesses, and potential for growth in the area. Make sure to research thoroughly to find the best spot for your business.

Best of luck to you in new salon ownership!

Susan Wos