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How to Start a Beauty Salon: Insider Tips from a Pro

Starting your own beauty salon can be an incredibly rewarding experience; you get to be your own boss and help make people look and feel their best. Not only can it be rewarding internally, but it can also be highly financially rewarding to take a hair stylist job as a career. According to Business News Daily, the beauty industry is valued at $532 billion annually! Let’s explore how you can break into the industry and start a salon.

Start with a Solid Business Plan

One of the most important things to do when starting a salon is to create a business plan. This document will outline your start-up costs, marketing strategy, and expected profits. A solid business plan is the basis of any successful company. Think of it as a roadmap - your business plan will show you how to get from point A to point B, all with some profit at the end.

According to, there are four types of business plans - mini plans, presentation plans or decks, working plans, and what-if plans. These are broken down by target audience. Starting with your working plans is recommended for first-time business owners or start-ups. The basis of all of your planning will come down to your working plan. A mini-plan is excellent if you’re looking for investors - a short pitch can help tremendously! Sit down and start writing your future!

When drafting your business plan, you should also do some market research. How are the salons in the area performing? Do you have local competition? Find similar companies you like and look for trends or themes in their business. Look at their strengths to inform your own plan. Take note of their perceived weaknesses as well to avoid common pitfalls.

Do Your Research

When it comes to opening up your own salon, you should also research your local laws. There are many regulations that you will need to adhere to in order to operate. Cosmetology licensure varies from state to state. For example, in New York state, you must have 1000 hours of apprenticeship, according to the New York Department of State. In California, the licensing body is the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology which requires similar experience to New York’s laws.

In addition to cosmetology licensure, be sure to research other salons in the area. Look for a salon that caters to a similar clientele as your salon will serve. Take a look at their social media, digital marketing, and storefront. There may be services they provide that you may think about providing, or they may offer a great deal on Tuesdays that you’d like to emulate. See what successful salons are doing and take a page out of their book.

Location, Location, Location

Another important tip is to choose a prime location for your salon. You want to be in a place that is easily accessible and has a lot of foot traffic. Places like strip malls or outdoor malls are great locations that provide more visibility. It may be easiest to lease a space that was formerly a salon so that you can use the existing floor plan and have less upstart stress.

In addition to foot traffic, it’s essential to look for a space large enough for your business. Going back to your business plan, you should know how many square feet you need to operate. If you plan on hiring four stylists, you may need a space with at least two sinks. This is another reason your business plan is essential - it impacts so many decisions!

Employees Matter

Lastly, make sure you hire the right employees. There are a lot of qualified people looking for hair stylist jobs. A stylist is often not just someone who does your hair but becomes a sounding board or a friend. A good stylist will listen to your needs and find the best cut for your face shape. When hiring stylists or beauticians, be sure to check their licenses. Most states have a database that you can search to find licensing information.

It may feel like there are a lot of steps to start a salon, but with some hard work, homework, and dedication, you can start a salon! Have an idea on how to start a salon? Let us know in the comments!

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