Owning a hair salon is probably one of the safest bets for starting your own business, especially if you have been in this industry for a while. Each year, the beauty industry generates more than $500 billion. Also, the beauty industry is often unimpacted by recessions, which makes it a stable business. However, it takes patience and knowledge to launch and maintain your own business.
Owning a salon may be your dream come true; however, you should remember that it’s a small business like any other. It requires working long hours, being innovative, doing research, and sometimes even being lucky. A better understanding of the process of salon opening is the best way to reduce the variables that could lead to failure. Here is an eight-step guide that you should read if you want to open a salon.
Find your target customers
Depending on the type of customers you expect to serve, you will have to make some business decisions. Just a hair salon isn’t enough. To start with, you may want to consider services that are more accessible by many. There might be plenty of options for high-end or trendy hair salons in the area you are planning to open your first hair salon and spa. But are there enough for those looking for basic services at a convenient location without spending half of their paychecks? Maybe you can cater to busy moms and professionals who need a quick hair fix. It really depends on the area and what you are planning to achieve. Take your time, do your research and determine your target customers.
Find the right location for your salon
Commercial retail spaces are known to be expensive, especially if they are at prime locations. On the other hand, it’s crucial to find the right neighborhood for your first hair salon. Ideally, it should be in high foot traffic and easily accessible by car or public transportation. In addition, you should ensure that your salon is far enough from competitors who offer similar services. The store’s rent might take up most of your start-up budget, but it is possible to quickly increase the sales and create a profitable business if you open your store at a prime location.
Set up a business plan
Having a business plan provides a roadmap for your hair salon business. It is also crucial to have one in hand if you plan to borrow money from financial institutions or investors. Even if you can envision the future of your business, writing it all down will help for a successful opening and future growth.
While writing a business plan, you should understand the hair salon market in your area, including but not limited to; the industry size, growth rate, current trends. You can better envision how you’ll compete with other salons using this information. Additionally, it would help if you had a clear idea of your target audience.
In a good business plan, all aspects of the business should be covered, such as:
- Marketing: How are you going to advertise your business? Who is your target market?
- Finance: How are you financing your hair salon? Have you created a budget for the next year? Do you have a sales forecast for the next year?
- Personnel: How many employees will you need? How much compensation will you offer?
Operating procedures: Do you have a day-to-day operations manual? What are your opening days and hours? Do you have a plan for buying supplies?
Choose your legal structure and register your business
You’ve likely had a name for your salon since you first dreamed of it. There might be state-specific requirements, such as requiring the business’s name to contain the word “Salon”. Take the time to choose the right name, so there are no surprises before the opening. Changing a business name later would be time-consuming and may look like the ownership has changed. The latter can confuse your frequent customers.
Once you have the name of your salon, you must decide on the legal entity. Choosing a legal entity for your business will determine who is legally responsible for it. It will also affect how your taxes are filed. If you are not familiar with this, you should seek expert advice.
Get licenses, permits, and insurance
If you plan to open a salon, you’ll need a business license as well as any permits that your State and City may require. A seller’s permit is also needed if you plan on selling products.
Where you live, and the type of salon you’re opening determines which laws and regulations apply to you. Salons providing only hair services will require different licenses from those offering facials and massages.
Following are a few of the standard licenses and permits salons need:
- Salon license
- Cosmetology license – if offering facials
- OSHA requirements
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Insurance is often overlooked when planning; however, this might be another high-cost item in your start-up budget. A salon usually needs multiple insurances; General Liability Insurance, Commercial Property Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, and Workers Compensation Insurance.
Choose suppliers, distributors and purchase your equipment
You will need a distributor to obtain products for your salon, such as chairs, mirrors, conditioners, and so on. Distributors can be local, national, or wholesale with local agents.
To avoid unplanned delays and ensure that you have enough time to set up your salon, order major fixtures 8-10 weeks before your grand opening. These items are shampoo sinks, styling chairs, salon stations, and furniture for the waiting area. You’re better off being careful than sorry, even if some items may take less time to arrive.
Hire and train your staff
The quality of your salon is directly related to the staff you hire to run it. In beauty, skill, knowledge, and friendliness are vital for success. Your check-in staff is the first person your customers will encounter, and that’s when the first impression of your salon will take place. It’s essential to hire someone who is friendly, easy-going, and professional.
Seasoned stylist rates are higher than newbies but having at least one senior hairdresser in your salon is vital. They can help train the other stylists and will bring their long-time clients to your salon.
Make the employees’ training and motivation a priority. The time you spend training your employees will help you maintain a professional image and make the business run more smoothly.
Set the tone of your hair salon with commercially licensed music for your business
Do you feel like everything is ready for the opening of your salon? You should not overlook another crucial point. It’s about creating a pleasant atmosphere, which you can accomplish best with background music. A study reported that 61% of hairdressers said background music significantly impacted customers to return to their salon more often.
Unfortunately, turning on YouTube or running music from your Spotify account is not an option. These are not commercially licensed services, and the fines can be very high, not worth the risk!
Public Performance Licenses (PPL) are required to play background music in your hair salon. How can you obtain this PPL license as quickly and cost-effectively as possible so you can play music in your salon? Consider using a business streaming music service such as Jukeboxy to avoid fines and keep your salon playing great music.
Jukeboxy gives you access to professionally curated soundtracks for your hair salon and an extensive music library with 45+ million songs to play commercially licensed background music for only $24.95 a month.
Whether you plan to create a calming environment or an upbeat atmosphere, you will find the fitting soundtrack for your hair salon at Jukeboxy.