How to open a hair salon

25th August 2023 | Jack Oliver

So, you want to open a hair salon? Maybe you’ve just qualified as a hairdresser, or perhaps you’ve been working under another brand and want to go out on your own? Either way, having your own space allows your business to reach its full potential.

Being prepared is always a good thing, so here are our top tips for how to open a salon:

Choose a great location

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Salons are versatile in that they can pop up in a variety of places: You’ll find them on high streets, in shopping centres, and on suburban parades.

Ideally, you’ll want to pick somewhere that’s convenient and accessible, going too far out-of-town means a trip to your salon becomes a journey of its own, and with time-strapped customers, this isn’t a good thing.

Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll need a unit suitable for your business.

Size is a very important factor to consider, and how much space you need will be dependent on your business itself.

You need enough room for storage, and space for a chair and sink for customers. You’ll want enough space around the chair too, so you and other people can move around freely.

Salons also need a waiting or reception area, big enough for customers to to take a seat while they wait.

The overall size of the building will be reliant on how many people you anticipate having at one time and what services you intend to offer. If you plan to work alone, you’ll only need one chair setup. However if you hire other staff then you’re going to need more space.

Additional facilities and services will require more space too, such as hair drying machines and mirrors.

Read more: Choosing the right location for you retail business

Create a business plan

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Your first step should be to create a business plan. This will lay out your short-term and long-term objectives and how you’re going to achieve them.

Objectives can include targets such as reaching a certain income, pulling in a specific number of customers, or growing well enough to open a second location. All of your targets should have a specific time-frame.

If you hit your targets – great! You can always adjust them on the go. If you don’t, it presents an opportunity to take a close look at your business and ask what can be done differently.

Pre-formatted business plans are available online, or you can always create your own.

Read more: Top 5 small business startup tips

Know your costs

Knowing your costs in advance can give you an advantage when opening a salon. Its important to understand the balance between your income and your expenses so you can estimate how profitable your business will be.

Opening a salon will vary in price, but most will cost somewhere between £5,000 and £50,000 to get set up. This will depend on a number of factors, such as size, which services you plan to offer, how many staff you employ, and the location.

Ongoing costs to consider include wages, rents, business rates, stock, and bills such as electricity and water.

You will also need to take into account the price of operating electronic payment systems. Fortunately many companies offer mobile services such as Dojo, Worldpay, and Zettle by PayPal.

Market your business

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Marketing your salon is a vital step in ensuring you can get customers through the door. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help you out.

Nowadays, social media is a huge marketing tool. Making accounts for your business on platforms such as Instagram or Facebook is a good place to start.

Many social media platforms allow you to create business pages, with some able to provide booking services. Some sites like Booksy allow customers to schedule appointments without the hassle of calling up or coming in.

You can also add your business to Google Maps, which will not only show customers where to find you but can also provide information such as reviews and opening times.

Read more: How to advertise your business

Old school forms of marketing can also do the trick. If you’re opening in a more suburban area and are looking to cater to a smaller community, posting leaflets about your business through letterboxes or putting up posters can help spread the word.

Good old word-of-mouth is also a tried and tested way of getting your salon business out there. Tell your friends and family and make a lot of noise!

Being prepared when opening a salon is always important, but nothing compares to providing a good service.

Once open, building brand loyalty for a salon is especially important as customers tend to stick with the same hairdresser. That’s why it’s key to ensure you’re providing a good service, listening to your customers, and always striving to improve.

Read more on how to retain customers


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