17 Tips to Open a Profitable Hair and Nail Salon Business

Hair and nail salon: Dreaming of opening your own beauty salon? Owning your own salon can be a steady source of income and the perfect opportunity to have more independence and be your own boss. To help you turn your salon dream into a reality, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to starting your own Hair and nail salon that includes everything you need to know to get started.

Read on: 14 Tips to Keep Sweet Posh Nails

Hair and nail salon

Hair and nail salon: BusinessHAB.com

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Hair and nail salon

1. Choose the right location. Location is critical to the success of your business. Consider these factors:

  • Get into a high-traffic area. Busy streets, malls or spaces next to locations people visit often (such as grocery stores) are ideal.
  • Try to have easy access. If parking is a hassle and traffic is thick on the way to your salon, people might not consider it worth the effort.
  • Stay away from the competition. Don’t situate yourself directly next to another salon — you’ll cancel each other out. Instead, try to stake out a place where you’ll be the only salon for a few blocks.
Read on: 30 Tips to Run a Profitable Oasis Nail Salon

2. Take care of any licensing. Unfortunately, running a business means having to deal with red tape and paperwork. Here’s what you need to take care of:

  • Get a business license. All businesses in the U.S. must be licensed. Check out the Small Business Administration website for more help.
  • In the United States, all personal appearance workers must be licensed. That includes cutting or coloring hair, painting nails, hair removal, and makeup application. Rules vary by state, so contact your local Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
  • Make sure your salon can pass a health inspection. To avoid fines or (even worse) being shut down by the health department, make sure your salon is sanitary and following the guidelines laid out by your state.

Hair and nail salon

3. Hire qualified and trained personnel. The cosmetic procedures performed by untrained personnel may cause health problems to the clients. It is important that you hire only qualified and well-trained salon professionals.

  • Remember, it is your responsibility as the salon owner to ensure that your personnel are adequately trained and understand each procedure offered.
  • Experience may give a salon professional the expertise to render treatment, but, without proper training, she would be unaware of the merits and demerits of procedures.
  • Have a short but clear salon procedures manual in place as soon as you can, and give each employee a contract when they start. These documents are usually easy to find on the internet and you can then customize them to your business. It will save you a lot of headaches in the long run if you are set up properly at the beginning.
See also: 24 Tips to Launch Luxe Nail Salon

4. Figure out how much money you need. Starting a business can cost a lot of money, and most entrepreneurs don’t turn a profit for 3-5 years. Here’s what to consider:

  • Can you still support yourself while your business gets up and running? Calculate how much money you need for monthly expenses, how much of a cushion you have in savings, and how much you absolutely must make each month to stay afloat.

Hair and nail salon

5. Come up with an operating budget. Calculate how much money you’ll need to run your business every month. Include rent, licensing, training, payroll, supplies and an emergency fund.

6. Figure out how much you’ll charge for services. Once you have an operating budget, you’ll know how much money you need to break even each month. To make a profit, though, you’ll need to do more than break even. Estimate how many services (such as hair cuts, colors, manicures, etc.) you might perform in a week and figure out how much they need to cost in order for you to make money.

    • Keep in mind that though you need to charge enough to be profitable, you can’t charge too much — or you’ll drive away customers. Try to set a price point that is both fair for your clients and prosperous for you.
    • Get an idea of what other salons charge. Browse comparable salons in your area, and take note of what they charge. Your prices should probably be in a similar range.

Hair and nail salon

7. Do you need a small business loan? Make an appointment with a loan officer at your local bank or Small Business Association (SBA), and ask him or her to talk you through the process of getting a small business loan. Before you go, write up a quick summary of how you expect your salon to be profitable — whether it’s because you offer a unique service or because there aren’t enough salons in your area.

  • Figure out how you’ll pay taxes. Paying taxes as a small business is different than doing so as an individual, so be sure to figure out what you need in advance. To save yourself time and trouble, consider enlisting the help of a CPA while you set up your business.
Read on: 29 Tips to Open a Profitable Organic Nails and Spa Beauty Salon

8. Create a clean and safe atmosphere. Salons thrive on an environment that is clean, safe and relaxing, where customers can receive prompt and professional service.

  • Cleanliness is a particularly important element that can draw clients in again and again. Be sure your towels, foot baths, and other equipments are washed, clean and odor-free.
  • Keep your tools sharp and current. Your clients must be able to trust that the products and tools that you use on them are of top-notch quality and safe. You cannot afford to put your clients at risk from infections, as it could damage your reputation.
  • Make the atmosphere relaxing. Play soft music, use gentle lighting and keep loud chatter between your employees at a minimum.

Hair and nail salon

9. Offer a wide range of services (optional). This could give you a distinct advantage over those who offer only one or two types of services. Many clients prefer to have their hair, nails and face done in one place, instead of going to three different places.

10. Keep your clients satisfied. It is important that your business create and maintain the desirable reputation as a quality hair and salon operation, so that your clients keep returning for maintenance. Try to give them the best possible experience each time, and go out of your way to make them feel valued.

  • A salon’s best marketing tool is word-of-mouth. If a client is happy with the results, he or she will come back to your salon; after all, it’s a question of trust. Satisfied clients can then help advertise your business to their friends, family, and colleagues. Word can easily spread about the great look and outstanding personal service that your salon provides.
  • Collect contact information from your clients e.g. an email address or cell phone number, and if you have a computerized system you than then easily text or mail them with updates on new products/services, and any special offers you have.

Hair and nail salon

11. Know how to make money

Hair and nail salon make money by exchanging beautifying services for money. It is important to find the right profit margins for your services. Some salons use a base rate for colouring or haircuts. A good rule of thumb is to look at the pricing structure of other salons in the area, and aim for a middle-of-the-road approach. Customers do have their budget limits, but they may become instantly suspicious about the quality of work if the rates are too low.

12. Know how much you can charge your customers

The exact amount to charge customers will be dependent on where you are, who your clientele is, and the experience of the stylists. Celebrities may pay up to $800 for a hair service and $200 for their nails. Typically though, you’ll want to set your stylists up on a tier setting, with junior stylists charging around $30 for a cut, intermediates charging around $40, and masters charging $50 to $60. Manicures and pedicures can be anywhere from $15 for a basic treatment to $30 for a spa manicure.

Read also: 19 Tips to Build Good Kiddie Nail Salon

13. Know how you can make your business more profitable

Look for the ways you can make your customers look better based on their needs. For example, if you have a lot of middle-aged women coming in, offer more services to lift and refresh aging skin. Look into bringing in cosmetic specialists from time to time for special events (e.g., offer Brazilian hair straightening for a month.) There are a variety of new trends that hit the market, like vampire facelifts and sunset coloring that can drive interest and set your salon apart. You can also franchise if your business grows large enough, but 99% of beauty salons have a single location.

Hair and nail salon

14. Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

15. Know how to keep customers coming back

Focus on making each customer interaction a success. This will help customers to associate success with your services, and it will also lead to them telling others they know about your business. Think about the customer experience from every angle: finding the salon, getting to the salon, parking, exiting, etc. Be proactive on sites like Yelp, and never leave a complaint unanswered. Be generous if you want to get people’s attention. Ten percent off may seem like a lot to you, but it’s not likely to impress someone who already has a relationship with another salon.

See also: 8 Tips to Get the Best Nail Care Treatment

Hair and nail salon

16. Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems for the year to find the best phone service for your small business.

Read also: 16 Tips to Manage your Salon as Honey Nail Salon

17. Know how and when to build a team

Your stylists and technicians will make or break the business, so they need to be both friendly and exceptionally competent. It is better that they’re capable rather than overly social, but you really do need both to keep people coming back. Teams need to be built at the very beginning, and additional hiring should only occur if new services are being offered, the space has been expanded, or the demand calls for it.

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