The hair and beauty industry presents a very good opportunity for anyone to achieve great personal success. So if you want to learn how to start a hair and beauty salon business successfully then you have come to the right place. This guide is complete and will give you everything you need to start your journey.


Starting a hair and beauty salon is one of the best ways to create a lucrative and successful Business. Research shows that the hair & beauty global industry is set to grow from $128 Billion in 2017 to a lucrative $190 billion by 2024. Therefore starting a hair and beauty salon right now would be a brilliant idea.


So how do you start a hair and beauty salon business?

There are a number of easy steps that can you can follow to set up your hair and beauty salon.


The first and most important element to think about before you set up your hair and beauty shop is the vision.

But exactly what do we mean when we say vision and why is it so important?

A Vision is a roadmap of what you want your hair and beauty salon business to become. Where do you want your business to go and how far do you want it to reach? These are important questions to ask at the start. The reason why they are so important is that your vision determines the actions and decisions that you take.

For instance, if your vision is to have just one hair and beauty salon that you will run for the rest of your life, the actions that you take are completely different from the ones you would take if you wanted to build a chain of shops or a successful franchise.

Therefore each case requires a different approach and attitude to business. And that is precisely why you need to decide your vision right from the start. It will make it a lot easier for you to make business decisions about your hair and beauty salon.


Unique Selling Point/ Differentiation

While the hair and beauty salon business is a good and potentially lucrative one, it is important to mention that it is also a highly competitive industry with a lot of established players.


The barriers to entry are very low and so it means that anyone can easily join. Therefore one of the ways that you are going to get ahead is to come up with a strong unique selling point.

A unique selling point is a feature of your business or service that makes you special and different from everyone else.

In other words, it is the reason why a customer would walk past 3 or 4 hair and beauty salons to get to yours. So the questions to ask yourself as you prepare to start are;

  1. Why would customers come to my new hair and beauty salon instead of the other more established ones?
  2. What can I offer the customer that they cannot find anywhere else?

Developing a unique selling point is not a very difficult process. It simply requires you to be creative. Take time to think carefully about the business that you want to start, its products, services, and processes.

For example, you could release and publicize new and unique hairstyles every week.

Think of how you can manipulate any of these elements of your hair and beauty salon to give you a whole new way of doing things that no one else is doing.


Decide Your Target market


You will also have to decide on your target market. This is a crucial decision. Your target market will determine a lot of the decisions that you are going to make about your hair and beauty salon.

Decisions about location and price need to be influenced by whom you want to serve as your customers.

So it is critical to take time to identify who your customers are and how you will serve them.

Some of the factors to consider when making decisions about your target market are;

  • Gender
  • Income
  • Age, (millennials or senior)
  • Location
  • Lifestyle and culture
  • Attitudes towards issues about hair and beauty

Having a good understanding of your target market will help you to make the right decisions that will enable you to serve those customers much more efficiently. You will know what to offer them, and they, in turn, will know what to expect from your hair and salon business.


Audit Your Personal Profile

When thinking of starting a Hair and Beauty salon business, one question that you need to ask yourself is;

Am I the right person for this kind of business?

This is a critically important question because not everyone is equipped to successfully run a hair and beauty salon business.

However, there are a few key characteristics that make a person who can potentially make a success of a hair and beauty salon business.


How much experience do you have in the hair and beauty salon industry? Sadly a hair and beauty salon project is not one that you can simply `wing it`.

You have to know what you are doing otherwise you will fail and lose a lot of money. You must have some kind of experience working in a hair and beauty salon business.

You must have an understanding of the processes that are involved in the running of a hair salon.


Passion for making people look good is another key ingredient to the personal profile of someone planning to start a hair and beauty salon.

Passion is what drives us toward success. It is what drives us when things are down. It is what gets us thinking and creative. It is what propels us past the limitations of knowledge and experience. If you have an unquenchable burning passion for hair and beauty then nothing will stop you.


Think Finance

CAPITAL.jpgA key and crucial factor to consider when starting a hair and salon business is finance. Unless you already have some savings tucked away somewhere, issues of finance are likely to present the biggest obstacle to starting your business. Therefore, you need to think carefully about two critical questions.

  1. How much will you need to start your hair and beauty salon?
  2. Where will you get the money?

Thankfully we are here to help with some ideas on both questions.

  1. How much will you need to start your hair and beauty salon?

We have come up with an estimate of how much you would need to start. However, it mostly depends, to a large extent on your vision.

A hair and beauty salon can be started by between, $3,000 to $40,000. How much your start-up ends up costing will depend on a lot of factors. However, we list some of the factors that you may want to think about when arriving at your final cost for the project.

  • Are you planning to rent an already furnished shop or are you going to do the renovation work yourself from scratch? As it is obvious to you renovating yourself will cost more.  You will also need to get the equipment yourself and so you need to be prepared for a reasonably large bill.
  • The advantage though is that you can have the opportunity and freedom to design your hair and beauty salon the way you want. You have the flexibility to design the shop in a way that is more appealing to your target customers.
  • Staff Costs- how will model your remuneration packages? Is it rent a chair model/ or salary/commission? You need to think carefully about how you want to model your business.
  • Rent and rates for the premises
  • Inventory- will you be selling hair and beauty products? If so how much inventory do you plan to hold?
  • Marketing methods – Different methods of marketing have different costs.
  1. Where will you find the money?


Here we also have a small list of options for you to consider for your hair and beauty salon business. You probably already know about some of the more obvious funding options we list here.

  • Salary/wages
  • Personal Savings
  • Friends and family
  • Business and/or Personal Bank loans
  • Personal and/or Credit Cards
  • Venture Capital
  • Angel Investors
  • NYC Capital Access Loan Guaranty Program
  • Crowd Funding
  • TD Bank
  • We Fund Credit
  • The Brooklyn Fund
  • Excelsior Growth Fund
  • Business Centre for New Americans
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
  • Equipment Financing
  • Government/State grants
  • P2P Personal Loans


You must understand that you do not have to consider using just one source of finance. From our experience, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs can combine a number of sources to fund a start-up.

For instance, one may use his/her savings to buy some equipment, use part of their wages and/or salary to pay for renovations, and then get a small loan to use as working capital. The options are vast. The key lies in the ability to think outside the box and the willingness to try anything possible to make your start-up a success.




Every hair and beauty salon needs and uses specialized equipment to service customers. So equipment is one of the things that will be on your mind as you finalize the planning of your hair and beauty salon start-up.

Here is a table of some of the key equipment that you will need to start with.

Combs & Brushes


Grooming Styling Sundry
Square Brush
Rattail Comb
Wide-Toothed Comb
Tail-End Comb
Round Brush
Two Vent Brushes
Paddle Brush
Two Smoothing Brushes
Thermal Brush
Trimming Scissors
Barber Scissors
Hair Clippers
Ridged Curling Iron
Curling Iron
Hair Straightener
Big Barrel Curler
Curling Comb Hair Dryer
Hair Straighteners
Blow Dryers
Hair Curlers
Hot Rollers
Multi-Styling Kits
Hair Clips
Mixing Bowls
Water Sprayers
Applicator Brushes
Paper Towels
Handheld Mirrors
Rubber Gloves
Plastic Gloves
Hair Steamers/Hair Processors
Hood Dryers
Shampoo Bowls

You will also need to consider buying hair care products. These may include; Shampoos & Conditioners, hair straightening & perming kits, styling gels, dyes, wigs, hair extension and so on.

To start a hair and beauty salon you will also need some furniture. The sort of equipment you acquire will depend entirely on your vision and what you hope to achieve with the project. That being said, a basic hair and beauty salon start-up list will usually contain the following furniture items;

  • Styling Chairs
  • Styling Stations
  • Trolleys and carts
  • Reception Desk
  • Sitting and waiting-area furniture: chairs, couches, magazine table and so forth.



Location is a significant key element of a new salon setup. It is the one element that can destroy your hair and beauty salon if it is mishandled. You have to choose the most suitable location for your business.


There is no one universally appropriate location framework that applies to all hair and beauty salon businesses. It all depends on your vision and your target market.

However, there are a few factors that are universally applicable to most hair and beauty salon businesses.

  1. Parking– Your hair and beauty salon needs to be close to a convenient car parking area. Your product suppliers, customers, and all those who visit your business will need to have good easy parking.

If a customer gets an illegal parking ticket each time they visit your hair and beauty salon- they may decide that it`s cheaper to have their hair and beauty treatments elsewhere.  And that to you means losing business.

  1. Visible and easy to find– Your hair and beauty salon location must be one that allows your shop to be visible, and easy to find. You don’t want to be located in a secluded location or the back alley of a shopping mall. You would be on the wrong side of the action. The location that you choose should be in an area with very high footfall.
  2. Cost– A good location is one that is reasonably priced. The price simply has to be right. Locations that are too expensive may leave you with serious cash-flow problems, especially when you are starting out. Consider locations that are convenient, but also affordable. The best location is one that ticks all the right boxes.
  3. Prestige– This may be relevant for some type of spas and salons. Your hair and beauty salon should be located in an area that projects the right image to your customers. Being located in a dirty, rough, area of town may not inspire customers to visit your shop if they are sensitive to issues about standards of location area.

The right location for your hair and beauty salon business is one that is consistent with your business concept, vision, and brand image. It should be one that also takes into consideration, the caliber of customers you want to serve.


Salon Design

Your salon will need to project the look that is consistent with the standard of service that you are giving to your customers.


Whichever way you choose to design your hair and beauty salon, it should be safe, warm, welcoming, and comfortable. People should enjoy being in your place. You should design your hair and beauty salon in such a way that getting hair and beauty treatments there becomes an amazing experience.

One thing to add when it comes to decisions about the design of your shop is that you may have to, – where possible, – hire a professional consultant to assist with the design. This is important because, with the help of a professional, you will end up with a design that your customers will love. Of course, you will need to be aware of how much it will all cost you.

Unfortunately, you will not have the luxury to custom design your hair and beauty salon if you are renting an already furnished shop.


The hair and salon service business takes many different forms. There are so many niches to choose from. You, therefore, need to decide on the type of services that your hair and beauty salon will provide.


Qualified staff

Your services define what you want to achieve as a business. Your portfolio of service represents the reason why you do what you do. Therefore it is important to ensure that those who work for you can do the job, and do it well. There can be no excuse for unhappy customers due to shoddy incompetent work and service.


And remember customers in the beauty industry do not give second chances. Oh and yes do talk too. Bad report about a bad experience at your salon and suddenly you are losing more customers. So make sure you do not allow that to happen. Not even once.

Another issue to be aware of when considering your services and staff qualifications, is that you should only offer services for which you are qualified. While some services such as hair styling can be done by almost anyone, even trainees, facial treatments require special skills and qualifications.

That is because there is a risk of damage and injury if facial treatments are mishandled. So you must take great care to make sure that those performing specific tasks are suitably qualified to carry out those tasks. Remember;

Bad service means a bad reputation. Bad reputation means no customers, and no customers mean no money, and no money means no business.

You do not want someone getting seriously hurt at your hair and beauty salon due to employing bad, incompetent, and unqualified workers.

So it will be very important to make decisions about what services you will provide and to ensure that those services are suitably matched with qualifications.


 Operating Licenses

You are required to obtain permits and licenses for your hair and beauty salon. Permits and licenses are regulatory compliance issues and there is no way around it. It is unlawful to operate a hair and beauty salon without appropriate permits and licenses. So make sure that you have suitable licenses before you start operating your business.


Operational Model/ Staff


There are of course a variety of pay structures for you to choose from.  If you have worked in a salon before you will already know these. Here we will briefly discuss them.

Rent a Chair model

Rent a chair model is one where you do not employ staff but rather they are independent business people. Basically, they rent a chair from your salon and you agree how much rent they pay. In most cases, it is paid weekly although it is not uncommon for some owners to demand daily rentals. Whatever your agreement may be, anything else that the worker makes belongs to them.


Commission based arrangement is where you provide the setup and infrastructure, the staff does the work, and you split the income. For instance, you could agree on a 40%/60% split.

Mixed Arrangement

In some cases, a hair and beauty salon owner and the stylist could agree on a combination of the two methods where a small rent is payable while also sharing income.


This is where the owner offers an employment contract to a hairstylist and pay them a salary. That means the stylist will have a guaranteed salary but they will not be entitled to any share of the income.

Some salons also do a combination of a small salary plus commission model.

There is no one universally prescribed arrangement that is suitable for all hair and beauty salon businesses. It all varies from business to business.

Therefore you will need to think carefully about what sort of arrangement you will want to employ at your hair and beauty salon. Each arrangement has its own advantages and disadvantages so you will need to consider each method carefully.



We have already established that competition in this space can be very intense largely due to low barriers to entry.


You, therefore, need to come up with a comprehensive competition model that will enable you to compete. That being said, your competition plan must contain the following elements;

  • Great service
  • Great prices (Note: competitive pricing does NOT mean undercutting competition`s pricing models. It does not mean competing on price. Competitive pricing simply means that the value that you are providing is matching the prices that you are charging. Therefore, you compete on the basis of value and NOT on price.
  • Differentiate yourself through efficiency and good service
  • Effective cost management. A good cost management structure will ensure that you have more profits left which you can reinvest into the business
  • Effective marketing strategies- Your marketing message and methods must bring positive results. That means more business, thereby giving you an edge over the competition.
  • Good Customer relations and service



Marketing is one of the key pillars of any business. It is the basis on which you can build a brand while attracting customers to join you at your hair and beauty salon. Therefore you must set aside a good amount to be used to market the business. Without a good marketing plan, potential customers will never know about your salon. Therefore you must devote considerable investment towards publicizing hair and beauty salon business and build a solid brand.


Below we will outline some of the activities that you could include in your marketing strategy.

  • Have a strong social media presence. Platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram provide great opportunities for hair and beauty salon owners to showcase their services while engaging with customers.
  • Doing community beauty and fashion shows
  • Listing your hair and beauty salon on review sites
  • Offering special discount E.G for those celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Introducing incentive programs for customer referrals
  • Offering loyalty discounts to customers who have been supporting you for a long time.
  • Shooting videos showcasing your styles
  • Publicizing your unique selling point
  • Where possible using influencers to publicize your latest styles
  • Taking the salon to the public
  • Creating fun viral videos about your business


A good and effective marketing model is one that brings attention to your business. You must always remember that the most important purpose of marketing is to build a brand. You want people to always remember your brand and associate your business with good service, great customer service, fair and competitive pricing, and trending styles.

There are no limits to what one can achieve with a hair and beauty salon business. The sky is really the limit. As long as there is a willingness to work hard then success is very possible in this business.

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