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Owning A Hair Salon In 2021: Your Launch Guide

​​If you’ve been thinking about owning your own hair salon, consider this: the hair salon industry had a market size of nearly $40 billion by 2021, and that number is expected to increase nearly 30% by the end of the year. Owning a hair salon can be a fulfilling (and profitable) experience. Here’s your launch guide to make it happen.

Checklist for opening a hair salon

It would be great if opening a hair salon were just a matter of turning the lights on and welcoming in guests, but there is much more that happens before the first bang trim.

At a glance, here’s your hair salon opening checklist:

  1. Craft a business plan
  2. Run the numbers
  3. Find the perfect location
  4. Design your space
  5. Get legit
  6. Hire your team
  7. Locate suppliers
  8. Apply finishing touches
  9. Find your guests

Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Craft your salon business plan

One common theme for businesses that don’t succeed? Lack of a business plan. Think of your business plan as both the road map and the destination. If you have no idea where you’re going, it is easy to get lost. A business plan charts your course in a way that also helps guide future decisions on growth and expansion.

A hair salon business plan is usually less than ten pages and includes:

  • Executive summary (the area of need you are hoping to address and how)
  • Description of your company (including how you are organized)
  • Mission statement
  • Plan for management
  • Plan for marketing
  • Plan for finances
  • Goals and expectations

You might also describe your target guest and lay out future growth plans. If this salon is the first of many, then you might explain your plans and timeline for expansion.

Run the numbers

Once you have your business plan, it’s time to talk money. How will you finance your salon? How much do you need to budget for expenses? Do you have capital ready to go, or do you need to secure financing and/or investors?

Running the numbers is not the most exciting part of owning a hair salon, but it’s a crucial step. You have to be aware of your financial challenges and potential stumbling blocks before you open. This is also a good time to truly consider what success looks like for you — in your first week, your first month, and beyond.

Get legit

No more trimming hair at the kitchen table. It’s time to:

  • Set up taxes
  • Formalize a business structure
  • Acquire salon business insurance
  • Plan out payroll
  • Obtain licenses and permits
  • Figure out how you’ll set appointments and accept payments

The beginning of your business design is the best time to get started with salon management software like SalonBiz. SalonBiz offers automated tools for everything from accepting payments to running marketing campaigns. Whether you have one location or several spread across the country, SalonBiz makes all aspects of salon management seamless.

Set yourself up for success on day one by getting all of your financial, technical, and legal structures ready to go well ahead of your grand opening.

Find the perfect location

In hair salons (as in real estate) the old saying is true: location, location, location.

The location of your hair salon can make or break your business. While it’s true that many loyal guests will travel far for their favorite stylist, it will be challenging to grow your salon if your location isn’t convenient.

Consider foot traffic, nearby competitors, and ease of access when looking for a location. Is it convenient to other services, such as shopping and dining? Is there adequate parking?

Remember that you can always change features inside the building, so think creatively when you look at spaces to rent or buy.

Design your space

Once you find a location, evaluate the inside. What makes the perfect layout, and how will you maximize your space to make if beautiful and welcoming for guests?

First, consider the size. Bigger is not always better. Too much space can be overwhelming and not necessarily more profitable. Consider spaces of around 3,000 square feet. This provides ample space for multiple chairs but also leaves plenty of room for retail — a core area that many new salon owners forget about.

You also want to have areas for guests to relax with a magazine while they wait, and storage for coats and purses if needed.

Next, decide on an aesthetic and choose paint, fixtures, and other accessories and finishing touches to match. If your space is architecturally distinctive, consider incorporating those features into your design too.

Hire your team

Your salon is only as good as your team. As you evaluate stylists, consider your salon’s mission and core values. Look for stylists who align with your goals and will work with you towards your mission.

If your salon has a tiered pricing structure based on stylist experience, don’t forget to hire across those tiers.

Locate suppliers and go shopping

It’s an open secret in the salon biz — salon retail products are a huge portion of revenue. You’ll need to make sure you have top-notch suppliers not only for start-up but also for ongoing inventory. A tool like SalonBiz can also automate future inventory orders, so you never run out.

Once you’ve placed your order for products, it’s time to find salon furniture. Sinks, chairs, reception area couches, or seating: all of this should be ordered early in the planning process to ensure they arrive on time, fit in your space, and work with your design plan.

Apply finishing touches

Finishing touches include things like refreshments in reception, flowers or plants, textiles for the windows, and more. It also means your salon basics like capes and combs.

Keep all of your finishing touches in line with the overall vision of the salon, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is to create a beautiful experience for your guests.

Find your guests

Marketing might be last on our “opening a hair salon checklist,” but it’s certainly not least. In fact, you should be working on marketing while getting your space ready. Well before the first appointment confirmation, design a marketing plan that includes email and social media, especially Facebook and Instagram. If this is a second location, make sure all current guests know about it and offer incentives for referrals.

And those awesome new stylists you hired? Make sure they post on their personal social media and tell their clients, friends, and family too.

Owning a hair salon is better with SalonBiz

While it’s true that owning a hair salon is hard work, the main reason businesses fail is because they don’t plan and lay the groundwork for success. Is owning a hair salon profitable? Yes, with the right team and an amazing salon business plan.SalonBiz can help you realize your dream of owning a hair salon. We have the salon management software that allows you to focus on the most important part of your business: your guests. When you’re ready to book a demo and see how we can help, get in touch.

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