You may already be a hairstylist wondering how to become a salon manager. Or, you may be involved in the beauty industry and considering what further education, cosmetology training, or license you will need to start your own salon. Either way, rising to the position of salon manager is the goal of many people.
Salon manager jobs are a great way for beauty professionals to either transition fully into business leadership or to continue with their clients, while also managing the day-to-day operations of the salon.
Depending on the location of the hair or nail salon that you’re running, salon managers perform a variety of duties. Behind every successful salon, there is an organized and competent manager with great communication skills.
Let’s take a look at some of the essential skills that you’ll need for success, some tools to help you get there, and the process that you can expect to follow on your journey.
Depending on your role and the size of your salon, a salon manager is responsible for a variety of things. Simply put, you’ll be at the heart of daily operations, overseeing things from managing staff, hiring, salon marketing, inventory, and scheduling.
You’ll also be responsible for maximizing every customer’s experience, helping to prepare the salon for events or services, and providing leadership and training to your staff to ensure that they make the most out of every customer's appointment.
A salon manager takes care of all the details involved in running a professional salon. You’ll be the one that your staff looks to for leadership, coaching employees, and helping them search for personal improvement and training opportunities. You may even be in charge of each stylist’s promotions or salary.
You’ll help arrange the salon schedule and manage bookings for services. A salon manager's job description typically involves a lot of communication with both customers and stylists.
If you’re part of a chain or franchise, you’ll likely need to communicate with the head office, as well as with employees on site.
Finally, a salon manager oversees the profits and will review the financial aspects of the business. You will manage things like bookkeeping (if you use an accountant, you’ll still need to check the end-of-day profits and keep the paperwork ready), product ordering and inventory, and your responsibilities will include arranging any advertising or promotional materials for the salon.
It sounds like a lot, but remember that many salon managers in the beauty industry often use salon software to help them keep track of all of their business and customer-service data, saving time and valuable energy.
How much does a salon manager get paid? There are many reasons that people choose to become salon managers- the salary is certainly one of them. A hair salon manager's salary is quite attractive. What is the average salary for a salon manager? Well, an experienced salon manager will find themselves paid an average of $41,525 per year or $21.29 per hour.
How much does a salon manager make if they are just starting out? This number will be a little lower if this is your first position, but salaries for salon managers grow with experience and can always be renegotiated. Salary isn’t everything, of course. Many cosmetology professionals want to manage a salon because it offers exciting new challenges and allows them to go back to school and hone their business skills. It can be a stepping stone to one day owning your own salon.
Every successful salon manager has great communication skills. It truly does help to be a “people person.” You have to be ready to deal with any issues that come up with either staff or clients in a calm and diplomatic manner. Communication skills will be an asset in your leadership role- you’ll need to coach staff on sales targets, professional customer service, and health and safety. You’ll also be a role model for how stylists and salon employees should act.
Hair salon management is also an opportunity to show off your excellent business management skills. These are skills that could be transferred to a position outside the beauty industry, as well. You should be prepared to use salon software, manage inventory, deal with any inquiries from the salon owner or clients, assist in the hiring and training of staff, and generally encourage teamwork around the salon.
Additionally, you will be called upon to handle any business-related responsibilities such as marketing and promotions or keeping track of sales and product inventory. Along with managing the day-to-day operations of your salon location, it’s likely that you’ll also be responsible for the health and safety of your business, including checking equipment and scheduling repairs or maintenance when needed.
People often wonder “How many years does it take to become a salon manager?” The answer is a bit complicated. Although salon managers are often hired from other salons or promoted internally, it’s also possible to get the training at school and start your career as one.
How many years to become a salon manager depends on your previous cosmetology/ business experience, each license and school program on your resume, and the services that you’re familiar with. So, what qualifications do you need to be a salon manager?
Let’s take a look at how some time at school can give aspiring salon managers an edge during the hiring process. Hair salon managers typically have a college degree in management or administration. It’s possible to find a school program to train specifically for this career by taking a salon manager course, but it’s not necessary.
If you do not have college training in management, but have professional industry experience, it’s possible that your qualifications are equivalent to a college degree and fit the education requirements for salon managers. It’s important to remember that you’ll still need a professional cosmetology license from a recognized train school or program in order to find jobs in your state or province.
Speaking of experience, a hair salon manager job often requires that you have cosmetology experience as well as business skills. You should stay up to date on industry trends and the latest services. You’ll have to understand customer needs and be able to offer them the latest services.
Maintaining your cosmetology license will help with this. You’ll want a good knowledge of retail trends and products, too. Again, great communication and customer service skills are key to this. No school program or certification can replace a friendly and outgoing personality.
Finally, you will need some general bookkeeping ability and finance knowledge, as well as good organizational skills if you want to become a salon manager. Don’t worry- these are basic skills that anybody can add to their toolbelt.
If your career goal is to eventually become a salon manager, consider enrolling in a college program or after-hours education course to refresh your knowledge. These skills make all the difference when you’re applying for a salon management position, or indeed any manager job.
After mastering the basics of how to be a salon manager, it’s time to start your job hunt. As we mentioned before, many salon owners search for a salon manager by hiring and promoting internally- either within the salon company or from within the wider industry. You can start your salon manager job search by reaching out to friends working in other salons or within cosmetology as a whole.
Many staff members enter their salon management career because of another stylist or colleague’s recommendation.
When you begin your job search, make sure to network online, too. Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile, Instagram page (if you have related photos to show your success), and social media accounts to promote your skills and services. Keep everything looking clean and professional.
Salon management involves a lot of marketing and salon promotion, so why not show off your business skills to potential employers.
Finally, don’t forget to check the online job boards. Include search terms like “salon manager jobs”, “salon management” and “salon managers”, but feel free to be more specific if you want to work for a particular company, industry, or location.
If you want to become a salon manager, you’ll need the ability to be patient and persistent. Keep an eye out for any new salons opening in your area and don’t be afraid to send an email or give them a call.
Even if they don’t have an opening right now, a position could open up on staff that makes them think of your skills. Also, don’t forget to do your research and review the salon’s websites. You can even subscribe to their newsletters if you're interested in working at a particular one.
This will help you find information about salon staff, the types of customers that they market to, and the services that they offer. You’ll find that a little bit of homework goes a long way.
In order to become a salon manager, you’ll need a good, professional resume that shows your job skills. Remember, this is your first impression of any business. Here are some tips to help you build a strong resume for salon management:
Keep your resume tidy - Avoid cluttering it up with too many large blocks of text, unusual fonts, or paragraphs that don’t line up. Any basic resume should look clean and easy to read. Show each salon location that you value organization and have an eye for how salon operations should look.
Include bullet points for key skills - Do you have experience with salon software? How about retail inventory or staff scheduling? Have you had jobs in business or customer service? Are you a veteran stylist who’s become adept at spotting the latest trends? Don’t be shy about promoting your management and customer service skills.
Look at some examples online - You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many salon managers have applied for jobs at companies in the past and succeeded. Check online for management resume templates and compare your own to these.
Write an eye-catching cover letter - Address the salon owners or companies directly and talk about your interest in the position, your previous job experience, career path, and any qualifications that you think would make you a great fit for this management job.
Include a separate section for your education and cosmetology license - Your cosmetology license is important, both for understanding the services that you offer to customers and because many salon managers are called upon to help out at busy times and also choose to take clients of their own.
If you’ve been to a business school or taken a special degree or training program, let them know. Your management career requires a diverse skill set, and you never know when a specific license, degree, or cosmetology training could come in handy. It’s all about making the most out of your skills.
Remember, writing a great salon manager's resume is about standing out to your employer and building their confidence in you. To find the right job, you’ll need to show that you can organize and market a salon product- in this case, your skills are the product and the salon owner is the customer.
One way to gain an edge over your competition is to invest in a salon manager training course. Along with salon career experience, your cosmetology license, or a business management degree, this kind of program is a great way to fast-track your job search.
Many schools offer specific courses tailored towards building a career in salon management or small business management. Check out local schools and see what each program offers before you make a choice.
If you already have the license that you need and some industry experience, it might be worthwhile to focus on schools with more general management or business programs.
Some schools have online or “distance learning” courses available. If you have your license already and are looking to improve your salary and expand your career path, this kind of school is a good way to work around your busy schedule.
Many beauty professionals choose a career as a hair salon manager. Some want to increase their salary, others love the challenge, and some people just see it as the natural next step in their salon careers. If you’re thinking about how to become a salon manager, you’ve already taken the first step.
Now, you just need to decide whether this means going back to school, or getting your resume ready for the job market. Either way, it’s time to embark on an exciting and dynamic career.
And if you love these ideas or have some other ideas that you've used in the past to promote your salon business, why not share it with the Belliata community in the comment section below. We would also be delighted to answer your questions, as well.
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