When you’re starting a salon business, you need to do a lot of research and plan things step by step, which is why we’ve created our salon opening checklist to help you.
There’s lots of work involved in starting a successful salon: from the obvious (like hiring), to more subtle things that might not come to mind until it’s too late.
Opening a salon business takes a lot of planning. Even the most experienced business owner or salon manager knows that it can be all too easy to forget about one or two small items in the rush to get things done.
Since the consequences (and the cost) of even small mistakes during planning can be unpleasant, it’s important to start off with good planning to help everything fall into place.
Please Note: This is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your business, please consult with a legal professional or a financial advisor.
You’ll have to decide whether you want your new salon to be part of a franchise or not. If you join an existing franchise, you’ll get some benefits, such as brand recognition (especially if it’s a well-known company), advertising assistance, and help with startup.
There are drawbacks to be aware of, too, including less independence (you’ll have to follow their policies and procedures), franchise fees and less financial privacy.
The other choice that you will need to make is whether to pay your stylists on a commission basis or to offer booth rentals for independent stylists (you’re also free to use a mixture of both models, if that suits you).
More on it here: Salon Booth Rental vs Commission.
This will be necessary for any potential investors to start evaluating the costs and benefits of funding your salon venture. A business plan helps you secure this funding and keeps you organized throughout the process. It provides the focus and “vision” to help you succeed.
It should include a marketing plan, an analysis of your competition and a breakdown of your target market. It should also explain your management structure and the kinds of products and services you’ll offer each client.
For more details, check out our article: How to Write a Salon Business Plan.
How much does it cost to open a salon, and where will your monthly profits come from?
Establish a budget that includes an account of your startup expenses as well as your monthly operating costs and your anticipated profits. Have a separate hair salon expenses list for startup costs and monthly, recurring expenses.
These amounts can vary widely depending on your salon’s size, location and client base.
For more info, start here: How Much Does It Cost to Open a Salon.
You should consider your salon’s services, the layout and space that you’ll require (will you run a large salon or rent a suite, for example), as well as your future clientele when you search for a location.
Here are some tips on this: How to Choose Salon Location.
What’s in a name? A lot, frankly. It embodies a salon’s values, brand image and the customers who visit you. Take your time, ask for advice, and avoid anything that’s too close to other salons in your area.
For more ideas, check out this article: 509 Salon Name Ideas.
A salon start up list should always include your future logo, the color palette you’ll use for your shop and a few sentences or keywords about your overall style.
All of the things in a hair salon should look good together, beyond being functional. Having a clear idea of your visual style and business image will make it easier to market your salon’s services, too.
Click here for some inspiration: How to Create a Killer Hair Salon Logo.
Speaking of inspiration, unless you’re buying an existing shop and keeping everything the same, you’ll need to decide how to fit it out.
Do you want it to be cozy and comfortable or sleek and modern? Will you do the work yourself and save some money or use a design service?
Design Ideas article.
From stylists to reception and cleaners, know what you’ll need and make sure that they fit with your salon’s brand and values.
Pro tip: You can achieve a lot with cross-training.
For more on hiring: How to Hire a Hair Stylist.
What items do you need to open a salon business?
List out everything, from furniture to back bar supplies.
There are some basics like styling areas and backwash sinks. After that, it becomes more personal.
What I need to open a salon is different from what you require, so decide on services and any specializations you will focus on first. This has a big effect on the equipment needed to start a hair salon.
Equipment list article.
Hair salon requirements for opening usually include registering and being licenced by either your state, province or local government.
It’s one of the legal requirements to open a hair salon, so remember to check the posts on your state or city’s web page for guidance.
Do you need a business license to open a salon? In most countries, the answer is yes.
Afterwards, do you need a license to own a hair salon? Usually, the answer is still yes.
Every single “opening a hair salon checklist” should include getting your paperwork in order. Insurance companies will require you to have this, too. Check local laws about this.
If you find yourself asking “What qualifications do I need to open a salon?” then go online and check your state’s laws about this.
Requirements to Open a Hair Salon article.
Start by calculating each service’s value, the expense, and your target audience. Then, decide on a pricing strategy.
More on this here: Salon Pricing Guide.
These are the products used at each appointment- you should create a separate salon supply checklist for these and your retail inventory (ideally, you will want to keep these separate for future ordering and tracking).
More about back bar inventory here: Guide to Salon Back Bar Inventory.
In the modern cosmetology business (whether you’re an owner, stylist or other aesthetic professional), the internet is one of the best ways to reach clients.
You’ll want to set up the site, your email address, facebook page, etc. and post often. If you manage your digital presence well and encourage clients to share your posts and join your salon email list, this can be a valuable source of free advertising for you.
Pro tip: A website and email address also makes online booking much easier.
For more tips, check out this article: Salon Website Builder.
This will help you to run your business, take bookings, track and order stock, and pretty much everything else. Salon software is a must if you want to save time and focus on the bigger picture.
Belliata salon software & mobile app is one of the top software with a wide range of features to make it easy to run your salon on the go: Salon Software.
It’s sometimes required by law, but usually a good idea to keep your business safe. Remember to do some research and see which kinds of insurance your state/ city requires.
Link to our Salon Insurance article.
To help you start, we’ve created a handy opening a salon checklist pdf. Feel free to add to this list as needed.
Choose your salon name
Make a business plan and budget
Salon logo and brand image
Do you need a business license for a salon? Find out!
Obtain your state tax ID for your business
Register as an employer
Choose the right location
Check out zoning laws in your area
Buy a website and domain name
Set up your company’s bank account
Check municipal codes and building rules
Confirm your salon layout
Do your research, then hire contractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.)
Apply for building permits
Obtain your business license
Organize your financing if needed
Buy business insurance
Set up utilities, phone and internet
Find a credit card/ payment processing company
Purchase salon software
Buy computers, printers etc.
Find a supplier for back bar items
Get signage ready
Print business cards
Try and do this at least 2-3 months before you open, to give everyone plenty of time.
Each main station
Carts and trays
Chairs (reclining or not)
Cutting stool for stylists
Shampoo bowls/ sinks
Traps for sinks
Storage and displays
Dryers and Processing:
Box dryer and wheels/ stand
Drying station chairs
Reception/ Guest Area:
Retail product displays
Water cooler/ coffee machine
Decor items for lobby
Payment processing and receipt printer
Break room decor
Storage areas and shelving
Tools and Accessories:
Utility carts and trays
Brooms and cleaning items
Booster seats for children
Specialty Items (if you’ll specialize in waxing, tanning or other aesthetic services, add these to the list)
Some examples include:
Pedicure chairs, stools, carts and tools
Manicure chairs and polishes
Barber chairs and towel warmers for hot shaves
Facial machines, steamers and massage chairs
Waxing tools, tables and wax warmers
Write your mission/ vision statements and values
Make a list of hiring needs and positions
Write your training plan
Put job vacancies online (and in the papers)
Interview and hire
Buy uniforms and welcome packages
Write your daily salon opening and closing checklist
Book delivery of items
Schedule plumbing and electrical installations
Install furniture and fixtures
Book your inspection
Make your marketing plan and strategy
Finish your website and launch it
Make you Facebook and Instagram accounts
Join trade associations and start networking
Place ads in the paper or on the radio
Make your flyers and post them
Leave your cards with local businesses
Plan special events for your first week
Send out invitations for the big day
Test your electrical, phone and internet hookups
Clean, then clean again
Put out retail products
Set your business hours
Put float in register
Set up trash bins
Stock the bathrooms
Break room items (coffee machine, water cooler, fridge)
Cleaning and laundry supplies
Stationary, pens and pencils
Hang up any art
Speakers and music system
Decorations for the big day
Clean again and double check everything
Congratulations, you did it!!!
There are many things to think about when starting a new business. Having some structure in place from the get-go will make everything smoother.
Your salon opening checklist is like a roadmap for success: it will keep you on the right track and help you remember what to do along the way. Then, you can focus on enjoying the process.
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