Starting and opening a hair salon requires a talent for cosmetology, good customer service skills, a head for business and a lot of hard work. The beauty industry has always been a safe bet when it comes to entrepreneurship. Even in a down economy, people will pay to keep themselves looking good. Salon services often can’t be duplicated at home, and people generally enjoy taking the time to be pampered. There are, however, a number of things you’ll need to know when getting your business off the ground. These tips for starting a salon will be help you to navigate the process of owning your dream business.
Kinds of Salons
There are a number of ways to open a salon of your own. You could purchase the rights to a franchise salon. This will give you use of an established name with a reputation that is likely to help you in obtaining customers right off the bat. Another option is to buy a salon from someone who is retiring or leaving the business for some other reason. This is a good way to step into an existing business and have a ready-made clientele list, along with all of the salon furnishings and equipment. One potential downside is that buying another’s business may not be a savvy move if they were having difficulties staying afloat due to poor practices or bad business decisions.
Another consideration with opening a franchise or buying an established salon is that you may not be able to customize things and add your own unique touch to bring your vision to life. For example, many franchises require that a certain decorating scheme and accessories be used in order to ensure cohesiveness across the brand. When you purchase someone else’s salon, you’ll often. want to use the existing fixtures and decor in order to save money and time. The third option in starting a salon is to open your own independent business, one in which you control all the decision making.
Business and Financing Considerations
Once you’ve decided on the kind of salon you’d like to operate, you’ll need to consider other aspects of your operation in order to write an effective business plan. Things to include in your business plan are your prior beauty experience, any supervisory or management skills you’ve acquired, possible salon locations, a checklist and cost estimate of start up supplies and information on the kind of staff you intend to recruit. If you are planning to start your own salon, it’s best to already have extensive experience in the beauty industry. Having spent time working in various capacities for someone else will give you the know-how you need to making sure your salon business runs smoothly.
You’ll need to conduct extensive research to provide thorough information in your business plan. The more comprehensive your business plan is, the more you’ll truly be prepared to address each issue as it comes up along the journey toward opening your salon. Decide which geographic area works best for the type of clientele you hope to attract. Then scout out different types of buildings, either for sale or for rent. You’ll also need to consider hours of operation, services offered and pricing. Do some market research to see what other salons are doing in your area. Think of how you can set yourself apart, but also use this information as a guideline for what people are looking for and willing to pay.
Check with suppliers to determine the cost of beauty supplies such as sinks, chairs, hairdressing stations and smaller accessories like brushes, combs, color supplies, shampoos and conditioners and other items needed for the services you intend to offer. Include an itemized list in your business plan. Finally, consider how many staff you will need to hire. Start with a salon manager and begin putting out feelers through ads and networking. The manager is the most important staff member, as she will be responsible for day to day salon operations. Once your business plan is complete, you’ll be ready to approach financial institutions to begin the loan process.
A successful business requires customers. Therefore, one of your main priorities will be marketing your salon once you’ve gotten the financing ball rolling. First, start by assessing the kind of clientele residing in your geographic location. Research things like median income and the main types of jobs people have. You can find this information at your city’s economic development office.
Then put together a marketing plan. This should include the types of advertising you will do. Your first effort should be to construct a quality website with comprehensive information about your salon and what you offer. Then consider whether you should advertise in other media such as phone directories, radio, internet or billboards.
An often overlooked source when starting a hair salon are industry associations. On these sites you will find resources, continuing education, forums and more. Utilize these resources to make contacts and learn more before starting out. A few of the more popular ones are:
Follow these tips for starting a salon, and you’ll be well on your way toward achieving your dream hair salon business.