Start a Beauty Salon
A beauty salon is a great way to use your talents to help other people look their best. This article will teach you how to start one, from setting up shop to welcoming clients.
10 Second Summary
1. Find how how much you need and create a budget.
2. Get a business license and pass any health inspections.
3. Find a place to set up and work.
4. Hire qualified and trained people.
5. Keep your salon neat and clean, and your clients happy.
Setting Up Shop
- Figure out how much money you need. Starting a business can cost a lot of money, and most entrepreneurs don't turn a profit for the first year or two. Here's what to consider:
- Can you still support yourself while your business gets up and running? Calculate how much money you need for monthly expenses, how much of a cushion you have in savings, and how much you absolutely must make each month to stay afloat.
- Come up with an operating budget. Calculate how much money you'll need to run your business every month. Include rent, licensing, training, payroll, supplies and an emergency fund.
- Figure out how much you'll charge for services. Once you have an operating budget, you'll know how much money you need to break even each month. To make a profit, though, you'll need to do more than break even. Estimate how many services (such as hair cuts, colors, manicures, etc.) you might perform in a week and figure out how much they need to cost in order for you to make money.
- Keep in mind that though you need to charge enough to be profitable, you can't charge too much — or you'll drive away customers. Try to set a price point that is both fair for your clients and prosperous for you.
- Get an idea of what other salons charge. Browse comparable salons in your area, and take note of what they charge. Your prices should probably be in a similar range.
- Do you need a small business loan? Make an appointment with a loan officer at a local bank, and ask him or her to talk you through the process of getting a small business plan. Before you go, write up a quick summary of how you expect your salon to be profitable — whether it's because you offer a unique service or because there aren't enough salons in your area.
- Figure out how you'll pay taxes. Paying taxes as a small business is different than doing so as an individual, so be sure to figure out what you need in advance. To save yourself time and trouble, consider enlisting the help of a CPA while you set up your business.
- Take care of any licensing. Unfortunately, running a a business means having to deal with red tape and paperwork. Here's what you need to take care of:
- Get a business license. All businesses in the U.S. must be licensed. Check out the Small Business Administration website for more help.
- In the United States, all personal appearance workers must be licensed. That includes cutting or coloring hair, painting nails, hair removal, and makeup application. Rules vary by state, so contact your local Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
- Make sure your salon can pass a health inspection. To avoid fines or (even worse) being shut down by the health department, make sure your salon is sanitary and following the guidelines laid out by your state. For an example of what to expect, check out New York state's salon requirements.
- Choose the right location. Location is critical to the success of your business. Consider these factors:
- Get into a high-traffic area. Busy streets, malls or spaces next to locations people visit often (such as grocery stores) are ideal.
- Try to have easy access. If parking is a hassle and traffic is thick on the way to your salon, people might not consider it worth the effort.
- Stay away from the competition. Don't situate yourself directly next to another salon — you'll cancel each other out. Instead, try to stake out a place where you'll be the only salon for a few blocks.
- Hire qualified and trained personnel. The cosmetic procedures performed by untrained personnel may cause health problems to the clients. It is important that you hire only qualified and well-trained beauticians, stylists, and other personnel.
- Remember, it is your responsibility as the salon owner to ensure that your personnel are adequately trained and understand each procedure offered.
- Experience may give a beautician the expertise to render treatment, but, without proper training, she would be unaware of the merits and demerits of procedures.
- Have a short but clear salon procedures manual in place as soon as you can, and give each employee a contract when they start. These documents are usually easy to find on the internet and you can then customize them to your business. It will save you a lot of headaches in the long run if you are set up properly at the beginning.
- Create a clean and safe atmosphere. Salons thrive on an environment that is clean, safe and relaxing, where customers can receive prompt and professional service.
- Cleanliness is a particularly important element that can draw clients in again and again. Be sure your towels, foot baths, and other equipments are washed, clean and odor-free.
- Keep your tools sharp and current. Your clients must be able to trust that the products and tools that you use on them are of top-notch quality and safe. You cannot afford to put your clients at risk from infections, as it could damage your reputation.
- Make the atmosphere relaxing. Play soft music, use gentle lighting and keep loud chatter between your employees at a minimum.
- Offer a wide range of services (optional). This could give you a distinct advantage over those who offer only one or two types of services. Many clients prefer to have their hair, nails and face done in one place, instead of going to three different places.
- While you can specialize in one main area (e.g. hair), giving your clients the convenience of a one-stop beauty shop can set your business apart from your competitors.
- Keep your clients satisfied. It is important that your business create and maintain the desirable reputation as a quality hair and salon operation, so that your clients keep returning for maintenance. Try to give them the best possible experience each time, and go out of your way to make them feel valued.
- A salon’s best marketing tool is word-of-mouth. If a client is happy with the results, he or she will come back to the your salon; after all, it's a question of trust. Satisfied clients can then help advertise your business to their friends, family, and colleagues. Word can easily spread about the great look and outstanding personal service that your salon provides.
- Collect contact information from your clients e.g. an email address or cell phone number, and if you have a computerized system you than then easily text or mail them with updates on new products/services, and any special offers you have.
- This is a beauty business; you're expected to look your best! Have in your procedures manual what you expect as a minimum in grooming for all staff and set a good example yourself.
- Why not try holding some sort of opening event?
- Consider providing training classes on a regular basis to your personnel to improve their product knowledge and skills as well as awareness to trends.
- At the beginning you may not be able to pay big salaries to staff, but there are many other things you can do to create a "feel good" factor. Be reasonable about time off and take time to devise a time in lieu give and take system — for example, staff can take time off and then pay it back during busy periods. Have a staff night out every two to three months — a pizza and wine night won't cost much but creates a real team feeling. Introduce a commission-based system so staff are motivated to grow your clientele. Set up your salary system and holiday system so that staff get paid on time and up to date, and can check their time off entitlements. These are all small things but they make a big difference to staff.
- Create monthly contests amongst the staff and offer prizes from free product to a paid day off to a yearly contest that would afford the winner a free vacation.
- Buy good equipment and hire able competent employees to work at your salon.
- You need to be aware of the liabilities that you and your business can be subjected to as a result of accidents and botched procedures (from rashes resulting from improper waxing procedure to damaged hair). Check with your insurance company on policies that can protect you and your business from liability and lawsuits that may arise from customer complaints.
- Have a procedures manual, a good salary system, contracts for staff and make sure you are compliant with your current employment legislation. If you have your paperwork in order then should any dispute arise it will be a lot easier for your to deal with it.
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