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How to Successfully Set Up a Hair Salon

Part 1: Where to begin?

Congratulations on deciding to start your own salon business. Statistics in recent years clearly show that the hair salon sector world-wide is growing and the chances of being at a stage of dynamic growth in the near future for a salon business is high. The reason for this is people generally care more about themselves and their appearance, realizing that it has a direct effect on the success of their careers and personal lives. They also know that from the experts they can expect quality and good value for money.

Start with a Business Plan

The first step in realizing your salon business is coming up with a thoroughly well thought out and researched business plan. It is the single most important element of starting a new business. In your plan you should outline your whole business idea, vision, plans, and strategies – although it should remain flexible to any future ‘surprises’. Not only is it necessary for the successful launch of your salon, but another use of a plan, other than knowing what action to take and why, is its usefulness when it comes to getting investors, bank loans, and also advice from others with experience. It also gives you a chance to thoroughly think your finances through and plan accordingly. Remember that those starting a business with a solid economic strategy are more likely to succeed than those with a great idea, product or patented invention.

Research Your Competition

Make every effort to accurately discern the action and practices of your competition. It is worthwhile to choose a group of salons that are already successful and who have a similar target group of customers as you do, and then see what makes them successful or where they are lacking. Conduct field research. Visit as a customer, and get a feel for what your customer will expect, and how you will be able to provide the services. You can then skillfully adapt these solutions to your business. Leave what doesn’t work, and adapt what may work for you.

Create a Brand, not just a Brand name

Your brand name is usually the first point-of-contact your potential customers will have with your business. It is an extension of your salon, and should sum up your whole business – reflecting it and evoking some kind of emotional response. In a world inundated with brands, you need to create one for your salon that’s memorable and stands out. Again, here’s another instance where research will pay off. Have a look at other salon businesses and their brand names. What is it about them that you like or dislike? What kind of name creates a strong impression, and what doesn’t and why? What name works as a whole with the salon’s brand, and re-enforces it? A good tip is to keep it short and easy to pronounce.

Your Operating Hours & Customer Service

The hairdressing industry is less and less frequently located in the rigid framework of the typical 9-5 workday. Salons are becoming increasingly more flexible. Some operate into the evening, and some even the whole weekend. You must keep in mind that the fight for clients often necessitates more flexible working time – and makes your salon more accessible to their needs. Many people require salons to be open after regular work-day timings, because that is when they have events to attend and need to look their best. Perhaps you can think about offering this service only with advance booking and adding an extra charge, or you can rotate your staff so that your salon is open during times it usually would not be.


The most vital part of any business is people. Even the smallest contact your employees have with a client reflects either positively or negatively on your business – its image, and its profits. For this reason, it is important that you take on the best people that you can afford at the moment and to invest in their skills – especially their people skills. Many hairdressers offer similar quality products and services, but the few exceptional salons that stand out not only meet customer requirements, but actually exceed them. Therefore, training your employees in customer service can help you leave the competition behind, and if you can make the customer feel very, very special and well taken care of, they will probably become a regular, loyal client. In many cases, it makes good business sense to hire an experienced manager who can manage your personnel and the salon on a day-to-day basis.

Part 2: What next?

In the first part we looked at the basics of starting up your own salon; here we will continue to explore the building blocks of your salon business.

What’s On Your Salon’s Service Menu?

Think carefully over the quantity and quality of the services and products you are planning to offer. Do you intend your salon to offer full service (for example, including facials, body treatments, and nail-care), or be limited to hair only? Do you plan to go environmentally-friendly and offer only eco-friendly products and practices? Do you intend it to be accessible to all or want to offer top-notch services and products to discerning, wealthy clients who are willing to pay more for a more luxurious, spa-like experience?

Organizing Your Finances

After thinking the above point through, you will then be able to come up with a financial strategy to meet the needs of your business. Defining the extent of services and products in your business plan means you should already have a detailed list of everything you intend to include.

Depending on which route you choose (basic to full-service/luxury salon) and the size San Diego Blonde of the entire project, to begin operations you will need from around $ 10,000 up to $ 100,000. You could spend anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 for salon equipment alone, and should have at least three months of working capital at your disposal at the beginning of your business.

Location, Location, Location

Think about what kind of clients are you looking to attract, and then think: where are they? If you are one of those salons who is employing a well-known ‘hairdresser to the stars’, you will not need to worry so much about location, as people will come to you. If you don’t have a well-established reputation in the business and a long list of loyal clientele, you will need to think of strategically placing your business in a high-profile, busy area with easy access from all parts of town. Ideally, a place the kind of clients you intend to attract frequent. For example, shopping malls are usually a safe bet, as your clients will be able to get their shopping done before or after their appointment at your salon.


Salon design is one of the aspects of setting up your business that should be of utmost importance to you. You could have a great business, staff, and wonderful service but before your clients will experience this they will either be attracted by the appearance of your salon or not. Obviously you will want to get new clients by word-of-mouth, but you can win over new ones by providing such a great storefront outside and environment inside that they can’t help but come in, and want to stay.

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