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How to Open a Hair Salon Business
Waiting area furniture is one consideration when outfitting a salon.
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Hair salons typically provide services such as haircuts, permanents and color applications. Salons cater to virtually every segment of the population, ranging from nervous toddlers to stylish grandmothers. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that hair stylists face good employment prospects as the United States population grows and more people seek hair styling services. The bureau projects a 20 percent nationwide growth in hair stylist ranks from 2008 to 2018.
1. Document your hair salon business. Adopt a business name that reflects your salon s character. Search a regional registered business names database to ensure that your chosen name is not already in use. Select a business structure with a certified public accountant familiar with hair salons. Consider a sole proprietorship, limited liability company and subchapter S corporation. Meet with a commercial insurance agent about liability insurance. Visit your city or county clerk s office regarding a business license and other needed permits. Contact your city s health department about a health inspection. Call your state Department of Revenue about a sales tax license.
2. Obtain financing for your hair salon. Ensure that you have sufficient financial resources to purchase your salon fixtures and equipment, and to operate your business with a cushion of reserves. Contact the United States Small Business Administration, or SBA, about a small-business startup loan. The SBA works cooperatively with banks and other lenders to facilitate these loans. Work with your accountant to develop documentation for your financing application.
3. Lease a visible and convenient salon location. Find a building easily reached from main roads and with sufficient salon customer parking. Look for sites near other popular retail businesses and restaurants, as these establishments will provide you with increased visibility and walk-in traffic. Obtain written zoning approval before you sign a salon lease. Work with a sign-making company to create stylish building signage with hair-focused graphics. Select an interior salon theme as well.
4. List your local hair salon competition. Visit hair salons in your city and surrounding towns. Note each salon s decor and overall ambiance. Document each salon s hair-related services, including the number of hair-styling stations. Identify nail, massage and other ancillary services. Include data on retail hair-styling products and other accessories sold at the salon. Pay special attention to employees interactions with customers.
5. Publish your salon services menu. Analyze information from your visits to competitors salons. Design a salon menu that features standard services such as haircuts, color applications and permanents. Consider nontoxic coloring and permanent solutions for clients with chemical allergies. Identify services not offered by your competitors, such as an optional hand massage while the customer is in the styling chair. Work with a graphic designer to create a services menu that reflects your salon s character.
6. Purchase your salon fixtures and equipment. Count the number of shampoo, styling and drying stations you require. Compile an order that includes these fixtures as well as reception desks and product display shelves. Add smaller items such as hair dryers and styling supplies. Order all your supplies from one vendor, if possible, and request a quantity discount. Buy comfortable and durable reception-area furniture from a local retailer.
7. Find competent and personable staff. Ask your accountant to determine whether your hair stylists are considered employees or independent contractors. Place carefully constructed newspaper help-wanted ads for hair stylists, receptionists and shampoo assistants. Visit local beauty schools, and ask instructors to recommend students eligible for work-study programs. Request names of recent graduates who are seeking entry-level styling positions. Ensure that your staff is comfortable working with all types of customers.
8. Host a festive salon open house that features refreshments and free chair massages. Offer introductory discounts as well as a frequent-customer card for your haircut clients. Designate package pricing discounts on your styling products as well. Advertise the event in local newspapers Style pages, and place fliers in businesses such as clothing and gourmet kitchen stores.