You’ve been dreaming of opening your own salon for years. It may finally be a reality with your years of experience and budget. But, taking the leap can still be overwhelming and stressful. Where do you even begin?
Here’s a brief overview of all you need to know about opening a salon.
The first step of building a successful salon is creating a business plan that’s realistic and sustainable. Components of your business plan will include:
- Lead generation tactics (how you’ll get clients)
- Partnerships or business relationships
- Cash flow analysis (revenue streams and expenses)
- List of vendors and suppliers
- Your customer base
- Your business’s legal structure
While business planning takes a lot of research, it also requires working with professionals like financial and legal experts.
One of the most important initial steps is creating a budget. This helps you plan for how much you can spend on space rental and hiring employees.
Legal requirements for starting a business include deciding which legal structure you want your business to be under and registering your business. Legal structures to consider include a limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, or C corporation.
Many salons decide to go the LLC route because it helps you separate your personal and business liabilities. This means that when you’re preparing taxes each year, you’ll have different tax return folders for your personal and business finances. And if something happens to your business, your personal assets won’t be at risk.
You’ll also have to insure your salon with business insurance, so this cost must be factored into your monthly budget.
After you’ve established your business, you’ll need to invest in a salon space and all the equipment you’ll need to operate. In addition to cost considerations, your location should appeal to your ideal customer base.
If you have a limited budget, get creative with the furniture you bring into your space. For example, many small salons bring in vintage pieces they salvage, like dressers or a makeup mirror, which help create an appealing and relaxing environment for customers.
To stand out to new clients, think about what makes your salon unique. How are you different than your competitors? What unique experiences do you bring to your work? The answers to these questions will help you create a narrative that engages your audience and gives them a reason to give you their business.
Other ways to find new clients include offering discounts to first-time clients, or providing incentives for clients who refer their friends and family. Make sure you’re active on social media so you can connect with your customers online and communicate any special offers and deals going on.
You may feel like you have to charge less when you’re a new salon. But this isn’t always the case. Some clients may be turned off by extremely low prices because they’ll think that the quality isn’t as high as other salons. That’s why you need to create a price list that’s competitive for your area while still affordable. Charge what you’re worth, even if that means waiting a bit longer to build up the right client list.
Do lots of research. What do your competitors charge? Send out surveys to assess what your customers are willing to pay for services. If you find that your clients are always surprised or turned off by your prices, it’s probably a sign that you need to change something.
Opening a salon is exciting, but the process can be lengthy, stressful, and costly. Make sure you follow these steps and work with other experts in your area who can assist, like financial and legal professionals.