Business Insurance

How To Open A Hair Salon

Similar to a wedding hair consultation for a client, the research for opening a hair salon should be done long in advance. Here are some of the top aspects any aspiring hair salon owner needs to get in check before they open their doors to the public to ensure they’ll be a cut above the rest.

Opening a hair salon is an exciting prospect and one which most hairdressers dream of from an early age. Though, as with any beauty business, there is a lot to consider long past what colouring and styling services to offer to ensure the venture gets off on the right foot—from buying the best salon insurance to hiring hairdressers to growing the business.

Decide On A Target Demographic

Hair salons typically have a target market in mind, both in terms of the services offered and the clientele they look to attract. The hairdressing industry is incredibly broad, with some salons catering to pensioners and others catering towards social media influencers.

So, any would-be salon owner must have a clear idea of who they are looking to attract, so that their business offering and marketing efforts remain strong. Aspects to consider are the general age range of clients, disposable income for pricing, hair type expertise of salon staff and the individual services that would be the most appropriate for the demographic.

As an example, pensioners probably won’t be requesting olaplex, but a younger clientele looking to strengthen their damaged bleached hair would.

Choose A Location

While many businesses operate remotely these days, the likes of hairdressers will always require a physical premises. Understandably, startups may not have the budget for the grandest of locations. Even still, careful research and planning are required as the location could make or break the business.

Some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a location for a hair salon include:

  • What are the yearly charges to rent the space?
  • Is the building suitable to be used as a hair salon?
  • What will be the cost of any renovation works?
  • Does the space offer room to expand the business?
  • What is the competition like in the local area?
  • How easy is the salon to reach by public transport?
  • Is the area susceptible to crime?
  • Can the target demographic of the business be found in the area?

In essence, the consideration needs to be whether the location is truly suitable based on what the space can offer to the business. As an example, if the hair salon is located in an area that doesn’t see much passing trade, it may struggle to build up customers as a new business.

Find Talent

Some hairstylists work solo on a self-employed basis, either by renting a chair or working as a mobile hairdresser. However, hair salons typically require several employees to make the business viable.

For those who have never employed someone before, it will be a steep learning curve, not just in terms of the legal requirements as an employer, but also with regards to what personal attributes to look out for.

This is where referring to the business plan will come in handy, specifically factoring in the types of services the business will be offering to match up the right talent for the job.

Hair salons typically employ a mix of apprentices and senior stylists, so it’s essential to ensure that no matter the level of training the candidate has, everyone is on the same page with an excellent attitude to boot.

Complete Any Necessary Admin

While it’s tempting to only focus on the practical side of hairdressing, all business owners need to take responsibility for the legal and general obligations of running a business.

These are not limited to but include:

  • Ensure everyone holds the correct qualifications to work
  • Register the business with HMRC
  • Register to pay business rates with the local council
  • Obtain salon insurance for employees, clients and the wider business
  • Attend any relevant employer health and safety courses
  • Arrange a tenant agreement with the landlord
  • Order equipment and stock
  • Register with card payment companies and set up the cash register
  • Create employee guidelines
  • Outline salon rules (i.e missed appointments, accepted payment methods etc)
  • Find a bookkeeper and an accountant

All of the above need to be sorted before the business opens its doors. As an example, employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement. Any salon that doesn’t have this in place can be fined £2,500 for each day they have traded without it, which could easily ruin an existing hair salon, let alone a newly established one.

If in doubt, consulting a business advisor can shed light on what needs to be ticked off so that a business is fully compliant with regulations. This also includes making sure the service pricing of the business will generate a profit once taxes and expenses have been deducted.

Market The Business

It doesn’t matter how great a business is if nobody knows it’s there! The hair salon is going to require a dedicated effort to spread the word through physical and digital means. This may involve setting up a website with SEO-friendly copy, social media marketing, emailing and more. In addition, posting flyers in the local neighbourhood or purchasing advertising space if the budget permits.

Similar to nailing the target demographic of the salon, the marketing also needs to focus on reaching the right people. Any digital campaigns will need to be closely monitored to ensure they are bringing in business, with business owners also advised to seek the help of a professional marketing agency if time doesn’t allow for a dedicated marketing effort.

To Sum Up

Opening a hair salon can be incredibly rewarding, but careful research and planning are required before the scissors start chopping. Hair salon owners must position themselves as business people first, as they’ll be in charge of making the decisions and ensuring the correct procedures such as hair salon insurance and tax payments are in place.

However, the benefit of being so thorough at the planning stage of a business is that the longevity of the venture is more likely to be guaranteed because every aspect has been subject to the proper consideration and expertise.

Rachael O'Flaherty

Rachael O’Flaherty is a freelance writer who graduated from Teesside University in 2012. Her background is in digital marketing and journalism, with a particular interest in money saving hacks. For more information, see Rachael's Linked In profile.