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Opening a Hair Salon: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Thinking about opening your own hair salon? Here are the steps you need to take and the tools you need to get started.

Posted 3 months ago
opening a salon

Written by

Mackenzie Taylor
Posted 3 months ago
After all of those years of hard work building up your client list and learning all the ins and outs of hair, you’re finally thinking about opening your own hair salon. Congrats! It’s a big step and we know that it can be a really daunting one. Opening a hair salon is more than just being a great hair stylist and having clients, you also need the right place, tools, stylists, and a few business licenses in place too.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about starting, we’ve got you. Here is your step-by-step guide on opening a hair salon, plus a few tips, tricks, and tools you need to be as successful as possible.

Jump to a section ✨

  1. How much does it cost to open a hair salon?
    • Location
    • Size
    • Type of salon
    • Level of experience

How much does it cost to open a hair salon?

There are quite a number of factors that go into opening up your own hair salon and it can vary greatly. Some of the biggest costs come from things like:


The location of your salon can have a huge impact on your startup costs. Rent prices can vary greatly depending on the city or neighborhood you decide to set up shop.


How large the space is will be another factor in the cost—rent, utilities, and even the equipment for the space.

Type of salon

Will your salon be more high-end luxury or a basic salon with minimal needs? Depending on the type will factor into the type of equipment you’re going to need in the long run.

Level of experience

If you’re new to the world of salon business, looking into training or additional resources to help you get more experienced might be a good idea!
Okay, great, but what does that mean really? How much money are we actually talking about when it comes to opening your own salon? Let’s break down some general start-up costs:
  • Rent and utilities: $1000-$5000 (per month)
  • Equipment: $10,000-$50,000
  • Inventory: $5,000-$15,000
  • Licenses and permits: $500-$1200
  • Insurance: $1000-$2000 (per year)
  • Marketing and advertising: $500-$2000 (per month)
If you are hiring a team of people to work at the salon with you, you also need to think about payroll and how much that is going to cost you each month.
Yes, the initial price can be daunting to see written down but there are some ways you can help yourself offset the cost:
  • Lease or rent some of the equipment instead of buying it upfront
  • Buy used equipment when you can
  • If you have a versatile space, look into letting others rent the space from you once a month
  • Use free or low-cost marketing like social media and advertising to help build up your clients
Opening your own salon can be expensive if you make it super expensive. But having a plan in place, seeking out used items, finding a location that isn’t outrageously priced, and more, you can do it in a cost-effective way for yourself.

How to open a salon in 6 steps

We’ll try to make this as easy as possible for you to follow, so get your pen and paper out, and let’s do this:

Write a business plan

This is important for any small business owner. You have to write a business plan to get started. This will lay out all the important bits about your business in one place. You’ll write out your expectations and your strategy on how you believe you will achieve your successes. A business plan tends to include:
  • A summary and description of your business. In this, you’ll want to highlight your salon’s objectives, who your target audience is, and more.
  • Management and organization. Figure out exactly what your salon needs in terms of stylists, other management roles, and more. In this section, you’ll want to outline what kind of business entity you want your salon to be—LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, etc.
  • Marketing your business. How are you going to market and get new clients through your door? Explain here any costs that might go into marketing your business.
  • Products, equipment, and services you may need. Your salon is going to need a fair number of items to get started. Write down everything you think you might need (and any items you might need in the future!).
  • Financial planning. Create a full financial plan for the salon, including income, rent, balancing sheets, and more. This will help you track money in vs. money out and how your salon can scale in the future.
💡 Flick’s tip: Add a checklist of everything you need to open your own salon inside the business plan. Make sure you’re highlighting all the things you’ll need (both big and small!) to get started.

Determine costs

The next biggest thing on your list when it comes to opening your own salon is knowing exactly how much you can afford each month. And also keep in mind—it might take a while for you to even make a profit after all the upfront costs.
Think of all the costs that will go into opening your salon (take a peek above to get a rough idea!):
  • Rent
  • Training
  • Insurance
  • Inventory
  • Your charges
  • Equipment
Look into getting a small business loan to help you get started and cover the initial costs upfront. This will help elevate some stress and make sure that you’re completely covered financially and legally (!!) when you first get started.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sarah Goodfellow Lake (@lakestylist)

Find a location

Location, location, location! Location is hugely important when it comes to opening a salon. You want to make sure that it’s in a spot that is fairly easy for your clients to get to because … they might turn elsewhere if you move too far from your original spot.
Some key things to consider when trying to find a location are:
  • Parking
  • Foot traffic
  • Size of the space
  • Rental price
  • What other businesses are in the area
You don’t want to open up your salon right next to someone else’s. That would kind of defeat your purpose of yours!

Licenses and permits

Psst: You’re going to need a cosmetology license if you want to do hair services yourself at your hair salon. Make sure that you have that before you think about opening the salon in the first place. And if you decide to hire staff, you’ll need to make sure they have this as well!
Other licenses and permits you’re going to need are:
  • Business license: This is required for ALL businesses. Contact your local government office to figure out all the steps to obtaining your own!
  • Certificate of occupancy: This will show that your hair salon meets all the building and safety codes for the building of the business. You need to contact your local building department to get this certificate.
  • Health department permit: As a hair salon provides personal care services, you need to have a health department permit. Contact your local health department to get this permit.
💡 Flick’s tip: If you are looking to add more services to your roster, like tanning or esthetics, you might need to obtain even more licenses.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BLUE TIT Hair Salons (@bluetitlondon)

Market your salon

Oh, the fun bit, if you ask us! Marketing your salon is going to be so important to your business when you’re first getting started.
  • Start with the local community. Go to the other local small businesses around you and see if they would be okay with you leaving out flyers for your business.
  • Host a small opening party to welcome the new neighborhood in and get the word out about your new salon. Invite your clients and have them invite people they know and offer a referral discount to anyone who books an appointment.
  • Share your experiences on the opening on social media. Have people like and share your salon online to start spreading the word.
  • Work with local influencers. See if someone local to you is interested in getting their hair done by you and share it with their followers to help spread the word.
💡 Flick’s tip: We know that opening your own salon is hard work—add in the need to market the salon as well? It seems almost impossible to do. By using a tool like Flick’s AI Assistant, you’ll be able to handle all of your social media content ideas in seconds. Type in a keyword or topic and the AI Assistant will do the hard work for you.
You’ll get access to:
  • Endless content and caption ideas in seconds
  • Auto-generated hashtags tailored to your caption
  • Captions are written completely in your brand voice
  • Repurpose your long-form content
  • FREE caption generator
  • Schedule your content at the best time for your audience inside Flick in a single click
  • Brainstorm various post ideas from a single keyword
Pricing: Free trial for 7 days with plans starting at ~$14/month
Ready to get started and open your own salon? We believe in you! Just follow the steps, take lots of deep breaths, utilize the tools to help you (like Flick!), and watch your business grow.


How much does it cost to open a hair salon?

How to open a salon in 6 steps

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