If you’ve always loved going to the salon, watching hair tutorials, cutting people’s hair, and other beauty favorites, it’s probably time to make a business out of it. A successful hair salon can be a profitable business with ample room for creativity.
Once you’ve graduated from hair school, it’s fairly simple to start your own hair salon, whether you start in your home or rent a business space. The most important components are motivation and an understanding of basic business principles, but there’s also the need to stand out. The industry is growing at a steady rate; there’s still a lot of competition out there with almost a million salons set up across the United States, according to a report from the Professional Beauty Association.
Altogether, hair salons in the United States make more than $40 billion in sales each year, according to that same report, and if you want to be part of those earnings, you need a great business model. As long as you’re adhering to principles of good business and finding a creative niche to stand out, your salon will fit perfectly into this growing industry. Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Write Your Business Plan
Every company, no matter what services they offer, needs a business plan. This acts as a roadmap to success and details everything from your mission statement to your profit model. Do a little research on successful salon business models, and write a profitable plan that will guide your business.
2. Gather Funding
No matter how great your location is or how solid your business plan is, you won’t get anywhere without enough money. If you’re lucky, you spent the last several years saving to afford this startup venture, but the vast majority of business owners don’t have adequate cash at startup.
There are many financing options for startups, from taking out a conventional loan to partnering with a more established salon to crowdfunding your venture. Consider each option and avoid those with high interest. Remember that it’s okay to start out small and work on building up your salon and earning money as you go.
3. Find Your Business Location
Any salon owner will tell you about the importance of a great location. Many first-time salon owners start their businesses in their homes, which is fine when you’re starting out. Eventually, you’ll need a better location, especially if your home is located out of the way.
Wherever you set up shop should have good traffic, high visibility, and be near your target demographic. The surrounding area should be well-lit, safe, and attractive. It’s best if it’s amidst other popular businesses. It will cost more for a prime location, but it’s better to pay more up front because you’ll attract more customers and grow your business much faster.
A little trick of the trade: Even if there’s no “for sale” or “for rent” sign in the window of a vacant space in your prime location, you might still be able to rent it by calling the owner and setting up a deal.
4. Stock Your Place
The location you choose will play an important role here. If your place is partially furnished with waiting room chairs and a front desk area, that’s less you’ll have to purchase. If the location is bare, you’ll have to provide everything. Take that into consideration as you search.
As you probably remember from hair school, professional-grade equipment is vital to success. Everything from your chairs to your aprons should be top-quality so that customers feel like they’re getting the full salon experience. These items will also last much longer than anything you might find at a discount store.
5. Get Your Business Online
No business can expect rapid success without an online presence. A website is recommended, featuring information about your services, pricing, staff, location, and company mission statement. A great website can encourage new customers by helping them get to know your salon a little better.
Perhaps even more important is filling in hours and contact information on Google so that your site will come up when people search for a salon in the area.
Partnering with a free online booking site like Yocale can also help you better connect with customers. Yocale recently partnered with Google to make booking for beauty and wellness services even easier, so it’s a great way to increase visibility for your salon. Yocale can also help you generate reviews, which is vital for obtaining new customers.
6. Use Social Media
One of the best ways to spread the word about your business is through social media. Friends and family are usually more than willing to support your business and tell their friends. As you post promotions and photos of your best work, you’re likely to attract even more attention to your new business.
7. Show Off Your Expertise
Consumers are constantly in search of the salon that will give them the best experience every time. They want hair stylists that are skilled in a variety of talents so they can solicit any hair service in one place.
It’s important to document your best work through social media and through your website. Post photos of beautiful colors, cuts, and highlights. You might also blog or vlog for more attention.
8. Add A Creative Spin
There are, no doubt, dozens of hair salons in your immediate area, so yours needs to stand out. Decide what makes your salon unique, and play that up in your marketing scheme. You might market that you can do designs on men’s haircuts or that you specialize in Brazilian blowouts.
Your creativity should show up in your brand and interior design as well. For example, you might paint your walls with graffiti murals to reflect your interest in modern hairstyles or use more conservative artwork if your demographic is older and more traditional.
Get to know other salons in your area. Identify your biggest competitors and make nice with businesses that can augment your own. For example, if you only offer hair services, you could partner with a nearby nail salon. You’ll recommend their services and vice versa in order to promote your business and offer salon services that create loyal customers.
10. Explore Partnerships
A partnership can also be a savvy way to start your business. You might join forces with another stylist to get your salon up and running. Additionally, find a mentor to guide your startup process, answer questions, and provide support.
Some of the most successful salons have a business partner as well. You’ll focus on cutting and styling hair, and they’ll focus on marketing and financials. With each individual concentrating solely on their assigned niches, you’re more likely to see rapid success with your hair salon.