How to Start a Home Salon
There’s a lot of planning that goes into starting your own salon and it can be a long, confusing process with a lot of things to keep in line.
Here’s a quick check list of things that you should think about (and you should probably do a lot more than that before starting the opening process) as well as some tips and ideas on how to hit the ground running with your business!
Okay, let’s get started!
First and foremost, you have to really nail down what kind of salon you are going to open. Are you going to just offer haircuts? Or are you going to offer other services, like nails and facials as well? This is something you may know already, but it’s good to consider all possible options before doing anything else because if you were to change your mind during the process, you may need to start over which can be frustrating and also a big waste of time. Make sure you have this solidified before moving forward.
The thing about business registry is that it varies state by state. Fortunately, there are some general things every state needs to know from you, but it’s a really good idea to check what your state, county, and city business registration requires. Let’s run through an example so you can get a better idea of what’s in store when trying to register your business.
Let’s say that you live in San Francisco. You must register your business within 15 days of opening your doors, but it’s probably better to do it sooner rather than later. The application to register a business in San Francisco can be completed online, but you should have all the necessary paperwork ready when you sit down to complete the application. To register your business, you will have to go through the California Secretary of State. To register in San Francisco, you will need to provide your Federal Tax Identification Number or EIN, which has to be attained through the IRS. You can find this information about this on the IRS Website.
Once you have your FTIN or EIN, you can move through the next steps in registering your business in San Francisco. The next steps are to estimate your gross receipts and gross payroll expenses. That means that you have to set some base line prices and estimate how many customers you will serve over the next year to calculate gross receipts. This number should be all expected income. If you are going to hire anyone, you will need to decide on their wage and how many hours they are going to work so you can calculate gross payroll. Gross payroll is calculated by wages paid only and does not subtract taxes. Some of this may be confusing, but I promise you will get the hang of it.
Then, you have to define the legal structure of the business. If there will be one owner of the business, you can state the legal structure as a Sole Proprietorship. In the circumstance that you are opening the business with a partner, and you are both going to be owners of the business, you can state the legal structure of the business as a partnership. If you want to run this business under a name that is not your legal name (or your partner’s legal name if you have a partner), you can state the legal structure of your business as a “Doing Business As…” (DBA) and provide the name of the business. Please note that not all states will require you to register a business as a DBA if you do not wish to run your business under your legal name. If you want more information on this, the Small Business Association has an in depth article about DBA registration. Check your local business registration requirements for any additional steps needed to complete the registration process as well as exact fee amounts when submitting the registration application. Please note that the above descriptions are specifically for the city of San Francisco and may not accurately represent the requirements for all cities and states, but this should give you an idea on what you will need to consider yourself.
When you’ve completed all of the necessary steps, your business is registered and ready to go! Makes sense now that you should probably start doing this a while before you want to open your business, doesn’t it?
Once all of the legal things are completed, you get to start planning the more fun things, like choosing a theme for your salon and picking out all of the salon equipment to match your theme. This can get a little tricky when it comes to a home salon because you may not have a large work space to use. When you think about this, you might picture real-life Tetris in the sense that all these items need to fit together perfectly in a small area. Not to worry, there are plenty of options that work well when furnishing a small place.
A great solution for a lack of space is to look into portable salon styling stations. These create versatility in your salon. Since they are mobile, it’s easier to make more space when necessary. The portable station is a great way to keep space available but also keep the tools you need close by at all times, which is great because in a smaller area, being able to move your station makes your job much easier. Your portable styling station will give you the storage space you need for all of your styling tools, but it won’t take up the space of a traditional station. However, with a portable station like the Modern Portable Styling Station (pictured to the above), you will also need to purchase a mirror. Overall, going portable will help keep your game of real-life Tetris in easy-mode.
If you are going to work with another stylist, you should consider a double-sided styling station to maximize the amount of space that you have and are able to use. A double-sided station provides space for two stylists and clients while only taking the space of one station. Perfect, right? Our Rochester Double Styling Station offers each side a counter space, mirror, three display shelves, a pullout appliance holder, side cabinets, and drawers (which are incredibly beneficial for tight spaces)! Many models feature storage and counter spaces which help conserve space by reducing the need for styling carts or trays, which consequently frees up more space for other things.
Another area of concern is shampoo stations and how space consuming they can be. Never fear! You have options in this area as well. There are a couple different options depending on how much or how little space you are working with.
One option is to get an All-Purpose Salon Chair to use with your shampoo station and as your hair styling chair. With an All-Purpose Chair, you can either choose to purchase a wall mounted sink or you can purchase a wet station. One of the nice benefits that comes with choosing a wet station, like the Keller London Shampoo Station, is that many of them come with built in storage space to store shampoo towels, shampoo, and conditioner bottles. Some even come with a built in laundry basket!
Depending on the size of the space you are working with, this type of unit can sometimes be too big. In this situation, a wall mounted sink would be a great option. In the event that you already have a chair that is not an All-Purpose chair, or you don’t want to buy an All-Purpose chair, you can purchase a fold up shampoo chair for a great price that will keep your clients comfortable, make shampooing easy, and save space!
One of the most important aspects of planning out your salon is obviously the budget. You might think, “Well, all these tips are great, but the prices are higher than I want to pay, and I can find used salon equipment on sites like eBay for a lot cheaper,” and you’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, when you buy used equipment, you don’t know what you’re really getting, which can create a bigger problem if it malfunctions or falls apart within the first week of using it. Also, certain sites do not have warranties when buying used, so you’ve just wasted money on poor products. In the long run, you may end up spending more money purchasing second-hand equipment over and over again than you would by purchasing new salon equipment in the first place. A great benefit of buying a new product is they come with a guaranteed warranty! Aside from all of that mess, you’ll probably have a hard time finding pieces to fit your theme and keep it consistent, but if you buy it all together new, you can match it perfectly with no hassle. Furthermore, it’s a lot less stressful when you know your salon furniture will last.
Let’s do some numbers just to get a rough estimate. We’ll assume you either already have a chair that is not All-Purpose or that you don’t want to buy one. So, you need your styling station, which could cost anywhere between $300 and $2000. Let’s assume you’re trying to save money and go for a less expensive model (roughly $340) and it doesn’t come with a mirror, so you still need to purchase one. A salon mirror could cost you anywhere from $150 to $900, and let’s say that the mirror that fits your theme perfectly costs $310. You need somewhere to shampoo your clients, and let’s say you’re not tight on space and have decided to purchase a wet station, which costs $250. Then, you just need a shampoo chair, which would be roughly $100. If you need to purchase a styling chair, that will be an additional cost. For just these items, you are looking at a total of around $1000 for your furniture. Also, don’t forget to purchase your hair products as well!
Cost in Dollars
A big step when you start a business is advertising. It is imperative that you advertise and gain a customer following so your business can continue to remain operational and compete in a competitive market. Here are a couple tips on how to advertise your business properly and get clients through the door quickly after you open.
Social Media: Facebook
First, if you haven’t already, you should familiarize yourself with some social media channels because as you probably know, everyone is on social media, which includes your future customers! The most popular social media channel is Facebook. So, head over to Facebook and make a page for your new salon. If you want to take your Facebook advertising to the next level, Facebook has internal paid advertising features and apps connected to other websites that will help you better promote your business. For more information on advertising with Facebook, visit Facebook for Business.
Social Media: Instagram
Instagram is highly recommended for stylists and barbers because it is incredibly popular within the beauty and fashion community! Instagram is a mobile-only photo sharing platform that is a great space to showcase your salon aesthetic as well as your work. As an added bonus, if you’re advertising with Facebook, you can connect your Instagram account and easily advertise on both at the same time! If you’re still not convinced, there are plenty of other reasons to use Instagram for your business!
Social Media: Other
Other social media channels should be chosen based on your target audience. Some audiences will be drawn to more social media sites than others. Research should be done to determine which social media sites will give you the most impressions with your desired target audience (if you are unfamiliar with impressions, it means the number of times your post, ad, or company name was on someone’s screen).
Another big step in advertising is creating a professional website as this is a crucial extension of your company brand. Some contact details can be provided within the Facebook platform, but a website is a larger platform that can allow you to give a more in depth look at your business and lay out the services that you provide, prices, structure, appointment schedules, and more. If you want to look professional and have your information online for people to look up (which they will), you will need to create, or have someone create, a website.
Referrals are a fantastic way to give people an incentive to recommend you to other people they know. This is known as word of mouth advertising and it is extremely effective. It’s like an in-person review, and people trust reviews to guide them to good businesses! You’ve probably experienced this in your life before: your friend eats dinner at a great place, tells you they loved it, so then you try it for yourself! Referrals are even better because if the customer has an incentive to bring in a friend (whether it’s monetary or other), they’re even more likely to recommend your business. One good way to convince your clients to do this could be offering a discount or other incentive for bringing people to your salon to get a haircut. You can also reward the friend they bring as an incentive to them, so it’s a win win for everyone!
Also, in regards to reviews, you should ask your customers to write reviews for you on Facebook and your website, or ask them to post a picture of their new haircut on Instagram and tag you in the post so that other people can see your work!
That was a lot of information, so in summary.
- Make sure you register your business according to your state and county regulations.
- Portable styling stations are great space savers when it’s just you in your salon!
- Double-sided styling stations are perfect for opening a home salon with another stylist!
- Use a wall-mounted sink or a wet station to save space in your shampooing area!
- Use an All-Purpose Salon Chair or purchase a fold up shampoo chair for your shampoo station!
- Your budget doesn’t have to be exorbitant to buy great, new salon furniture!
- Make the most of a Facebook page and Facebook advertising!
- Use Instagram!
- Create a website!
- Reward customers for referring people to your home salon!
Did I forget anything? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments!
Article written by Veronyka Martinez
- Cody McConnell