Cutting It: How To Open A Successful Hair Salon

Want to open your own hair salon?

If you’re already got experience working with hair and you’re up for the challenge of running your own business, launching a hair salon could be the perfect career venture for you.

There are however a few important things that you need to consider such as the costs, your USP and the various legal requirements that come with owning a salon. This post explains more as to exactly what you need to launch a hair salon. 

How much does it cost to open a hair salon?

It can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000 to open a hair salon. However, the average cost in the US is about $62,000.

Mobile hair salons – which are run out of the back of a van – are the cheapest options.

A brick-and-mortar salon is much more expensive to launch – although the cost will likely depend on how many modifications you need to make to your premises (taking over an existing salon may not be too expensive as you’ll already have things like mirrors, sinks and adequate flooring in place). 

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What do these costs include?

There are several costs you need to consider when opening a hair salon, which include:

  • Registering your company
  • Applying for a hair salon business license
  • Taking out business insurance
  • Upfront business premises costs (such as a rental deposit or buying a van)
  • Furnishing and decorating your salon
  • Buying hairdressing equipment and supplies
  • Recruiting and training staff
  • Marketing your salon in preparation for the launch (including building a website)

How should I fund my hair salon?

Most hair salons are funded by taking out a business loan. You can take out such loans from a bank or from a private lender. Another option is to seek investment from a VC firm.

In both cases, it’s worth having a clear business plan in place before making your proposal. This includes a summary of all the costs required to launch your business, and the projected revenue. Since such businesses are typically safe and stable, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting accepted for funding.

What type of hair salon will you run?

There are many different types of hair salon. You could focus on men, women or make it unisex. You could even target kids. You could specialize in certain forms of hair styling. Alternatively, you could run a more general salon – perhaps even branching out into other forms of beauty care such as nails, skincare or hair removal. 

Establishing a USP (unique selling proposition) will help you to stand out from the crowd. Consider what you can do to make your salon distinctive from others in the area. A few examples could include:

  • Playing a certain genre of music
  • Going for a unique decor theme
  • Combining your salon with a cafe, bar or shop
  • Offering unique deals like couples deals or free kids’ haircuts with every adult cut
  • Opening your salon at night on certain evenings
  • Targeting a specific demographic such as kids or over 65s.

What legal requirements do you need to meet?

In order to obtain your tax code (EIN), you’ll need to first register your business. The cost of registering a business varies depending on the state.

You’ll also need to obtain a salon license, as well a license to work as a hairdresser if you haven’t already got one. If you decide to also run your salon as a cafe, bar or store, you may also need to apply for separate licenses.

Salon insurance is not compulsory, but is recommended to protect you from things like lawsuits and property damage. If you take on employees, you are legally obliged to take out worker’s compensation insurance (this covers employees against injuries and sickness, and is fortunately not too expensive for salons due to few job hazards).

Where should your location be?

As already mentioned, you can run your business from a van or a brick-and-mortar outlet. If you choose the latter option, you’ll need to consider the cost of rent. A prime location could get you more customers, but you’ll likely have to pay a lot more rent.

When viewing buildings to rent out, you should also consider the size and whether it is already adequately furnished. Taking over an existing salon can be cheaper than building a new salon.

What equipment do you need?

It’s worth investing in high quality equipment, as you’ll be using it every day. This includes scissors, hair clippers, hair dryers, combs, hair irons and various hair products (which you can choose yourself). You’ll also need chairs – both for the waiting room and for clients to use while getting their hair done. 

Should you hire staff?

While you can run a solo salon, it could be quite difficult to make enough money to pay the rent and all the ongoing costs. Taking on employees is an extra expense, but can allow you to take in more money overall. Paying them will require setting your wage, setting up a payroll and then doing work hour calculations to determine how much each employee is owed.

You can take on hairdressers that are already licensed or you can hire trainees. If you decide to run your salon as a cafe, bar or store, you may also need to hire separate staff for these services or cross-train your hair styling staff.

How will you market your salon?

Before your launch, it’s important to promote your salon. You can do this through posters, flyers and social media ads. Set a launch date so that you can put this on your adverts and consider offering initial limited time discounts to draw in customers.

Building a website is recommended.

A website developer can help you with this or you can use a custom website builder platform to do it yourself.

You could allow the option of booking appointments through this website or simply use it for informational purposes.

Local SEO is worth investing in to boost your website’s local rankings and to boost your presence on GPS tools like Google Maps.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.