20 Steps to Start a Hair Salon Business
There are many options to consider when looking to start a hair salon business. It is important, in-order to operate legally, that you have the right licenses, training, experience, and handle on administrative matters. It is a lot to juggle. Such is the life of the haircare professional. This article will break-down the 20 steps to start a hair salon business and discuss the importance of having a website to back-up your other marketing and network efforts.
Step 1 - Research License & Training Requirements
Research the requirements to become a hairdresser in your state, including the necessary training, education and the entire process for obtaining a cosmetology, hairdressing, styling or other professional license (which ever best applies to your situation/ambition).
Step 2 - Consider Education and Training Options
Consider enrolling in a cosmetology, hairdressing or other related program. Alternatively, you could consider seeking an apprenticeship to gain the necessary education and training.
Step 3 - Obtain License to Operate
Obtain your relevant license from your state’s licensing board by completing the required education and training and passing the written and practical exams. This varies from state-to-state and depends on the exact qualification you are working towards. Hunker down with the study at night and hopefully you’ll gain some practical experience working with hair during the day-hours. No more partying, for now.
Step 4 - Gain Experience
If possible, attempt to gain field experience by working as a stylist, hairdresser or assistant or even completing an internship or apprenticeship program.
Step 5 - Develop a Business Plan
Develop a business plan that outlines your goals, the target customer for your salon, and week-by-week cash-flow projections to ensure (at least on paper) that everything looks OK at the outset and that you’ll have confidence to step-forward.
Step 6 - Find a Location for Your Salon
Identify a location for your salon, taking into consideration factors such as rent, location, and size. This is a tricky step because location is key but if you can develop a great relationship with your clients then everyone knows that they will move between salons to stay with their desired hairdresser, barber etc. As with any leasing deal, look at many options and ask many questions before you make any decisions, and always, always, seek legal advice on such matters, no matter how low-cost or attractive that street-front lease may seem.
Step 7 - Setup your Salon
The big day has come. With a location secured you can purchase your equipment, salon supplies and start advertising to find staff. Any location-specific permits can now be applied for.
Step 8 - Determine Services & Price Structure
Determine your pricing structure and create a menu of services. Create a great design and allow copies of the menu to be taken away and shared among friends (more on this later).
Step 9 - Develop a Marketing Plan
Develop a marketing plan to promote your salon and attract customers, including through social media, local advertising, and word-of-mouth. Everything counts and it pays to start early.
Step 10 - Consider Special Deals & Promotions
Consider offering special deals or promotions to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. With your pamphlet that you can share with friends, offer a further discount on referral of a friend, at the end of the day you’re sacrificing a few dollars off one single appointment to obtain a new customer, and even better, a referred customer – worth it. Encourage them to do the same.
Step 11 - Create a Website
Create a website for your salon, which should include information about your salon, the services you offer, your prices, and your contact information. A website is central to your marketing and will be the center of all the incoming leads, customer enquiries, complaints and interactions in seeking information. A well maintained, mobile-friendly website (particularly important for hair salons), will pay dividends to your business down the road. You can even build and manage your website with your mobile phone.
Dazzly is 100% free to try and create a website for your hair salon in minutes.
Our recommended website templates for Hair Salons/Haircare Professionals:
Service & products: https://www.dazzly.co/en-US/templates/ecommerce-store-2
Step 12 - Social Media Promotion
Leverage your own social media profile and create a business account. Doing both, and promoting your business posts, will help you along your way to building up some organic (social) traffic.
Step 13 - Networking Promotion
Seeking out local networking groups where you can catch-up with business owners and professionals will help you to build relationships and increase the visibility of your business.
Step 14 - Direct Customer Promotion
Joining local business groups or organizations directly associated with your customer will help you to establish your brand presence to the customer audience, learn more, and acquire new customers directly. Examples of this include organizations such as business groups, contractor associations, and other professional-specific events and gatherings. In this case, you would be looking for Hair Care Expos or Hair Product/Industry gatherings.
Step 15 - Research Industry Trends
Stay up to date with industry trends and developments to ensure that you are providing the latest styles and services to your clients. Trends change but good style never gets old.
Step 16 - Prioritize Customer Service
Offer excellent customer service to ensure that your clients have a positive experience and are likely to return and refer others to your salon. A loyal pool of regular customers will really help your initial salon cash-flow and can also be helpful in generating more business through word-of-mouth.
Step 17 - Consider Expanding Services and/or Products
Consider offering additional services, such as hair care products or makeup, to enhance your salon's offerings. Dazzly has your back with the eCommerce Store template – perfect for Hair Salons that also wish to sell products from their website.
Step 18 - Continuous Development - Business
Continually assess and analyze your business to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes. This is an on-going process rather than an individual step. Review and revise.
Step 19 - Stay Organized
Stay organized and manage your finances effectively to ensure the success of your business. Administrative and financial organization is key to making cash-flow and projections easier to manage.
Step 20 - Continuous Development - Education
Seek out additional education and training opportunities to continue learning and improving your skills. You are never too old to learn something new.
Creating a website is important for attracting local customers and growing your business because it provides a central location where potential customers can learn more about your salon and the services you offer. It also allows you to showcase your hairdressing, styling and coloring work and promote special offers, and provides a convenient way for customers to get in touch for appointments.
By having a website, you can increase your visibility and reach a wider audience of previously unknown customers, which is another way it will help grow your business. All of this reinforces the time and money you’ve already invested into your business and is a natural step to the organization of your marketing and branding efforts.
We hope you found this article helpful in understanding how to start a hair salon business and why it is important to have an online presence from the beginning.
We look forward to helping more hair-care professionals with their websites in 2023!