Research and reports
The UK’s 45,000 salon businesses turned over an estimated £8 billion in 2019, according to the National Hair & Beauty Federation. Meanwhile, the sector has been forecast to grow by 16 per cent between 2020 and 2023.
So, how can you get involved in this thriving industry? Read our top tips on how to start a beauty business.
As an aspiring salon owner, you’ve got two options. You can either buy into a franchise or go it alone.
Companies like Saks and Toni&Guy offer franchising opportunities, bringing an existing corporate structure and brand recognition to the table.
However, life as a franchisee is more constrained. So if you want to call the shots, then opening your own salon will suit you better.
If you want to open your own beauty salon, there are lots of things to think about. Below is an overview of the steps you need to take.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is draw up a beauty business plan to clarify your ideas and formulate objectives.
A good business plan will include information on:
As with opening any business, there are legal matters you’ll need to consider when opening a salon.
From equipping yourself with the right qualifications (see below) to choosing your legal structure, there are key decisions to make before you deliver your first beauty treatment.
It’s likely you’ll need a licence to operate your salon, so visit Gov.uk’s licence finder for more information.
As for finding the right legal structure for your salon business, you’ll have four options to choose from:
Need help getting to grips with the differences? Our guides on the difference between a sole trader and limited company and setting up a business partnership explain the pros and cons of each approach.
If you decide to offer a range of different treatments at your salon, you may need extra insurance covers such as:
The right premises are vital for your salon, so take your time finding the right location. Ask yourself:
It might take time but you’ll need to find a balance between these three criteria. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to buy property outright too, as there’s always the option of renting or leasing your premises.
Whatever you do here don’t rush, and take legal advice if you’re unsure.
You don't have to find a fixed premises if you don't want to – you could become a mobile beauty therapist. Rather than having a salon where customers come to you, you’d drive to them and deliver treatments in their homes.
There’s a slight difference in what customers typically expect from a mobile beauty therapist. When a customer goes to a salon, they often go for the whole experience and view it as relaxation. Whereas customers who choose for a beauty therapist to come to them are generally looking for a more convenient service.
There are pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking about going mobile.
Once you’ve decided if you want to have a fixed premises or offer a mobile service, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to run your business.
Here are some of the key things to consider:
Having the right qualifications can help you to build trust with your customers and make sure you have the skills to run your salon professionally.
For starters, an NVQ at level 4 will equip you well for the realities of running your own salon.
Here are some other qualifications and online beauty courses that you may need if you’re starting your own salon:
Your local colleges will offer a range of hairdressing and beauty therapy courses, covering services such as:
Once you’ve constructed a solid business plan, financing your business will follow.
Creating a budget for your business can help you to keep track of incomings and outgoings so you can plan for the future.
If you’re looking for funding to get your business up and running, you could get a small business grant – money that you don’t have to pay back.
Other ways to get funding for your business include:
On the other hand, if you set up a limited company you’ll need to pay corporation tax each year.
Do you have any tips for opening a hair salon? Let us know in the comments below.
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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