How Much Do Salon Owners (Actually) Make?

How much do salon owners make? This is a question that many aspiring salon owners ask themselves when considering whether to start their own business. The answer to this question can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of salon you operate, the location of your business, and the size of your customer base. In this article, we’ll explore the average salon owner salary and the costs you can expect to incur – as well as provide insights into how you can maximize your profits as a salon owner.

How Much Do Salon Owners Make?

If you’re considering opening a salon, one of the first questions on your mind is likely “How much do salon owners make?” Let’s get that question out of the way first. Here are the average salaries for different salon owners:

  • Hair salon owners average $75,000 per year. Locations in San Francisco earn 51% more than the national average.
  • Nail salon owners average $58,000 per year.
  • Spa owners average $78,000 per year.

It’s important to note, however, that these figures are averages, and there are many factors that can affect the earnings of a salon owner. For example, the location of the salon, the number of staff employed, the overhead costs, and the types of services offered can all impact profitability. In addition, the level of experience and expertise of the salon owner can play a significant role in determining earnings.

As you are doing your due diligence to open a salon, be sure to gather all of the details you need to make the best decisions. With the right factors in place and a salon software system like GlossGenius at your fingertips, it’s possible to keep more of what you earn and continue scaling your income beyond six figures.

Different Types of Salons You Can Start

Starting a salon business is an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a hairdresser or a nail technician with a passion for artfully designed nails, you have many options when it comes to the type of salon you open. Here’s a closer look at different types of salons you can open and the top considerations when doing so.

Hair Salon

GlossGenius for Hair Salons

Opening a hair salon is a big undertaking. It’s not just about picking out some furniture and putting up a sign. There are many important considerations to make before you open the doors for business. If you’re thinking about opening a hair salon, here are the top factors that should be on your mind:

  • Location. Where will your salon be located? What type of clientele do you want? Consider what other businesses are nearby and what they offer. Is there parking? How close is it to public transportation? What's the average income of the neighborhood?
  • Furniture, equipment, and technology. How much will it cost to outfit your salon with furniture, fixtures, equipment, supplies, and a POS system? Do you already have any of these items? Are there any thrift shops in the area where you can find reasonably priced furnishings or equipment?
  • Employees and contractors. Who will staff your salon? Will you hire full-time employees or work with independent contractors? What kind of training do they need? What kind of health benefits do they need – if any – and how much will those costs add up over time?
  • Inventory. GlossGenius’ inventory management tools make it easy to keep track of everything you need.

Nail Salon

GlossGenius for nail artists

Opening a nail salon is not unlike opening a hair salon, but you may have more walk-in clients. Here are the top considerations when opening a nail salon:

  • Location. You want to find an area that has foot traffic to support your business in the area. It’s also important that your location has ample parking so customers can easily park and won’t have to walk far to return to their vehicles (and potentially mess up their fresh pedicures).
  • Paperwork and insurance. Make sure you have all of the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance before opening up shop. 
  • Staffing needs. Determine how many people will come in for nail services, on average. You’ll need to make sure you have enough staff to handle peak hours and walk-in clients.
  • Booking software. Letting new clients book ahead of time via GlossGenius’ software will help you manage the volume of clients and plan for staffing needs accordingly.

Injectable & Med Spa

GlossGenius for Injectable & med spa

When opening an injectable and med spa, there are many considerations to take into account: 

  • Skill set. Do you have the right skill set to perform the procedures, or will you need to hire additional staff? You will need to know how to use the equipment, administer different types of injections, and make sure that you are providing safe and effective treatments for your clients.
  • Space. If you want to offer botox injections and other cosmetic procedures, then you will need private rooms in which to perform procedures.
  • Insurance coverage. You’ll need insurance coverage for yourself as well as protection against malpractice lawsuits if any of your patients experience complications after receiving treatments at your med spa. You will also want to be well-versed in what is and is not covered in terms of the out-of-pocket expenses your clients can expect to pay.
  • First impressions. In the beauty industry, where appearances matter, make sure you have a professional website and booking software. GlossGenius makes it easy and hassle-free.

Tanning Spa

GlossGenius for tanning spa

Opening a tanning salon is a big step, even if you’ve been offering tanning services as an independent operator for years. If you’re planning to shift your mobile or backyard tanning business into a physical location, here are some things you should consider first:

  • Location. The beauty of owning your own small business is that you can choose where to put it. But there are times when location isn’t everything – especially when it comes to tanning salons. You may be able to operate in a salon-suite environment or as part of another beauty salon to save on initial startup costs.
  • Business model. The most common models for tanning salons include retail-only shops and those that offer both retail sales and membership plans. Have a business plan and research what your competition offers in the area to decide which model will work best for you.
  • Licenses. In addition to local city requirements, there may be state or federal regulations governing the operation of tanning salons, including equipment safety standards. Make sure you know what those requirements are before opening up shop.
  • Branding and marketing. With a professional website, booking software, and marketing tools from GlossGenius, you can stand out from the crowd and get more new and repeat clients.

Brow and Lash Salon

GlossGenius for brow and lash salons

With a brow and lash salon, it’s possible to start small in a suite, as part of a larger salon, or even as a mobile business. Here are some things to consider:

  • Decide on a mobile or brick-and-mortar business. With a mobile business, you’ll eliminate a lot of overhead but may need to market your business more heavily in the absence of foot traffic and signage.
  • Choose which services you’ll offer. With many options for different types of brow and lash services, decide what your specialties will be when first getting started. Consider specializing in the services that are most popular in your area.
  • Rely on social media to showcase your work and highlight customer testimonials. Make use of GlossGenius’ built-in marketing tools such as SMS messages and booking reminders to keep in touch with your clients. 

Makeup Salon

GlossGenius for makeup salon

Taking your passion for makeup application into a makeup salon is an exciting step for any makeup artist. As you get running, keep the following in mind:

  • Location and competition. Consider the demographics in your region, as well as how many salons are already in operation nearby. Open your business in an area where there are few competitors nearby – but only if there’s sufficient demand for your services. 
  • Space. Makeup salons can be as small or large as you want them to be, but make sure you’ve got enough space for not only makeup stations but also storage of supplies, equipment, and back-stock items.
  • Salon software. Make it easy for clients to book, and send them follow-up messages before and after their appointments. GlossGenius has all the tools you need to build loyalty and stay fully booked.


GlossGenius for Estheticians

To stand out as an esthetician in an increasingly competitive market, you’ll need to approach salon ownership with care and precision – not unlike the treatments you provide your clients. Here are some top considerations:

  • Location. This is always key when opening a new business. Choose a place that has high foot traffic and plenty of parking. You can also opt to locate within a medspa, hair salon, or other type of salon that’s willing to sublease their space.
  • Licensing requirements. There are many different licenses required to be an esthetician. You must get the required education, take the licensing exam, and get certified in the state where you plan to open your business.
  • Equipment and supplies. The equipment necessary to operate an esthetician salon varies depending on what services you provide and how large of an area you need for treatment rooms. 

How Profitable is a Salon?

The profitability of a salon business can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the location, the size of the customer base, and the types of services offered. The good news is that the salon industry is starting to recover to pre-pandemic levels, with the U.S. market size reaching $53.6 billion, up from $42.3 billion in 2020, according to Statista.

In general, hair salons and spas tend to be the most profitable type of salon business. Factors such as rent, supplies, equipment, inventory, payroll, and other overhead costs will all impact how profitable a salon is. 

To maximize profitability, work to keep overhead costs low, and focus on creating a loyal customer base. Offering high-quality beauty services, creating a welcoming environment, and building your clientele with the help of GlossGenius’ easy-to-use platform can all help to increase your profitability. Additionally, implementing effective marketing strategies, such as social media advertising and referral programs, can help to increase visibility and attract new customers.

How to Become a Salon Owner

If you’re ready to open your own salon, here are a few steps to help you get started:

  • Consider the location carefully. Renting or buying a space will eat up a good chunk of your startup expenses. Research locations carefully to be sure the local market will seek out your services and justify the cost of getting started.
  • Decide on your staffing needs. Will you hire employees or rent out stations? Check local rules on whether you need to hire people as employees or independent contractors.
  • Get your marketing in order. No matter what kind of salon you plan to open, great marketing is critical to getting clients through your doors, getting rebookings, and building a loyal client base. GlossGenius simplifies and streamlines the process with built-in tools for all your marketing needs.
  • Identify your equipment needs. A hair salon has different equipment needs than a med spa. Make a list of everything you need, and price out how much everything costs.
  • Work with a commercial real estate agent. Your agent can help you shop around for a great location and get a fair price on your rent or mortgage. He or she can also give you a rough idea of the costs of utilities, any common area maintenance fees, and other expenses.
  • Get an insurance agent, too. Make sure you’re completely covered on all the different kinds of insurance you will need to open a salon, from general liability to disaster coverage.
  • Don’t skip the salon software. Pen and paper isn’t going to cut it once you start getting busy. You need a reliable POS system, booking software, a website, team management tools, inventory tracking, and more. Our comparison chart will show the six major components to look for in a booking app (hint: GlossGenius is the most cost-effective and feature-rich app you’ll find). 
  • Account for other startup costs. Professional and legal fees, shipping costs, incorporation fees, and other expenses will add up. Be prepared by having some working capital set aside.

What Are the Costs? 

On average, the costs of rebranding an existing salon start at $62,000, while building a new salon starts at $90,000. Expenses for each type of salon are outlined below.

Existing Salon 

  • Rent deposit: $4,500
  • Buyout of current salon: $10,500
  • Leasehold improvements: $15,000
  • Equipment: $10,000
  • Initial supplies: $8,000
  • Initial inventory: $4,000
  • Certifications and licenses: $4,000
  • Marketing: $5,000
  • Legal or consulting fees: $1,000

Grand total: $62,000

New Salon

  • Rent deposit: $4,500
  • Buyout of current salon: $0
  • Leasehold improvements: $35,000
  • Equipment: $25,000
  • Initial supplies: $8,000
  • Initial inventory: $4,000
  • Certifications and licenses: $4,000
  • Marketing: $8,000
  • Legal or consulting fees: $1,000

Grand total: $89,500

Additional costs for a new or existing salon may include salon loans or financing, insurance, staffing, and POS software. GlossGenius starts at just $24 monthly, with industry-low processing fees, and comes with plenty of extras such as a custom card reader, a website, and more.

What Factors Affect Your Income?

At the end of the day, the income you make as a salon business owner depends on a variety of factors. To begin with, the type of salon you run will affect your income. For example, if you own a salon that offers high-end services like hair extensions or color corrections, you can expect to earn more than if your shop offers more basic services.

The size of your location also affects how much money you make. If your shop is small and doesn't have room for many salon employees, then the size of your clientele will be smaller, too. But, if you have an expansive salon with plenty of staff members, then you can handle a higher volume of clients and make more money.

Additional factors include whether you plan to offer more than one kind of service, such as manicures or facials in addition to haircuts and styles. You may also choose to carry inventory to create an additional revenue stream.

Start Your Salon Business With GlossGenius

As a budding salon owner, you have many things to consider before opening your doors – including the question, “How much do salon owners make?” But, with the right preparation and tools, you can run a successful salon and continue to scale your business.

GlossGenius’ all-in-one platform gives you everything you need to run your salon business and continue to grow. With over 40,000 independent and beauty salon owners running their salons on GlossGenius, our platform is a trusted solution for all your salon management and marketing needs.

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