If you’re considering opening your own salon, you’ve probably already done some research about the industry and its future. But one big question you’ll need to answer is this: How much does it cost to open a salon? The costs can vary considerably depending on the type of salon you want to open, the expenses you expect to incur, and the location where you want to open your salon. The following guide will help answer your questions about the costs of opening a salon and the tools you will need to do so, so you can plan your venture wisely and get started on the right foot.
Opening a salon can be a rewarding and lucrative business. But it’s also a big undertaking. Before you start a salon, consider the following factors. Note that we will get into the average costs of these expenses in the Salon Expenses List section further below.
The cost of renting or buying space will be one of your biggest expenses when starting a salon business. The cost of living varies dramatically across the country, as do the demographics, so it’s essential to consider these factors before deciding where to open your business. Here are some of the top considerations when selecting a location:
Where you plan to open your salon is an important consideration. A good location can help you attract customers and increase sales, while a bad one may lead to lost revenue and unhappy customers. If possible, find out if there are other salons in the area that offer similar services, and compare their performance against yours before choosing a location.
You’ll either need to hire employees or rent out stations to professionals in your salon. Local rules will dictate whether you hire people as employees or allow people to build their own clientele in your salon. A good accountant and/or an attorney can help you determine which route to take so you can be prepared for potential payroll expenses and other staffing needs.
Marketing is essential for any business, including salons of all kinds – which means you’ll need to generate as much revenue as possible from each customer visit in order to break even (or better). Consider hiring or outsourcing work to an experienced marketing professional who can create an effective marketing strategy for your salon that includes not only social media but also pay-per-click campaigns, local advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and other marketing tactics.
The equipment you’ll need will depend on the type of salon you want to open. For hair salons, for instance, you’ll need chairs and stations, hair dryers, shampoo bowls, sinks, flat irons, curling irons, clippers, scissors, and other tools of the trade. You’ll also need mirrors and lighting fixtures for each station, robes, restroom supplies, and other essentials. If you want to offer free coffee, tea, and other refreshments, build that cost into your expenses, too.
The cost to rent or buy your space will likely be your biggest expense. Shop around in your area with the help of your commercial agent so you can compare costs and get the best price for your needs.
Utility costs include water, electricity, and gas needed for heating or cooling. Your commercial agent can help you get a rough estimate of the utility expenses in your area.
You’ll need various types of insurance to open your business, depending on the state where you’re located, the number of employees, the services you provide, and other factors. Work with an insurance professional who is well-versed in salon insurance so you can be sure you and your business are protected from liability and damage.
It’s vital to have a reliable software system for POS transactions, appointment scheduling, client and team management, website operations, reporting, inventory management, client reviews, and other tasks. Take a look at our comparison chart to review the six major components to look for in a booking app – you’ll see that GlossGenius provides the most cost-effective way to implement booking software without any hidden fees.
If your parents taught you to save money for a rainy day, you’ll quickly discover why when opening a new business. Additional startup expenses such as incorporation fees, professional consulting fees, shipping expenses, and other costs can add up quickly. Make sure you’ve thought through all of the details and you’ve got some working capital in order to keep growing your business.
Before you start a salon business, it's essential to consider what type of salon you want to open, such as a hair salon, spa, nail salon, or sauna. Each comes with its own unique expenses – for instance, hair salons offering haircuts, coloring, blow-outs, and up-do’s will have different expenses than a nail salon offering manicures and pedicures. A spa might have more limited supply expenses if you focus primarily on massage or beauty treatments. You can also combine multiple services if you want to offer an all-in-one beauty and wellness spot.
You should also think about how much time will be involved in running the business on a daily basis and whether you want to outsource any tasks. If you want to be involved in the business hands-on – for instance, if you are a hair stylist yourself – you will need to budget your time carefully so you still have time to run the business and grow within the local community.
Think about, too, whether owning and running a salon is something that you’re passionate about – enough to give up (temporarily, at least) some of your other hobbies and interests. You may even need to sacrifice family time, nights out with friends, and some of the discretionary spending you’re used to. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and not everyone is cut out for the work – this is why half of new businesses fail within the first five years of operation.
Don’t let that statistic scare you off from pursuing your dream, however. If you plan properly and get the help, support, and tools you need, you can run a successful salon! Note, too, that it’s possible to be more of an absentee owner, in which case you will need trusted individuals to help you run the business when you’re not there. You can also hire outside organizations to help with marketing, advertising, and sales. Or you can rely on technology tools such as GlossGenius to help automate certain functions like appointment reminders and email marketing.
If opening an existing business seems more appealing than starting from scratch, consider asking around in the community to see if anyone is interested in selling their salon. You might be able to step in and work for a salon part-time to gain experience and learn the ins and outs of running the business. This gives you on-the-job training without the high risk of venturing out on your own. You can also get a feel for whether you’re ready and willing to take the leap into becoming a salon owner.
The process of opening a salon can be difficult and complex, but it’s not impossible. You’ll need to get the proper business licenses and insurance – pay for rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, and everyday expenses (which can add up quickly) – hire and train employees, and market your business in the local community. You’ll be wearing a lot of hats, especially if you’re embarking on entrepreneurship alone.
Still, if you take the time to plan out your salon, get your finances in order, and create a small business plan that details your goals and plan of action, you can be successful. A salon business plan can help you work out how much money you will need for startup costs such as equipment and furniture rental, licenses and permits required by law, and obtaining advice and services from an attorney, an accountant, and other professionals.
You can’t simply sit down with a blank business plan template and come up with all the details you need to know, however. A good place to start is by determining what you want your salon to be like. What services do you intend to offer? What is your target market? How much will it cost for rent? How much will it cost for utilities? These are questions that need answers before you can make progress toward opening your salon doors. Try visiting local salons to get a feel for their decor, services, pricing, and staffing needs. This will help you imagine your salon as you want it.
It’s also helpful to establish partnerships with organizations dedicated to your success, like GlossGenius. We provide complete training and white-glove service to ensure you are successful from day one. Our software is also incredibly easy to use and comes with everything you need to start getting clients right away. You’ll have the professional look and feel you need to build trust with your target audience so they’ll be more likely not only to book appointments but also keep coming back for more.
It’s no secret that the pandemic rocked the salon industry, and it is still in recovery mode. Statista reports that the U.S. market size of beauty salons, including hair, skin, and nails, dropped in 2020 to $42.3 billion after reaching over $69 billion in 2019. However, the number of salons is steadily climbing, reaching a value of $53.6 billion in 2022.
If you’re prepared to take on the challenges of starting a business, you can take advantage of an industry that’s making a comeback in 2023. If you plan ahead, manage your budget, and market the business properly, you can earn a solid return on your salon investment.
One way to maximize profitability is by buying an existing salon that’s already built out to support salon operations. You’ll already have at least some of the equipment you’ll need to get up and running. Best of all, you’ll have an existing clientele to which you can market your services. If you intend to go this route, make sure you keep your salon aligned with the style, tastes, and budget of the clientele you’ll be serving.
Salon startup costs vary greatly depending on the factors detailed above, but the average cost of taking over an existing salon starts at $62,000. Building out a new salon starts at $90,000. Here are some of the average expenses you can expect to incur with either option.
Buying an existing salon can be a great way to get started in the salon industry, especially if the salon is well-established in the community. You’ll save on some of the costs for buildout, initial salon equipment, and salon marketing because the business will already have some of those elements in place. However, you’ll still need to have a budget to cover the costs of rebranding the salon and establishing a new business.
Grand total: $62,000
Naturally, a new salon will cost more in terms of the upfront costs, including buildout, equipment, and marketing costs. You won’t have an existing clientele to tap into, but you gain the benefit of choosing the best location for your needs, budget, and desired clientele. You can also generate a buzz in the local community when you open a new salon if you plan your marketing well.
Grand total: $89,500
Additional considerations for an existing or new salon may include:
How much does it cost to open a salon in 2023? That’s the question of the day for anyone looking to stake their claim in the salon industry – and one we’ve hopefully answered through the guide above. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get the right salon software to manage your business. With GlossGenius, you can more easily start, manage, and grow your salon business and get up and running, all while avoiding the most common pitfalls of business startup.
Take a look at the features and benefits of GlossGenius, and we think you’ll agree we are the industry standard for managing your salon. Our all-in-one salon software will not only help you drive bookings and streamline your operations but also create a positive client experience that keeps your audience engaged. You can take your salon further, faster, while branding your business and making an impact in your community.
Try our app free for 14 days. From there, you can take advantage of industry-low, flat-rate pricing that starts at $24 per month. No matter how many employees you invite onto the app, that rate will stay the same. You can also choose a card reader with a customized design that matches your brand.
Although opening a salon is no small feat, it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll undertake. If you have a passion for all things beauty and you’re looking to share your talents with your local community, you can be successful as long as you take the proper steps to startup. With GlossGenius helping you manage and automate everyday tasks and increase bookings, the startup process can be that much easier.