Listen, opening a gorgeous, decked-out salon isn't cheap. Between securing a great location, styling stations, luxury sinks, massaging shampoo chairs – costs add up fast. Let's face it – most entrepreneurs need financing to pull off the full salon fantasy package.
But don't freak out! Yes you need a sizable stack of capital to do this right. But between small business loans, merchant cash advances, equipment leasing plans, or even turning your dreams into a crowdfunding campaign to get the community rallying behind you, plenty of smart funding options exist.
This guide breaks down today's best salon financing strategies so you can make your lush, state-of-the-art artistic vision a financial reality just as much as a creative one. We'll explore all the ways business pros fund their ventures, demystify fancy jargon around loans, and most importantly empower you to feel confident about pumping up those startup budget numbers.
Salon financing refers to the various funding options available to help beauty professionals start or grow a hair, nail or salon business. Like other industries, opening a successful salon has significant startup costs – from securing a retail location, designing and building out the space, purchasing top-quality styling and spa equipment, hiring staff, to having enough working capital to keep operations running smoothly in the first year.
Since these major investments often reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, many new salon owners turn to financing in order to cover the initial expenses involved in bringing their dream salon concept to life. Salon financing provides capital in the form of debt that is repaid over time or equity financing where investors provide cash in exchange for partial ownership.
Common sources salon owners leverage for financing include small business administration loans, traditional bank loans, equipment leasing and financing, merchant cash advances based on future sales, commercial real estate loans, personal loans or credit to self-fund smaller projects, support from private investors, and more. We'll explore the key options in this guide.
The right financing strategy allows aspiring salon owners to secure the upfront capital required to professionally establish their business even before revenue starts flowing in. However financing does come at a cost – whether in interest fees, terms of repayment, or sharing equity. Careful planning is key.
As an aspiring salon owner, you may be tempted to fund your business entirely through personal savings or bootstrapping the growth process. But, for most entrepreneurs, financing plays a critical role in getting a professional salon up and running. Here are a few of the top reasons why funding is key:
Overall, funding fuels nearly every aspect of professionally launching a salon – from securing a polished location to purchasing essential gear to hiring staff and powering marketing efforts needed to drive traffic and build your brand.
The costs add up quickly. Financing gives salon owners the capital to check all boxes for a strong start. Now, let’s go over some types of financing opens for your new salon.
Here are six salon financing options you can explore:
Let’s take a look at each one.
Traditional term loans from banks are one of the most common sources that new salon owners leverage to finance their startups. Banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and smaller regional banks have specific small business funding programs that cater to niche industries like beauty and wellness.
The biggest advantage of a bank loan is that you gain access to an upfront lump sum – often ranging from $50,000 to over $500,000 – that can cover a significant portion of starting or expanding your salon. In some cases, banks can also offer better interest rates than alternatives.
But, qualifying for a traditional bank loan can be challenging especially for first-time entrepreneurs with no existing capital or collateral. The application process examines factors like your personal credit score, annual income levels, existing assets, and requires a strong business plan. Borrowers may also need to agree to rigorous terms including variable rates, monthly payments, and specific milestones.
Overall though, despite the strict requirements, small business loans from traditional banks remain a standard and competitive financing route for funding high-cost salon launches.
SBA loans are government-backed small business loans offered by approved lenders to qualifying businesses. SBA stands for the Small Business Administration which is a government agency that collaborates with various banks and credit unions to provide financing access to entrepreneurs – including those in the salon industry.
The main benefits of SBA loans are that they come with lower interest rates around 6-8% fixed as well as offer longer repayment terms up to 25 years. This makes the monthly payments more affordable. The SBA also incentivizes their lending partners to approve loans by agreeing to guarantee portions of the amount (up to 90%) against default.
Additionally, SBA loans often have lower minimum credit score requirements and down payment expectations around 10-20% equity compared to conventional business loans. So they can provide critical financing access to salon owners who may not otherwise qualify with private institutions. Funds can cover real estate, renovations, salon equipment, inventory, payroll, and working capital.
The only downside is that to acquire an SBA salon loan, you need to fulfill employment, size, and use of proceeds criteria. The application process, through an authorized SBA lender, can also be intensive including detailed business plans, projections, financial records over extended periods.
Equipment financing allows new or existing salon owners to fund necessary styling stations, dryer chairs, washers, point of sale systems, iPads, and other expensive gear through installment plans rather than paying the full amount upfront.
Vendors like Advance Business Capital and National Funding offer loans specifically tailored to financing salon equipment, furniture, and technology needs. Since these lenders understand the costs associated with outfitting a hair, nail or other beauty business, they provide flexible equipment-based funding.
The application process is also more streamlined with focus directly on your selected gear instead of broader factors. Quick access to capital through this financing route enables owners to get salons operational with the right tools while spreading payments out over 12-36 months at reasonable interest rates. This conserves other funding to allocate towards additional startup costs like real estate.
Merchant cash advances provide salon owners with financing based on future sales instead of upfront collateral. Companies like Fundbox and Yellowstone Capital offer business funding where you pay a fixed percentage of your salon’s daily revenue until the balance is repaid – usually within 4-12 months.
The application process focuses on sales trends rather than personal credit scores. Because payments scale based on actual income, merchant cash advances pose less risk, though average annualized interest rates range from 30-60%. Still, this option gets money quickly into your hands.
Some salon owners leverage personal loans, credit cards with 0% APR periods, or financing against assets like 401(k) accounts to self-fund initial startup costs or smaller expansion projects.
Taking on personal debt is riskier and lacks conventional business loan protections. But for well-qualified applicants, personal loans can act as short-term financing options for targeted expenses until revenue stabilizes – though thorough planning regarding repayment is critical.
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and CircleUp help entrepreneurs raise money from a large pool of supporters in the form of donations, rewards, or investments in the business in exchange for equity. But, you should double check if your business will qualify on one of these platforms as not every business is eligible for this type of financing (through the platforms mentioned above).
This form of financing engages your existing audience, local community members, industry vendors, family and friends to collectively back your expansion dreams – turning into a marketing opportunity. Success requires robust engagement marketing and contribution incentives while sharing ownership. When executed effectively however, crowdfunding can lead to thousands raised.
While financing provides the necessary capital to open and grow a beauty salon, it also comes with repayment obligations and interest costs that must be properly planned for in your hair salon’s management and day-to-day budgeting. Navigating financing wisely is key for smooth sailing.
Here are a few things you should be aware of when “borrowing” money to start your salon business:
From short-term equipment financing to longer-term SBA loans, the interest rates and duration of payments on salon loans can vary greatly. As business owners evaluate options, you must model cash flow, profit margins, and financial planning to make sure your stylist team still has the resources to operate smoothly while meeting repayment rules – whether monthly, quarterly, or longer.
Beyond interest and standard terms, lenders may attach additional special requirements to salon loans such as maintaining certain credit scores or financial ratios. This keeps them protected in case issues arise. Staying organized, maintaining proper financial records, and having contingency budget plans allow owners to navigate lender rules smoothly.
Making regular salon loan payments while also funding inventory orders, marketing to attract new clients, purchasing new tools for stylists, or investing in the latest salon accounting software can strain budgets.
Proper planning and accounting discipline are vital to ensure financing repayments don’t lead to problems managing consistent cash flow. Owners must model different activity volumes and have levers ready to adjust variable costs during slower periods if needed. This sustains smooth operations through ups and downs.
Carefully managing financing helps salon owners control one of the largest expenses incurred when establishing a business in the beauty industry. By taking a strategic approach, you can secure funding on the best possible terms.
Here are three things to pay attention to when financing your salon:
Like your personal credit score, business credit profiles capture financial management discipline.
Maintaining timely loan payments alongside accurate business bookkeeping and financial metrics on salon performance helps build a strong business credit file over time. This enables better terms on future funding needs to hire hair stylists or upgrade equipment.
Never accept a lender's first offer. Analyze salon expenses and budget projections, then make a counteroffer if their proposed rates or repayment schedule doesn’t align with your financial goals.
With clear communication of your business vision and expected mileage points that financing will enable, most lenders are willing to negotiate terms, especially for secured loans.
Beyond traditional financing, consider alternatives like pre-selling gift cards for salon services, taking limited personal loans to augment funding only once your risk management is robust, peer-to-peer lending marketplaces, or crowdfunding campaigns to meet capital needs. While less conventional, examining options outside the box can provide the remaining push when done prudently.
Getting your salon off the ground requires major capital investments – but securing the right financing empowers you to turn your dreams into reality. As you evaluate funding options from SBA loans to equipment leasing to merchant cash advances, focus on long-term affordability so repayment doesn’t become an operational burden.
Remember to account for interest fees in your salon budgeting and build robust cash flow projections before committing to major financing. With reasonable expectations set around the costs alongside a strategic vision for making every dollar count, financing can provide the fuel you need to create a thriving, successful salon business.
If you're ready to take the next steps and launch your salon, be sure to start a free trial of GlossGenius, no credit card required. GlossGenius offers easy financing features for salon software needs, allowing you to secure a management system to handle scheduling, client records, and business operations without major upfront costs. The affordable monthly payment model makes it accessible to beauty professionals and salon teams of all sizes.
With both your physical space and digital infrastructure covered, you’ll be set up for salon success!