Starting a Salon Business: The Ultimate Guide

From Booker – 

Starting up a salon can be a rewarding experience, but a daunting one if you’re new to the business niche. Here are 8 simple, clear steps on how to start your own salon business and follow your entrepreneurial goals. 

Step One: Draw up a clear, concise picture of what you want your business to look like

It is vital to have a crystal-clear picture of what you’re ultimately aiming for. As Stephen R. Covey says in his best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “always start with the end in mind.”

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • “What services do I want my salon to offer?”

There are several different types of salons; for example: hairdressers’ and hairstylists’ shops, nail salons, beauty spas, make-over and make-up salons, etc. There is also a variety of services you can offer, such as acupuncture, reflexology, beauty product sales, etc.

  • “What type of clientele do I want to reach out to?”

Define your market. Do you imagine your future customers as being elite and affluent? Or a lesser-served broader community? Are you aiming towards a certain niche, such as seniors, children, or bridal parties?

  • “In what way do I want my salon to stand out above the rest?”

Of course, you aim for excellence in all areas. But if your salon stands out for one particular thing above all, it will be more easily remembered by your customers. Do you want your customers to remember your salon as the one with the fantastic hair-do’s? The incredibly welcoming and friendly customer service? The refreshingly relaxing atmosphere? Create a vision of what you want your business to be remembered by.

Step Two: Identify your financial means

The cost of starting up your own salon can vary from anything between $2,000 to $30,000, depending on your vision, your goals, and your clientele. Of course, there is a world of difference between purchasing a few pieces of equipment and setting yourself up in a spare room in your home (be aware of local zoning restrictions, however), and renting a space in a shopping mall for a full-blown business.

Assuming that you aim to start a proper shop-front salon business, you may need to look into small business loans to get your feet off the ground.

Step Three: Write up a business plan

A business plan is a concrete, ink-on-paper strategy about where you want your business to go, the identifiable means that you have to get there, and how you’re going to use those means. It breaks up your goals into doable steps, timeframes, and outcomes.

The main parts of a business plan are:

  • Your main goal, or how you want your future business to look in a specific timeframe

For example, by such-and-such a date, you want to be successful by such-and-such measurable criteria (such as a specific amount of income, or a specific number of clients).

  • Your means and tools for reaching your goal

This includes your money, your time, and your efforts, and even your own talents and those of your personnel. It includes marketing strategies that are at your fingertips, such as social media, and marketing strategies that you could implement in the future, such as paid advertisements, banners, and a website.

  • Link your goals with your means.

Brainstorm as to how can you use your means to reach your goals.

  • Outline the steps for using your means to reach your goals.

These should be stated as required actions, such as: “By such-and-such a date, so-and-so will complete this specific action.”

  • Naturally, a business plan involves an honest look at finances.

Use pie charts or graphs to study what money you have, how it could grow, how you want it to grow, how you want to put it back into your business, and why. If you are new to business finances, it may be a good idea to hire an advisor at this point.

Step Four: Learn about and comply with local business regulations:

Look into what is necessary to acquire the proper business licenses and permits. Local government websites are usually a good place to start. Also, a business adviser can help you sort through all the red tape and forms.

Step Five: Choose Your Salon Location:

The location of your business will have a lot to do with your results: the type of clientele you attract and the type of money you end up making. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when searching for the right location for your salon:

  • Make sure that your customers have sufficient parking space and that the building is easily visual and accessible from the near-by roads.
  • Most small business salons require between 1,000 to 2,000 square feet of space.
  • Buying or renting a location that has already been used by a previous salon has its pros and cons. Pros are: the plumbing, electricity, stations, reception and waiting areas, etc. may already be in place. Cons can be that a potentially poor reputation of the previous salon may carry over. Check out the reasons why the previous salon is moving or shutting down and make sure they won’t affect your own success.
  • Your location will need four separate areas: reception, shampooing, service, and storage / employee area. Devote about 50% of the shop to service, 20% to reception and product sales, 10% to shampooing, and 20% to storage and employee lunch / break / meeting room / facilities.

Step Six: Purchase the salon furniture and tools of the trade.

What you buy will depend on the type of services you plan to offer. How much you buy will depend on the size of your building.

Break down your building into the four separate areas mentioned above and identify what you will need for each.

  • Reception and retail: you will need a welcoming desk, office equipment, waiting area chairs, and any products that you want to sell.
  • Shampooing: you will need a shampoo unit.
  • Services: you will need full equipment for service stations. If you are offering spa services, you will need beauty beds, massage tables, etc.
  • Storage / Employee Area: you will need basic furnishings such as tables, chairs, office supplies, etc.

Step Seven: Hire the right personnel for your salon.

The various roles of salon personnel are:

  • Owner (you)
  • Manager
  • Hairstylists / Cosmetologists
  • Receptionist
  • Aesthetician
  • Massage Therapist

Remember that some localities require that a person be certified before performing certain functions, such as massage therapy or hair removal services.

Step Eight: Advertise, Advertise, Advertise

Let the world know you’re out there.

Social media provides an affordable but very effective method of getting your brand out to the public. Make the most of Facebook, Snapshot, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to reach your target market.

Having your own website nowadays is practically a “must”. Imagine if you could give your business card to absolutely anyone who was looking for your particular service. That is effectively what having a website is like.

Word-of-mouth is the oldest, but still remains the most effective way of growing your brand-name. Have loyalty programs, sharing programs, rewards programs, etc. to encourage your customers to bring in their friends and family. 

Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall

Sarah is the Marketing Manager of Salon Supply Australia

Sarah is the Marketing Manager of Salon Supply Australia, a salon furniture and supplies business catering to hairdressers, beauty salons, barbershops and wholesalers.

See more from Booker and Sarah here!

booker logo

What’s Trending: Healthy Nail Salons

Federal Grant Money Is Giving California Nail Salons A Healthy Makeover In 2017

What is the Healthy Nail Salon movement?

The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative was established in 2005 out of a growing concern for the health, safety and rights of nail salon and cosmetology workers, owners, and students. In 2016, California passed a law promoting the Collaborative’s recognition program that rewards salons for protecting estheticians and clients from exposure to toxic chemicals.

To gain recognition, the program has 9 requirements that focus on protecting the health of the workforce and creating a safer environment for clients:

  1. Use nail polishes without the toxic-trio: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde.
  2. nontoxicSafer nail polish removers without ethyl or butyl acetate, such as acetone.
  3. Avoid using nail polish thinners. Use those without toluene and methyl ethyl ketone.
  4. All nail salon staff should wear nitrile gloves when using nail products.
  5. Ventilate the salon. Designate a specific area for artificial nail services.
  6. Install a mechanical ventilation unit within 1 year of entering the program.
  7. Train all salon nail staff (payroll & on contract).
  8. Commit to adopting safer nail products.
  9. Do not allow customers to bring in products unless they meet program criteria.

 

What do customers think of the healthy movement?

Customers have expressed support for programs that recognize salons for using safer and healthier practices. According to surveys of over 1,000 people:

  • 59% were not aware of toxic chemicals in nails salon products;
  • 96% were more likely to request healthier, safer products;
  • 95% were willing to pay at least a dollar for healthy services, and 56% were willing to pay $3 or more;
  • 94% were more likely to go to a salon that was formally recognized for using safer products and practices.

 

How can you join the movement?

Last month, the EPA provided a $120,000 grant to the CA Healthy Nail Collaborative to launch a microloan program that will help moveexisting salons install indoor air ventilation equipment, purchase less toxic nail polish, and provide training for nail salon workers.

If you’re a salon in California interested in “going green,” there’s no better time than now! You can learn more about the Collaborative by clicking HERE.  

Matt Wiggins

Matt Wiggins

VP of Sales at ProSolutions Software

With over 20 years experience in the beauty industry, Matt teaches classes to salon and spa owners on business topics including branding, management, marketing and advertising.

prosolutionssoftware.com

Skin Care Resolutions for Beautiful Skin

The New Year is here and it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that is ending; what went well, what didn’t go so well and what changes can be made or improved on. It’s like getting a do over, let’s try this again.

This year make taking care of yourself your first priority. Life gets busy and job, family, spouses, friends all want a piece of us and it can be overwhelming. We can get lost in the mix.  Many people try changing diets or activity for the new year; and those are important but let’s get a little more personal.

What is your routine? Don’t have one? Let’s start simple. Commit to a good cleanser, toner and moisturizer every morning and evening. Simple but doable. Do that for a month then re-evaluate your skin.

Already doing that? Gold star! Let’s dig a little deeper into your skin care routine by evaluating what’s happening with your skin. Is it dry, oily,  blotchy or dull looking? Find products that fit your needs. Add a serum into your morning and night routine that focuses on anti aging or breakouts or reducing red skin.

Visiting a local spa is great way to start off the new year. It’s relaxing after the hectic holidays and the aesthetician can be helpful in guiding you towards your perfect skin care routines and products. Beautiful skin makes us feel more confident. Make your skin care a focus in 2017!

Amber Products

Amber Products

amberproducts.com

See more at the Amber Products blog

 

Fitness In a Pinch

Tiltus Headus Too Muchas – Correcting forward head posture

Our society is a forward leaning one. We bend forward to work on our computers, check our cell phones, read and write, It isn’t long before our muscles begin to support this position which can lead to pain in the upper and lower back. Often we think rubbing and working on the back is the solution, when in reality we need to focus our efforts on opening the front of our body which has become contracted. One easy thing to do is to stand up occasionally and stretch backwards.

Watch this video for another tip by Eric Stephenson, Co-owner of imassage, Inc.

About Debra K

Debra K., the Natural Health Explorer, is on a mission to inspire our nation’s health transformation. As the host of award-winning The Journey into Wellbeing television show airing on PBS, Debra uncovers the secrets to living a high-energy, vibrant life. You can watch her latest show, Senior Moments online at JourneyIntoWellbeing.com

You can find Debra on Facebook at Journey into Wellbeing with Debra K or contact her directly at dk@journeyintowellbeing.com.

Late Winter Lifestyle Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

The Earth element in Chinese medicine corresponds to what we might think of as the ending of each season and is related to the concept of transformation. Although the Earth element is often associated with late Summer or Indian Summer, it also occurs in late Winter, late Spring and late Fall. 

In other words, as the end of each of the traditional four seasons approaches, the “heavenly” (cosmic) seasonal energy goes back to the Earth for transformation into the energy of the next season.

According to Chinese medicine,

“…its influence manifests for 18 days at the end of each of the four seasons and it does not pertain to any season of its own…” – The Classic of Categories (1624) by Zhang Jie Bin.

Earth is not unlike the center of the compass. It is a pivot point, so to speak, around which the four seasons and the other four elements spin. But, occurring four times a year for 18 days each, these periods totaling 72 days and which bear similar characteristics are referred to as the Earth energetic season or fifth season of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The next Earth energetic period is from January 18 to February 4. An Earth imbalance creates any one of the following group of conditions affecting the skin:

  • blemishes
  • toxicity
  • acne
  • psoriasis
  • enlarged pores and
  • lymph circulation problems.

PHYTO5 has created a very specific skin and hair care line designed to help address these imbalances.

Unlike Wood and Fire elements in TCM defined by a rising and peaking yang, and unlike Metal and Water elements with a rising and peaking yin, Earth represents a balance between yin and yang energies. As such, the Earth element represents warm, stable, grounded, loving, emotional characteristics. It is nurturing, comforting, calm, solid and stable. Earth is all about family, community and gathering, eating now and gathering, collecting, holding and storing for later.

Earth energy type people are sentimental and maintain their attachments to other people, things, and places. Earth types tend to savor the sweetness of life and being human and they find enjoyment in all the comforts and pleasures of life. But, as with each element, Earth types can become imbalanced and demonstrate physical and emotional challenges.

According to TCM, Earth is about ingestion and absorption, not just of food but of ideas and emotions. An Earth element imbalance in the body is the result of ingesting too much, or its opposite–stagnation, the slowing down of chi energy flow in the body, or an outright inability to consume or subsequently digest ideas, emotions, or food.

Earth types are thoughtful but can worry too much. They can feel sympathy, deeply allowing them to feel connected to others, but these same emotions taken too far can cause them to feel stuck, unable to act or think clearly, with an over-dependence on others for their opinions, judgment and advice.

Earth types are quite good at maintaining family and friend relationships. They love situations that require them to work with others. They enjoy teamwork and collaborative work environments.

Well-balanced Earth people usually have a healthy complexion, soft facial features, sturdy and balanced body frame, exhibiting an earthiness to their appearance.

The organs most closely associated with Earth are the spleen and the stomach and the digestive system as a whole. The Discussion of Prescriptions from the Golden Chest (c. AD 220) by Zhang Zhong Jing says:

“During the last period of each season, the Spleen is strong enough to resist pathogenic factors.”

Earth also has influence over the pancreas, the large muscles of the body on the upper arms and lower legs, the abdomen, the middle back, the lymph system and the diaphragm. Of course, proper lymph circulation is important in keeping a strong immune system and a healthy complexion.

The Earth periods are the best time to address Earth conditions. They are also the times when Earth energy can make existing Earth imbalance in people worse, therefore balancing Earth energy during the Earth periods with Earth treatments and products is highly recommended, particularly for Earth type people.

Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text. Edinburgh: Elsevier, 2015. Print.

Bridges, Lillian. Face Reading in Chinese Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2012. Print.

See more on the PHYTO5 blog

PHYTO 5

PHYTO 5

www.phyto5.us
888.715.8008
info@Phyto5.us

5 Ways To Handle Minimum Wage Increases At Your Salon Or Spa

Surviving Minimum Wage Increases

21 states saw minimum wage increases take effect in 2017, not including other increases at the county and local levels. (For a list of current minimum wages, click HERE) With fierce competition, rising brick-and-mortar costs and thin margins, salon and spa owners are particularly sensitive to minimum wage increases. Here are five ways your salon or spa can handle minimum wage increases!

1. Reduce Costs

Before cutting payroll to make your margins, closely examine how you spend money and look for savings in your current costs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid supplies wastage by using only the amount of supplies necessary to perform treatments correctly, efficiently and expertly.
  • Use salon and spa product suppliers/vendors discounts effectively – make sure you aware of all deals before placing an order!
  • Send automatic SMS appointment reminders and confirmations calls to save time and money on telephone calls and your telephone bill.
  • Keep good control of your inventory and product tracking to avoid small emergency orders that often incur extra delivery charges.
  • Take advantage of your business software features to consolidate your software subscription expenses.

Transcend can help you reduce costs with detailed reporting, extensive inventory tracking, SMS text messaging, free email marketing, no gift card “per swipe” fees, and much more. Make sure to sign up for free training classes to learn more about your software and how it can help you reduce your current costs.

2. Increase Prices and/or Upsell

Increasing prices is the most obvious option for dealing with wage increases, but avoiding them can help you maintain a competitive edge on the competition. However, if raising prices is the only way to keep your business alive, then you have to raise them.

How you increase prices is up to you. Some businesses apply a certain percentage to all services across the board, while others add a few dollars to each service.  You should also consider varying price increases based on customers’ needs. For example, you can keep “The $20 Press and Curl” and other popular, less-expensive services while only increasing the price of more high end services to ensure you don’t drive away more cost-conscious clients.

Also, make sure your employees are trained on how to prescribe product to your customers and the art of upselling services to current clients.  This can help you increase your average service and retail tickets to boost your bottom line.  Transcend’s Fortune Teller can help you project the impact of an increased average ticket sale and just how much you’ll need to absorb the minimum wage increase in your area.

3. Reduce Operating Hours

Take a look at the hours you have employees scheduled and correlate those hours to the wages you’re paying. Do you need employees covering these hours? Do you even need to be open or doing business during some of those hours? Your employees keep your business running profitably, and you want to pay them fairly; but if your budget can’t cover a minimum wage increase, you may need to cut back their hours or your hours of operation.

Another option is to set overtime limits for your employees. Non-exempt employees who work overtime must be paid one-and-a-half times their regular hourly wages. That can add up really quickly if overtime hours are unlimited!

4. Streamline Your Services and Establish a Membership Program

Some beauty and wellness services have terrible margins, or require extensive training and expensive supplies. Take a look at your service offerings and consider cutting underperforming services that can save you on inventory costs or other overhead items.

Also, consider establishing a membership program to help boost your bottom line. With minimum wages increasing, most of your competitors will be increasing their prices. Membership programs can help you offer a discounted rate on services to help you maintain a competitive edge and provide a base income that can help you maintain your current staff.

5. Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money as your labor costs increase, but social media marketing is a proven method for increasing sales and patronage to your shop. If you are paying your receptionist or other employees to maintain your social media accounts, you’re likely overpaying and not seeing a return on your investment. Consider outsourcing the day-to-day management of your online accounts by signing up with an online marketing firm like Social Beautify.

Matt Wiggins

Matt Wiggins

VP of Sales at ProSolutions Software

With over 20 years experience in the beauty industry, Matt teaches classes to salon and spa owners on business topics including branding, management, marketing and advertising.

prosolutionssoftware.com