How to Start a Salon
Starting a salon is always a good idea!
It’s a great time to jump in the market with a gorgeous and well-designed line of salon services. From skincare to haircare to nails, there are so many possibilities!
But the salon market is heavily regulated so you’ll need to follow the law closely. Here’s what you need to know…
1. Start your company
If you’re operating a business without registering as an LLC or Corporation, you’re taking a big risk. Your personal assets can be taken to pay your business debts. That means you can lose your car, house, and bank account on a product injury, a bad business deal, or a freak accident. Is it likely? Probably not. Is it worth all that risk to save a few hundred bucks on registering? Definitely not. Register your company with the state and follow certain formalities, so only your company assets are at risk.
This is so important for beauty salons because you never know how your services will react to so many different kinds of customer skin, nails, and hair. If someone develops a reaction to your services or is injured at your location, you can be sued for damages.
Youʼll start by completing the state paperwork to register your entity. First, you'll need to decide what kind of entity is the best fit for you.
Depending on your city, you may also need to check out permits for beauty salons and sales taxes.
2. Lock down your brand
A trademark allows you to own your brand. It means you're the only company who can use your company name, logo, slogan, domain name, personal name, product name, or hashtags. Here's why it's key: without it, you can be sued, forced to rebrand, or have your customers stolen by copycats.
Trademarks give you the exclusive rights to use the name nationally. So if someone else registers your trademark, they’ll own the rights to your name nationally. You'll only be able to use it in your geographic region (typically your city). That's not ideal!
Think about how many brand pieces feature your company name: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc. If you want to operate nationally, you'll need to change all of that + pull back all inventory with the brand on it, or possibly pay monetary damages. You'll lose customers, money, and valuable momentum.
Bottom line: if you’re building a brand, you need to trademark it asap!
3. Create your menu
Have a plan for what you’ll sell. Ask yourself:
What services will you sell?
What supplies or ingredients do you need?
How much does it cost to provide the services?
At what price will you sell the services?
Make sure the numbers add up before you commit to your services and supply system.
4. Find a location
You need a great location. There are many websites where you can find commercial leasing space, like Craigslist and LoopNet. You can also find popup space for rent at StoreFront.
Visit the space first to check out the area and the traffic. Check out the demographics of the traffic to make sure they're your target customers. You can also check out area statistics like income and crime numbers.
Once you contact the landlord and visit the space, it's time to sign your lease. Commercial leases are different than residential leases like apartments. They're typically for longer terms and are priced by square foot. They don't always include utilities like electric and water. For these reasons, it's so important to negotiate your commercial lease or popup contracts to make sure you understand the contract and that you’re getting the best deal.
5. Hire employees
Hiring employees is one of the most confusing parts of running a business. There are serious local, state, and federal laws about being an employer. There are payroll responsibilities and employer taxes. And then there are employment contracts. You'll want to have all the legal paperwork in order so your employees can do their jobs well.
If you're hiring independent contractors, you'll need to have a contract in place that clarifies their contractor status, your intellectual property rights, and their tax responsibilities.
6. Promote your salon
There are so many ways you can market your brand. You can use instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, email newsletters, and influencers to promote your brand online. Find out where your customers are online and join them!
You can also check out tradeshows and trade organizations for salons like BeautyCon or Cosmoprof.