Opening a hair and beauty salon in the UK

How to Open a Hair Salon


How to Open a Hair SalonHave you always dreamed of running your own barbers or hair salon? If you’ve been cutting and styling hair for years now, you are likely ready to turn this dream into a reality. We will walk you through everything you need to know about opening your very own hair salon.

The beauty industry is highly lucrative, as it continues to grow over time. Global Data has highlighted it as the fastest growing sector of the past five years. This means that it is now the perfect time to open a hairdressing business and achieve success with it.

If you are currently unsure of the steps you need to take, or the things you need to open a hair salon, our handy checklist should come in great use for you. Read on to discover all you need to know to make this business dream a reality.

Things to Do Before Opening a Salon

You maybe thinking of start out on your own and opening a hair salon in 2022, we have put together a guide which is critical in helping you develop an effective, successful business plan.

When it comes to recession proof businesses, a hair salon is a pretty safe bet. In the UK – the beauty industry is valued at £8.6billion per year. Beauty is also a steady business, often remaining unaffected during the present economic pandemic.

The stats you need to know about

Check out the following UK-based hair salon statistics from Policy Bee:

  • There were 8,677 beauty salons in the UK in 2019, a huge 73% increase in businesses since 2014.
  • 94% of people working in beauty in 2019 were female.
  • 65% of people who worked in beauty in 2020 were self-employed (up from 57% in 2019).The average hourly wage for employed beauty therapists in the UK is £8.34, according to pay-scale (£14k – £22k annually).

A huge trend in retail in the last few years has been demand for organic and ‘clean’ beauty products. This is sure to be reflected by customer demand for similar styles of treatment in salons.

10 Steps for opening a hair salon:

  1.     Think of great name for your salon
  2.     Create a hair salon business plan
  3.     Understand your target audience
  4.     Investigate the competition
  5.     Check the requirements to open a hair salon
  6.     Buy equipment and furniture
  7.     Choose what treatments you will provide
  8.     Explore funding options
  9.     Consider hiring employees
  10.     Market your hair salon

Every great business needs a great name

Picking a great name for your hair salon is an extremely exciting and highly important part of the process. You absolutely need to get this right, so spend a decent amount of time thinking of ideas and testing them before making any finalised decisions. Choose something that represents your business well and allows you to inform potential customers of what you are.

Building a recognisable brand is important, and one that is easily identifiable to customers in your area. So, ensure that it is not difficult to spell or pronounce. How do you expect customers to tell their friends and family members about your hairdressers if they cannot even spell the name of it? This could harm your reach on social media, as people may not be able to find the accounts related to your company, and in more places that you may have not even thought about.

If people cannot spell the name of your brand in the digital age, there is no chance of them spending more than 30 seconds searching Google for it. With more online competition currently out there than ever before, you need to be sure that you’re catching people’s attention easy.

Another thing to look out for is that if your company name is ‘made up’ (not a real word found in the dictionary), smart phones may try to autocorrect the spelling of it and change it to something else. Be wary of this and test your new name on peers before finalising it.

Create a hair salon business plan 

Regardless of what type of business you’re opening, you’ll need to create a detailed business plan, and thus it is no different for hair salon ventures.

In your salon business plan, you should detail your business goals and how you propose to achieve them. As well as this, you should discuss where the business will be located and how it will operate. Furthermore, you should demonstrate your understanding of the current market and how you’ll fill a gap in the local hairdressing sector.

The main sections that need to be included in your business plan are as follows:

Overall summary – an overview of the entire plan, including your business goals, the location of your future venture, and details of your budget.

Description – what type of salon you want to own, what services you’ll offer and what your unique selling point will be.

Your market research – a demonstration of your knowledge of your target market and the successes/failures of local competing businesses.

A marketing plan – a consideration of how your salon will compete with others in the area and how you will market it. Will you use traditional marketing, social media, or word of mouth?

The financial plan – financial information such as an estimated budget and financial projections.

Understand your target audience 

As we have previously talked about a business plan, one thing that needs to be included in there is details of your target audience.

It is essential you know who your target audience is, which is why the next part of this guide will walk you through how to identify it effectively and connect with it on a higher level. You should try to understand:

  • The profile of your potential customers, including age, gender, and income
  • What they wish to spend on a haircut
  • If they visit the same salon regularly
  • How frequently do they get their hair cut or styled?

People looking to get their hair cut or styled in a certain way will make up for the bulk of your clientele. However, you may also want to consider if you will mainly do business through a booking system, or if walk-ins off the street will be welcomed, too.

Investigate the competition 

When you are setting up your hair salon, it can be useful to understand what is already available to customers on the market. Is your target high street already packed with independent hairdressers, or do big name brands conquer your area? Perhaps you can identify a gap in the market you will aim to fill. Could you be more affordable and grab people’s attention that way?

This process will help you to further identify your niche and realise what works and doesn’t work so well in the wide world of hairdressing.

This is a form of market research that will aid you in the creation of your business venture. This means you could grab an upper hand by analysing your competitors and looking to avoid their mistakes as you go ahead. Keep in mind that you can also take inspiration from their ventures and allow them to help shape your company.

You should look to find out the following during this stage of the process:

  • Establish who your direct competitors are
  • Are these competing business ventures independent hairdressers or part of a franchise?
  • How close is the competition to your chosen location?
  • The services offered by these salons
  • How expensive the competition is and if this matches your price point
  • How successful is the concept of these businesses?

The rules of opening a hair salon 

In the United Kingdom there aren’t any specific legal requirements you need to worry about when opening a hair salon. Therefore, it allows you to learn on the job, so to speak.

Although, many people in the industry will gain particular qualifications before beginning a career in the hairdressing industry. Also, unless you’re starting a trainee scheme, you will need a qualification to land a position in a salon. If you do not have this, fear not, as you can pick it up through either college or an apprenticeship.

There are multiple options for qualifying as a hairdresser:

National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) – There are four different levels to an NVQ, and you need to aim to achieve all four. Level 1 is a simple introduction which isn’t considered a standalone qualification but is important as it allows you to move to Level 2 – which is the minimum qualification for a hairdressing position. Levels 3 and 4 will help you to learn more advanced, technical skills that are desirable for management roles (such as running your own hair salon).

Apprenticeship – Don’t worry if you don’t fancy the idea of going to college, you can gain your NVQ via an apprenticeship. This will combine on the job training and classroom learning, allowing you to earn money as you study. This combination is great for those that want to get some experienced in a work-based environment as soon as possible.

Workplace assessment – You can go into a salon and show off your skills, being assessed as you complete a series of workplace tasks. This could allow you to go into an assistant role in a very short amount of time.

Salon management courses – Prior to opening your own salon, you could think about doing a management course. There are a range of Foundation (Fda) and Bachelors (BA Hons) degrees in salon management available in this country, that teach business management skills that will be directly applicable to running your own salon.

Buy hair salon equipment and furniture

Before your can even take your first step to opening the doors of your salon, you’re going to need to furnish your salon with the necessary equipment. These need to be comfortable furniture and top-end products.

For reliability and ease, find trusted, professional salon equipment suppliers who can provide you with everything you need and potentially even often discounted rates on bulk purchases.

Choose your beauty treatments 

At this stage, you likely already know what beauty treatments you are going to offer, though you should now give this some serious thought for one final time. Perhaps you wish to stick strictly to hair services, though you may want to contemplate the other options available to you at this time.

Here is a list of treatments commonly offered by salons today:

  • Haircut and colour
  • Specialist hair treatments – extensions, chemical straightening, perms
  • Conditioning hair treatments
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Eyebrow shaping & grooming
  • Hair removal treatments
  • Massages
  • Tanning services
  • Professional make-up and makeovers

How much does it cost to open a hair salon?

The cost will likely range anywhere between £3000 and £35000 depending on your premises and what other purchases you need to make at this time. Consider things such as rent, employee wages, buying stock and paying bills, such as the electricity bill which will rack up as you use hairdryers, hair straighteners, etc.

How to finance a hair salon

Launching a hair salon requires relatively high initial investment. You should not need to bear the weight of subsidising the whole sum on your own – as there are numerous ways of raising the capital needed to launch your dream barber shop.

To start with, you’ll need to dip into your personal savings. Regardless of whether this amount addresses just a humble piece of your underlying financial necessities, don’t go without – as it’ll go quite far in persuading possible investors of your commitment to the business.

The next step is to apply for loans from several banks. Ensure you send multiple applications to a variety of banks, so you can analyse their offers and pick the one that will benefit your business the most.

You can also consider crowdfunding. Here, there are two main options for you to think about.

The first is crowd equity, where people or private backers give funding to help your business in return for shares in your business. This can double as a chance to observe potential colleagues, who can give you guidance regarding the creation of your venture and permit you to divide out the overall funding and give the bank proof that your business merits supporting.

The second is donation-based crowdfunding, which includes setting up a mission on a crowdfunding stage, recounting your story, and gathering gifts from merciful people who wish to monetarily uphold your endeavour.

Assuming your crowdfunding effort takes off, make this an argument when pitching to possible financial backers – as showing the boundless excitement for your business could go quite far in persuading them that investing in it will be worthwhile.

A further option would be to find out about regional business start-up awards and competitions that take place in your area. If you see any that give out cash prizes to the winners, you could try to get involved in some way.

We can offer you the funding you need

A beauty salon business can only be successful if it keeps up to date with the latest fashion and contemporary trends. For this purpose, it is important for owners to strive for constant innovation while keeping up with the latest developments in the industry. Your first point of call for business finance might be the bank, but what if you are turned down or have been refused capital previously? Unfortunately, this is often expensive, and many small businesses struggle to source business funding.

As a hairdresser or salon owner, you know that even when you’re armed with experience and determination. Running any small service business like a salon or hairdressers is one of the hardest things you can do. There are constant challenges and roadblocks ahead. The bigger your salon business gets and the more people you employ. From rent a chair to employed staff the more flexible and ready for change you need to be in the beauty industry. Salon Merchant Cash Advances are a perfect fit financial solution for salons and can be in place within two days.

Consider hiring employees 

Your hair salon is only as good as individuals working in it, so with regards to selecting hairdressers you need to recruit, act with caution. Initially, they should have a recognised qualification – at least NVQ Level 2/3. The degree of involvement you need your new beauticians to have past their underlying preparing is dependent upon you, contingent upon whether you need to focus on preparing them further or would prefer to recruit someone with a current expansive arrangement of expert abilities.

Character likewise goes quite far in the styling business, because of its amiable nature, so you’ll likewise need to observe people who are amicable, just as expert, and will reassure their clients.

Ways market your salon start-up business

Your marketing efforts are going to be essential when trying to grab your audience’s attention and stand out from the competition, in what can be a very crowded market.

At the very least, you’ll need a professional website that explains your services, costs, location and contact details. Your website will need to be easy to navigate, but also work on mobile devices, so that you can tailor different people’s needs in the modern world.

Past this, having a presence on social media will assist with building brand image. Pick a few platforms to commit your time to and make certain to keep them refreshed with posts about your salon.

You may likewise need to consider posting your salon on directory services like Treatwell, as they hold a solid online search engine dominance, which means you have a great shot at showing up in search results. They likewise make it workable for clients to look for the particular services in a specific area through the directory, which advertise your barbers to an audience for free.

This isn’t going to be an easy task

Opening a hair salon is no easy task, so you should be ready for a challenge. If you are mentally and financially prepared for what is to come, you will be in a strong position to execute your idea effectively and make the best go of it you possibly can.

Be cautious when recruiting, ensure your business plan is up to par, have a unique selling point that sets you apart from the rest of the competition, and above all else, try to enjoy having complete creative control over your very own hairdressing business venture. With enough hard work and determination, you could be the next big hit on the hi