Opening a salon in today’s market is not only exciting, but can be a little tricky and daunting. To help you through the minefield, here are some key points to think about when setting up and opening a salon to help you to succeed:



To determine if your salon is successful or not, you need to know where your business is financially, operationally etc. at any point in time, with an idea of where you are heading. To achieve this you will need to have a plan, several actually, here are the key plans required:

- A financial plan, a budget for setting up the salon, monthly spend, break even and cash flow

- A plan detailing business strategy, goals and responsibilities for all involved to ensure a clear understanding by all of what is expected, and how to get there, approx 5-10 new goals a year

- A marketing plan this will not end once you have your salon up and running, but will need to be an ongoing task, requiring a budget to fulfil it. 


Do not be tempted to pay staff too much, so sit down and work out a realistic break even point for each treatment, including salon overheads etc. and set commission as a target once this has been reached, you are then in profit, but remember the goal needs to be achievable or this can have an adverse affect and de-motivate not motivate staff. Only recruit staff when you are looking for staff and you have an opening and you can afford a member of staff. Be sure to recruit the correct staff at the correct price, ensuring you check references and carry out a trade test. 

Existing Clients

Remember that the cost is less to retain a client rather than attract new clients. A good strategy is to ensure procedures, processes are in place to encourage new clients to return three times e.g. appointment reminders, incentives, add on treatments and discounts. In addition, a referral system for existing clients is one of the most effective ways of gaining new clients. To retain clients remember to make their treatment into an experience they will enjoy and they get want they expect – always carry out a consultation and revisit their previous treatments if necessary make adjustments to ensure client is happy. 

Services Offered

Although its tempting to offer a wide range of treatments, a way to gain competitive advantage is to specialise in a particular service. Take a look at your local competitors and decide on your niche and send this consistent message throughout, when you are designing your salon, purchasing salon furniture/equipment, designing your branding, slogan, uniforms and marketing your salon.

Regular Re-assessment

Once you have set up your salon and all is running well, be sure to re-visit all of the plans above on a regular basis, including your pricing strategy, do not be afraid to raise your prices. Your overheads are likely to have increased with the investment in additional services, products, staff etc. to improve your customer experience. 

Procedures and Policies

To maintain customer service, ensure that there are written procedures and processes which have been communicated to all staff, to ensure they understand and adhere to them all policies should detail, expectations from staff including dress code, break/work times, commission rates, product sales, cleanliness of the salon, tasks to do when the salon is quiet etc.

There should also be written policy of what you will do for them e.g. marketing/promotion to get them new clients, which will help with their commission etc. 

Lead by Example

Lead your staff to success, remember people learn what is expected by you showing them rather than telling them, this is key when it comes to customer service, personal appearance etc. Remember you are the boss of your employees not their friend, so be a friendly, approachable member of the team whilst retaining your position of authority. Make informed decisions, do not act emotionally, this will help you to earn and retain the respect from your staff.

Time Management

Remember that your main role is to manage, this involves managing the salon, staff, stock/consumables, developing and growing the business. These tasks cannot be done effectively if you are carrying out services all the time, so where possible delegate tasks and ensure there is sufficient time allocated in your diary to carry out management tasks, grow and develop the business.


As part of financial planning, allocate sufficient budget for staff training, new products, replacement salon furniture and equipment, new services and stick to it. It maybe easy to continually add new products, services, but without thorough research these can turn out to be expensive mistakes.

opening a salon 

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