Business

How to Run a Hair Salon Business

by sophieh / last updated August 13, 2008

Whether you’ve been working as a freelancer or mobile hairdresser; renting a chair or working in an independent salon or as part of a franchise; there may come a time when you decide you want to run your own salon.

Being the boss enables you to offer the products and services that are important to you and that you think there is a market for. You can have your choice of name and location and you can reap the rewards from a successful salon.

But being the salon owner also carries all the risk. It is your finances and your reputation at stake and there is far more to the day-to-day running of a hair salon than offering great hair cuts.

However if you do decide that the time is right and you are ready to run your own hair salon then it’s time to get your business brain on and start to put the process in motion.

Starting Your Hair Salon Business

Like any business, opening a hair salon requires planning and organisation. You’ll need to have a clear and concise business plan and you may need to approach a bank manager to raise finances.

These are some of the steps that you’ll need to take before you can even start to think about opening a hair salon.

  • Make sure you have a good business plan. This should not just be a loose outline of your salon, but should contain all the essential information from financing to day to day operations. Your bank manager will want to see a copy of your business plan so make sure that it is clear and concise and contains all the information they need to make a judgement about your business.
  • If you already have the funding in place to open your salon, then lucky you. However, most would-be salon owners will need to borrow money from a bank or financial backer to raise capital for their business.
  • You have a business plan, the money is in place the next step for you is to find the perfect site for your hair salon. It’s rare to find a shop that fits all of your needs, so make sure you have a clear idea of what factors e.g. location; cost; size you are prepared to compromise on.
  • Now you’ll need to design your salon interior. Your business plan will already have documented who your hair salon’s target clientele is so choose a style that reflects their needs. Do plenty of research and don’t forget to shop around to find the right furnishings at the right price. 
  • When it comes to putting a team in place around you, one of the most important people for you to find is the right accountant for you salon business. They’ll be able to advise you on the tax implications of key decisions you make and should even be able to offer practical business advice including how you can improve your profitability.

Employing and Managing Salon Staff

  • If you are opening a new salon, then the first thing that you will have to do is get a reliable salon team in place. Start by having a clear idea of the personnel and skill sets that you need e.g a manager; stylists; assistants etc and then set about advertising. When recruiting, the most important thing is to ensure that you don’t do anything that could leave you in breach of discrimination or harrassment laws.
  • Salon owners taking over an existing hairdressing business have a different set of considerations: namely, that the law states that current staff automatically transfer to the new owner. Before you make steps to buy the salon obtain a copy of the employees’ contracts and details of other terms and conditions. Be aware that if you want to make changes or bring in your own people you would need to have ‘economic, technical, or organisational’ reasons to do so. 
  • Once you are up and running, never forget that your people are your biggest asset. Your team will build relationships with clients, get customers walking through the door and will ultimately decide whether your hair salon is a success or not. In order to maximise their potential make sure that you have a good management structure in place where you get the team together for regular meetings as well as conducting one-to-one catch-ups . This gives each member of the team an opportunity to discuss their individual situation and receive regular constructive criticism and advice.
  • Even the luckiest salon owner/manager is unlikely to escape without some staff headaches. Be it a moody stylist or an assistant who phones in sick every Saturday, human resource woes are all part of working life. Good management and dealing with such issues swiftly and efficiently can not only solve the problems but also help you to gain respect from your team and lead to a more positive, more motivated team.
  • Don’t forget that the team building process never stops. Every time you bring in a new employee it is an opportunity for you to assess how efficient your team is and address areas that can be improved. It is also essential that you do everything you can to help them to settle in order to make them a useful addition to your team as soon as possible.

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