Photo: Jubilee Belle Hair Co.
Do you want to be your own boss, create your own schedule, and choose your pricing, services, work culture, and product line, without having to take the responsibility of managing other employees? Opening a salon suite may be the perfect form of salon ownership for you. Finding the perfect place for you and opening your salon suite can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time looking into running your own space. Here are a few helpful tips to help you make this big decision.
1. Taking the Plunge
Opening your own salon suite takes courage. As we all know, with freedom comes responsibility. But don’t let that turn you away from opening a salon studio – it can empower a stylist to be in charge of their dream career! If you think you’re ready to become your own boss and venture out on your own, understanding the process is the first step in taking the plunge. Before you begin, consider the size of your clientele, and how you will connect with them to let them know about your new location. Usually, stylists lose anywhere between 10-20% of their clients when they move to a new salon suite. If you think you have a large enough clientele, it’s time to begin the process of creating your individual salon culture and enjoy the freedom of salon studio ownership!
2. Find an Ideal Location
Location is key in starting a successful business. It is essential to find salon suites for rent that check off three boxes:
1. Near Current Salon
2. Near Clientele
3. Near you!
You want to make sure you look for salon studios for rent that your clients will be willing to travel to – and staying near your current location is a surefire way to know the distance they’re willing to travel. Additionally, consider how easy it will be to attract new clientele. Is it a location potential clients will pass by and find convenient? Find a balance between rent and location – sometimes it pays off to go with a better location with a little higher rent. Finally, it never hurts to know it’s a convenient distance for you, as well!
Next, make sure you do your research on the salon and spa suites in your area. There may be local suites, or national salon suites such as Sola Salons, Phenix Salon Suites, Salons by JC, Total Salon Studios, and My Salon Suites. Like any rental, make sure to weigh your options and find out if the listed price includes any extras, such as utilities, laundry facilities, and parking. Additionally, some locations may provide technology or salon equipment, while others allow you to choose those for yourself. Consider which amenities are most important for you when you’re choosing where you will be opening a salon suite.
Photo: The Lab Salon Suites
3. Tackle Your Legal Liabilities
Although this isn’t the most fun part about starting up your new salon studio, it is crucial to understand the licensing you need. Often, salon suites offer assistance or guidance for obtaining salon and sales tax licensing, trade name registration, and following necessary legal regulations. If not, have no fear – it is not as scary as it sounds!
A business license is necessary when renting and opening a salon suite. To get started, call up your local government (you can start by calling city hall) and find out which department grants business licenses. From there, do some basic paperwork and voila! You have a business license! Additionally, you will likely need to apply for a salon license with your cosmetology state board, which you are often able to do online.
Cosmetology State Board Requirements
You will likely have to set up an appointment for the state board to come visit your new salon studio to check that you have properly implemented all their requirements. This is not as hard as it sounds, as any salon you have previously worked at was also following these guidelines. Additionally, make sure that you know what the requirements are ahead of time, so you will have plenty of time to make sure you are following all requirements such as sanitation and licensing display.
Professional Liability Insurance
This is one of the last of the boring – but very necessary – paperwork that you’ll need to do when opening a salon suite. It is important to protect yourself and your business from claims and lawsuits, and professional liability insurance can help pay for lawyers, certain damages, and civil suits. We all hope we will never be faced with such complaints or problems – but it never hurts to keep you and your business protected.
Photo: J. Lee Salon Suites
4. Use Technology as Your Assistant
At your previous salon, you likely had someone else doing the scheduling, advertising, inventory, and accounting. With your new luxury salon suite, you will oversee these tasks. Work smarter and not harder – use technology as your assistant to make it easy to keep up with everything.
Instead of having clients regularly leave you voicemails to set up appointments, consider using an online scheduling software – such as Vagaro, Mindbody Salon Software, Rosy Salon and Spa, Salon Iris, and many, many more. Most services that offer online booking have other benefits, such as product inventory assistance, client tracking, POS, appointment reminders, and marketing assistance. There are endless options in software assistance, so do your research to decide which one would work best for you and your new salon suite.
To keep track of your finances and be ready for tax time, consider using accounting software. There are several free options you can use on your computer or phone that can assist you with accounting, invoicing, and receipts. If you don’t want to go with a full-on accounting system, a simple spreadsheet on Excel or Apache OpenOffice may be right for you. If you aren’t using a software that already assists you with inventory, a basic spreadsheet can assist you, so you always have what you need in stock.
Finally, don’t forget all the technology out there that can market you and your new salon studio! Marketing is essential in the salon business. If you aren’t putting yourself out there on social media and connecting with current and potential clients, you are losing clients and money. Make sure to at least have a Facebook business page and Instagram business page. These are key for staying in touch with your current clients and marketing yourself to new clientele. This is important for a business at any age, but especially important when you are just opening a salon suite! Check out our social media marketing blog for more information and assistance! To take it one step further, create a basic website that includes online booking and links to your social media accounts.
5. Know Your Worth!
It is important that you don’t undercharge for your services at your brand-new, luxury salon suite. Just because you are opening a new business, doesn’t mean your services and time are any less valuable. First, make a list of all your expenses, and estimate your average costs per month. Second, make a list of your intended services. Consider average pricing in your area, your most popular services, how booked you plan to be, and the clientele you are looking to attract – then decide on pricing based on those and your expenses. You want to ensure you are receiving enough profits to make your new venture is worth your time and effort.
Photo: Blade and Bourbon
6. Picking Products
Now that you’re the boss, you get to pick your favorite products and find the line that represents you and your salon studio. Instead of just going through your local professional beauty supply store, consider working directly with a sales representative for your trusted line – they will keep you updated about new products, specials, and educational opportunities. In order to work directly with the product brand or find a sales representative, check out the brand’s website – most will have a business support section that can connect you with representatives and provide you with professional signage. If you aren’t sure where to begin when deciding on product lines, check out trusted professional recommendations from companies like Behind the Chair , which works with stylists and brands all over the world.
7. Personalize Your Salon Suite
Now for the fun part – setting up your space so it reflects you and the salon culture you want to create! Often, salon and spa suites will paint the walls the color of your choice, and in some cases supply certain hair salon suite equipment, as well. Make sure you find out what is offered and supplied to you ahead of time. Next, create a list of your hair salon suite ideas, and break it up into everything you need, and everything you want. Tick off all the boxes on your needs, and if your budget allows, move on to the extras you’d like to have.
Depending on the services you provide, you will need a variety of salon equipment. Do you need an entire salon suite furniture package? Do you have salon chairs, a station, reception seating, a dryer, and a backwash unit? When deciding on your hair salon studio furniture, consider the textures, patterns, colors, and cohesiveness of your equipment – what vibe do you want your customers to feel when they walk into your brand-new space? If you aren’t sure what would suit you best or how to have your salon suite reflect your personal style and vision, call your sales representative to help guide your through the process. Additionally, they can help you figure out the perfect layout to make the most out of your new space when opening a salon suite!
The Buy-Rite Family has been in the salon and spa business for three generations and are always ready to help assist you and your business. Opening a salon suite comes with its challenges, but also allows you to be your own boss, keep all your profits, be in control of your clientele’s experience from start to finish – and most importantly – gives you complete creative freedom! If you’re a self-motivated stylist ready to take charge of your career, give yourself the credit you deserve and get started on your new venture today!