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How to Become a Salon Owner

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Enterprising entrepreneurs, trained in cosmetology, barbering, massage therapy, skin care or other beauty-enhancing treatments, often consider opening their own salon. Beauty salons are located in private homes, shopping malls, cruise ships, health clubs, office buildings and luxury recreational resorts. Tanning salons, nail salons, barber shops, beauty salons or day spas that offer a wide selection of personal grooming and holistic health care services can provide the owner with a consistent monthly revenue from repeat patrons.

Contact the United States Small Business Administration for helpful information and guidelines for starting a small business. Make a checklist of all items that apply to opening a spa or health and beauty enhancing salon. In the initial stages of owning a new salon, you can gain helpful insights and avoid many new start-up pitfalls by heeding the advice of a business mentor experienced in salon operations. The United States Small Business Administration provides a comprehensive list of resources that offer small business start-up counseling and mentoring.

Consult an attorney or your tax adviser to determine the organizational structure of your new business venture. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship, a partnership or corporation. Determine if you wish to open an independent salon, purchase an existing spa or purchase a franchise. Register your new business name with the state and submit an application for incorporation if your venture is organized as a corporation. Prepare a business plan that lists all operating expenses including salon space, equipment, overhead, supplies, property and liability insurance, advertising, promotion, licenses, fees, payroll and utilities. Project earnings and provide a source of financing for your venture. Establish a banking relationship and open business accounts for payroll and operating.

Obtain a federal employer identification number from the United States Department of Revenue. Applications can be processed online or obtained from any local IRS office. Your number will be required for federal taxes, banking and salon payroll processing. Contact your state's department of business licenses to determine the requirements, rules and regulations that apply to your location and salon services offered. A building integrity, fire and health inspection may be required. The rules and regulations applying to ownership of a salon vary from state to state. The majority of states do not require that the owner or owners of a salon be a licensed cosmetologists, massage therapists or holistic health care providers. However, the manager of the spa is normally required to be a state licensed provider of the client services offered by the salon.

Carefully evaluate retail beauty product lines. Success or failure of a beauty salon is closely tied to the products offered and the reputation of the product line within the salon's client base. Contact vendors and distributors to establish wholesale accounts and schedule product delivery.


Determine the amount you are going to invest in your new salon. Start-up costs include a business license, building lease or salon construction, signage, insurance and advertising. The salon will require equipment, styling chairs, sinks, mirrors, lighting and shelving. When investing in your new salon venture, evaluate the profits these amenities can return on investment before deciding on the amount you want to spend.


Although the spa business is a ever-evolving and fast growing segment of the beauty industry, be realistic in your expectations, plan to work long hours and heed the advice of your lawyer, tax consultant, business mentors and spa and beauty salon industry advisers.