How To Open a Beauty Salon | Guide by (2023)

Now that coronavirus restrictions have been fully lifted, demand for beauty treatments and services is back in the UK and entry into the market is lucrative.

In fact, the 2021 National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) State of the Industry report found that 40% of salons and beauty businesses plan to grow.

But the key to a salon or spa's success is that, in addition to providing excellent treatments, you also provide a relaxing and enjoyable experience – not to mention implementing additional safety measures adapted to the post-Covid world.

This can be confusing for new businesses, but don't worry. At we are experts in everything you need to know about renting premises, sourcing equipment and paying staff. Read on for the best tips and tricks for opening a salon and running a successful business once you're up and running.

Are you ready to start a small salon or beauty business? The first step for any startup is finding funding, but knowing where to start can be difficult.

use ourfree online comparison toolto compare the best commercial loan providers across the UK and get the best deal. can help your business succeed

At, we're here to help small UK businesses start, grow and succeed. We have practical resources to help new businesses get started - you can use the tool below to get started today.

What does your business need help with?

to start

In this article we will discuss:

  • Ideas for a beauty salon or day spa
  • Your business plan for a beauty salon
  • Cosmetics industry rules
  • Finding a suitable location or facilities
  • Hardware purchase and software download
  • Employment of beauticians
  • Market your beauty salon or day spa

Ideas for a beauty salon or day spa

When starting a business in the beauty industry, there is a key question to consider: what beauty services will you offer your clients?

Salons and spas can offer a variety of treatments, but here are some examples to get you thinking:

  • manicure e pedicure
  • Microblading, threading or eyebrow shaping
  • Hair treatments such as bleaching, waxing, electrolysis or laser hair removal
  • Massage, from hot stones to deep tissue and facials
  • Indoor tanning services such as indoor tanning beds or tanning beds
  • Specialty hair treatments such as hair extensions, chemical straightening, permanent or Brazilian blow dryers
  • Special beauty treatments such as Botox or cellulite reduction
  • Professional makeup and metamorphosis

Remember that staying ahead of current trends is crucial in this industry. For example, if you specialize in nail art but don't offer a new style that everyone wants to try, you'll lose out to your competition - so be prepared to change your treatment list from time to time.

Rachel Fox, FounderBeauty and drying studio, said: “Originally, it was about offering a small range of maintenance treatments. This has slowly changed and evolved over the last year as you listen to customer feedback and choose what they want. It's all about development and improvement. Our customers trust us, so if we introduce a new treatment or product, we know they'll love it."

Some additional questions you might ask yourself include:

  • More and more men are looking for specialist health and beauty treatments - do you want your salon to appeal to men, women or perhaps both? You will need to adjust your treatments, branding and marketing accordingly.
  • How much money would you like to spend? The equipment needed for basic treatments like manicures and pedicures costs several hundred pounds, while laser machines can cost thousands.
  • Want to expand your retail business? Selling beauty products at the front desk will add another source of income, but you'll need to invest in buying supplies.

Carrying out market research

Once you have a salon concept in mind, it is very important to assess its feasibility and chances of success before committing to it.

To do this, you must firstfind out who your target audience is.You can use this to do thorough market research and get feedback on your idea from your target customers.

Only when you are satisfied and ready to learn from your market research results can you move forward with your salon or spa idea.

Choosing the name of the salon

Naming is as much fun as it is difficult. Of course, you have to love your business name, but it's just as important that it serves as an accurate representation of your brand image.

Beauty salon name ideas:

  • List the words that come to mind when you think of your salon and the experiences it offers. Don't limit yourself; drop everything! Then try to combine them in an interesting way, learn their synonyms, etc.
  • Try entering your own name or nickname in the salon name.
  • Try including the name of the city or town you want to base your salon name on.
  • List puns or puns that relate to your treatments - anyone give a good name? (Don't do this if your brand image is more luxury than fun.)

Remember, your name must be:

  • Unforgettable
  • Unique (you don't want customers to confuse you with another company)
  • Easy to read, spell and pronounce
  • Attracts the target audience
  • Available for use as a company name (check usingCompany land and mortgage registration)
  • Available for use as a website domain name

Once you've chosen the perfect name, officially register it - find out howour guide to registering a business name.

Leah Durrant, FounderBeauty Re: Treatment, says, “The name should be easy to remember and represent your brand in one name. More importantly, you should think about how it will appear on search engines like Google. We chose Beauty Re:Treat because when people search for 'beauty' and 'retreat', we'll be one of the options that come up."

Your business plan for a beauty salon

Writing a business plan for a hair and beauty salon will help you plan every aspect of running a salon, from your marketing strategy and therapist hiring plans to the smallest details of your finances.

How much does it cost to open a beauty salon?

As already mentioned, you need to invest a significant amount of money in your salon or spa right from the start. The main expenses you will have are:

  • Rent/lease your facilities
  • Living room or spa furniture (if needed)
  • Purchase/rent of equipment, tools and products
  • Pay your employees' salaries

As for start-up costs, Durrant says they are “entirely dependent on the rent, size, staff, decor and treatments of the store.

"I didn't invest a lot because I don't think I need to, but I'll say more or lessMinimum value DKK 25,000It's a good amount to start with."

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Meanwhile, Nicole suggests that start-up costs could be lower "from anywhere£10,000 to £15,000 and more”.

But when it comes to costs, you should also be as prepared as possible. Always include a contingency budget of 150% of your projected budget.

Remember you also need to pay commercial fees, licenses needed to carry out treatments and commercial insurance (more on this in part three) - and don't forget the cost of a good website,business phone systemto allow customers to make reservations and of course apoint of sale systemso they can pay!

What does your business need help with?

to start

Financing a beauty salon or spa

Of course, covering the cost of opening a salon with your own money isn't always a viable option; therefore, there are many other ways that beauty entrepreneurs can obtain funding to open a salon.

We know how important finance is for SMEs, which is why we decided to do the work for you. You can use our simpleonline comparison toolcompare business loan providers for free and find out if any of them are right for your business.

How much can you earn as a beauty salon owner?

The money you take home will depend on the amount you charge for your services versus the overheads and expenses incurred. Therefore, the prices you choose for your treatments are very important - they must allow you to earn money and remain attractive to your target customer.

In terms of earnings, Nicole says, "The really busy salons can earn at least £3,000 a month for a busy stylist, so depending on the size of the salon you can calculate your personal salon earning potential." Durrant adds: "If you run your salon well, you can earn anywhere from £50,000 to £100,000 or more."

However, don't expect an immediate profit. It will likely be months or even years before you start making more money than you spend or invest in running your salon. But don't be discouraged - you have every opportunity to make a fantastic profit once you're established; you just have to be patient and work hard.

Rachel Fox of The Beauty & Blow Dry Company says, “The most important thing is to keep things new and exciting and deliver the treatments your clients want. This means reinvesting the money you could earn back into your business. the early years.

"One day I know I'll earn a good salary doing this, but for me it's growing up and being the best we can be."

Cosmetics industry rules

Complying with beauty industry laws and rules is crucial if you want your salon or spa to operate safely and legally.

Especially post-Covid, the average consumer expects safety measures like hand sanitizer and more frequent sanitizing to be taken for granted by most businesses, so you don't want to risk your customers' safety or habits.

To attendour guide to salon laws and regulationsTo do:

  • Learn about the qualifications and training you need to complete to become a salon or spa owner.
  • Consult our regulatory checklist to guide you through salon insurance and licensing, as well as financial considerations.
  • Learn how to ensure your salon or spa complies with important health and safety regulations, including coronavirus requirements.

Finding the right location and facilities

When opening a beauty salon, the location you open is critical to your success. If you're not close to the right customers and miles from the right stores and services, you'll have a hard time getting people in. To find the best possible location for you, evaluate your list of locations based on the following:

  • Step:count how many people pass by your potential location during opening hours. Generally speaking, the busier the better.
  • Population:you want the people who live in or visit your chosen area to match your target market. Consider factors such as the age, gender, and estimated income range of the people there.
  • Competition:explore the salons and spas already operating in the area, find out what they offer and how successful they are.
  • Transport connections:make sure your salon is accessible by public transport and by car. It's also worth checking nearby parking fees - clients can leave the salon without makeup or with reddened skin after treatments, and so on.
  • Availability:research the properties available in each area and find out if they are right for you in terms of size, layout, architectural design and rental/lease costs.

Remember - opening a salon comes with various property licensing laws and in some cases the local authority may not allow a specific property to be used as a salon or spa - so you need to confirm a location beforehand to agree to rent.

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Hardware purchase and software download

When it comes to opening a salon or spa, getting the right equipment, good quality furniture, premium products and streamlined salon software will be an expensive but crucial step in the process.

Lerour guide to salon equipment and softwarelearn:

  • How to find suppliers that will provide you with equipment and products for beauty treatments.
  • What hardware and software do you need to take payments from customers at the front desk.
  • Why Installing Salon Software Will Benefit You.

What does your business need help with?

to start

Employment of beauticians

According to Nicole, "Looking for stylists or beauticians is one of the hardest things in the business world, because finding someone who has the personality and ability to get the job done can sometimes be a huge task."

In fact, your salon or spa is only as good as the staff that work there, so it's important to find competent beauty therapists to work for your business.

Leah Durrant's salon uses "many methods" to find candidates. This includes showroom and window posters, word of mouth, social media, Indeed and other recruiting sites.


At a minimum, all of your therapists must be qualified by a recognized government institution. In fact, most insurance companies won't cover your salon unless your therapists have a level 2 or 3 NVQ or equivalent exam.

"I'm always looking for at least a Level 3 beauty NVQ," says Fox, "along with good presentation, excellent phone manners, and good customer service skills." Durrant adds, "The main criteria I look for when recruiting an esthetician are a positive attitude and passion, as well as honesty, kindness, and professionalism."


Different candidates will have different levels of experience - some may be recent college graduates, while others may have worked in salons for years. The level of experience you want your therapists to have is up to you.

Highly experienced therapists can bring skills you don't have to the table, while inexperienced therapists can be trained to do your treatments exactly how you prefer.

Fox explains that she's looking for "at least three years of salon experience," as she's not a trained therapist herself. “But no matter what difficult situation I was in, I'd rather be an employee than have a bad employee. They can do a lot more damage to your business than not having access to as many customer offerings, which is why I always say to keep your standards high.”

Paying therapists

When managing shifts and payroll, it is important to meet beauty industry standards and expectations to avoid being seen as a dishonest employer.

Therapists generally work five days a week, 37 to 40 hours (often including Saturdays), but some salons work six to seven days.

Salaries for beauty therapists range between £15,000 and £20,000 a year depending on experience, while highly experienced therapists and salon managers can earn upwards of £20,000. Use these numbers as a guide for how much you pay your staff, but remember that therapists working in central London also expect London pesos.

If your therapists receive a commission for the treatments they order and perform - and any products they sell - it will normally be 10%.

Apprentice hiring

Alternatively, you could hire an apprentice and train him in your salon while he studies for a qualification.

The easiest way to get an internship is to register with the Professional Training Agency (ATA). They recruit apprentices on behalf of the employer (you) and arrange candidate training with you.

However, if you prefer to find an apprentice yourself, you need to select the course - and at which educational institution - you want to study and request the transfer of the student to the course.

Once you find someone, work with them to create a learning agreement and commitment statement. They will describe the time period you will hire them, the training you will provide and what the two of you will do to ensure your learning is a success.

Public funding is available for companies that accept apprentices, so check with the National Apprenticeship Service to find out if you qualify.

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Market your beauty salon or day spa

With so many salons and day spas open, each needs to prove its worth in an innovative way. You can use the following techniques to spread the word:

build a website

If nothing else, you should have a good professional website - clients who hear about you will look there to see your treatments, check prices and find contact details.

To run a website, you can rent afreelance web developerwork with or use itwebsite building platform. Economical and easy to use, these platforms are ideal for beginners.

Compare website builders and their prices directly and for freewhether!

use social media

On social media, you can share photos and details about your treatments, salon environment and therapists, giving potential clients a sense of familiarity with your salon.

Maximize the power of social media:

  • Use a tone of voice and communication style consistent with your brand image
  • Use of high quality professional photos
  • Sharing popular hashtags related to your salon and treatments
  • Stay in touch with your followers by replying to their comments and IMs
  • Trying out contests and giveaways

Send an email to your customers

Keeping in regular contact with your clients via email, sharing special offers and updates about your business is a great way to keep them engaged and thinking about your salon or spa.

Durrant advises you to “promote your salon with software; send newsletters, text messages and friend recommendation cards to encourage them to come back to the salon, as well as attract new clients. A customer relationship management (CRM) system will help streamline this process, personalize emails and newsletters with each customer's name, automate shipping, collect customer data, and much more.

Check out our guide tobest small business CRM toolsand compare CRM systems for free.

Offer bespoke packages and experiences

When people visit a salon or spa, they like to feel special. While you should always strive to provide a great experience for your customers, you can leverage this even further by creating special packages.

For example, you can include a glass of champagne in your treatment or add a hand massage to your manicure. You can also get into the party and event market and offer special packages for groups - for example, delivering drinks of your choice and giving away free samples.

Introduce a reward system

Salon customers tend to be loyal - if they've had a good experience with you, they're likely to come back again and again. You can really increase that loyalty by offering a rewards system - for example, after four treatments, a client can get the fifth for free or at a discount.

What is the next?

Opening a beauty salon is a big undertaking, but if you're passionate about giving clients amazing treatments, there's a good chance you'll succeed.

With the right qualifications and training, as well as great customer service skills, a warm personality and a lot of patience, you can use this guide to make your salon the best it can be.

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What qualifications do you need to open a beauty salon in UK? ›

Here are some other qualifications and online beauty courses that you may need if you're starting your own salon:
  • NVQ Diploma in Beauty Techniques (Level 2)
  • NVQ Diploma in Beauty Therapy Services (Level 2)
  • NVQ Diploma in Hair and Beauty Services (Level 2)
  • NVQ Certificate in Beauty Salon Reception (Level 2)
Mar 21, 2022

How much money do you need to open a beauty salon UK? ›

“I didn't invest a huge amount as I don't believe you need to, but I would say around £25,000 minimum is a good amount to start up.” Meanwhile, Nicole suggests that start-up costs can be lower, at “anywhere from around £10,000 to £15,000 upwards”. But when it comes to costs, you should also be as prepared as possible.

How do I write a business plan for a salon? ›

How to make the perfect business plan for your salon business?
  1. Write a mission and vision statement.
  2. Create an executive summary.
  3. Analyze and identify your target market.
  4. Perform a competitor analysis.
  5. Write your salon's business description.
  6. Make strategies for advertising and outreach marketing.
Jul 16, 2021

Do you need a cosmetology license in the UK? ›

The degree does not necessarily have to be obtained from the four walls of a university. It could be obtained from a training centre. The certificate issued after the training is a license needed to become a cosmetologist.

Can you run a beauty salon from home UK? ›

You might think that you need to work in a salon to work in beauty, but that's not true. Over 4 million people work from home in the UK, and that includes beauty professionals. The truth is, you can replicate the salon experience just as well from home with some preparation.

How do I become a successful salon owner? ›

6 Traits You Need to Become a Successful Salon Owner
  1. A solid vision. All successful businesses have one thing in common, a clear and defined vision. ...
  2. Self-promotion skills. So you have your business up and running… now you need customers. ...
  3. Organization skills. ...
  4. Task delegation. ...
  5. Open communication. ...
  6. Passion.

How can I be successful in beauty salon business? ›

8 Tips For Running a Successful Beauty Salon in 2021
  1. Beauty Salon Management Starts With A Clear System.
  2. Recruiting is Key, Training is Everything.
  3. Mix Formal & Fun Communication To Make It Effective.
  4. Motivated & Engaged Employees Make Happy Clients.
  5. Simplify The Daily Hustle With A Nimble Salon Management Software.

What are the 5 management tips in a salon? ›

5 tips to help you manage your salon
  • Communicate with your salon staff. ...
  • Build a strong team as a salon manager. ...
  • Take your time when hiring your salon employees. ...
  • Stay current with salon tools, trends & processes. ...
  • Keep your salon neat and tidy.
May 9, 2023

How much does it cost to open a salon in the UK? ›

Salon start-up costs are said to range from £5,000 to £50,000. That's a massive range and represents the wide variety of options there are. Costs will be much higher if you are kitting out a salon from scratch as opposed to taking over a building that is ready to go.

Is owning a beauty salon profitable UK? ›

Conclusion. Running a salon isn't cheap. But that said, salon owners and managers can make a decent profit if they are smart and use their resources well.

How to start a beauty business from home UK? ›

Learn how to set up a beauty business from home
  1. Check your mortgage or tenancy agreement. ...
  2. Ensure you have the right insurance in place. ...
  3. Make your local council aware of your business. ...
  4. Make time for a health and safety inspection. ...
  5. Learn your tax allowances. ...
  6. Getting a good work-life balance.

How much capital do you need to start a salon? ›

The cost of opening your own salon is around $62,000 for a basic setup, but it can go up to $500,000 or even more. No matter how much you invest in your new business, you'll want to do everything you can to ensure your salon's success.

What is the target market for a beauty salon? ›

Your target market for a high end salon will most likely be working adults with a mid-high range income. A walk-in hair salon is a barber shop or unisex hair salon that offers services at a much lower price and do not require clients to book appointments in advance.

Is it illegal to cut hair without a license UK? ›

Luckily, barbers & hairdressers do not need a license to cut hair in the UK. This means that you can continue to work on your clients, even if you're still mastering your course.

What is a cosmetologist UK? ›

A cosmetologist/beauty therapist is an individual that performs personal care services such as massages, manicures, pedicures, makeup, facials and waxing. They are responsible for evaluating clients' skin, hair and nails whilst providing them with aftercare advice to take better care of themselves at home.

How long is cosmetology school in UK? ›

You can visit the UK to study for up to 6 months at an accredited institution, to complete a short course of study which is up to 6 months.

How do I get into the beauty industry UK? ›

If you work full time you can take evening courses at a local college. Or you can take an apprenticeship with a salon where you'll learn on the job and have time out to study for professional qualifications. However, more therapists are now opting for fast-track NVQ courses in beauty.

Can I build a salon in my garden UK? ›

You may not need planning permission to build your garden salon, as the rules for putting up a garden office or room for professional purposes are a little different than for personal use, but only if your business will cause a marked increase of visitors, or if your home will not be used primarily as a dwelling.

What type of business is a beauty salon? ›

According to the North American Industry Classification System – better known as the NAICS, beauty salons fall into category 8121 – Personal Care Services.

What are the different types of salon ownership? ›

New salon, barbershop, and spa owners have a choice of five possible legal structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, S corporation or C corporation.

Is there money in owning a salon? ›

How Profitable Are Hair Salons? Profit margins at hair salons are surprisingly slim. According to the blog The Salon Business, the average profit is just $19,000 per year. The blog says the average salon profit is 8.2 percent but can range from just 2 percent to 17 percent, depending on how well you manage the salon.

How do I get a beautician license UK? ›

How to become a cosmetologist
  1. Undertake an apprenticeship. The UK has a range of appealing cosmetology apprenticeships for you to learn and earn at the same time. ...
  2. Complete a relevant BTEC or NVQ. ...
  3. Enrol in a specialist cosmetology school. ...
  4. Complete an online beauty course.
Feb 17, 2023

How much does it cost to own a salon in UK? ›

Salon start-up costs are said to range from £5,000 to £50,000. That's a massive range and represents the wide variety of options there are. Costs will be much higher if you are kitting out a salon from scratch as opposed to taking over a building that is ready to go.

Is the beauty industry regulated in the UK? ›

In the UK and EU, the manufacture and supply of all cosmetic products is governed by the to UK Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 (UKCR) and the EU Cosmetics Regulation (No.


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