How to Start a Beauty Salon Business

Personal care and pampering is something we all need. If you’re an entrepreneur, the world of the beauty salon has some surprising advantages. To begin with, it’s largely immune to the trend toward ecommerce since beauty salons provide hyper-localized personalized services. Secondly, if you provide great service, you will quickly develop an excellent reputation that will lead to repeat bookings.

Finally, there’s a trend toward buying “experiences” rather than “products,” and the beauty salon fits very neatly into this newway of thinking and purchasing. All that said, starting up a beauty salon business can be tricky. There may be local competition, and you'llneed to invest in finding skilled workers and developing an excellent brand.

In this guide we’ll explore everything you need to do to set up your beauty salon business and maximize your chances for success. We’ll cover:

set up a beauty business
  • Understanding the world of a beauty salon
  • Deciding if you’re ready to start a beauty salon business
  • Planning out your beauty salon business
  • Determining the best legal structure for your new organization
  • Following various rules and regulations
  • Paying taxes for your beauty salon business
  • Hiring employees, managing finances and administering your beauty salon business
  • Locating other resources for your beauty salon business
  • And much more

Understanding the World of the Beauty Salon Business

Key Beauty Salon Business and Background Data and Statistics

Here are some of current statistics that will help you understand the beauty salon industry:


Consumers spent in the hair and nail salon industry in 2016


People employed in the industry across the U.S.


Revenue increase by year, while job growth is expected to increase by 0.6 percent a year

beauty business
  • 79% of people employed in the beauty salon industry
    are hairstylists, hairdressers or cosmetologist
  • Only 10% of workers in beauty salons are men
  • The biggest expenses for beauty salons are employee compensation, real estate and rental, manufacturing and professional and business services.
  • There are nearly 270,000 beauty salons, hairdressers and barber shops in the U.S.
  • Wages paid to workers are typically low, with many earning around $22,000-$25,000 a year.
  • The industry is very fragmented, with the largest 50 salon chains only contributing 15 percent to overall revenue
This all points to the beauty salon industry being ripe with new opportunities for focused entrepreneurs, so now might be the perfect time to dive into starting your beauty salon business. Incfile is here to help you form your beauty salon business and understand the ins and outs of owning a beauty salon company.

What Your Beauty Salon Customers Are Looking for

If you want to run a successful beauty salon, you need to build your entire suite of services around customer needs. When it comes to offering beauty and hairdressing services, that means providing a great range of services at an extraordinarily high quality combined with reasonable pricing.

Your beauty salon will rely on word-of-mouth marketing, so you want to help customers become an advocate for your business. You can do this by offering personalized service and ensuring your staff provides extensive beauty treatments that leave your customers feeling pampered and wonderful.

When it comes to providing beauty treatments, you will want to ensure you’re providing the right niche of services. You have plenty of options:

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Amazon Business

Hairstyling and hairdressing

Limited Liability

Hair removal and hot wax treatments

Series LLC

Manicures and pedicures

S Corporation


C Corporation


C Corporation

Facials and skin care

What Are the Main Skills, Expertise and Experience Needed to be a Successful Beauty Salon Entrepreneur?

When it comes to skill sets, you need wide-ranging expertise to be a successful beauty salon owner. These skills should include:


Finding, interviewing and hiring great beauty salon employees who can provide awesome beauty treatments and hairstyling services

People management

Dealing with staff schedules, coverage, internal issues and other people management areas


Promoting your beauty salon business against a competitive field; local marketing expertise is essential

Treatment design and pricing

Working with employees to create luxurious treatments with good profit margins

Salon creation

Setting up the salon in the first place, which includes finding equipment, furniture, fixtures and fittings

Operational management

Ensuring customers are served well and beauty treatments are provided to the standards you expect

Business administration

Sorting out profits, payroll, financial management, accounting and all the other areas that go into running any successful business

What Are the Main Challenges for a Beauty Salon Entrepreneur?

Your main challenges will be finding the best beauty treatment therapists, local marketing and creating good profit margins for your business. You will also need to focus on creating extraordinary customer experiences so your customers become advocates for your salon.

Plan Your Beauty Salon Business

Before you start your business, there are a few key areas you need to focus on. You will need to establish whether there’s a demand for your beauty salon services, look at potential benefits and pitfalls, understand how your business finances might look and ensure everything is in order.

In short, you need a business plan — here’s how to think about your business idea.

Do Market Research and Validate Your Beauty Salon Products and Services

Before you launch your beauty salon business, you need to understand if there’s a demand for what you’re selling. That means carrying out market research and “validating” your products and services. Here’s how to go about it:

  • See if there are any market research reports for beauty salon businesses: Search locally, nationally or internationally. Explore statewide and national trends to identify growing treatment areas.
  • Look at who your competitors are in the space: Having competitors is a good thing as it shows there’s a market. Make a note of all local competitors, their pricing and the beauty treatment services they provide.
  • Talk to clients: Speak with potential customers to understand what they want from your beauty salon products and services. See if there is a specific demand for niche treatments.
  • Identify your business’s unique selling points (USPs): These are the areas that will set you apart from competitors and encourage customers to come to you. You might have better pricing, a higher-quality service, a loyalty plan or some other special feature.
  • Get involved with business communities and discussion groups: Ask questions about beauty salon businesses. You can find links to some excellent discussion groups later in the article.
What Are the Main Challenges for an Amazon Seller Entrepreneur?

Understand Your Beauty Salon Business Model and Financial Projections

All businesses need a business model, which is how you will generate sales, provide services and make money. Think about your business model now, because it’s better to have that in place so you can start acquiring customers and generating revenue from day one.

You will also need to look at financial projections for your beauty salon business. What are your expected sales and revenues? What is your profitability? How much money will you keep in the business to grow it? How much will you pay yourself and others? If you can, try to plan your revenue for the next month, three months, year and two years.

You might start by just offering one or two high-demand beauty treatments and then expanding later as you build your reputation and clientele.

What Are the Main Challenges for an Amazon Seller Entrepreneur?

Write a Business Plan for Your Beauty Salon Business

Finally, you should put your business plan together. Business plans do vary slightly, but they should cover the following areas:

  • 1 An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan
  • 2 Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your beauty salon business
  • 3 A description of your business, background information and context
  • 4 A market analysis and likely demand
  • 5 An overview of how your business is structured
  • 6 Your business model
  • 7 How you will market and sell your offerings
  • 8 Financial projections, revenue and profitability
  • 9 Appendices

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Beauty Salon Business

Now that you have all the background information for your beauty salon business, it’s time to make it into a reality. Starts by choosing the right structure or “legal entity” for your business. In the U.S., there are five main business structures. They are:

Choose the Right Business Structure and Register Your Amazon Business

Sole Proprietorship

This is the "default" business
structure and is what your
business will be if you decide
not to create a more formal
structure. We don't
recommend this type of
business as it doesn't give
you the legal protections you need.

Limited Liability

Limited Liability
Company or LLC

The most common type of business entity. An LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to setup and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets and is a great way to start your real estate

Series LLC

Series LLC

This is a special type of LLC entity that's only available in certain states. It allows you to create "mini" LLCs, each with their own limited liability and separate assets, under the umbrella of a master LLC.

S Corporation

S Corporation

This is a more complex type of
business and isn't generally
recommended for smaller

C Corporation

C Corporation

These are the largest and most
complex types of businesses
and are far more than the
average entrepreneur or
business owner will need.

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide on business entities. If you still have questions, we’ve answered them to help you choose the right business structure.

In most cases our recommendation would be to create an LLC. We have a complete guide to everything you need to do and we can set one up for your beauty salon business. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.

Set up Your Beauty Salon Business

Once you've legally created your beauty salon business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

beauty business
Location of your business

A great location is essential. You will want to be in an area with lots of foot traffic and accessibility, preferably around other businesses who are targeting the same type of clientele as you.


You will need equipment, furniture, fixtures, consumables and inventory to sell. Think about any hardware and transportation you might need. Make sure you understand exactly what you need to spend so you can write it off against business expenses.

beauty business
beauty business

Local marketing and strong branding will be essential to your success. You will likely need a website and a strong social media presence too.


There are many types of beauty salon management software solutions that can help you manage your business much more efficiently and effectively.

beauty business
beauty business

You will need to hire skilled, approachable employees. This is probably the area of the business you should spend the most time on — your people are the face of your beauty salon, and customer advocacy will be driven by how well they treat your clientele.

Finances and taxes

What kind of bank account will you get? Do you need a business credit card? How will you pay your business taxes? These are important questions to consider so your beauty salon business stays in the green. Here at Incfile, we can even help you file your taxes.

beauty business
business maintenance
Business maintenance

Most states require businesses to file an Annual Report once a year. You will also be expected to pay estimated taxes on what you plan to earn in the current business year. Your federal, state, regional and city business licenses and permits may need to be renewed on a regular basis, typically once a year.

Our Start a Business Checklist will get your beauty salon business going in the best possible way.


As you can see, starting a beauty salon can be a great way to grow a thriving business. A strong focus on the best treatments, understanding your clientele and local marketing will position you for success. Good luck!