Launching a business for the first time is exciting but not without its challenges. The salon industry may have ground to a halt recently in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re starting to see signs of an industry getting ready to start making big moves.

Salons might not look the same when they reopen, but there is still a huge appetite for stylists and barbers. With many people forced to resort to at-home haircuts, we may finally understand just how important stylists and barbers are.

If you’re thinking about putting your stylist skills to work in your own business, you’re not alone. The beauty industry is booming, and the COVID-19 outbreak is unlikely to present a setback. Instead, we’re expecting to see salons return stronger than ever before when it is safe.

Before you start building your salon business, make sure you consider these following:

1. Choose your salon format

There are many different ways to set up a salon, and each one has its own perks and pitfalls. You could open a salon and rent chairs to other stylists, taking a monthly fee and/or a percentage of their earnings. Or you can hire your own team, taking full responsibility for their working hours, earnings and training. You can also try a mix of the two, hiring some workers and then renting out chairs to people with different skills, such as nail technicians.

2. Get to grips with insurance

Before you can open your salon, you will need to have insurance. Your salon will need public liability insurance as a bare minimum. This will protect you in the event a member of the public is injured while at your premises. 

You may also need employer’s insurance, which will protect your workers if they are injured while at work. It’s also a good idea to get building contents insurance, to protect your equipment from theft or damage. Always speak to a professional advisor to find out what kind of insurance you need.

3. Don’t forget about tax!

Running a business as a sole trader or limited company will mean that you are entirely responsible for your own tax and national insurance contributions. If you earn over a certain amount every year, you may also have to make VAT contributions. Don’t leave this until the last minute to sort out, as you could be left with late payment penalties. Get on top of your tax from the start to save yourself the stress.

4. Invest in the best equipment

Your salon is only as good as the services you provide. And you can’t provide a stellar service using cheap, substandard equipment. Invest in the best equipment you can afford and upgrade when you are able to. Customers will not be shy about telling their friends and family if they have had a bad experience in your salon, and investing in high-quality equipment can help you to avoid this.

5. And that includes digital tools

Equipment for your salon goes beyond the fixtures and fittings. You should also think about the digital equipment that will help you to run your business. Will you have a fixed reception desk or a mobile terminal? 

With the right salon software, you can manage your salon on the go, and keep track of your bookings from anywhere. It’s worth investing in software like Salon Iris to give you a competitive edge.

6. Build a strong team

You need a dedicated and talented team behind you if you are to succeed. Whether you are hiring employees or renting out a chair, always make sure you properly vet the people you bring into your business. Someone with a bad attitude and poor customer service skills could easily damage your reputation beyond repair.

7. Plan a memorable launch

Once you know when you will be opening your doors, start planning a grand opening. This can help to create some buzz and get customers through the doors. You could offer reduced-price treatments, refreshments, entertainment and giveaways. 

Partnering with local businesses can help you to keep costs down while offering something that supports the local area. For example, offering cupcakes from a local bakery in your brand colours will also provide exposure for that business, so they might be more inclined to offer a competitive price. 

8. Keep asking for reviews

Reviews are the lifeblood of the salon industry. Get into the habit of asking for reviews after every treatment. This can be automated using email or text packages, or you can put signs up around your salon reminding customers to leave a review. 

You could also encourage users to share the results of their visit on social media, encouraging them to “check-in” to your location. This can help to generate a new wave of business. By creating a steady flow of reviews, you can encourage more customers into your business. They will, in turn, leave a new review.