Do you have a passion for all things hair-related? Does the prospect of making a living off rainbow hair highlights, designer cuts, and killer waves send you to cloud nine? If so, chances are you’re on a mission to start your very own hair salon. 

Starting your own hair salon can be an incredibly rewarding venture, and one that also allows you to share your talents with the world. However, it’s no secret that starting your own business can be a slightly intimidating experience. It can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the mammoth task ahead of you. 

Fortunately, we’ve got your back — as always. In this article, we share an in-depth step-by-step guide on starting your very own hair salon in 2023, so read on to find out more! 

  • Create A Solid Business Plan

Like any other business, the first and most important step to take when building your hairdressing empire is to create a solid business plan. A business plan serves as a blueprint that sets the course for your salon’s success. As such, it should include detailed information about your mission, target market, financial projections, and even analyses of your primary competitors.

This is also the perfect time to figure out your niche or unique selling point. Do you want your salon to be the go-to place for balayage? Perhaps you want to specialise in cutting curly hair. At the end of the day, your niche will be the key factor in attracting and retaining loyal customers for years to come.

Your business plan should also detail the types of products and professional salon supplies you’ll need to operate your salon efficiently. These supplies are the backbone of your salon’s success, ensuring you have everything you need to deliver exceptional service to your clients.

  • Prioritise Legal & Financial Matters

Armed with a solid business plan, the next step is to address the legal and financial aspects of your salon business. Ensuring that you are compliant with laws and regulations will help you avoid potential legal issues down the road, so be sure to start your journey on the right note. 

Before you even consider opening your doors, there are some crucial steps you must take:

  • Choose Your Business Name

Choosing a unique and appropriate name for your salon business is obviously step 1 in building your beauty empire. Your salon’s name is its identity, so pick a name that’s memorable and distinctive. 

Most importantly, remember to check that your chosen name isn’t  already in use by checking with your local business registrar or online databases. If your name ticks all the right boxes,  you will then need to register it with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

  • Outline Your Business Structure

One super-duper important thing that you’ll also need to do is choose your business structure. Generally, if you’re operating alone, you can start as either a sole trader or company. However, if you have a business partner, you will need to set up either as a partnership or company. Ultimately, the right decision will depend on a number of factors, more of which you can learn about here.

  1. Register for an ABN and TFN

In Australia, every business is required to register an Australian Business Number (ABN). Thankfully, registering for an ABN is super easy and can often be done online through the Australian Business Register website.

In addition to an ABN, you will also need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). Again, this is easily done through the ATO website, or by submitting a paper application. 

  • Obtain The Necessary Permits and Licences

Next up is obtaining all the necessary permits and licences that you’ll need to run a salon business legally and safely in your state or territory. This is a relatively easy task and you’ll be able to find out exactly which licences and permits are required here.

  1. Take Out Business Insurance

Lastly, don’t forget to take out business insurance. This will ensure that you and your staff are covered for any injuries, accidents or damages to your salon and equipment. It is recommended that you start off with the bare minimum of general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, property insurance, and contents insurance. It can also be a wise idea to get in touch with an insurance broker to ensure that you’re appropriately covered.

  • Choose The Perfect Location

Now that we’re past all that technical nitty gritty, the real fun can begin. There is no salon without the perfect location, so it’s time to really get stuck into the game of real-estate hunting. We can’t stress enough the importance of choosing your location wisely, as this will ultimately dictate the success of your salon.

For starters, consider doing some research on ideal locations or neighbourhoods that will set your salon up for success. Some factors to prioritise include  high foot traffic, minimal competition, and, of course, the overall vibe and feel you are going for. The last thing you want is to be located in an area with tons and tons of competition, or stuck in a corner that doesn’t attract your target clientele.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to start scheduling and attending inspections. Visiting locations in person will allow you to evaluate the size and condition of the space, as well as whether it meets your salon’s specific needs. Is the space large enough to fit at least a few wash basins? Does it have proper plumbing and electrical connections for your equipment? These are all factors that play a major role when choosing your ideal location. 

Don’t forget to factor in budget as well. It’s important that you consider the cost of leasing the space, and don’t forget about ongoing maintenance and utilities that can quickly add up over time. As a new business, you don’t want to splash out unnecessary before you start turning a decent profit, so striking a fine balance between practicality and aspiration is key.

  • Don’t Skimp On Quality Supplies

As we mentioned earlier, the supplies and tools you use in your salon will play a massive role in your success (or failure). This is one aspect of business that you don’t want to skimp on, as cutting corners can lead to subpar results and dissatisfied clients.

Of course, the type of supplies your salon needs will depend on the kind of services you offer, but as a general rule, you should invest in some basic top-notch hair care products (shampoo, conditioner, toners, dyes and treatments), quality hair cutting scissors, and comfortable salon furniture that will keep your clients happy even after sitting for hours.

Be sure to get in touch with a few different suppliers to explore your options. Compare prices, product range, and customer reviews to ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your salon.

  • Hire & Train Staff

If you plan on running a one man show, you can skip this point. However, if like most salon owners, you’re looking to onboard at least one or two staff members, now is the time to start searching.

Begin your search for the best of the best by advertising job openings through various channels, including online platforms like SEEK, Indeed, or even in the beauty schools in your area. Once you have a few applicants, be sure to conduct thorough   interviews and assess candidates based on their skills, experience, and compatibility with your salon culture.

Once you’ve assembled your team, don’t forget to provide training that will ensure your staff is well-versed in the techniques and services your salon offers. Keep them updated on the latest hair trends, techniques, and product knowledge so that they can offer the best possible experience to your clients.

  • Focus On Marketing & Promotion

So you’ve got your ideal location, the best quality salon supplies, and a talented team of stylists that are ready to propel your salon business into the world of success. Now, it’s time to focus on marketing and promotion. The harsh reality is that you could be as (or even more) gifted than the likes of Vidal Sassoon or Guy Tang, but without the proper marketing and promotion, nobody will know!

To hit the ball out of the park with your marketing strategy and ensure that you set your business up for success, consider investing in:

  • A user-friendly website;
  • Social media profiles;
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
  • Online booking systems;
  • Email marketing;
  • Customer loyalty programs; 
  • Online ads (Google, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram etc); and
  • Word of mouth (one of the most powerful marketing tools).

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that effective marketing and promotion strategies evolve over time. So, be sure to continually assess the effectiveness of your efforts and adjust your tactics to meet the changing needs and preferences of your target audience. 

  • Open Your Doors

Now, it’s time for the real fun to begin. Once you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to open your doors to the public. Most salon owners will choose to host a grand opening and invite friends, family members and members of the public to attend, but feel free to tailor your event to your unique style and brand. Consider offering special promotions, giveaways, or even collaborating with local influencers to generate buzz and attract potential clients.

Once you’re officially open for business, remember to ensure that your salon is always in tip top condition — hair swept, surfaces clean, and stations organised ala Marie Kondo. Maintaining a clean and welcoming environment is essential for providing a positive experience for your clients.

Finally, remember that consistency is key in the salon industry. Always be punctual for appointments, and strive to exceed client expectations with every visit. Satisfied clients are more likely to become loyal patrons and refer their friends and family to your salon.

  • Customer Service & Continuous Learning 

Finally, to ensure the continued growth and success of your salon business, providing outstanding customer service is key. Your staff should be trained to actively listen to clients, understand their preferences and provide personalised recommendations. Remind your team to treat every customer with respect, and to always have a smile on their face. Be sure to also ask for customer reviews and feedback to refine your services.

Aside from next-level customer service, your salon should also embrace a culture of continuous learning. This means actively encouraging your team (and yourself) to attend workshops, conferences, seminars, and training sessions to stay updated on the latest industry trends and techniques. By staying ahead of the curve, you’ll be able to keep your services fresh and ensure that you’re not losing clients to the competition. 

And there you have it — everything you need to know to start a successful salon business in 2023. By ticking these 8 boxes off your to-do list, you’ll be setting yourself up for ultimate success in the wonderful world of hairdressing wizardry.