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Checklist for Opening Your Dream Salon

From Concept to Launch: The Ultimate Checklist for Opening Your Dream Salon

Did you know that the salon industry generated a whopping $46 billion in revenue in the USA in 2021?

According to IBISWorld, this industry continues to grow year after year, making it an exciting and lucrative field for aspiring business owners. From hair to nails, the beauty industry shows no signs of slowing down as consumers continue to prioritize self-care and grooming. 

This is why it’s important to have a checklist of things to do before launching your dream salon to ensure that you are ready to take on the competition and provide the best experience for your clients. 

Table Of Content

Is the Salon Business Still Profitable?
The Ultimate Checklist for Opening Your Dream Salon
Write a Business Plan
Find the Right Location
Legal Consideration
Marketing and Advertising
Operation and Maintenance
Staff Training and Education
Soft Launch and Grand Opening
How can Octopost Help You With Your Salon?

Is the Salon Business Still Profitable?

According to Statista, 37% of women in the USA visited hair salons at least once a month in 2021. This shows that it not only is a thriving industry but also one with the potential of generating regular profits in the USA.

Despite the challenges faced by the salon industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the salon business is still profitable. 

While there may be challenges, such as adapting to changing consumer preferences and increased competition, the demand for beauty services continues to be strong, making the salon business a promising and potentially lucrative field. 

As more people prioritize self-care and grooming, there will be a continued demand for quality salon services.

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The Ultimate Checklist for Opening Your Dream Salon

Only the global hair care market was valued at $87.73 billion in 2020, according to a report by Grand View Research, and has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2021 to 2028. So this might be the perfect time to open your dream salon. 

With that being said, opening a salon can be an overwhelming task. To help you get started, there is the ultimate checklist for launching a successful salon. 


Before you start anything, you need to make sure that you have a solid plan. This involves:

1. Conduct Market Research to Identify Your Target Audience 

One of the main steps in planning is to figure out who your target audience is. Doing market research will help you identify the age, gender, and income level of those who are likely to visit your salon. 

The goal is to understand your target market and create a salon experience that meets their needs. 

2. Analyze the Competition

As just mentioned, the salon industry is highly competitive. You need to do research and understand what your competitors offer so that you can differentiate yourself from them. 

Visit their website, go through their reviews, and even visit their salons to observe the atmosphere and how they interact with their customers. This can help you develop a competitive edge for your salon. 

3. Choose a Concept That Makes Your Unique

You have to come up with a concept that sets your salon apart from the competition. This could include:

  • Offering specialized services 
  • Using unique products
  • Introducing new technologies 
  • Creating a completely different atmosphere, etc…

You don’t want to do something that everyone else is doing – you have to find ways to stand out.

Write a Business Plan

Creating a business plan can be difficult and time-consuming, but it’s very important. Your business plan will include things like your financial goals, short and long-term strategies, target market, and marketing strategies. 

A well-thought-out plan is essential for both getting funding and setting yourself up for success. Here’s what you need to include in your business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description 
  • Market analysis
  • Services and products offered 
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial projection
  • Operations plan

If you don’t have enough funds to bootstrap your business, you will need to look into getting loans or investors. A good business plan can make this process much easier. 

Find the Right Location

The right location is one of the most important factors in setting up a successful salon. It can be a game changer, so you have to do your research and find the perfect spot for your salon.

Here is what you need to look for in a potential location:

  • Good visibility and accessibility 
  • Availability of parking for your customers 
  • Access to necessary utilities such as water and electricity 
  • Competitive rent prices 
  • Good infrastructure (e.g. phone and internet lines)

Now you can either rent out commercial space or buy your property. The latter is usually more expensive, but it can be a great long-term investment. 


Depending on your salon, the start-up cost can vary greatly. You have to evaluate your salon’s needs and come up with a realistic budget. Here is a list of common expenses that salons have:

  • Rent or mortgage payments 
  • Equipment and furniture 
  • Licensing fees
  • Advertising costs
  • Employee wages (if applicable)
  • Insurance 
  • Utility bills, etc…

On average, it costs around $10,000 – $200,000 to open a salon. This is where proper planning and budgeting come in – you need to know exactly how much money you need before you start looking for funding options. 

But the good news is for you, there are plenty of financing options available, including:

  • Loans
  • Grants
  • Crowdfunding
  • Angel investors
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) financing, etc…

It’s also important to have enough working capital so that you can cover your overhead and other miscellaneous costs while you are starting up. You don’t want to get into debt because of an unexpected expense. 

You don’t want to mess up in this area so be sure to do your research and find out what permits, licenses, and regulations you need to comply with. 

This can vary depending on the location of your salon so it’s important to consult with a professional who knows the ins and outs of setting up a business. Here is what you need to take into consideration:

1. Acquire Necessary Business Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

Depending on the state you are in, you will need to obtain business licenses, permits, and insurance. The fees associated with this can vary greatly so it’s important to find out what is required in advance. 

Most probably, you will need:

  • General business license
  • Health and safety permit
  • And liability insurance 

If you have employees working for you, you will need to obtain a separate set of licenses and permits. 

2. Establish a Legal Structure for Your Business, e.g. LLC or Sole Proprietorship

One of the most important decisions you have to make when setting up a salon is the type of legal structure you want to use. This will determine how your business will be taxed, as well as what legal protection it provides. 

The two most common types of business structures are:

Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure and it’s usually the best option for small businesses. In this case, you are the sole owner of your salon and all the profits will go to you. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a more complex form of business structure that provides its owners with personal liability protection. It also allows for multiple owners and provides tax benefits. 

Depending on the scale of your business, you may want to consult with a legal or financial advisor to determine the best option for you.

3. Hire an Attorney to Review Any contracts, Leases, or Agreements

Whenever you enter into any kind of agreement such as a lease or contract, it’s important to have it reviewed by an attorney. They can make sure that all the terms are fair and that you are legally protected should any disputes arise in the future. 

Additionally, if you are not experienced in dealing with legal documents, having a lawyer review them can help you to avoid any costly mistakes. 

Making mistakes in this area can be quite costly, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. 


Having the right people onboard is essential for your salon’s success. In this section of the checklist, you will need to focus on hiring a team of skilled professionals, including hairstylists, estheticians, nail technicians, and receptionists. 

Here is a breakdown of what is involved in staffing your salon:

1. Hire Accordingly 

Ensure that you are hiring professionals that specialize in the services that you plan to offer.

For instance, if your salon offers nail services then you will need to hire a team of professional nail technicians. Similarly, if you offer hair services, you will need to hire hair stylists. 

2. Conduct Interviews

Vet candidates carefully and conduct interviews to ensure that they have the required skills and knowledge. This is crucial as your employees will be the face of your business and must be trustworthy and professional at all times. 

3. Employees Contracts and Benefits Programs

Develop employee contracts that detail your salon policies, expectations, and compensation structure. Establish employee benefits programs such as health insurance, paid time off, and educational opportunities to retain workers. 

4. Set Salaries and Commissions

Offer competitive salaries that match your budget and are in line with industry standards. You can also offer sales commissions to incentivize your employees to upsell your products and services. 

Marketing and Advertising

When it comes to marketing and advertising, there is a wide range of strategies available to you. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones. 

1. Social Media

Take advantage of the power of social media by creating accounts for your salon and regularly sharing content. This is a great way to attract new customers and build relationships with existing ones.  

Instagram would be the best platform since it’s all about visuals and this is perfect for promoting salon services and products. 

However, you don’t want to limit yourself to one platform only, so make sure you also have accounts on other popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. 

2. Local Advertising

Alongside online efforts, consider investing in local advertising too. This could include buying ad space on billboards, radio spots, and newspaper ads. Additionally, you can distribute flyers or postcards to your target market to increase awareness of your salon. 

3. SEO

Having a business website is a must these days and it comes with a ton of benefits. The most valuable one is SEO or search engine optimization. This means optimizing your website to ensure that it appears higher in relevant search results. 

By investing in SEO, you can increase the visibility of your salon online and drive more customers to your business. 

4. Consider Partnering With Other Businesses and Brands

You can also partner with other businesses and brands to increase your salon’s reach. For example, you can provide discounts or free services to customers who purchase from certain partners such as clothing stores or beauty supply companies. 

This will help you gain more clients and generate more sales for your business. Plus, you can also consider influencer marketing where you partner with influencers to promote your business. 

Operation and Maintenance

When we talk about operations and maintenance, there are a few things you have to consider:

  • A system to manage appointments 
  • Manage payments 
  • Customer service 
  • Regular maintenance and clearing of your salon and equipment 
  • Developing and enforcing safety protocols 
  • Ensuring that your salon is up to date with local regulations 

Managing payments, however, is essential to running a successful salon. A POS system can be used to quickly and easily accept payments from customers. This ensures that you never miss out on transactions, while also helping you keep track of your finances.                        

So make sure to invest in the right tools and systems to help you manage your salon operations more effectively.   

Staff Training and Education

In the beauty industry, trends, and techniques continually evolve, making it crucial to ensure that your team stays up to date with the latest skills and trends. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved in this point:

1. Identify Training Needs: Evaluate your team’s skills and assess where there may be gaps in your salon’s services.

2. Develop a Customized Training Program: Develop a comprehensive training program that aims to close these gaps and aims to improve your team’s overall skills. Some options that may be instrumental include attending conferences, various beauty training programs, or workshops.  

3. Schedule Regular Meetings and Review Sessions: Hosting regular check-ins and review sessions will help you assess progress and also address feedback that may arise from your clients. 

4. Provide Opportunities for Continuing Education: Stay up to date with the latest beauty trends by providing opportunities for your team members to attend trade shows, seminars, and workshops throughout the year. 

5. Encourage a Culture of Learning: Motivate your team members to take ownership of their professional development and encourage them always to seek out learning opportunities within the salon as well.

Soft Launch and Grand Opening

And last but not least, don’t forget to celebrate your new salon! A soft launch is a great way to least out the waters and start building buzz for your salon. Invite friends and family, offer promotions, and create an inviting atmosphere that encourages customers to come back. 

Once you have had some time to get comfortable with the business, plan a grand opening and make sure to market it well. This will help attract new customers and allow you to show off your salon’s unique offerings. 

How can Octopost Help You With Your Salon?

Octopos is a POS (Point of Sale) service provider that can help you manage your salon business more efficiently. With Octopos POS System for Salone, you can track sales, manage appointments, accept payments, and handle inventory all from one place. 

The software is also fully integrated with a variety of hardware, such as cash registers, barcode scanners, and payment terminals, making it a seamless experience. 

By utilizing such software, salons can improve their customer’s experience by avoiding long queues of people waiting for their appointments. 


Running a salon can be a complex and difficult task. But by having the right tools, processes, and processes in place, you can ensure that you are running your salon business optimally. So make sure to do your research and invest in the right resources to help you succeed. With a bit of hard work and the right resources, you will be on your way to owning a successful salon business.

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