One of the main topics of chat amongst students, recently qualified hair stylists and even mobile hair stylists is how to make the transition into owning their own hair salon. If that sounds like you, then read on below for our short guide on how to set up shop and make a success of it.
Picture: Dublin Hair Salon courtesy of Planet Stencil Library: February 2009
Starting a business takes money and many businesses aren't profitable until their second or third year so you have to consider if you can support yourself during this period. Calculate monthly expenses including rent, electricity, wages, and training and work out what is the bare minimum you HAVE to make each month just to stay afloat. From this you can work out how much you can charge for your services and what profit you can add on top—but make sure you keep your prices inline with your competition. Essentially you have to charge enough to be profitable but not so much that you drive prospective customers away.
If you're lucky, you'll be able to meet these costs out of your savings, otherwise, like many people, you'll need to apply for a small business loan. To get that going, make an appointment with a loan officer at your local bank and ask them to guide you through the process of preparing a business plan. They should also be able to tell you whether you might qualify for any government grants and how to apply for them (if not, try organisations like Business Link or Job Centre Plus). If you're under 25 consider applying for a grant from The Prince's Trust.
Remember that eventually you'll have to pay taxes and might need to factor in the services of an accountant to make sure everything is managed properly.
Location, Location, Location!
Siting your premises could be critical to the success of your business so choose it wisely and keep these factors in mind:
Hire only qualified and trained staff, preferably those with contacts who can bring previous clients to you. Have a clear procedures manual that all staff must adhere to and give each staff member a clear contract when they start, allowing for a probationary period for both of you. Likewise if you rent out chairs, make sure that the stylists you rent to are in tune with the style and values of your salon.
Your salon's only as good as the tools your stylists use so wherever possible go for the best quality hair care tools. You'll find a huge range of salon supplies on the CoolBlades web site that'll give you everything you need to get set up at a competitive price. What's more, because we're online you can shop from wherever's most convenient and take some of the stress out of the start up of your new business venture.
A warm welcome
Salons thrive on a clean, safe, relaxing and usually modern environment, so ensure you offer this to your client. Take extra steps to guarantee that things like towels are always fresh and clean and that scissors are sharp and well maintained.
To capture the right atmosphere play appropriate music and ensure your employees are dressed in a way that reflects your salon image.
Remember the very best marketing tool is word of mouth so make sure your clients leave satisfied!
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