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Hair Salon

How To Run A Salon

Read this article to find more about how you can successfully run a salon!

Salons are a beloved business by its patrons and owners alike. In fact, CNN once stated that hair salons were the closest thing to a recession proof business. Considering salon services are not easily automated, not easily replicated at home, and can be tailored to a budget, this makes sense.

It’s estimated that the spa and salon industry will reach 190.81 billion dollars by 2024, making it a booming business to get into. However, in order to run a successful salon, it’s important to consider a few essential factors.

Creating a Space

When running a salon, it’s important to create a space that’s both functional and stylish. Logistically, you have to consider how much equipment you’ll have and how much space it will utilize.

Consider the number of sinks, dryers, stations, reception desks, and more that you’ll need to properly serve your customers. Once you have an idea of how much space this will utilize and where certain equipment needs to go based on electrical outlets, plumbing, etc., you can start designing for style.

It’s important that your salon has a stylish and trendy aesthetic, considering the space is your guest’s first impression of your salon and staff’s taste level. Almost everyone has felt the same sense of dread when you walk into an outdated or tacky salon. It instills in your customer’s mind that they won’t receive good service, without having met anyone yet.

Keep the space’s design updated and chic to continually make a good impression on new and returning customers. When choosing fabrics and colors, consider future stains from product and customers. Darker, sleeker colors will last longer than brighter, whiter materials.  

Be Strategic About Inventory

Choosing and selling products in a salon is a key way to drive revenue and an essential part of providing your services. However, too much inventory can create an insane overhead that is detrimental during slower months.

While there’s no “right” way to choose which product lines you’ll use and sell, it’s important to consider how much product you’ll have on your shelves and what you can realistically sell.

Some salon owners recommend carrying and selling a singular product line for efficiency’s sake. Others recommend keeping a few product lines available but limiting the amount you order.

Regardless, it’s important that you don’t buy too much inventory. It will only confuse and overwhelm your staff while creating an unrealistic overhead. With too much inventory, it’s easy to go from running a salon to running a boutique.

Decide How You’ll Pay Your Staff

In salons, there are multiple techniques for compensating your staff. Ultimately, it’s entirely dependent on your goals as a business owner and how you want your employees to operate on a day-to-day basis. Your main options for compensation are booth rent, hourly wages, commission, performance bonuses, and salaries.

If you’re not interested in managing your staff and want to give them full autonomy, booth rent is the best option. This allows your workers to use their own products, set their own pricing, and run their own chair.

If you do want to manage your staff you can operate on a few different compensation structures: hourly, performance bonuses, and commission. Performance bonuses and commission give your workers a little more stake in the game, so they’ll likely try to upsell products and services more. Whereas it’s easier for employees to get complacent when they know they’ll make the same amount of money per hour, regardless of performance.

However, it’s entirely up to you and your management style to decide compensation. Any options can be combined or customized to work best for you and your staff.

Hire for on the Right Skills

Many salon owners have recommended hiring your staff based on their social skills, rather than professional technique. While any beauty technique can be taught, connecting and developing relationship with your customers is a special ability that can’t always be trained.  

Clients will always come back if they feel a connection with their stylist, and you should hire accordingly. Look for people who have personable personalities, are good listeners, and have inviting attitudes. The perfect gel manicure or balayage treatment can be learned over time.

Get the Price Right

Last but not least, the success of your salon is heavily determined by your pricing. If you price your services too high, you’ll eliminate an entire market of customers. On the other hand, if you price too low, you’ll likely limit your revenue potential.

Research what other salons in the area are charging for services and adjust accordingly. These can always be tweaked as you get a better idea of who your customers are and what they’re willing to pay.

When run strategically, a salon can be your most successful business venture. If you’re interested in buying a salon for yourself, check out available salon businesses or take a look at other businesses that are available in any industry.

Bruce Hakutizwi

About the author

USA and International Manager for, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small medium size businesses. The website has over 60,000 business listings and attracts over 1.5 million buyers to the site every month.


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