Business Start Up

Setting Up a Hairdressing Business: What you Need to Know

If you have a talent with a comb and scissors and would like to set up your very own hairdressing business, there is indeed much to consider. One of the first considerations would be the type of service you would offer; from a salon, or an at home service, where you travel to the client, and there is a demand for both.

Professional Qualifications

Whether working in your salon or at the client’s home, you do need to be qualified as a hairdresser, and your diplomas should be on view in any hairdressing establishment. Acquiring the diplomas is straightforward enough, then you simply need the work experience, as while you might be hiring additional stylists, you will be the main professional, and 3-5 years working in a salon would be the ideal foundation for going it alone. If you want to see a great example of a very popular salon, check out Zucci, the number one Melbourne salon that everyone is raving about, and base your ideas on their concept.

Business Plan

As with any business, the first thing to do is create a comprehensive business plan, which will be your guideline to success. A good business plan includes the following:

  • Introduction: Your concept – A short section that introduces the business, and would include mission statements and a little information on the core concept of the business, which in this case would be to provide a 5-star hairdressing service to your clients.
  • Start-up costs – All costs would be listed, along with estimated running costs, plus a list of all business assets. Here are a few tips to ensure that your start-up doesn’t fail.
  • Running costs – This would tell you how much revenue you need to generate to break even, and would include rent, utilities, refreshments, and all other minor costs. It is, of course, essential that you know the amount of money you need to cover all of your costs, and this would form the basis for your prices.
  • Marketing plan – This would mostly be digital, and a leading SEO agency would be able to help you in many ways; they can design, build and host your website, which is your shop window in the world of the Internet. A good marketing plan identifies specific target groups that might include professional and retired women, or perhaps the teenage market, and once these groups have been identified, the SEO agency would find the most effective way to reach those people. Social media would play a major role in boosting your business, and rather than handling your Facebook pages yourself, hand it over to the SEO experts, who can quickly generate a large local following.
  • Cashflow Forecasts – You should estimate your first-year revenue, and preferably the next two years, while some do a 5-year cashflow forecast. Make these realistic targets and show in your marketing section, exactly how you will generate that level of custom, and with firm goals set, you are more likely to be successful.


Of course, your new business should be registered, and your salon would be inspected by state officials to ensure fire safety regulations are met and that the venue is suitable for the business. You will need public liability insurance and if you hire staff, you will have to have employer’s liability insurance, plus the premises should be insured for every eventuality, including all of your equipment. You might prefer to hire stylists on a freelance basis, as this limits your liabilities and allows you to terminate their employment without breaking the law, but do make sure you have an experienced bookkeeper/accountant to record all business transactions. Here is some Australian government information on setting up your own business, which is recommended reading for all would-be entrepreneurs.

Start-Up Costs

If you are planning on opening a salon in the right location, this will be a costly exercise, and if you are looking to lease, make sure you have the option to renew, as you don’t want to lose your hard-earned following due to your lease expiring. The venue will have to be fitted out, which is a major expense, then you have all the professional equipment, special chairs, blow dryers, over-the-head dryers, furniture, sinks and even a spa area that is separated from the main salon area. Of course, if you are planning to visit the client’s home, then everything you need can fit into your car quite easily, and this would be a minor investment when compared to fitting out a salon.


Part of your revenue will come from selling products, and you are advised to contact major manufacturers, informing them of your business and asking for an association. Of course, they will support you to some degree, which might come in the form of a 30-day line of credit, and you can expect to receive promo gear to improve your salon interior. Typically, you are looking at 20-30% mark up on products you sell, and your choice of products should reflect the current market trends, sticking to names like L’Oreal and Pantene.

If you have a good business plan and you are committed to offering the very best to your clients, there’s no reason why your salon will not be successful. Adopting a ‘can do’ attitude is the way to go, and do what you can to create a warm and friendly ambience in your salon, as this is an essential ingredient for success.

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