There is no doubt that there is a lot of demand for hairdressing and grooming. Naturally, demand drops off a bit during a recession. In the USA, during the 2008 recession, salons saw their takings fall by 8.2%. But that was nothing to the 20% to 50% drop-off other service providers and retailers saw. The grooming, beauty, and hairdressing business models are all as close to recession-proof as it gets.
So, if you are looking for a way to consistently earn a decent living, opening your own barbershop or salon is well worth considering. Here is some guidance to help you to get there.
Consider starting with at-home services first
Rather than investing a lot of money in opening a salon from the get-go, it is wise to start small. You want to be sure that there is sufficient demand for your services in the area in which you are planning to work. Also, you will want to build up experience before opening a physical barbershop, hairdressing salon, or beauty parlor. Luckily, it is relatively easy to provide grooming services in people’s homes.
Here is an example of a successful business that does that. They explain exactly how their service works on their website. Right down to listing out what equipment you would need to get started.
Three other low-cost ways to start a grooming business
If, however, you live in an area where having your hair cut, beard trimmed, and other grooming done at home is not popular you can still start small without having to invest a lot of money.
Hire a chair in an existing barber or salon
Increasingly, salons are offering independent hairdressers the opportunity to hire a chair in their salon, barbershop, or beauty parlor.
Offer your services in a pop-up space
Another possibility is to take advantage of pop-up space. It is becoming increasingly common for landlords and councils to offer small business owners the chance to open their own premises on a temporary basis. In the UK, it is now even possible to rent retail space and salons for a few hours at a time. You can read about how it works, here.
Hire a hairdressing van
The third alternative is to hire a hairdressing van. This provides you with the opportunity to work in a professional space for a low cost. It is also an excellent way of working out which part of the city is best for you to open your first salon when you are ready to do so.
Identifying the right time to open your own salon
Within six to twelve months, you will have the data you need to make a properly informed decision about whether opening your own salon is a viable option. You will be able to answer the following, extremely important, questions:
- How much are people willing to pay?
- What grooming services do they really want?
- Is there sufficient demand for me to be able to earn a full-time living?
- What parts of your catchment area have the highest level of demand?
- How much does each service cost to provide, in terms of your time, products used, and equipment needed?
- Which grooming services will provide me with the highest profit margins/pay per hour?
Now, you only need the last piece of the jigsaw – how much will a physical salon cost me, per year, in the area I want to work in. This article lists what you need to consider to work out that figure.
Using the above you can calculate how many clients you would need per week to cover those costs and make a profit. Of course, you can never be 100% certain that the demand is going to be high enough, so you will be taking a risk. But it will be far lower than the one you would be taking if you were to start your own salon the moment you got qualified.
Opening your salon
Now you are ready to find a salon to lease or buy. But you also need to factor in these additional startup costs:
- Shopfitting costs
- Specialist digital signage for barber shops or hairdressing salons
- Grooming and hairdressing equipment, including some spares
- Deposit for lease
This cost is in addition to the normal day-to-day running costs about which we have already talked. If you are planning to borrow money to cover this you also need to factor in the interest you will pay. Because you will pay the loan off, it is best categorized as a start-up cost, even if the payments will continue for several years.
The above are the main things you must think about when opening a barbershop, salon, or beauty shop. But you should also speak to people who already own and run these types of businesses, to gain further insight.