Hairdressers - Should You Take The Leap and Open Your Own Salon?

Hairdressers - Should You Take The Leap and Open Your Own Salon?

Setting up as a mobile hairdresser is a smart and easy way to develop your client base and build a business without the pressure of major overheads.

Hopefully, after a year or two, trade has developed well, and your mind starts to imagine what it would be like to open your own salon.

Before you dive in and sign a lease, it’s important to consider all the various aspects or you could end up with less profit and double the stress!

Here’s a list of our top 7 things which you should consider before you make the leap:

#1 Existing Client Base

Ideally, you want to retain your existing clients as the platform for the new salon business. However, before you assume that they will all come across, consider why they are using your services currently:

  • Do they prefer the home environment?
  • Find it difficult to travel?
  • Do they have children?

Ask for client opinion, any potential drop-off of current income needs to be factored into your business plan.

#2 Location - Where would you set up your new salon?

The High Street is littered with retail premises to let but finding the right site AND the right level of rent is critical.

Just like houses, retail is all about “Location, Location, Location”.

Picture your typical or ideal client and consider what’s important to them. You can start to develop a wish list, for example:

  • Proximity to clients work or home address - Within 10-minute drive of the main housing area or City Centre
  • Parking and public transport links – Don’t forget to look at parking charges if applicable, this can put some clients off
  • Competition – Are there any similar salons in the area, if so, is this a threat or an opportunity?
  • Passing trade – Walk-in trade may not be the lifeblood of your business, however a location with a strong footfall or passing traffic will increase awareness and general interest.  Don’t be afraid to sit and count people or cars passing each shop when comparing different options.
  • Security and flooding – Review the crime statistics and risk of flooding in each area.  Practically you may not want to operate in an area with a higher crime rate, particularly if you are looking to be open quite late.  Hairdressing Insurance is also a consideration as you are likely to pay an increased premium if you are based in higher rated postcodes or, worse still, unable to obtain flood insurance if your salon falls within a flood area.

#3 Size of Property & Rent

Most commercial properties rent valuations are calculated on a per square foot basis aligned to the geographical location.  But before you get to that stage, start with the number of stylists that you want to employee and the space required.

You should then be able to work back your numbers to ascertain the net income created per stylist (average income per client, number of clients per day etc).

You can use this information alongside your other profit and loss figures which will leave you with a maximum rent payable at your break-even point (don’t forget to factor in business rates).

You now have an estimated rent ceiling which will guide your search as long as the space has room for your required number of stylists.

Any sites exceeding the ceiling should be disregarded to create a shortlist based on your full criteria whereby you can complete a full profit and loss forecast.

#4 Staff – How many will you need? What will they do?

Finding a good stylist or colourist could ensure that your new business is a success, particularly if they have an existing loyal client base.

You may already have several people who would already be willing to join you.

If not, think about how many staff you need, be honest with yourself too, it is tempting to think you can do everything yourself, but by having premises and opening hours, holidays and time off becomes much more problematic in comparison to your previous mobile operation, the last thing you want is for your new business to become a burden.

A half-way house from taking on paid employees could be renting a chair, under this type of arrangement the stylist would be self-employed and remunerated by a share of their client fees and product sales.  (More on this in our article – Everything you need to know about renting a chair)

#5 Fixtures and Fittings

Unless the premises you are considering was a previous salon (and if so, you need to be asking why they ceased trading!), you will incur significant cost in terms of fitting out the salon and purchasing equipment.

Some Landlords may be willing to negotiate a contribution towards the fit-out cost or a rent-free period, but wide of this, you will need to finance the cost.

Take some time to map out your requirements and obtain rough costs before you look at premises as these need to be factored into your business plan.

You should also make allowance for ongoing maintenance or this could eat into your annual profits.

#6 Utility bills and costs

The key to a profitable business is managing your cash effectively and having a very clear view of your expenses.  Make sure you cost clarity on all utility bills and expenses before signing any lease agreement.

#7 Hair Salon Insurance

Previously you will probably have had a mobile hairdressing insurance policy which will cover your public liability insurance and treatment risk cover.

Similar policies exist when you move to fixed premises whereby you can buy salon-based hairdressing insurance covering all your fixtures, fittings and contents, stock, money and loss of profits in addition to your legal liabilities (public and employers’ liability).

We would suggest you obtain a couple of salon insurance quotes as a guide for your business plan which you can then finalise once your decision on premises location has been confirmed.

Next Steps

Hopefully we haven’t put you off the idea of owning your own salon, it can be extremely rewarding, enjoyable and profitable only if you take the time to build a solid business plan and control your costs.

As tempting as it is to start planning the colour scheme and logo, beginning with a plan and cashflow forecast will be the foundation for a very successful venture.

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You can arrange a free business insurance review at a time that suits you directly from our website. Or you can call one of our beauty insurance gurus on 01202 647 400. We look forward to welcoming you to Salonsafe.