The dream of opening a salon often marries a passion for beauty with entrepreneurial ambition. But, as with any business, this dream comes with a price tag. So, just how much does it cost to open a salon? 

While the cost varies depending on several factors, there are some general considerations you need to know about. Let’s break down how much it costs to open a salon, and how to prepare for these expenses as you seek to get your dream off the ground. 

Initial salon startup and set-up costs

Before you even begin to think about the glitz and glamor of your salon, the foundational groundwork sets the stage. Here’s where the financial journey begins:

  • Location dynamics. Your salon’s geographic location isn’t just about foot traffic; it’s also a significant cost determinant. Urban spots with high footfalls could demand a premium, sometimes over $4,000 per month. On the other hand, a quaint suburban spot might be a more affordable $1,000 monthly.1 The size and condition of the space will also influence the price. Longer leases might offer discounts, but they also tie you down, so it’s a delicate balance.
  • Tailoring your space. Every space needs a personal touch to align with your brand. Renovation isn’t merely cosmetic, either. Electrical rewiring, plumbing adjustments, and installing safety equipment can escalate costs. Depending on the extent of changes, you might spend between $5,000 and $25,000.2
  • Legalities and paperwork. You can’t sidestep bureaucracy. Regulatory compliances— from health and safety permits to business and cosmetology licenses—can accumulate costs. They typically range from less than $100 to $1,000 but vary based on local regulations.3

Getting your salon ready for service

Beyond the space itself, the tools of your trade and the products you offer become the lifeblood of your operations. Let’s look at what getting fully equipped entails from a cost standpoint:

  • Essential equipment. Your services dictate your equipment needs. While some essentials like chairs and shampoo stations might set you back as much as $27,000, specialized tools for treatments like microdermabrasion or laser could add significantly to your total costs.2
  • Stocking the shelves. A well-stocked salon doesn’t just look appealing; it’s a necessity. From hair care products to skincare lines, the initial inventory can command $2,000 to up to $20,000.4 Also, consider the cost of smaller items like towels, bowls, brushes, and disposable tools.

The operational expenses of a salon

Once you’ve set up your salon, recurrent costs come into focus. It’s the monthly rhythm of bills and outlays that keep the lights on and the doors open:

  • Utility overhead. Operational costs are ongoing. Water, especially for hair salons, can be a significant expense. Add electricity, Wi-Fi, heating, and perhaps music subscription services, and you’re potentially spending $1,000 to $4,000 monthly.4
  • Technology. An efficient salon leans on technology. Modern POS systems, customer relationship software, and digital booking platforms enhance customer experience but come with costs, generally $550 to $2,300 annually.4
  • Team dynamics: Human resources are pivotal in every business, and salons are no exception. Salary outlays vary based on experience, expertise, and region. You also need to account for employee benefits, health insurance, and potential bonuses.

Salon brand building and promotion costs

Your salon isn’t just a place; it’s a brand, an experience. Building that image and broadcasting it to the world is an art in and of itself:

  • Brand identity. Your brand speaks before your service does. Professional branding, encompassing logos, color schemes, website design, and even the salon’s interior design, can be an investment of $1,000 to $2,700.2 Additionally, professional photography for promotional materials and your website can add to this cost source.
  • Marketing. Your salon needs visibility. Regular marketing campaigns, collaborations, influencer partnerships, and customer loyalty programs require budget allocation. Initial marketing drives, including a grand opening event, can cost over $1,000 with ongoing monthly campaigns adding up.2

Beware often-overlooked salon costs

Behind the overt expenses lie subtle, often forgotten costs. These under-the-radar items can sometimes be the unexpected hurdles in your business journey:

  • Insurance. Comprehensive insurance coverage is non-negotiable. From potential property damages to client accidents or employee health concerns, the right insurance policies offer peace of mind. Annually, expect a range of $500 to 700.4
  • Continuous learning. The beauty industry is dynamic. Regular upskilling and certifications ensure your salon stays relevant, but they’re also extra expenses that vary depending on the type and duration of the courses you attend (and their location). 
  • Miscellaneous costs. Every business has unforeseen costs—breakages, replacement tools, occasional refunds, or even decor updates. It’s wise to set aside a contingency budget.

Financing your salon dreams

So, how much does it cost to open a salon? Factoring everything, starting up a salon could cost you anywhere between $30,000 to over $100,000, with continuous monthly costs. 

With such a sizable financial undertaking, hopeful salon owners might wonder how they can muster the capital to transform their dreams into reality. Here are some small business financing avenues you can explore:

  • Personal savings. The most straightforward way to fund your salon is through your own savings. While this might sound daunting, it’s beneficial in the long run since you won’t owe anyone and won’t be bogged down by interest rates. Start by setting aside a fixed amount regularly, and you’ll be surprised at how it accumulates over time.
  • Traditional bank loans. Banks are the go-to places for many business owners. They offer various business loans that you can utilize. However, be prepared with a solid business plan, financial projections, and possibly collateral. Interest rates vary, and you’ll have to be diligent about repayments.
  • SBA loans. The Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee loans for startups, making it easier for you to get approval from banks. While they might have more stringent requirements and a longer approval time, their favorable terms and low interest rates make them a sought-after choice for many.
  • Crowdfunding. Platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe allow entrepreneurs to raise small amounts of money from many people. It’s not just about the funds but also about creating a community that’s invested in your success. Remember, successful crowdfunding requires effective marketing and a compelling story.
  • Angel investors. These are individuals who provide capital for a business startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. If your salon concept is unique and has the potential for significant growth, attracting an angel investor could be feasible.
  • Vendor financing. Some suppliers and equipment manufacturers might offer financing options. Instead of paying upfront for products or equipment, you can repay them in installments. This can be especially helpful if you have a good relationship with the vendor.
  • Personal loans. If you don’t qualify for a business loan, consider taking a personal loan. While the amount might be smaller, it can be a good start, especially if you’re launching a modest-sized salon.

Finding the right financial partner 

Now that you know how much it costs to open a salon, the value of a supportive banking partner can’t be overstated. Traditional banking might not always align with the dynamic needs of salon entrepreneurs. Modern, digital solutions like NorthOne are tailored for contemporary businesses, including fast-growing salons. Our transparent, fully digital suite of features simplifies finances, ensuring new salon owners can focus on their passion. 

As you seek to open a salon, remember that your success is as much about the foundation as it is the finishing touches. Read more about NorthOne’s offerings to learn more about our small business bank accounts and build a strong financial foundation for your successful salon.

Sources: 

  1. FinModelsLab: “Essential Operating Costs for Makeup Salons”
  2. SharpSheets: “Opening a Beauty Salon Costs $63,500 to $134,000”
  3. PLHaircare: “How Much Does it Cost to Start a Salon?”
  4. Sage: “How much does it cost to start a beauty salon?”