How to Start a Cosmetology Business


A dream of many people who attend cosmetology school is to open their own business. You can increase your earning potential and create your own hours by owning a business that specializes in cosmetology services. Many people never bother because they think that opening a cosmetology business is too complicated, but keep in mind that it's not impossible to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Financing
  • Licenses
  • Obtain the proper licenses for owning a small business. This will vary according to state, but you will usually need to hold a salon owner's license. The best way to make sure that you are meeting the requirements of your state is to seek the help of an attorney who specializes in business.

  • Choose a location for your cosmetology business. It is important to keep in mind that the location can have a huge effect on how successful your business is. A location in a shopping center will get you more clients because people are more likely to visit the salon while they are out running other errands.

  • Determine what type of cosmetology services you want to offer. This can mean the difference between a hair salon and a day spa. Aside from hair, you can also offer services such as tanning, waxing and makeup design. Massage treatments are also generally offered at day spas. Remember that you will need to purchase the necessary equipment, and set prices. Also be sure to stock up on inventory to sell to clients, such as hair products and tanning lotions.

  • Find out the requirements for owning a cosmetology business in your state. An owner of a cosmetology business needs to have the proper certifications. This ranges from hair to tanning. A great way to find out about any certifications that you need is to ask a local cosmetology school.

  • Come up with a way to pay for the business. Most will find that a Small Business Loan will be their best option. Saving as much as you can to put into the cosmetology business will mean that you need to pay less later on. The start-up costs of a salon will greatly vary, but you will need to purchase equipment and inventory, and find a location to rent or buy. It is good to have a down payment of at least $50,000 available.

  • Hire the right employees for your cosmetology business. It is important to make sure that the people you hire have certifications to perform the jobs that you will ask of them. Allowing people who are not certified to do a specific task, even if it is simply shampooing someone's hair, is illegal. If anyone complains about it, there is a possibility that you may lose your cosmetology business.

  • Advertise your cosmetology business. Put coupons in the newspaper and post fliers. If you have a larger budget for your advertising expenses, you may want to think about doing a radio commercial for your business. The main key is to do any advertising that will help you get clientele. Try to target locations where you will be able to attract women. Gynecology offices and even local colleges are great places to advertise your business.

  • Get the proper insurance for your business. This is especially important if you are going to have tanning beds, which can be a hazard. Many states offer salon insurance. This will provide you with liability insurance, employee liability insurance, and equipment/stock insurance. All business owners should also consider property insurance and umbrella insurance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that a creative name will help your cosmetology business. Never open a cosmetology business right after finishing school. Work for others to gain experience first.
  • Hiring employees without the proper certifications can cause your business to be shut down.


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