Do you want to start a nail salon business in your home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a nail salon business with NO money and no experience plus a sample nail salon business plan template. Starting a nail salon is not just a financially rewarding business, but making people’s nails look awesome is a great fun too.
People enjoy going to nail salons because they want to look as great as they can for parties, weddings, and other special events. Big events never stop, and people are continually looking for help to perfect how they look for them. The nail industry is perfect to jump on now with the rise of social media websites and movies meaning more people showing themselves off.
Those people will be your potential clients. Starting a nail salon may not be that expensive if you want to set up a smaller concern, but if you are looking to build something big, investment definitely matters most. You can even choose to start a mobile nail salon business or else opening a nail salon within your home can save lots of costs. Starting a nail salon business might be one of the best steps to take. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to start;
24 Steps to Starting a Nail Salon Business in Your Home
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Write a Business Plan
- 14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
- 15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Businesses in this industry are salons that offer nail care services. In addition to retailing nail care products, these companies may also provide foot and nail care tools. The Nail Salons industry is highly fragmented; businesses are spread across many locations to be close to key consumer markets in high-traffic locations.
In addition, barriers to entry are extremely low for the industry, further contributing to a high level of fragmentation. This trend makes it difficult for one company to serve a large portion of the entire market.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
In fact, the industry is dominated by non-employees, which are expected to make up over 90.0% of companies in the industry. This includes nail stylists and nail technicians that are sole proprietors and rent their booths from hair and nail salons. Non-employees collectively generate just over half of the industry’s revenue.
After years of exceptional growth, sales in the US nail colour and care category have reduced, driven by several factors including: declining participation among young women, increased reliance on the salon and the trend-driven nature of the category.
Reflective of their declining engagement in the category, women aged 18-24 are spending less time shopping for nail products and experimenting with new trends when compared to just one year ago, while also reporting to be doing their nails less frequently in comparison to older female consumers.
Despite a reducing interest among young women, engagement in the category remains high among women aged 25-34, who are interested in benefits, including long-wearing products and natural claims. While interest in trend-driven concepts such as special effect polishes (i.e. unique finishes such as sequins, glitter, magnetic and metallic) and nail art appears to be waning, women report high interest in natural and gentle nail care concepts, as well as products that emphasize ease of use and convenience.
Nail treatments provided a bright spot in the nail category in the past year in the US, growing sales by 12% from 2012-2014. Nail repair and the return of more neutral and bare nails have helped drive usage of treatment products, including base and top coats
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Indeed salons in general may seem to draw in a diverse crowd, from young women to older men; certain characteristics define the majority of the customers at each salon, the Nail salon included.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
Owing a nail salon business can be fun and profitable and is a great business idea to start and manage from home based location, while operating the service on a mobile basis. Many people, including both men and women, enjoy getting a professional pedicure and manicure occasionally. Your business can be channelled to a specific kind of individuals or professionals, which will in turn serve as your niche. These niches may include…
- residents of nursing and retirement house
- hotel guests
- pre-wedding bridal parties
- Mobile nail salon
- Eco-friendly nail salon etc.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Entrepreneurs in the Nail Salons industry have begun to offer a lot of new products and services to boost revenue and leverage rising consumer spending. As a result, industry revenue has grown over the past five years. In the coming years, demand for industry services is expected to grow thanks to improving disposable income. Declining unemployment over the next five years is expected to drive per capita disposable income growth and boost demand for price-premium services offered by this industry.
The growth potential of nail salons depends on a variety of factors, including the characteristics of your target market and the growth of the nearby population. You also need to keep up to date on the latest beauty techniques, such as offering new colouring services or nail care treatments, to take advantage of any growth opportunities.
Revenue growth in the industry is expected to increase by 3.3 percent annually through 2017, partly due to people having more disposable income to spend on higher end services, such as facials, massages and special skin care products.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- Jin Soon
- Maria nails
- Chi nail bar
- Tip Y Toes
- Town’s Nail & Skin Salon
- Spisfers nails
- Fantasy nails
- Posh Nail Spa
- Tyler Street Salon
- Nail bar
- Nails 07
- Fevis nail bar
- Nail Odyssey
The economic recession resulted in a boom for the at-home nail industry, as women tightened spending and opted for the affordable indulgence. However, an improving economy appears to be sending women back to the salon. While reliance on the salon has trended upward across all nail services, results are mixed for the at-home market.
Women are less likely to be doing single colour manicures themselves (46% v 54%), but are more inclined to be doing pedicures (37% v 31%) and specialized manicures such as gel (10% v 7%) and statement nails (18% v 15%) when compared to a year ago. Changes in at-home behaviour are reflective of overall waning participation in the category, as well as growing comfort experimenting with more recent trends.
One of the biggest innovations in recent years is the introduction of gel polish, which continues to see increased incidence in both the salon and at-home markets since its introduction. In particular, gel polish that doesn’t require the use of an LED light has had a positive impact on the at-home gel market. Over 10% of women who do their own nails report using gel polish without an LED light compared to just 7% of those who use gel polish that requires an LED light.
Unlike many beauty and personal care categories, natural positioning is not a prevalent theme in the nail category. Yet, nail care users express some concerns about nail health and the effects of chemicals in nail care products. In fact, 21% of all nail product users worry that nail polish is damaging their nails, and nearly 20% are concerned about chemicals in nail polish.
A prominent theme among more niche nail brands in the past year has been natural and reduced-chemical nail polishes. Natural/low-chemical nail polishes generate the highest level of interest among nail product users, with 67% of respondents reporting interest.
Similarly, 56% of nail product users report interest in gentle nail care products. Concern about nail damage from frequent polishing as well as a broader consumer concern about product ingredients is fuelling interest in natural and gentle products. Interest in natural nail care also extends to the salon market, as eco-friendly nail salons are becoming more prevalent. While still a relatively niche concept, concerns about skin and nail health and the chemicals used in nail products have led more salons to offer eco-friendly products and organic nail treatments.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Buying into a franchise in the Nail Salons industry is far more profitable or rather advisable than starting from the scratch. A franchisee buys more than the right to use a Business Name: She buys the benefits of the franchisor’s experience and the business’s formula for success.
Some people choose to buy a franchise because they have a good business background but no experience in a particular industry. Others know an industry well, but don’t have a background in business. Still others have both and just want the experience and support a franchise offers.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Fear of failure may be preventing you from opening your own salon, but you can take heart in the fact that every successful salon owner has made her share of mistakes along the road to the top. Possible challenges may include…
- Hiring technicians
- Staying competitive
- Suitable location
- Lack of experience
- Employee incentives
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
choosing a legal entity for your nail salon is one of the major decisions you’ve to make when starting and your decision depends on your individual situation and tolerance for risk. It is possible to run a successful nail salon using any of the available business entity types.
If you want to choose between a sole proprietorship and a Limited Liability Company, however, the final decision should be made by considering the key differences that distinguish the two entity types.
One of the major differences between a sole proprietorship and an LLC is the way business liability is considered and handled. If you operate as a sole proprietor, you are personally responsible for all business debts and crisis, while an LLC protects owners against personal liability.
Depending upon how you set up your nail salon, you may be at risk of lawsuits from customers, and if the business can’t pay a judgment, the situation can ruin you financially if you are personally liable. If you are working with harsh chemicals or with instruments that are sharp or hot, you may want the additional liability protection that comes with operating as an LLC.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- Just For You
- Favour Salon
- Nail Garden
- Catani spa
- Next Salon
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
When it comes to business insurance, you will face a unique set of risks. You have yourself, your customers, and your premises to protect, and a flexible policy makes this much easier. With proper information you can choose what’s right for you, combining key covers into a single policy.
Whether you have your own premises or work on site, and whether you work on your own or employ people, it’s quick, quality cover, without the hassle. Insurance and covers you may need may include (you don’t necessarily need to acquire all).
- Public liability insurance
- Employers’ liability insurance
- Landlord insurance
- Barber insurance
- Beauty consultants insurance
- Beauty salon insurance
- Manicurists and nail technician insurance
- Massage therapists insurance
- Mobile beautician insurance
- Pedicurists insurance
- More beauty industry insurance
- Self-employed insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
When you leave your shop at night, you always lock the door. But too many business owners fail to take a similar degree of caution with their designs, ideas, and valuable business information – the business’s intellectual property (IP) – and leave themselves at risk of theft and counterfeiting.
But new changes to the law should strengthen the protection of designs in the world, and the introduction of simpler patenting processes will make it easier for small businesses like a nail salon to look after their IP and intangible assets. Ways to protect your business may include…
- Identify your intellectual property
- Get help to find the right protection
- Watch the competition – and enforce the law
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Nail technicians work in spas, nail salons and cosmetology centres to beautify and shape clients’ nails. In addition to manicures and pedicures, nail technicians may also provide such services as hand and foot massages. Manicure and pedicure services involve cutting, shaping, polishing and painting nails. A great deal of sitting is involved, and masks and gloves must often be worn while working with chemicals. Having a certification will help tell your customers how professional and passionate you are.
- Shellac Pro Certification
- Certified Nail Technician
- Nail technician certificate
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Starting a successful nail salon requires a lot of planning and consideration. Not only do you need to possess the proper permits and licenses, but you’re also required to have undergone state-approved education to secure and maintain some of those licenses. The state of Texas, like many states, has its own set of requirements that must be met in order for a nail salon to operate within its borders.
- Operators license
- federal employer identification number
- fictitious business name permits
- zoning and land use permits
- sales tax license
- Salon license
- Permanent physical address for mobile nail salons
13. Write a Business Plan
We don’t necessarily need to explain what a business plan is but it is worthwhile to acknowledge that writing a business plan for your nail salon walks you through the steps necessary to open a business in the hair and nail care industry.
First and foremost you need to start with a summary of your company, its mission and operational philosophies. Include your company name, address and other contact information, as well as your business structure; sole proprietorship, LLC, etc. Briefly state the purpose of your organization and describe your customer service philosophy.
Describe the products and services you want your nail salon to offer. Describe how the customer experience in your store will differ from your competitors’ services. Discuss line-queuing systems and goals for minimizing customer wait-times.
Discuss whether you will cater to the upscale end of the market by taking reservations for personalized services, or the budget end of the market that serves walk-ins at the lowest price possible, or even the segment in between. Discuss whether you will include hairstyle consultation services, nail grooming services or hair care products in your salons.
Also create a financial summary section, and include projected financial statements spanning at least three years. Include all expected start up expenses and list potential sources of initial funding. Use your experience and your best judgement when creating forward-looking financial statements. Use your marketing goals to gain a perspective on how many customers you will serve and how quickly your customer base will grow, then base your revenue and direct cost estimates on these figures.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
The nail salon industry is one of the most stable industries there is. It might not be capital intensive but it’s a lucrative business that is recession-proof and a business that will stand the test of time with proper knowledge and innovations. Listed below is the cost analysis of starting a home based – small scale nail salon.
- Furniture: $300
- Legal: $100
- Nail Products: $200
- Nail Equipment: $300
- Software: $100
- Pedicure Products: $150
- Pedicure Equipment: $200
Total Minimum Investment: $1,300
The detailed cost analysis above is for a home based nail salon with the exception of insurance and lease fees which are not really necessary. A medium scale nail salon will cost $94,500 and $453,852 for a large scale nail salon.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
To open a nail salon you need to secure the financing you need from a bank, your credit cards or investors; however you can! If you have the money yourself to invest then it is a good idea to rent rather than buy a building to cut costs and pay for your own launch yourself. However before you do anything you need to find money to finance your business plan. Sometimes you need to hire a professional to do it for you.
Investors can be difficult to come by for any business just simply because there has been a recession and times are a bit hard. You would need to prove to any investor that you can multiply the profits of your business exponentially by showing them a solid business plan. This is true even if you are opening a business that is considered to be quite reliable like a nail salon.
Sometimes a person running a similar business to your own like the owner of a hair salon or tattoo parlour might be a good source of money. Sometimes you just do not know anyone who has disposable income to invest in your nail salon. That is when you end up having to ask the bank for a loan. Ways of financing your nail salon may include…
- Use Your Own Savings and Assets for Financing
- Family members and friends
- Venture Capitalists
- angel investors
- Credit Cards
- By using Money broker and finder
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
A well-negotiated space lease is an important asset, while a poorly negotiated lease could be a liability. Many a budding entrepreneur has signed a lease and then later regretted its terms. Most likely, she failed to evaluate all those clauses and their long term effects. The watchword; Look at the location, the amenities, the neighbours, the covenants, and most importantly the rental in relation to the business you can generate from this location. Do they work for you or only the landlord?
Not every for-rent commercial space, no matter how attractive or economical, is suitable for a nail salon. Before signing, examine your potential market, its source, and whether the location of your salon is better here rather than alternative spots.
Consider your neighbours, your effect on them, and if they generate patronage for you. Compare various locations, their estimated drawing power, and your total occupancy cost for each as a percent of the projected gross income. Before settling for a location, make comparison, seek advice and be mindful of the clauses in the lease or space agreement.
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Maintaining a well-stocked inventory is good practice for any business. And with the walk-in nature of the nail salon industry, it’s especially important to stay aware of fluctuations in demand for salon services, as one manicure style may be trendy one week and out the next.
Because a nail salon operator may not know how much product is likely to be consumed on any given day, keeping well-stocked shelves is a buffer against unexpected shortages. It’s also typically cheaper to buy in bulk.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
First and foremost you need to arrange your files, implements and tools on the table towel on top of your working surface so they are within easy reach. Wash your hands with a mild detergent or hand soap, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Remove all traces of old enamel by moistening a cotton or gauze pad with the remover of your choice.
- Press the pad onto the nail plate
- Apply cuticle remover, oil or lotion all around the cuticle area if you so desire.
- Holding the cuticle nippers/scissors in one hand, nip or clip any loose ‘tags’ of skin that you were unable to remove with the cuticle pusher or the curette.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Your nail salon is a business and not a playground. This being the case, making your business a success has to do with more than just your craft and the services that you sell. You also have to pay close attention to the business side of things. In fact you need to learn how to actively promote your salon! In business, you are only as good as your reputation, and you can’t begin to build one without at least a little advertising. Here are few ways to start…
- Use the newspapers
- The internet
- Business cards
- Gift cards
- Referral programs
19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
It is obvious that you would want to set a price that is right at the middle ground. You do not want to price your service for too low or you will reduce the profit potential you can make and put your salon at risk. You also do not want it too high otherwise there will be a limited amount of people that can afford to come to you.
You want to set a price that flows with the demographics in our area. You also need to decide if you want to offer a high-end place which would warrant a higher price tag.
Other than profit, you also need to think about the labour, overhead, and supplies when you are deciding prices. Typically, you can expect to charge around $70-$100 for a manicure and a pedicure treatment. If you’re able to do one set an hour for 8 hours, you can see how easily you can make up to $800 a day.
20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Constantly striving to win and overtake your competitors is essential in running a profitable nail salon. Increasing income requires you to either sell more services or increase prices. Ways to do that may include:
- Give out free things like free manicures and pedicures
- Strive to get new customers and retaining the ones you already have
- Give out punch cards
- Be creative
- Use the Internet
- Create an intimidating marketing strategy
21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Retaining current customers and attracting new clients aid in the increased money flow. Analyse your nail salon’s current offerings and service quality to identify areas you can change. Most of the options for increasing the salon’s income are low-cost, making them easy to implement regardless of how much extra cash you have on hand. Other ways to increase customer retention may include:
- Compare prices
- Stay current on nail trends and stock new nail polish colours and products
- Treat every customer as a guest
- Expand the services you offer in the salon, such as more nail services like acrylics or full pedicures and manicures
- Hire an aesthetician, massage therapist or other service providers to make your nail salon a one-stop beauty and pampering destination to draw in more customers.
- Sell nail-related products and other beauty products like cosmetics for home use.
- Hold an open house or special holiday events at the salon to attract new customers
- Keep a database of your customers and follow them up
22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Your brand awareness is what makes you an outstanding entrepreneur in the industry. It is what makes people know that you exist, what you do and how you do it. Ways to do that for your nail salon may include:
- Advertise a grand-opening special or offer a service at a discount.
- Have a digital strategy
- Team work pays off
- Move the nail salon to a higher traffic area if possible
- Dress up the interior of your salon to make it an inviting environment so customers are likely to come back.
- Deliver Your Promise to Your Clients
- Print your website and social media addresses on any materials associated with the nail salon
- Display a sign-up sheet in the salon for email newsletters and special offers.
- Use technology to advertise through QR, or quick response codes
23. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
Today few manufacturers depend on door-to-door sales to sell their products. The distribution network used by most large manufacturers is complex far-reaching and still changing. Even though the nail industry currently represents $7 billion in service sales building distribution networks hasn’t been easy for nail product manufacturers, and some are still struggling to get distribution in certain areas.
While you should form relationships with wholesalers and manufacturers, you must first conduct market research before purchasing products. Travel around to local beauty salons and ask the owners what kind of products you can provide to them.
Since you have not established a bond of trust, they likely will say they are not interested, but you can gain valuable insight by looking around their salons and noticing what products they stock. You also can establish an initial contact that you can build on when you start marketing products.
Organize your location so that is user-friendly for your technicians and relaxing for your clients. Choose open floor plans that are designed to keep the room’s corners exposed and walkways clear. Install extra electrical sockets or flush power strips to eliminate exposed power cords.
Develop a safety plan that is compliant to U.S. Occupational Safety &Health Administration standards and guidelines. Include emergency plans and strategies that will address exposures to blood-borne pathogens and chemical hazards. Post the OSHA Workplace Poster in a clearly visible, employee common area. Review OSHA’s compliance assistance materials, or contact an OSHA representative directly, for compliance assistance.
Determine if you will hire contractors or employees. Hire a staff for your nail tech business as needed to meet your customer demand. Acquire competent, professional technicians that are reliable and punctual. Establish quality standards for your nail business, such as punctual attendance, floor behaviour and floor conversation restrictions. Enforce those standards immediately with your employees, and contractors, to prevent misunderstandings in the future.
24. Tips for Running a Nail Salon Business Successfully
Starting your nail salon and working hard to establish your client base and grow your business may not be an easy task. While this might be an exciting time for you, you may need to understand that hardworking and consistency is what that can take you to your desired destination. Things to do to keep your business flowing may include…
- Always Prep your business
- Keep a schedule
- Determine if you will hire contractors or employees. Hire a staff for your nail tech business as needed to meet your customer demand.
- Atmosphere is everything
- Cleanliness Is the Top Priority
- Friendliness will get you far
- Deliver Your Promise to Your Clients
- Stay trendy and offer new products
- Use Social Media Tools Effectively