How to Start a Hair Business

How to Start a Hair Business

A person’s hair is described as their ‘crowning glory’. It’s an asset that just about everyone takes great care of. If you are good with hair and enjoy cutting and styling, why not use this to get yourself busy? In this post, we’re going to go through how to start a hair business.

Get experience working with hair

To establish yourself in a hair business, you’ll need experience working with hair.

You can begin on your own by cutting your family’s and friends’ hair. This may take some time, but it’s really a matter of practice and getting experience.

Your other option is to study hairdressing. There are various options for courses, so keep a look out for opportunities in your area. When you graduate from your course, I suggest you apply for work at an established salon. When you have gained experience, you can work on opening your own business.

If you are lucky, you may find an opportunity to intern with an established hair stylist.

Define your needs

Before you even begin to work on the details of opening a hair business, you need to define exactly what it is you are setting out to do.

What are you aiming towards? Do you want to start a small hair business from home, catering to a few clients a week? Do you see yourself running a big salon with a few employees?

It is important to be guided by a plan, but you must also keep things manageable. The best way to do this is to look at the possible costs.

Determine the costs of the business

One of the scariest things about starting a business is the concept of spending money. Begin by doing research into the costs of starting up the business. You will need seed money to cover these costs.

Then, you must do further research into how much it will cost to run a hair business. Make sure you take everything into account. The key is  having a strict budget.

It’s unlikely you’ll have all the money at hand to start a hair business, so you’ll need to apply for a loan. Don’t just rush to the first bank. Make sure you do research into financial institutions, to find out what the best options are.

Often, there are bodies or organizations that will offer seed money to a start-up or small business. Research these in your area.

There are three areas to consider when you work out the start-up costs:

  • Services
  • Equipment and products
  • Space

Decide what services you will offer

When you begin any business, you must decide what service/s you are going to offer. When it comes to hair, you should go for the options usually offered by hair salons: cut, color and treat. There are many hair businesses that offer other beauty treatments, such as manicures, massages and facials.

I suggest beginning small, so you can manage all aspects of the business competently. As you grow, you could begin to branch out to offer other services, if it will work for you.

Research the equipment and products you’ll need

Working with hair requires specific equipment and products. When you’ve made the decision about what services you’ll offer, make a list of the equipment you’ll need to do so. These may include something as commonplace as chairs all the way to specialized dryers.

You also need to make sure you have all the products to provide the services.

Identify the best type and size of premises

You’re going to need the appropriate type and size of space for your hair business. This will mean some careful planning.

You should draw up a list of your requirements. This will help you to get a clear picture of exactly what you need to look for in a space.

When you’ve done this, research building prices in your area. This will give you a clear idea of how much money you need to budget on for premises.

Type of business structure

When you decide to start a hair business, you have various options for the way the business is structured.  You’ll have most control over a sole proprietorship, where you are the owner and make all the decisions. It also means you’ll have to meet all the expenses.

You can also choose to go into business with other people. The simplest option here is to form a partnership, with one or two others. The advantages of this structure are that you’ll all have to meet all the expenses. It can be a bit difficult, though, to work with other people. The thing to do is to make sure every detail of the relationship is very clearly understood by all the partners.

You could go for a limited company, where you are responsible for the running of the business and make the decisions about what services to offer etc. There are shareholders, who are essentially investors and not involved in the day-to-day running of the business. They will, however, be looking for a profit and you will be accountable to them.

Create a business plan

A business plan is just what it says: a plan for your business. It is the tool you can use to seek funding. It provides the details about what you are going to do and how you plan to achieve it. It’s also the document that will guide you when you are working out what you need, who you may need to recruit and how, exactly, to get the business on the road.

The long and short of it is that you need a solid business plan for you hair business. Do some research and find the best structure for your plan. There are plenty of resources you can consult online. If you’re lucky, you may have a contact or friend in business who can guide you in developing the plan.

Obtain the necessary permits and licenses

Any business has to be correctly licensed, or it may not operate. Do yourself a favor and find out about what licenses and permits you’ll need from when you first start working on the idea of a hair business.

You don’t want to have your business shut down before it’s even off the ground because you haven’t gone through the correct channels.

The details in the license and permit documents will also help you to shape the business.

Make things happen

When all the planning is done, the money has been secured and the permits/licenses finalized, you can make things happen for your business.

This is an extremely exciting time. You can go out and find the perfect premises, or convert part of your home. Make sure you buy all the necessary equipment and products. Arrange the space well. You will need to have a space for your clients, or their friends and family to sit while they wait. There must also be a washing section and cutting chairs.

It’s extremely important that you pay attention to every single detail you’ve planned for.


It’s all very well having a great shop with shiny new equipment and rows of hair products if you don’t have any people’s hair to do. You need to market your business.

There are easy, quick and relatively cheap ways to market a hair business. Try printing some simple flyers and handing them out, or sticking up posters. You can also cut a few friends’ hair for free and ask them to recommend your services. Word of mouth can be a great marketing tool.

Partner with a beauty salon near you and offer a discount on a cut or style when the client uses the salon. They can do the same for you.