If you dream of starting your own salon business one day, you’re probably wondering how much does it cost to open one. Well, the thing is, the start-up costs can usually differ depending on your business model and goals.

You need to know of the specifics so that you can come up with a more accurate estimate.

That’s why we created this salon start-up guide to help you get started:

Trimming Your Salon Startup Costs

Decide what salon do you want to start before breaking down the actual costs. Do you want to start an all-inclusive spa? Or a business that specializes in hair or nails?

Chances are, hair salon expenses may differ as opposed to starting a nail or spa business. So, making this decision should be your priority, as it’s easier to estimate the costs later on.


Salons cannot service clients without licensed stylists. That means you and the rest of your employees should have a state cosmetology license or enrolled in an accredited program for beauticians. A cosmetology license is usually issued by the state where your business is located.

Many programs are offered for aspiring stylists, and each state has different licensing hour requirements. After passing an accredited program, stylists must then pass a state board test (both written and practical) to get their license.

Licenses and permits  

Next, you need to register your business and get a business license issued by the secretary of the state. Your business license should be posted in your store at all times. Remember that most licenses usually require yearly renewals.

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Moreover, specific salon requirements usually differ per state. So, it’s essential to check these first, as well as with the state cosmetology board to know how you can obtain a salon-specific license.

Also, if you’re planning to start a small retail store within your salon to feature the products you use and sell it to clients, you also need to get a seller’s permit.

Physical location

As far as location is concerned, many options are available depending on your budget. If you want to start small, then an in-home salon may be a viable option since it’s least expensive and does not require you to pay monthly rentals.

However, if that’s not an option for you, then you can consider renting out or buying a commercial space. Costs usually vary depending on the location, so it’s always a good idea to do thorough research first of your desired neighborhood.

If you’re planning to buy an existing salon, expect to shell out approximately $40,000 to $250,000. Note that these usually depends on the size, location, and condition of the property and equipment.

However, if you want to build a salon from the ground and up, costs usually run between  $100,000 to $500,000 on average.

Salon equipment and supplies

Salon equipment usually depends on the type of services you’re offering to your salon.

Basic equipment usually includes:

  • styling tools
  • styling chair
  • hair dryers
  • water basins
  • supply trolleys
  • Aprons

You also need extra cash to spend on other miscellaneous items such as computers, software, cash register, furniture, desk, and phones.

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Meanwhile, basic salon supplies include:

  • back-bar products
  • basic office supplies
  • cleaning supplies
  • retail products

Note that equipment and supplies usually vary depending on the supplier, so it’s better to check first for the best prices and quality that are available in the market.

Initial inventory

If you plan to set up a retail part in your store, then it’s essential to stock up an initial inventory of the products that you want to sell.

Costs vary based on the size of the retail portion of your salon. These are usually adjusted as you move forth in your business, depending on customer demand.

A salon promotion software helps track your inventory in real-time. It deducts stocks automatically for every product that’s sold, or for every service that was given.

Legal and consulting fees

At one point or another, you might need to seek out professional help when dealing with various business matters like closing in a property sale, negotiating a lease, or going through the processing of necessary licenses and permits for your business.

Expect to pay an average of $200 per hour to avail on legal services.


Getting insurance for your business is a wise decision since it ensures your protection. It usually covers you from different liabilities such as theft, loss of equipment, injuries, and other responsibilities that can significantly impact your business.

Structure improvements and remodeling

If you’re taking over an already existing salon, then minimal to no renovations are needed.

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However, if you’re building from scratch, then you must factor in permanent and non-permanent fixtures as well as various design elements.

If you include the salon’s interior design and furniture, expect to spend an average of $32,000.

Computer and POS system

A salon point-of-sale (POS) software lets you collect payments from clients and streamlines the entire operation of your business.

Benefits include:

  • Online scheduling software: Allows customers to conveniently schedule appointments any time of the day.
  • Built-in tipping feature: This tipping option improves tips for your stylists, and also boosting business profit as well.
  • Accessible checkout options: By using an integrated salon POS, customers have the choice to pay via credit, debit, and other payment options.


Creating unique signage for your salon is essential since it represents your brand. You can secure proper signage for as low as $23, but you can pay for more.

Responsive website

You need a responsive website to improve your visibility online and attract more clients. Expect to shell out between  $300 to $700 for the initial build.

Operating cash

Remember that you also need cash at hand. So, you need to have at least $500 on the starting day of your business, and reserve enough money on normal business operations.

To Wrap It Up

The initial costs of starting your own salon business can be quite overwhelming. However, by proper planning, creating an efficient budget, and exploring ways to cut down costs, you can open up your salon business with more confidence.