July 25, 2023

How to Start a Nail Salon Business

How to Start a Nail Salon Business

Starting a nail salon is an exciting business venture that has the potential to be incredibly rewarding. But it also involves taking some important steps towards getting your business off the ground and making sure it runs smoothly. 

To help you with this process, here's our comprehensive guide on how to start a nail salon in the UK – from market research and choosing premises to equipment and employees. 

Whether you're researching for the first time or ready to open those doors, there's something for everyone, so read on.

Define your target market

Before creating any product or service, it's essential to define who your target market is. Identifying your audience early on will help you cater to their needs and tailor your offerings to their preferences. 

This process may include understanding your customers' demographics, such as age, gender, and location, as well as their psychographics, such as their interests or lifestyle choices. 

Taking the time to define your target market will ensure that you can provide the best customer experience possible and ultimately help you grow your business. And if you are seeking investment to launch your business, you will certainly need to have a grasp of the competitive landscape to show that you have done your research.

Secure financing

Secure financing

Setting up a business involves a substantial financial commitment, so it's essential that you secure sufficient funding before taking any further steps. Aside from the initial start-up costs of purchasing equipment and renting premises, you'll need to make sure that your business can sustain itself throughout its early days.

Consider applying for startup loans through banks or alternative lenders, or look into grants available in your area. You could also look to friends and family for loans or investment in your business. If you are setting up a mobile nail salon, you might be able to manage the start-up costs with your own investment. As your business grows and you build your client base, you can then think about getting your own premises.

Find a site for your business

There are a few ways you can structure your nail business:

  • Establish your own premises and hire your own staff, which means you will be responsible for all of the overheads, and take home all of the profit.
  • Rent a chair in an established salon. This will limit your earning potential, but it will help you to establish a name for yourself.
  • Set-up a mobile nail business and use your clients’ homes. This can be a cheaper option, but you’ll also need to factor in the cost of travel.

You will need to decide which structure is right for you based on your long-term goals and objectives. It might be that you start renting a chair and eventually own your own salon. As long as you focus on establishing your brand, you should have no issue changing your business model in the future.

Develop your brand

Develop your brand

Your personal brand is what sells. You need to be on the cutting edge of the latest designs and techniques and you need to be documenting and sharing these designs online. There is always the fear that if you share your designs, they will be stolen by rivals, but this is a risk that all creatives take when sharing their work.

If you have an established brand and style, your audience will know when you have been ripped off and won’t have a problem calling out other artists for stealing your designs.

Your style might evolve over time, but make sure that your personal brand always shines through.

Create a business plan

A business plan will help you to focus your thoughts and make sure that you stay on track with your business goals. A good business plan should include:

  • Your business name and mission statement
  • An overview of the competition
  • What sets you apart
  • How much it will cost to run your business
  • How much you will charge and how much you can expect to earn
  • How you will market your business
  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
  • A contingency plan for what you will do if the business fails

If you’re going to try to seek investment in your business, every investor will want to see your business plan. It can also help you to plan your business and make sure that your pricing is based on in-depth research and competitor analysis. 

Stock up on supplies and equipment

Stock up on supplies and equipment

At this stage, you know what kind of business you want to run and where you will be based. You might also have sourced investment to get you started. So it’s time to start turning your plans into reality.

When starting a business, you might want to buy good quality second hand items to begin with. This will help to keep costs down until you can afford to spend more money on the items you need. In general, to start a nail business you will need:

  • A nail drill for each workstation and the associated drill bits
  • An LED nail lamp
  • A UV lamp
  • Electric nail files
  • Nail dryer
  • UV steriliser box for tools
  • Nail files
  • Nail polishes
  • Nail clippers
  • Gel nail polish
  • Acrylic nail supplies
  • Nail dipping powders
  • Nail forms
  • Manicure bowls
  • Nail art supplies
  • Cuticle tools
  • Pedicure foot soaker
  • Toe separators
  • Towels
  • Sanitiser and PPE for staff

This is not an exhaustive list, and your list might be different depending on the type of nails you offer or the location. For example, if you are renting a chair, you might not need to supply your own equipment, unless you have a specific preference for something that they don’t offer.

Key takeaway

If you have the skills required to be a successful nail technician, this can be an exciting and rewarding career path. Make sure you plan your business carefully by doing your research, defining your brand and writing a business plan. From there, you can source financing and then look for a site for your business. Keep costs down in the beginning by choosing high quality second hand items, and then allow your personal brand to grow and develop.

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