How to Start a Nail Salon

How to start a Nail Salon? At a first glance it may seem like a daunting task. However, it can be broken down into doable steps. Here’s everything you need to know.

It is always your dream to be your own boss, right? It must feel great to do everything your own way and slowly build your little empire. The feeling of pride that you get in making your own small business take off is definitely something else. So, how about starting your own nail salon?

Sure, it isn’t easy, but what if we told you that it can be done? You just need to follow a few easy steps, and, with a little luck and positive mental attitude, you can make it! Read on to find out how.

Table of Contents

In a Nutshell:

  1. Be There (and Learn)
  2. Your Plan
  3. Your Earning Potential
  4. Your Budget
  5. Your Services
  6. Location
  7. Supplies
  8. Marketing
  9. Staff
  10. Your Style

Also get the complete checklist for starting a nail salon here…

Step One: Be There

Why don’t you start by working in a nail salon? This might just be a good start, because in order to get the taste of things you will need to actually experience what it’s like. You can learn the ropes and see how the owner runs things and handles problems that might come up.

There are so many aspects to running a business that you need to learn. From documents, inventory, and sourcing to standardization, hiring, financial side of things, and, of course, marketing.

Step Two: It All Starts with a Good Plan

In order to start and run a business successfully, you need to have a good business plan. Without a carefully laid out business plan, your nail salon is very likely to fail. The financial plan is of the essence here. Also, your salon needs to look good and needs to be well equipped.

A well-trained staff is also a must. These are just a few things out of many that need to be carefully planned out.

Step Three: Figure Out Your Earning Potential

Once all the hard work is done and you close up the store for the night, nothing feels better that counting your receipts for the day.

There’s always room for improvement, but your earning potential is greatly affected by factors such as the location of your salon, the prices, the volume of customers you serve, and the work habits of you and your employees.

Keep in mind that as an average nail salon owner, you can be making anywhere between $40,000 and $75,000 per year.

Step Four: The Budget

It all really comes down to breaking down all the costs and considering all the stuff that you have to pay for. These usually include:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Payroll expenses
  • Liability insurance
  • Various fees and licenses
  • Equipment and all sorts of supplies
  • Marketing and advertising, both offline and online

Step Five: Deciding on Services Offered

This can only be limited by your imagination. Nail salons tend to offer many different types of services, but you surely need to keep them aligned with your location and the type of customers in your neighborhood.

Perhaps you should consider various packages and upsells of your basic services. Modest prices at the beginning will always attract a large number of new customers. Also, think of limiting the time of manicure, so that you can maximize the number of customers served on any given day.

Another option is to sell all kinds of customary grooming items in your salon, such as nail polish, filing kits, and lotions.

Step Six: Choosing a Location

This might just be the most important step of them all. The first thing you need to check is how close or how far the nearest nail salon is. Ideally, you don’t want any rivals in your neighborhood, but that’s not a deal-breaker as long as the area can support more than one nail salon.

Next, you need to think of a location that will keep bringing the customers in. For example, you could find a convenient spot at a nearby shopping center or mall.

However, a perfect spot with nowhere to park could be a nightmare, so take this into consideration as well.

Step Seven: Supplies

If you wish to run things smoothly, you will need a LOT of supplies. Some things you’ll only need to buy once. These include salon stations, cash register, waiting area chairs, salon chairs, reception desk, and phone.

Besides this, you will have to keep a good stash of goodies such as gel polish, nail polish, nail buffers, toe separators, nail clippers, cuticle nippers, pedicure files, acetone, and many more, depending on the type of services that you wish to provide.

Step Eight: Marketing

In this modern day and age, nothing exists if it isn’t on the internet. This is why you really need to think of ways to promote your new and hopefully blossoming business. You don’t need to think of global domination, just a few local promotion tricks will surely help you get on track.

You could place ads on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and YouTube. Handing out flyers and having contest giveaways in your local area can also do wonders for your business.

Step Nine: Get Your Staff

It sounds great to have the best trained technicians working in your salon, but that might also sound like breaking the bank.

Get to know your staff well before hiring them. Conduct a few interviews and make the applicants show you they really do know their way around nails. Also, consider hiring a salon manager if you don’t think you can handle everything on your own or would rather not have to be there all the time.

Step Ten: Styling is Everything

Have you thought of a name for your salon? Are you sure how to decorate the place? Do you know which color scheme you want to use? These are all questions that need answers in order to determine the right style and design for your future nail salon.

Whatever you choose, make sure the place looks and smells clean.


Once you master all the steps mentioned above, you can start enjoying the daily routine and count all the blessings that come with it.

It’s not easy to run your own nail salon, but if you plan everything carefully you could be on your way to becoming the favorite nail spot in your neighborhood.


Get the Complete Checklist of Opening Your Own Nail Salon!