Beauty is a $445 billion industry – from cosmetics and skincare to hair and nail salons. The average woman spends about $44 per haircut, with some services like double-processes and color corrections exceeding $350 per visit. The average woman who gets her nails done every two weeks spends about $1,345 a year on her manis and pedis. If you've got some creative flair and a passion for beauty, you may want to open your own salon because it's undeniably lucrative. Unlike hairdressers who rent a chair from an already existing salon, salon owners have the ability to take their finances into their own hands.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hairstylists make a median wage of $24,950 – but tips are also a huge portion of their income. Salon owners make an average of $41,000 a year.

Job Description

A beauty salon owner's job depends on the type of salon they choose to open. There are tanning salons, which have a variety of skin treatments from tanning beds to spray-on tans. There are nail salons, where women pay an average of $19.50 per manicure and $32.25 per pedicure for a variety of services including gel manicures, acrylic tips and nail art. If you choose to open a hair salon, you'll be overseeing the cutting, dying and styling of customer's hair. As the owner, you're also in charge of your businesses finances including purchasing products for your stylists, handling bills and marketing your business.

Education Requirements

If you want to open a salon, it's time to go to beauty school. Most salon owners start out as hairdressers or estheticians and have the experience of cosmetology school, esthetician school or specialized programs for nail technicians already under their belts. These programs typically take less than two years to complete.

Though it's not required, some salon owners may choose to get an associate's degree in cosmetology management or a four-year degree in business. This can give them a leg up on the business and financial side of owning a salon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hairstylists make a median wage of $24,950 – but tips are also a huge portion of their income. Salon owners make an average of $41,000 a year.


Salon owners can work in a variety of beauty fields. Estheticians work in skincare and perform everything from laser hair removal to aromatherapy, wraps and body masks. Those working in cosmetology work in salons where they cut, color and style hair. This includes specialized treatments like hair relaxing, perms and extensions. Others choose to work in salons that specialize in manicures and pedicures, along with services like acrylic tips and press-on nails. Many nail salons also have estheticians on board who do hair removals such as eyebrow threading and waxing.

Years of Experience

Some experienced salon owners eventually gain international fame and have their work featured on red carpets and magazine covers. Famed stylists often launch entire beauty schools and haircare lines (like Vidal Sassoon) and open numerous salons to showcase their style and products. Because of this, they can make millions, but that's not the average. Salon owners who take the traditional path, work their way up in a salon starting as the assistant who washes hair and sweeps the floor before launching their own salon.

Apprentice (about 0 to 2 years): $10 per hour

Junior Stylist/Colorist: about $20,000 - $24,000

Senior Stylist/Colorist: $26,000 – $28,000

Master Stylist/Colorist: $29,000 - $51,000

It's important to also remember that many salon owners can make well above the average, especially in expensive cities like New York or San Francisco. Many beauty industry salaries are also heavily dependent on tips.

Job Growth Trend

The beauty industry has long been touted as recession-proof because enough people are always going to want a professional haircut or their body waxed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the cosmetology industry is growing at a rate of 13 percent year-over-year.