Pros & Cons of Salon Ownership

by Nancy Wagner; Updated September 26, 2017

If you've dreamed of opening your own salon, knowing the pros and cons is key to determining if being your own boss fits your business goals and budget.

Money –– And Responsibility –– Is All Yours

The big advantage of owning your own salon is that, unlike renting a chair or working as an employee, you get to keep all of the money clients pay you for services.

However, you also must be responsible for everything, which can be seen as a disadvantage. For instance, you have to pay for all of the expenses of opening and operating the salon, including:

  • remodeling and furnishing retail space to fit your needs
  • tools of the trade
  • utilities, including water and power
  • cleaning services
  • employee payroll
  • point of sale and booking systems for accepting payments.

Marketing and finding new customers also falls squarely on your shoulders.

Employee Management Skills

Unless you plan to work alone or rent chairs, a salon requires management skills in dealing with employees. This may be an advantage if you like working with others, but if you're more comfortable working alone, this could be a disadvantage. If you hire employees, you must provide:

  • recruiting and hiring trustworthy staff members
  • training on customer service skills and how to provide hair, nail and skincare services according to your standards
  • handling of absenteeism, vacation and sick leave to stay on schedule with client appointments
  • taking care of payroll, taxes and benefits

Risk Management

Owning your own salon is risky, with potential issues including:

  • employee accidents
  • risk of fire due to the types of tools and chemicals a salon uses
  • crimes committed by clients or employees, such as stealing money or products
  • liability issues, such as if a client slips and falls due to a wet spot or hair on the floor, or if a treatment doesn't work on the client's hair, skin or nails, are additional risks.

Risk management requires you to create and train your staff on safety policies and procedures. You also must obtain liability insurance, which further adds to the cost of owning the salon.

Booth Issues

Renting chairs to independent stylists gives you an additional source of income while you build the business, a big advantage if funds are short. But to do so also adds risk, as you have fewer options in asking independent contractors to adhere to your salon's service standards. In addition, the stylists may directly compete with your pricing model since they usually set their own fees.

Satisfaction Is Up to You

Nothing beats the satisfaction of being your own boss, setting your own hours and having full control from opening your own salon. If you didn't like the way a previous salon handled customers, did nails or styled people's hair when you worked there, now you have the opportunity to do it your own way . That's the beauty of owning your own salon.

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About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

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