Launching and opening a hair salon
The building blocks of success for opening your hair salon
In addition to prereqs like a master craftsman’s diploma (German: Meisterbrief), if you want to open a hair salon of your own there are other building blocks to success like the location, regular customers and financing. This article is not meant as a scientific or exhaustive approach to opening a hair salon. I do intend to outline the central points of hair salon consulting from my professional experience where I have had the opportunity to learn the real concerns of on-the-ground hairdressers.
Finding a location and keeping it available long enough for the bank to clear your financing (if you require bank support) is a huge hurdle, On the one hand, there is a shortage of affordably priced, good locations. On the other hand, few landlords care to wait or allow remodeling for sinks, etc. The location doesn’t necessarily need to be in a pedestrian zone, especially if you have enough regular customers or a good regional marking strategy.
While a hair salon isn’t the most capital-intensive project I supervise, it is often the case that an employed hairdresser rarely is able to put enough aside to finance his/her own small salon. And when you calculate in staff, things get really difficult. This is my specialty area. There are many state-funded opportunities to get loans at reduced rates of interest with little to no private equity, both for start-ups and reopenings.
Besides a good location, regular customers are the key to success. If you don’t have a base of faithful customers, it will be difficult to make it and you may want to reconsider opening your own salon, especially if you don’t have much finances to hold you over. When employing staff, try to prefer hairdressers who bring their own regular customers.
If you want to make underbidding the competition your secret to success, you’ve already lost even if you have enough customers. You should instead focus on service, trust and winning regular customers, not on attracting walk-in customers with unsustainably low prices. Stick to higher prices and discount vouchers in the course of some marketing campaigns or offer students’ or seniors’ days. Or if you have the oh-so-clever idea of hooking some regulars with low prices before jacking up the prices, don’t be surprised when your oh-so-faithful customers start visiting the next salon with low prices just like they came to you.
Finding good employees is difficult, but if you’ve opened a salon you usually have long-term colleagues you can rely on. But don’t forget: employees who bring their own regulars are your best bet! Bringing in “cold” employees costs money and time, and may not pay out in the end. Staffing is a huge topic of course, but for most small hair salons more of a footnote.