How to Open a Nail Salon | Checklist for 2023

Are you looking for some great tips on how to open a nail salon?

Opening a nail salon with no experience takes a great deal of research and planning, as you need to know everything about requirements to open a nail salon, costs, licensing, and equipment.

What You Will Learn

We will walk you through the important activities of staying compliant with legal requirements, getting your licenses, as well business planning, budgeting, and opening nail salon checklists.

Jump to The Section You Like

  1. What Permits Do You Need to Open a Nail Salon?
  2. How Much Does It Cost to Open a Nail Salon?
  3. Opening a Nail Salon Checklist
  4. Nail Salon Equipment List
  5. How To Start A Nail Salon At Home
  6. Conclusion

What Permits Do You Need to Open a Nail Salon?


Can I open a nail salon without a license?

Permits and licenses can vary in between states and provinces and sometimes even in between towns. Ensure to do your homework and learn whatever you require in your area.

Here's a summary of the common business license actions and permit requirements to help you begin:

1. Obtain Required Licenses

  • Cosmetology License: Most places require that you be at least 18 years old and graduate from a certified cosmetology program or apprenticeship, pass a series of practical exams, and have on-the-job experience carrying out services on customers to get your cosmetology license.
  • Nail Salon Business Operation License: The standard business license required to open your buisness. You can apply at your state department or the U.S. Small Business Administration by providing your name, business name, and social security number.
  • Certificate of Occupancy: Your local building inspection services or government agency can help you do this. They'll inspect to make sure that your nail salon space is safe and confirm that it has the needed water and electrical hookups to operate.
  • Specific Licences: If you offer your client any additional and specialized services, like the spa or even medical treatments, you may need additional licenses.

2. Register Your Nail Salon

  • Get your TIN: Also called a Tax Identification Number, you can get this 9-digit number by applying directly to the IRS. Even small business owners who do not intend to hire any other nail technicians or staff still require this.
  • Find Out Name Requirements: You'll need a nail salon name for your business plan (more on this later), but some states also have specific requirements for businesses when it concerns names. When naming your new nail salon, make sure to go over these.
What permits do you need to open a nail salon
What Permits do You Need to Open a Nail Salon?

To learn more please check out our post on How to Open a Salon With No Money.

3. Obtain Required Permits

  • Nail Salon Retail Seller Permit: This lets you offer retail products along with services. In states that collect sales tax, you'll more than likely need a retail seller permit. Examine the U.S. Small Business Administration or your state's website for more information.
  • Building Permits: These permits are managed at the state level and need assessments and approvals for any work that you intend to do to make your nail salon ready for business. Costs can vary. However, do not miss this step- it's legally required and crucial for safety.
  • EIN: You will require your Federal Employer Identification Number to file your Federal and state taxes, nail salon's payroll, and other documents.

    You can get it from the IRS or your state's online site, and you'll be required to provide your business license, personal info, and a basic description of your products and services.

4. Get Nail Salon Insurance

The price of insurance usually differs between about $50 to $250 a month, and it protects you, your personnel, and your clients. The most popular kind is called "general liability" insurance coverage and protects against damage to your commercial property, claims made against you, or in some cases, even damage to your business's reputation.

5. Sign a Lease Agreement

A legal professional can assist you in drawing this up, although templates are obtainable online. You'll want to ensure to have this signed before you invest any money in the existing salon or make any changes to the location. If you're buying the place, ensure to speak with a legal adviser to close the sale.

Do not miss our post Top 165 Nail Captions for Instagram.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Nail Salon?


Average cost of opening a nail salon will depend on a lot of factors but mostly the size, location and fitout that you choose. Let’s look at some costs in more detail.

1. Nail Salon Licenses and Legal Fees

  • Licenses: In the U.S., these can cost between $100-$400 for small businesses like your salon. That includes the processing costs and the license itself.
  • Certificates: The inspections required to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy vary by state, but you can anticipate paying at least $250. If any issues need to be dealt with, you'll have to correct them and have the place inspected again for another charge.
  • Cosmetology licenses and certificates are generally required for all of your personnel, and their training will need to be kept up to date, too. The charge to renew these differs by state however is commonly $50 or more.
  • Permits: Retail permits will differ by state but are usually a requirement if you plan on selling products to clients. In California, for instance, there is no charge for a retail seller permit, but a security deposit might be needed.
  • Legal Fees: A legal adviser can assist you to examine your lease or bill of sale, check that all of your documentation is filed correctly, and read any "fine print" on your state's requirements or insurance coverage documents. They generally charge about $200 per hour for their services.

2. Nail Salon Location

  • Rent deposit: This will include your first month's rental fee. However, it can additionally include an extra deposit in some cases (if the commercial property is furnished, some states allow landlords to charge more).
  • Nail Salon Fit-out: The price of fitting out the nail parlour will differ a lot depending on your taste, budget, and the square footage of the location itself. Don't hesitate to look around and get multiple quotes.
  • Furniture: To begin, you can anticipate paying a few hundred dollars for a good chair, manicure station, and even more for a comfortable pedicure chair. Do not forget furniture pieces for your customer reception areas and break rooms, too.
  • Signage: It's important to have the perfect nail salon sign to bring in customers to your business. That stated, a professionally-made sign done by a graphic design business can start at a few hundred dollars, so it's a good idea to shop around before choosing one.

3. Nail Salon Equipment

How much does nail salon equipment cost?

A brand-new total set of nail salon equipment and tools will cost you at least a few thousand dollars, depending on the number of nail technicians you have and the services you provide. That includes everything from chairs, electric nail files, UV light, and nail dryers.

When you start stocking up, bear in mind that your nail parlour's requirements may change in the future, so you'll want to plan not just what you purchase now but what you might need later.

4. Nail Salon Marketing

Your nail salon website is among your most vital marketing tools, even more so if your target audience is more youthful or professional. They tend to value the practicality of online booking and use social networks to find the services they're looking for.

You can build your website using a completely free template online or work with a specialist. They generally charge between $300- $700 for this service. Or, you can get nail salon management software that includes a website building function.

Don't forget business cards and flyers, too. Make certain to connect to the local community using printed products that you can hand out at your nail salon and local businesses.

You may even want to buy an ad on the radio or in the local newspapers.

We recommend you to check out our post on Nail Salon Logo.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Nail Salon
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Nail Salon?

5. Initial Stock

Your overall stock will vary depending on the size and staffing requirements of your nail spa. When you work out your product needs, make sure to include disposable items utilized in each service, as well as expert materials and retail items.

  • Professional Products: that's what your nail technicians will use on customers and must be inventoried apart from sellable stock. Nail salon software can help you keep an eye on these.
  • Retail Products: Track what you sell to customers separately from your supplies budget. How much money you invest on these items will depend on your marketing and the products you choose, along with any specialties your nail parlour provides (such as nail polishes and art, for instance).

To learn more about nail salon management improvement check out our post How To Improve Nail Salon Management Efficiency.

Opening a Nail Salon Checklist


It’s important to have a good list of things to consider when opening a nail salon. Much like with any new business venture, a bit of planning goes a long way.

Here are the steps to opening a nail salon that you can follow to assist you in turning your dream into an effective business.

1. Choose a Business Model

Will you join a franchise (this includes a lot of support, however less independence), or will you run your own business? You'll require to decide whether to pay your team on commission or rent booths/ space to independent nail technicians. These are all crucial things to know before opening a nail salon.

2. Develop Your Nail Salon Business Plan and Price Menu

Is opening a nail salon profitable? Of course it can be. Therefore it best to start to prepare a nail salon business plan and a budget to give your a roadmap on how to lead your business into profitability. Include a marketing plan, your target audience description, budget, and the type of products/ services you'll offer customers.

3. Find Perfect Location

That will depend a lot on your brand and target audience. Will your client base be professional and young? Then try to find something near a local downtown or business center.

4. How to Fund the New Nail Salon?

Inadequate funds at startup are one key reason that nail salons fail, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Try to have at least 6 months in reserve. Sources of financing can include your own savings, aid from good friends and family, your local credit union, and loans and grants for industry startups. Make certain that you have a budget and plan to pay it back, too.

Opening a nail salon checklist
Opening a Nail Salon Checklist

5. Develop Your Nail Salon Branding

Your brand defines your business and clientele. It includes everything from your logo design and name to your website and nail salon design . Pinterest is an excellent source of ideas to begin with. Choose images and words that identify your brand and use them for inspiration.

6. Prepare Your Nail Salon Marketing Plan

Set up your website and social media pages, pick a nail salon logo, and reach out to the community. Your family and friends can be vital when it comes to forming these connections with new clients.

Make certain that you also set up your Google My Business account info with pictures so clients can find you on opening day and leave comments later.

7. Get Nail Salon Management Software

Nail salon software will help you handle your staff schedule, take payments, optimize your nail salon calendar, allow simple online booking, track and order stock, and more, saving you hours of hassle and money each week.

8. Pick Your Credit Card Processor

Various providers offer different equipment and rates, including easy app-based systems or more sophisticated devices with receipt printing. Don't hesitate to shop around.

9. Recruit Nail Techs

Promote any openings and pick your dream team, then plan your training. Look at our post on nail technician job description guide if you wish to learn more about the best credential you should look for.

10. Choose Product Suppliers

That depends strongly on your branding and customers, so choose an assortment that compliments your services and vision.

We've prepared an opening a nail salon checklist pdf to assist you to begin.

Nail Salon Equipment List


That includes all the things from furniture to the tools and technology that your team will require. Start by making a list of the small and big items that your space should have, separating "needs" from "wants" to remain on budget.

Your new business shopping list needs to include:

  • Furniture: Reception desks, chairs, lighting, waiting area furniture, work stations, pedicure chairs, product display stands, trolleys, shelving, and wall art are all required things to place on this list.
  • Electrical Items: Electric nail files, UV light and nail dryers, UV sterilizers, washing machines and towel warmers, and any specialty items for other services.
  • Tools and Supplies: This includes materials like polishes, acrylics, gels, dip powders, base & top coats, polish remover, nail tips, cotton balls, and gloves, in addition to reusable brushes, callus removers, cuticle nippers and scissors, mixing bowls, nail buffers, orangewood sticks, towels.
  • Management: Computers/ Laptops, nail salon software to track scheduling, visits, stock, POS system, a cash register, and phones are all necessary for the business.
  • Safety: Fire extinguishers, first aid kits, masks, and hand sanitizer need to all be kept on hand.

We've prepared an opening a nail salon equipment list pdf to help you get started.

Do not miss our post Nail Salon Price List.

How To Start A Nail Salon At Home


Today, more businesses can be started and run from home. If you’ve been thinking about starting a nail salon at home the best way to set yourself up for success would be to follow the same steps as if we're opening a nail salon business. You would need to scale down some activities.

  • Have a nail technician license
  • Write a nail salon business plan
  • Think about your target clientele
  • Buy nail equipment and supplies
  • Come up with a price list
  • Pick a home nail salon design idea

Opening A Nail Salon With No Experience

Starting your own business can be challenging. Suppose you do not have any business experience. In that case, you could also explore an option of a partnership or better yet join a nail salon franchise and get a lot of knowledge and support in business management.



Starting your nail salon is a big step, but it can also be exceptionally fulfilling. The most important thing you can do is invest your time and effort in staying organized right from the start.

Tools like nail salon software can help with this, and it's important that you prepare yourself by doing your own analysis and preparing your checklists before you start making any purchases or investing any money.

The proper planning, a clear budget plan, and a strong marketing strategy will show you how to open a nail salon.


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