Salon Opening Checklist in 2023

When you’re starting a salon business, you need to do a lot of research and plan things step by step, which is why we’ve created our salon opening checklist to help you.

There’s lots of work involved in starting a successful salon: from the obvious (like hiring), to more subtle things that might not come to mind until it’s too late.

Opening a salon business takes a lot of planning. Even the most experienced business owner or salon manager knows that it can be all too easy to forget about one or two small items in the rush to get things done.

Since the consequences (and the cost) of even small mistakes during planning can be unpleasant, it’s important to start off with good planning to help everything fall into place.

Please Note: This is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your business, please consult with a legal professional or a financial advisor.

What You Will Learn

We’ll go over the steps that you’ll need to take to make your new hair salon opening process a success, including the basics of planning your salon setup, getting your salon space ready, and taking care of the paperwork needed to start your business.

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  1. Choose a Business Model
  2. Prepare a Business Plan
  3. Draft Your Budget
  4. Find the Perfect Location
  5. Decide on the Name
  6. Work Out Your Visual Identity
  7. Fit Out Your Space
  8. Find and Hire Your Dream Team
  9. Purchase the Equipment
  10. Register Your Business
  11. Ensure You Have Necessary Licenses and Permits
  12. Create a Price Menu
  13. Choose Your Backbar and Retail Products
  14. Set Up Your Website, Social Media Profiles, Email
  15. Get the Right Salon Software
  16. Get Insured
  17. Download Our Salon Opening Checklist Template
  18. Conclusion

Choose a Business Model

You’ll have to decide whether you want your new salon to be part of a franchise or not. If you join an existing franchise, you’ll get some benefits, such as brand recognition (especially if it’s a well-known company), advertising assistance, and help with startup.

There are drawbacks to be aware of, too, including less independence (you’ll have to follow their policies and procedures), franchise fees and less financial privacy.

The other choice that you will need to make is whether to pay your stylists on a commission basis or to offer booth rentals for independent stylists (you’re also free to use a mixture of both models, if that suits you).

More on it here: Salon Booth Rental vs Commission.

Prepare a Business Plan

This will be necessary for any potential investors to start evaluating the costs and benefits of funding your salon venture. A business plan helps you secure this funding and keeps you organized throughout the process. It provides the focus and “vision” to help you succeed.

It should include a marketing plan, an analysis of your competition and a breakdown of your target market. It should also explain your management structure and the kinds of products and services you’ll offer each client.

For more details, check out our article: How to Write a Salon Business Plan.

Draft Your Budget

How much does it cost to open a salon, and where will your monthly profits come from?

Establish a budget that includes an account of your startup expenses as well as your monthly operating costs and your anticipated profits. Have a separate hair salon expenses list for startup costs and monthly, recurring expenses.

These amounts can vary widely depending on your salon’s size, location and client base.

For more info, start here: How Much Does It Cost to Open a Salon.

Find the Perfect Location

You should consider your salon’s services, the layout and space that you’ll require (will you run a large salon or rent a suite, for example), as well as your future clientele when you search for a location.

Here are some tips on this: How to Choose Salon Location.

Decide on the Name

What’s in a name? A lot, frankly. It embodies a salon’s values, brand image and the customers who visit you. Take your time, ask for advice, and avoid anything that’s too close to other salons in your area.

For more ideas, check out this article: 509 Salon Name Ideas.

Work Out Your Visual Identity

A salon start up list should always include your future logo, the color palette you’ll use for your shop and a few sentences or keywords about your overall style.

All of the things in a hair salon should look good together, beyond being functional. Having a clear idea of your visual style and business image will make it easier to market your salon’s services, too.

Click here for some inspiration: How to Create a Killer Hair Salon Logo.

Fit Out Your Space

Speaking of inspiration, unless you’re buying an existing shop and keeping everything the same, you’ll need to decide how to fit it out.

Do you want it to be cozy and comfortable or sleek and modern? Will you do the work yourself and save some money or use a design service?

Design Ideas article.

Find and Hire Your Dream Team

From stylists to reception and cleaners, know what you’ll need and make sure that they fit with your salon’s brand and values.

Pro tip: You can achieve a lot with cross-training.

For more on hiring: How to Hire a Hair Stylist.

Purchase the Equipment

What items do you need to open a salon business?

List out everything, from furniture to back bar supplies.

There are some basics like styling areas and backwash sinks. After that, it becomes more personal.

What I need to open a salon is different from what you require, so decide on services and any specializations you will focus on first. This has a big effect on the equipment needed to start a hair salon.

Equipment list article.

Register Your Business

Hair salon requirements for opening usually include registering and being licenced by either your state, province or local government.

It’s one of the legal requirements to open a hair salon, so remember to check the posts on your state or city’s web page for guidance.

Ensure You Have Necessary Licenses and Permits

Do you need a business license to open a salon? In most countries, the answer is yes.

Afterwards, do you need a license to own a hair salon? Usually, the answer is still yes.

Every single “opening a hair salon checklist” should include getting your paperwork in order. Insurance companies will require you to have this, too. Check local laws about this.

If you find yourself asking “What qualifications do I need to open a salon?” then go online and check your state’s laws about this.

Do not miss our post on salon license.

Create a Price Menu

Start by calculating each service’s value, the expense, and your target audience. Then, decide on a pricing strategy.

More on this here: Salon Pricing Guide.

Choose Your Backbar and Retail Products

These are the products used at each appointment- you should create a separate salon supply checklist for these and your retail inventory (ideally, you will want to keep these separate for future ordering and tracking).

More about back bar inventory here: Guide to Salon Back Bar Inventory.

Set Up Your Website, Social Media Profiles, Email

In the modern cosmetology business (whether you’re an owner, stylist or other aesthetic professional), the internet is one of the best ways to reach clients.

You’ll want to set up the site, your email address, facebook page, etc. and post often. If you manage your digital presence well and encourage clients to share your posts and join your salon email list, this can be a valuable source of free advertising for you.

Pro tip: A website and email address also makes online booking much easier.

For more tips, check out this article: Salon Website Builder.

Get the Right Salon Software

This will help you to run your business, take bookings, track and order stock, and pretty much everything else. Salon software is a must if you want to save time and focus on the bigger picture.

Zolmi salon software & mobile app is one of the top software with a wide range of features to make it easy to run your salon on the go: Salon Software.

Get Insured

It’s sometimes required by law, but usually a good idea to keep your business safe. Remember to do some research and see which kinds of insurance your state/ city requires.

Link to our Salon Insurance article.

Checklist for salon opening
Checklist for salon opening

Download Our Salon Opening Checklist Template


To help you start, we’ve created a handy opening a salon checklist pdf. Feel free to add to this list as needed.

Step 1: Planning and Paperwork

  • Choose your salon name

  • Make a business plan and budget

  • Salon logo and brand image

  • Do you need a business license for a salon? Find out!

  • Obtain your state tax ID for your business

  • Register as an employer

  • Choose the right location

  • Check out zoning laws in your area

  • Buy a website and domain name

  • Set up your company’s bank account

Step 2: Design it All

  • Check municipal codes and building rules

  • Confirm your salon layout

  • Do your research, then hire contractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.)

  • Apply for building permits

  • Obtain your business license

Step 3: Get Things Ready

  • Organize your financing if needed

  • Buy business insurance

  • Set up utilities, phone and internet

  • Find a credit card/ payment processing company

  • Purchase salon software

  • Buy computers, printers etc.

  • Find a supplier for back bar items

  • Get signage ready

  • Print business cards

Step 4: Buy Tools and Equipment

Try and do this at least 2-3 months before you open, to give everyone plenty of time.

Styling Stations:

  • Each main station

  • Portable station

  • Tool holders

  • Carts and trays

Styling Chairs:

  • Chairs (reclining or not)

  • Cutting stool for stylists

  • Chair mat

Shampoo Stations:

  • Shampoo bowls/ sinks

  • Backwash units

  • Tilting chairs

  • Storage cabinets

  • Traps for sinks

Color Bar:

  • Storage and displays

Dryers and Processing:

  • Wall-mounted dryers

  • Blowdryers

  • Box dryer and wheels/ stand

  • Drying station chairs

  • Color processors

  • Flat irons

  • Steamers

Reception/ Guest Area:

  • Desk

  • Guest seating

  • Retail product displays

  • Water cooler/ coffee machine

  • Decor items for lobby

  • Cash register

  • POS system

  • Payment processing and receipt printer

Back Room:

  • First-aid kits

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Break room decor

  • Staff seating

  • Microwave

  • Storage areas and shelving

Tools and Accessories:

  • Towels

  • Utility carts and trays

  • Sanitizers

  • Vacuum

  • Brooms and cleaning items

  • Extra lighting

  • Booster seats for children

  • Trash disposals

Specialty Items (if you’ll specialize in waxing, tanning or other aesthetic services, add these to the list)

Some examples include:

  • Pedicure chairs, stools, carts and tools

  • Manicure chairs and polishes

  • Barber chairs and towel warmers for hot shaves

  • Facial machines, steamers and massage chairs

  • Tanning beds

  • Waxing tools, tables and wax warmers

Step 5: Hiring and Training

  • Write your mission/ vision statements and values

  • Make a list of hiring needs and positions

  • Write your training plan

  • Put job vacancies online (and in the papers)

  • Interview and hire

  • Buy uniforms and welcome packages

  • Write your daily salon opening and closing checklist

  • Schedule training

Step 6: Finish Installations and Inspections

  • Book delivery of items

  • Schedule plumbing and electrical installations

  • Install furniture and fixtures

  • Book your inspection

Step 7: Advertise and Reach Out

  • Make your marketing plan and strategy

  • Finish your website and launch it

  • Make you Facebook and Instagram accounts

  • Join trade associations and start networking

  • Place ads in the paper or on the radio

  • Make your flyers and post them

  • Leave your cards with local businesses

  • Plan special events for your first week

Step 8: It’s Almost Ready!

  • Send out invitations for the big day

  • Test your electrical, phone and internet hookups

  • Clean, then clean again

  • Put out retail products

  • Set your business hours

  • Put float in register

  • Set up trash bins

  • Stock the bathrooms

  • Break room items (coffee machine, water cooler, fridge)

  • Cleaning and laundry supplies

  • Stationary, pens and pencils

  • Hang up any art

  • Speakers and music system

  • Decorations for the big day

Step 9: Your First Day

  • Clean again and double check everything

  • Congratulations, you did it!!!

Hair salon opening checklist
Hair Salon Opening Checklist




There are many things to think about when starting a new business. Having some structure in place from the get-go will make everything smoother.

Your salon opening checklist is like a roadmap for success: it will keep you on the right track and help you remember what to do along the way. Then, you can focus on enjoying the process.


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