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Need to know: starting a beauty salon

Need to know: starting a beauty salon

Britain wants to be beautiful – at least that's what the statistics suggest

According to market research by British Beauty Council, £27.2bn was the total value of UK consumption of beauty products and services in 2018.

Although the hairdressing and beauty treatment industry’s revenue has grown much over the past five years, forced closures at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a recent decline in revenue. However, with the opening back up of these services, an IBISWorld report predicts an increase in industry revenue in the next five years thanks to anticipated growth in real household disposable income.

So if you’re thinking of entering the market, opening a beauty salon could certainly be an attractive business proposition. But there are a number of key choices you need to make – such as the range of services you intend to offer.

Options include: hair removal, such as waxing, threading, laser treatment and electrolysis; manicures and pedicures; massage techniques, such as Swedish massage, hot stone massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, deep tissue massage, Thai massage, Indian head massage and shiatsu; tanning, such as spray tanning and UV tanning; eyebrow treatment, such as shaping, tinting and bleaching; eyelash treatment, such as extensions, perming and tinting; hydrotherapy; exfoliation; facial treatments, such as deep cleansing, hydrating and anti-ageing; piercing; and body treatments, such as mud and clay wraps.

You could offer a variety of services or specialise in one or two specific areas. Your decision will depend on the skills you have available, your overall business strategy and the demand for the services in question.

Choosing the right location is essential. To build a successful beauty business you need a loyal customer base, and there will be more of a demand in some areas than others. So it’s important to assess the local demographic and carry out some level of market research. This will also help to give you an understanding of the specific services you should provide. You also need to check out the competition and find out who’s offering what and how much they charge. You’ll get an idea of how to price your services and you might even spot a gap in the market.

If you need to take on staff to provide certain skills and expertise beyond your own capabilities, make sure they’re properly qualified and ask for references. If you’re taking on less experienced employees, make sure they get the necessary training. Bear in mind you’ll need employer’s liability insurance as a legal requirement.

You might need to register your salon with your local authority. If you’re offering piercing and electrolysis, you’ll need to register with environmental health. Treatments using intense pulsed light systems or lasers might require registration with the Care Quality Commission. Other treatments might require a licence so make sure you do the necessary research.

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 prevents the use of sunbeds on commercial business premises by children and young people under the age of 18, so you need effective systems in place to prevent your business violating the law. Display clear notices and have written procedures for staff to check the age of customers and deal with clients who may be under 18.

Make sure you comply with all health and safety requirements. You should also protect your business with public liability insurance in case anything goes wrong – it will cover you if a member of the public suffers a loss or injury as a result of your business.

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