Steps to Owning a Beauty Salon

So you want to own a beauty salon and are wondering what it takes in order to kick start your life and get a career in the ever-changing and always paying cosmetology and beauty industry. Maybe you’re a high school graduate with big dreams, or maybe you’re tired of working a dead-end job for someone else and are ready to be your own boss and own your own business… if cosmetology, beauty, and great looking healthy nails & skin are your callings, then owning your own salon is a fast-paced and demanding position that requires not only the cosmetology know-how and experience, but also the real-world business owner, customer service, marketing and employee training side of things as well. Ask any salon owner or anyone who has ever tried to even manage a beauty salon, and they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not an easy way to make a living, but if you’re the right person with the right skillset, imagination and education, then you’re well on your way to becoming the owner of your own beauty salon. But let’s say you’ve got the drive, you’ve got the will and the passion for cosmetology… but you’re not sure where to actually begin when it comes to owning your own beauty salon.

First Things First

The first thing you need to know, is your way around a beauty salon or spa… and that means you’ve got to be great at your own trade – cosmetology. For many successful salon owners, the first step to owning your own salon is becoming a licensed cosmetologist and expert in all things beauty. If you live in California, Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy in Santa Ana, California is one of the longest-running and best cosmetology schools in California. They offer cosmetology courses that are taught in both English and the Spanish language, and focus on developing the beauty school student’s practical skills, theoretical cosmetology knowledge, and to build the professional attitudes necessary for success as a beauty salon owner. Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty School also will help prep the student to qualify and hopefully equip the student with the knowledge and experience to pass the California State Board licensing examination.

After the cosmetology school graduate and future salon owner hopeful has successfully passed their state board exam, they are qualified to work as a licensed cosmetologist in any licensed facility in the state of California. They may cut hair, perform hair styling, perform all phases of manicuring, apply make-up provide give skin care (within the scope of the license) for profit, or go on to own their own successful salon or beauty practice.

The Cosmetology Course at Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty School in Orange County is 1600 hours in length, and can be completed in less than ten months of full time student attendance. Approximately 270 hours (17%) of the cosmetology course time is devoted to technical instruction, which consists of various learning activities in a classroom situation. The remaining course time is devoted to practical operations or hands-on beauty activity, in which students develop and practice cosmetology skills under the supervision of licensed instructors in actual working conditions.

What to Expect at Cosmetology School

Cosmetology training classes at Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy have been effectively created in manner that is meant to give beauty school students a truly honest idea of what an actual day of being in the field or salon would be like for them. The classes are divided between theory and practical sessions. Practical sessions may come through the school’s salon/clinic that is open to the public. What this allows for, is that our students have a real-life salon setting to practice some of their skills on actual
clients instead of only on mannequins, and that they also get that vital salon-service experience. That’s why it’s important that anyone who really wants to own a successful beauty salon, start here. It’s here that you’ll see what goes into day-to-day operations and it’s here in these sessions that you’ll put the cosmetology theory you’ve learned into practice, and to develop the requisite speed that will become vital when they enter the world of work. A cosmetologist is expected to be well-rounded in their field, knowledgeable, customer friendly, display a good attitude and have a professional appearance. All these areas are covered throughout the course of study… however a beauty salon owner has to have all of the above attributes, but understand customer service, business, marketing and management experience, all on top of the cosmetology skills. It’s a tough gig, but if you can handle it, it’s worth the payoff.

After You Graduate and Pass the Cosmetology State Licensing Exam

Owning a beauty salon offers some amazing rewards as well as tough days and challenges. As a beauty salon owner who doubles as a cosmetologist, you provide a personal service to your clients, and this service helps relax people as well as making them feel beautiful. Once you’ve decided to open a spa or beauty salon, your next step should be putting together an actual business plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help & advice from people who have already done it (who you’ll want to emulate), and remember, the bizplan should include both your qualifications as well as the spa & salon staff members’ too!

While there are a lot of things to consider when deciding to open a beauty salon after you graduate from cosmetology school, we wanted to highlight a few for you in this blog, as a means to get the ideas flowing and hopefully illustrate what it would take to own your own salon:

  • Prior Salon or Cosmetology Experience: As a beauty salon owner, this is a big one. You should have prior work experience in the field you’re working – it’s a no-brainer. True cosmetology experience includes work as a beautician, cosmetologist in the field or in a salon, or working as an assistant salon manager. If you have no prior experience, spend time with an experienced beauty salon owner. Try to attend beauty salon owner workshops and speak to people on industry forums online. Besides salon workshops, you may also try to enroll in seminars and participate in salon business owner message board forums
  • Financing: this is self-explanatory, but it’s a big part of owning your own salon and being a successful business owner. Right now would be an excellent time to start looking for financing options and possibly also begin brainstorming for possible beauty salon locations
  • Following the proper order is vital at this point: make sure that you’ve got your financing or at least a pre-approval before you look for a property. Otherwise, factors may come up that may inhibit you from opening your own salon. Try not to skip any financing requirements; for instance, commercial banks desire previous tax forms and how much collateral you will provide them in exchange for a business loan. Also, your loan officer may want to know why you need financing… your reasons can range from purchasing equipment to meeting salon payroll
  • Location is vital when starting your own salon, so research and take note of different choices for your business location. Try to start your salon where you there’s a lot of foot traffic, though most of beauty & cosmetology clients will come from word-of-mouth and prior satisfied
    customers. Another good thing to take into consideration is the locale’s price and what you’ll pay in exchange for a downtown or high-traffic urban setting, vs. a salon that is off the beaten path in a strip mall hidden between buildings
  • You’re also going to need equipment & supplies for your salon. From stylists to customers, try and develop a checklist of things you’ll need, including shampoo bowls, scissors, combs and quality salon chairs. Try to link up with reputable salon suppliers and for sake of sanitary reasons, always avoid purchasing unknown equipment and supplies
  • Lastly (and possibly most importantly) you’re going to need the right staff of beauty experts and cosmetologists for your beauty salon. As a salon owner, begin with hiring a qualified salon manager and try to design the job description for your salon manager. Use this position as the turnkey umbrella that will run all other positions within the salon, and interview a lot before making any final decisions. Keep in mind that salon managers need to know about client bookings, how to run the reception area with proper floor coverage and banking/balancing procedures. Spend some real time interviewing each person that wants to be your salon manager. While doing so, see what their plans are to outfit your salon with hairstylists, nail technicians, estheticians and a receptionist… it should tell you a lot about their management style and experience.

Colleen O’Hara’s is a Great Place to Start if You Want to Own Your Own Salon

If you like what you’ve read and want to explore the career of a Licensed Cosmetologist and go down the path of owning your own beauty salon in the State of California, you’ll want to call a licensed and accredited cosmetology school like Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy in Orange County, California. Located in the heart of OC, in beautiful Santa Ana, Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy excels at fast-tracking students on the road to preparing for the final State Cosmetology License Exams. Please call us today and let one of our friendly admissions advisors answer your questions and if you like, we can schedule a tour of our modern cosmetology school campus in Santa Ana, California free of charge, with no obligation.

Please call 888-463-7869 and let us help you on the road to owning your own beauty salon in California today!