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How to open a nail salon


Beautiful hands characterize the person as much as luxurious clothes. Well-groomed nails and hands dispose to communicate. Usually, people notice them at once. At the same time, not everyone is ready to maintain beauty at home or does not want to do it. That is why nail salons are getting increasingly popular – everyone can get professional care of nails with their hands and feet.

Basic services in a nail studio:

  • manicure,

  • pedicure,

  • paraffin treatment,

  • strengthening + treatment,

  • build-up,

  • coating nails with gel polish/nail polish.

Clients visit nail salons regularly or for a special occasions. Therefore, it is a profitable niche. So, we have systematized the instructions for opening a nail salon.

The cost of opening a nail studio can vary widely depending on many factors, such as location, size of the space, equipment and supplies needed, and staffing costs. Starting a basic nail studio can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, while more extensive or high-end studios can cost upwards of $100,000 or more. Therefore, creating a detailed business plan and budget is essential to accurately estimate the costs of opening a nail studio.

Get together with friends and have a brainstorming session. Or read our blog about salon naming for inspiration.

You can get salon website for free using EasyWeek appointment scheduling software.

A nail salon is a separate, narrowly focused type of beauty salon. Its main feature is getting a service at the most comfortable time. Usually, nail salons open at 9:00 and close at 23:00. Plus, there are many nail masters, so it is always possible to find free time for an appointment.

Modern nail studios offer a handy online booking option so potential customers can make an appointment 24/7 and even out of work hours. It is comfortable both for clients and administrators.

For example, in a beauty salon, there are usually 1 or 2 nail masters who are always busy. So, the clients go to other salons to find a good manicurist.

Manicure usually has to be done twice a month, pedicure – 1 time per month. A specialized nail salon covers clients' needs for these services at a snap.

Roadmap for opening a nail salon: financial part

A well-thought strategy is important for every business idea. To open a nail salon, it will be useful to rely on the following advice:

  1. Start with a business plan for your future nail studio.

  2. Make sure you have enough financing; if there is not enough, find an investor.

  3. Study legal subtleties and sanitary standards.

  4. Create a catchy beauty salon name.

  5. Decide on the location and your target audience.

  6. Develop a strategy for promoting the salon.

  7. Select a CRM system for your nail studio.

  8. Provide all the services as professional as possible: do not forget about communication rules to satisfy the visitors and get a client base.

  9. Motivate employees to get a dream team.

The cost of opening a nail salon

The easiest way is buying a franchise. Depending on the location, space and brand, the amount of investment will differ: starting from $45000 and up to $500 000.

If you decide to get a franchise, the management company will help with almost all the steps needed for opening a nail salon. It will help with:

  • location,

  • business plan,

  • legal subtleties,

  • marketing strategy and promotion.

It is a much safer, but also more expansive way of opening a nail salon. However, there is a certain charm in opening a nail business from scratch. In this case, be ready to work hard.

To open a nail studio, you will need at least $30 000. Plus, it is also possible to save by opening a tiny nail salon, where you will work with a colleague. In this case, the expenses will be divided.

The main items of expense in a nail salon:

  • Rent or purchase of the premises: the price greatly depends on the location and size.

  • Cosmetic repairs: + design.

  • Furniture: for the waiting area and reception + for the work area. It is always possible to get second-hand furniture but be ready to check it and all its documents.

  • Equipment and consumables: it is better to work with well-known companies to get a positive image.

  • Advertising and promotion: out-of-home ads, advertisement on social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.).

  • Administrative expenses: registration of a legal entity, etc.

Regular expenses for a nail salon include:

  • staff commission,

  • taxes,

  • rent + utility bills,

  • cleaning and maintenance of the premises,

  • ordering consumables,

  • targeted advertising on search engines and social networks.

Services in the nail salon. Manicure and pedicure pricing

The average prices in the USA are the following:

  • manicure - $8 - 15,

  • manicure with gel coating - $25 - 45,

  • pedicure - $12 - 25,

  • pedicure with gel coating - $30 - 50,

  • removing gel polish - $5 - 8,

  • build-up (1 nail) - $5 - 7.

It will be a great advantage if your nail salon provides a massage or paraffin treatment together with a manicure. Plus, if you make a set of services with a small discount, like for example, manicure + pedicure, it will attract customers and double the average check.

Are nail salons profitable?

Yes! But, of course, if you know what to do. Usually, nail salon owners make up to $100 000 per year. It depends on the location, type of nail studio, etc. So, the average self-efficiency for this kind of business is 4 - 12 months, depending on the amount of investment.

If the area of the premises allows, you can expand the range of services. For example, add a brow bar or a tanning studio. If you succeed with the first nail salon, why not expand your business to a chain?

Manicure and pedicure equipment

To open a nail salon you will need:

  • special chairs for a pedicure,

  • manicure table with fan,

  • chairs for clients and masters,

  • LED lamps for drying nail coating,

  • paraffin wax treatment equipment, paraffin,

  • baths for manicure and pedicure,

  • manicure machine,

  • manicure tools: files, scissors, nippers, etc.,

  • a manicure roller,

  • nail sterilizers,

  • gloves, towels, napkins,

  • pedicure dividers, disposable slippers,

  • a set of nail polishes, rhinestones, beads, foil, brushes for design,

  • nail polish removers, hand and foot creams, cuticle oil,

  • Disinfectants and hemostatic agents in case of cuts.

How to attract clients to a nail salon

90% of the nail salon visitors are women of all ages. The remaining 10% are men who got used to taking complex care of their appearance. When promoting a nail salon do not forget about the male audience as nowadays, more and more men visit beauty salons.

Selecting a name for a nail salon

The name of a nail studio influences its success. This branding element will work for you or against you.

The name will appear:

  • on the signage,

  • in the domain name,

  • on social networks.

The name of a nail salon is better to be simple and catchy. It will be a great idea to design a logo that will be associated with the name.

Methods of promoting a nail studio

Nail salons usually serve a local audience. That is why it will be better to concentrate on the needs and desires of the locals.

Services with a discount will be useful while opening a nail studio. However, remember that they have to go together with the best quality service to avoid one-time customers, who never come back. Full ignorance of promotions is not a good idea either. As they create a positive image and attract clients. Think about establishing bonus cards for your loyal customers.

The nail salon business is often driven by word-of-mouth. That is why providing quality services sometimes can be enough to get new visitors. Motivate your guests to “promote” the nail salon with discounts and free services. For instance, offer a 10% discount for a review on social media.

Another important detail is a promotion on Instagram. It is very important to be active there as, nowadays, this platform is the leading one.

Ideas about posts on Instagram for a nail salon

  • photos of well-groomed nails that were done in your nail studio,

  • designer nail coating,

  • hand skincare workshops,

  • reviews of gel/nail polishes,

  • happy customers :)

Website and social media for a nail salon

To attract more customers you have to promote your nail studio almost everywhere. Sometimes, nail salons have just an account on Facebook or Instagram but now it is not enough. Create accounts at least on 2 platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, etc.

The website sounds a bit more complicated and EasyWeek booking software will be glad to help you with it. Just enter your data and the site will be made for you. It usually takes up to an hour. The software will use the information you enter while signing up.

Safety and sanitary requirement for opening a nail studio

To open a nail studio you have to follow a list of certain requirements. It will be better to consult which rules are in the state where you open a nail business. They are easily googleable by a request 61G5-20.002 Salon Requirements.

There are the following requirements:

  • Toilet and lavatory facilities have to be situated in the same building as the nail salon.

  • A nail salon has to be well ventilated.

  • The premises have to be separated from the living quarters.

  • No animals shall be allowed.

  • Shampoo bowls have to be equipped with both hot and cold water.

  • Sterilization and “infection control” are essential.

Nail salon staff

The owner of a nail salon does not necessarily have to be professional in a nail business. However, he has to understand the key ideas and trends of manicure and related services.

Before the opening, you have to hire a team of nail masters and an administrator. Typically, employees are offered piece-rate pay. It is especially handy for young businesses. Master's commission is 30-50%, depending on the contract.

In a nail studio that works from 9 till 11 pm, it will be best to hire 5-6 nail specialists, 2 administrators and a cleaning lady. For the first time, an owner can also be an administrator and cleaning is possible to be distributed among the employees.

Also, it is better to decide on the nail salons' values in terms of service culture. Teach your staff the psychology of communication in a beauty salon, handling objections and complaints.

Staff motivation is a guarantee that you will not fail. It creates a positive image of the nail salon and attracts clients. So, be sure you motivate your team well. For example, establish a selling competition, a prize for the nail master of the month, etc.

Conclusion + a short checklist on opening a nail salon

A nail salon is a good investment niche. Regular nail care is becoming increasingly popular as people get busy and even a bit lazy. You do not have to invest too much to open a nail studio. It is possible to start with $10 000 and then get them back in less than a year. But be ready to work hard.

So don't be afraid to start your dream, and here is a short checklist for opening a nail studio:

  1. Make a detailed business plan with all the expenses and income.

  2. Decide on the location, rent it, or buy it.

  3. Decide on the legal entity of a nail studio.

  4. Make repairs, get equipment, furniture, and consumables.

  5. Hire professional staff.

  6. Select the best CRM system for a beauty salon.

  7. Sign up for a nail salon for social media.

  8. Advertise it and promote it.

  9. Welcome your first visitors!

We wish you luck! Please, do not hesitate to try EasyWeek scheduling appointment software for free!

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