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How Much Does It Cost To Open A Nail Salon?

How Much Does It Cost To Open A Nail Salon?

So, you have been working as a nail technician for a few years now and have been thinking of opening your own nail salon. You are full of amazing business ideas; you have chosen your business name and you have visions of global success for a nail salon or even a salon franchise.

You have been saving money for years but have no idea how much you would need to start your own salon from scratch. But what exactly is the startup cost for a nail salon business. Different business owners have different visions for their salon.

Some nail salon owners prefer to stick to what they know, offering a simple manicure and pedicure. Other salon owners may be inspired by other beauty industries and run a beauty salon which also offers make-up services, hair styling, and massages

In order to determine how much it would cost to start your own salon, you will need a solid business plan.  Your salon business plan will outline any costs that may be associated with your salon startup, alongside a long-term strategy, marketing and operational costs.

As exciting as the process is, starting your own business can be a little daunting. This can put people off even trying. It is important to remember that anyone who ever dreamed of creating their own beauty business started in the exact same position that you are in now, with nothing but an idea and a salon name. Here are a few suggestions and steps to start you off on your business journey.

Choose your location

There are a few things to consider when deciding on the location for your salon. This is a hugely important step as footfall, target demographics and market volume are all critical to the long-term success of your nail salon.



The real estate market will differ depending on the location. It is best to do a little research determining average real estate costs per square foot in respective areas to get an idea of which areas best suit your budget.

For example, in North Dakota you are looking at around $150 per square foot of real estate whilst in South Dakota the median price is $124. In West Virginia the cost is about $127 per square foot, Rhode Island the average cost is $185, and in South Carolina you’re looking at only $108.

Depending on the real estate you buy, you will need to assign a different budget for build out costs. Buying an existing salon is an option and might work out more cost-effective in the short and medium; but be sure to do your due diligence on the local market and the previous salon's reputation. For an existing salon, much of the structure will already be there and you will need to spend a little less money on refurbishments.

You may not feel like you are in the financial position to invest in real estate just yet, one way to work around that issue is to set up a mobile nail salon; this is a great modern trend to generate local business. 

Instead of working from a salon, you could travel to your customer’s houses and do their nails there. This saves on costs in the initial stages of your business; however, you might find that your business grows a lot quicker when you have acquired real estate. Without real estate you will most likely have to rely on social media and word of mouth to make sure people know about your mobile service. 

Market research

The price is not the only thing that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a salons location. Before choosing your location, you will also need to conduct some market research. You don’t want to set up your business in an area which is already full of beauty salons, nor do you want to set up in an area that is not home to your target market.

It is also wise to have a look around your neighboring communities. What is the nail salon market like in neighboring towns? If you have any plans to franchise your business, it may be wise to check whether there is a franchising opportunity in and around the area.  


When determining the budget for your salon startup, it is important to factor in the cost of salon equipment. Initial equipment costs can be quite high for nail salon owners. It is handy to have a list of the nail salon equipment you need so that you can work out a budget. Here are some examples of what equipment you might require to get started:

  • Manicure table: You will need at least one manicure table. The number of manicure stations you need depends on the number of customers that you would like to serve at any one time and the size of your business. 

  • Drying lamp: You will need a drying lamp to quicken the drying process. 

  • Pedicure chairs: If you are offering pedicures you will need some comfortable pedicure chairs. 

  • Equipment Sanitizers: Salon sanitation is extremely important if you care about keeping your clients. As salon professionals, you and your staff should ensure that the salon and the equipment is clean to maintain a good level of hygiene. 

  • Nail Polish: Nail polish is a must for any nail salon. It is important to have a range of nail polish and gel nail polish as well as pens for nail art. You will need to invest in a range of products so that you can give your customers any style or nail color they may ask for. You may also choose to stock nail care products like creams and vitamins for customers who are concerned about nail health.


As your business grows, you may need to hire nail techs and, unless you would like to fulfill the role yourself, a salon manager. You will need to look at your annual cash flow in order to determine an appropriate salary range for your employees.



On top of these initial costs, you will also have to make monthly and annual payments for business licenses. If you want to stay out of trouble, it is important that your business fulfills all licensing requirements.

Some of the licensing and permits needed to start your business include: a state cosmetology license or beautician’s license that is accredited by a professional beauty association, a Salon Retail Seller Permit, a Salon Business Operation License, a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a Certificate of Occupancy.

Once you have your salon licenses, you will also need to factor in the cost of business insurance. Your insurance cost will vary depending on the size of your salon, how many people you employ and the services that you offer. You will also need to pay sales tax on any profit you make.


When setting up your company, you will want to avoid using your own bank account. You may start out as a sole proprietor. A sole proprietorship means that you are an unincorporated business run by just one person.

As you grow though, it is a good idea to register as a business entity. One way to do this is to form an LLC (Limited Liability Company). After doing this you will be able to set up a business bank account.

Business accounts allow you to manage your finances with a lot more ease. With a business account you can also begin to build up your business credit score. Having a good credit score will mean that you are more likely to receive business loans with lower interest rates in the future. It may seem like a lot, but you will get used to business banking in no time.

When it comes to investing in a new business, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to fund it from their own savings account. One financing option is to take out a business loan.

Business loans can help new entrepreneurs get on their feet. You may want to set up a line of credit to help fund the initial costs of starting your business. You can pay these loans back with interest once your business is turning over profit.

Find out more

It is a lot to take in at first. The best thing to do is take it one step at a time. You don’t have to do everything at once. All the hard work will be worth it when your business takes off and the clients flood through the doors.

If you would like to find out more about business finance and other business tools that you can apply to the nail salons business as well as how you can get clients coming to your hair salons or nail salons, there are lots of great courses out there.

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