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A Comprehensive Guide to Opening Your Own Nail Salon

Starting a nail salon can be an exciting and lucrative business idea for people who appreciate close customer contact. However, as with all companies, you must be prepared for a difficult start, requiring a lot of effort and patience. So it’s important to think about what it means and what will be expected for your business to succeed.

The US nail salon market is estimated at $2.7 billion. These salons have been around for years but the industry is still growing, which means that there are many opportunities for new entrepreneurs to break in and offer unique services and experiences.

If you’ve attended cosmetology school, hold a license, and if you’re interested in starting your very own nail salon, below is a breakdown of the steps you need to take.

Make a Plan

It takes a lot of time to start a new business and the first step is to spend time creating a clear vision. Once you’ve obtained the proper licenses to become a nail technician, contact your local health department and learn more about the requirements for opening your salon.

Make a realistic plan where you outline your activities step by step. A good idea is to write a nail salon business plan and check regularly whether you are moving in the right direction and if you’re on the right track to achieving your business goals.

Include how many stations you want, your service menu, a detailed list of what you need, and how much will it cost you to open. Another important step in creating a clear vision is to ask yourself the following questions – What are your goals? What kind of business culture will you promote? Will you hire employees, and if so what is their profile? Who is your ideal client? The clearer you are with all the details, the better you can manage your business plan and reach success.

Location and Premises

Finding the right space is one of the early challenges when opening a nail salon. It should be the right size and you should be able to rent or buy it at a reasonable price. Finding a suitable location, all while ensuring that safety standards are being met, can be time-consuming.

In some cases, running a nail salon from home can be a brilliant idea if you have an extra room in your house. In the event of a possible expansion, later on, customers can easily be referred to the new premises.

The fact that the rent corresponds to what the company can pay is an important aspect, but so is the geographical location and what the surroundings look like. If the competition is intense, the location may not be the best as it will be difficult to surpass already established nail salons.

On the other hand, there may be several salons from similar niches, such as massage or hairdressing salons, but if no one else offers nail services, you might have a true goldmine in your hands.


It can cost a lot to start your nail salon and, as a result, it’s important to have a good financial plan before you launch operations. Make a plan for costs such as renting premises, purchases, and salary payments.

Also, keep in mind that a startup business often doesn’t draw in enough to cover these expenses. So it’s necessary to have a solid savings buffer. Those who haven’t saved money can easily take out a loan to cope at the beginning of the operations.  Many people are reluctant to take out a loan as there is still uncertainty about how the company will fare, but the fact is that this can contribute to greater profits in the long run.

Customers and Marketing

To succeed with a nail salon business, it’s important to know that there are customers in the area where the company will be established. Customers will not find the newly opened nail salon on their own but they’ll need guidance. A good marketing plan is crucial and will play an important part in whether your business shall succeed or not.

Think about ways to promote the business and make sure you have some type of marketing strategy in place. Unique and personal offers are effective and can help build trust between customers and companies. Starting a niche salon such as a combined nail and hair salon can also be a great way to attract customers.

Final Thoughts

Before diving into the nail salon business, get quotes on insurance, rent, and calculate all of your startup costs. Do local market research and find out where competitors are located and do your best to set yourself apart and appeal to your ideal clientele.

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