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For many cosmetologists, the dream is to eventually own their own salon. It seems like a big dream, but with the right goals in place, it is totally attainable. If you want to own your very own salon one day, here’s what you need to know.

Get Your Start by Working in a Salon

Before you own a salon, you’ll need experience working in a salon or spa. This is when you can watch and learn how scheduling works, how employers and employees work together, and how to manage time. With promotions, you may pick up on other business skills like marketing or hiring. If the opportunity comes along to take on more responsibility, take it! Never let an opportunity pass you by. As tempted as you may be to skip this step, working as a stylist is a stepping stone towards owning your very own salon.

Take Business and Educational Classes

To run a successful salon, you need to be business savvy. You need to know about licenses, taxes, tracking expenses, sanitation regulations, budgeting, human resources, insurance and more. If you find a seminar, class or webinar that offers business training, sign up. These skills will help break down everything you need to know about running a business. At first, it can all feel overwhelming, but classes break everything into manageable bits.

You Need Your Manager’s License

If you want to manage a salon, you need to have your manager’s license. According to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, you can earn your license after 4,000 hours of practice as a licensed Cosmetologist under the supervision of a licensed Cosmetology Manager or 2,000 hours of practice as a licensed Cosmetologist and 150 training hours of theoretical instruction in a school of cosmetology licensed by the Department. There’s also a test you need to take. In addition to this license, you’ll also need a business license, LLC license, business insurance and a tax ID.

You Need the Perfect Location

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Who do you want to come to your salon? Get to know your audience. Successful salons understand their clients. If you know who your target market is, look for a salon in an area you know your market lives. Build your salon with your clients in mind. If you’re seeking a upper class client, give clients a high-end, luxury experience. If you want your guests to be children, paint the walls with fun colors and put in salon chairs shaped like airplanes or frogs (yes, those do exist!). Your audience will influence your salon’s location and appearance.

Hire People You Trust When You Own a Salon

When you own a salon, you can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why you need managers. You’ll also need receptionists, and you’ll definitely need amazing hair stylists. The people you hire should be people you trust to run your business. You won’t be able to sit in on every appointment, so hire hair dressers with positive attitudes. Hire managers with excellent organizational and people skills. Your receptionists should be polite and charismatic. During interviews, really get to know your potential hires. If you are unsure about someone, they might not be a great fit for your salon.

This list isn’t all inclusive, but it gives you an idea of where to start. Opening up your own salon is a huge undertaking, but it is possible, and for many cosmetologists, it’s the most rewarding aspect of their career. If you’re ready to get started, set up a tour with our Admissions department. Before you draft up a business plan, you need your cosmetology license! Curious about what else you can do with a cosmetology license? Check out our free ebook “10 Amazing Careers in the Beauty Industry.”

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