Opening a nail salon can be an incredibly rewarding venture for those passionate about the beauty industry. It offers a unique opportunity to create a relaxing space where customers can pamper themselves and indulge in a little self care. And as one of the fastest-growing businesses today, owning a salon can be extremely lucrative. However, opening a nail salon also requires careful planning, dedication, and a solid understanding of the beauty industry. In this guide, we will explore all the essential steps needed to successfully open and operate a successful nail salon. Whether you are an experienced nail technician looking to take the next step or an aspiring business owner with a vision, this comprehensive approach will help you turn your dream of owning a nail salon into a reality.

Research and Planning 

Before opening a nail salon, the first step is to perform thorough planning and research.
This will help you outline your goals and create a strategy to increase your salon’s chances of success. When in the research and planning stage, here are some things you’ll want to assess:

  • Study the local market: Analyze the demand for nail services in your area and identify potential competition. Knowing what services your competition offers as well as their pricing strategy allows you to gain a competitive edge so you can stand out against the rest and market your salon successfully.

  • Define your target market: Determine the type of customers you want to attract. Once you know who your target market is you can tailor your salon services accordingly and find effective ways to advertise to them.

  • Develop a thorough business plan: Outline your salon's concept, what services you’ll offer, a pricing strategy, marketing strategies, your budget, and financial projections. This will essentially be the road map you’ll follow to create a successful salon business. 


Legal Requirements

It’s vital to adhere to laws and regulations and establish your nail salon as a legal entity before you open for customers. Sole proprietorship and LLCs are two of the most common business structures you’ll find for individuals and small businesses. 

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship doesn’t entail as much paperwork as an LLC, however, this business structure doesn't separate personal and corporate assets and expenses, making you personally accountable for all obligations, business debts, and legal matters for your salon.


While an LLC require startup costs and a great deal of paperwork, it has numerous long-term benefits. LLCs are separate legal entities once founded. With an LLC you are protected from personal liability if your nail shop runs into legal matters or business debt. 

In addition to setting up the legal entity, you’ll also need to obtain the necessary permits and licensed required as well as insurance to protect your business. While legal requirements can vary from state to state, you’ll typically need a business license, state-approved credentials for your salon, as well as a seller’s permit. Not having the proper licenses and permits can lead to fines or even closure of your salon. You may want to consult with a local business attorney or someone in the industry to make sure you follow all the legal requirements before opening. 


Location and Interior Space

Once you’ve done your research and know your target market and salon concept, it’s time to look for a space for your salon. The first thing to consider is location. When looking for the right space its important to consider parking and traffic conditions and the proximity to your target customers and where your competitors are. Locations with higher foot traffic tend to cost more, however, you may be able to increase your sales with walk-ins. If you’ve done thorough research on your target market and salon niche, it will help to guide you on which location in your area has the greater returns on your investment for the price pay for the space. 

After you find the right location in your city, you’ll want to find an actual retail space that will suit the needs of the salon. The first thing to consider is the actual space and if its big enough to accommodate your business including equipment, nail techs, and customers. Because salons work with many chemicals, it’s important to find a salon with proper ventilation. Visibility is another important factor to consider. You’ll want a salon space that can be visible from the street and has convenient access for your customers. 


Source Equipment and Supplies

After you lease a space for your salon, it’s time to source equipment and supplies. If you’re on a tight budget you may be able to find salon-grade equipment secondhand. However, all products that will be used on customers should always be new. SNS offers wholesale pricing on dip powder, gel polishes, and other tools  Try to get an idea of how many customers you’ll have each week and try to order supplies accordingly. It may be a learning curve at first, but you want to ensure your stock is well maintained. Here are some common salon-grade supplies you’ll need:

  • Nail supplies including a wide selection of nail polishes, dip powders, gel, and acrylic, base and top coats, nail extensions, nail polish remover, etc.  

  • Manicure Tools such as files, buffers, nail clippers, cuticle pushers, manicure scissors, brushes, etc

  • Salon furniture such as manicure tables, pedicure chairs, displays, reception desk etc

  • Nail dryers/UV lamps, and other equipment

  • Autoclaves and sanitization equipment 


Hiring and Training Nail Techs and Staff

Of course, you can’t have a salon without staff, and because you’re offering a service, the people you choose to hire to perform those services are crucial. Hiring and training nail technicians and staff are crucial steps in ensuring the success and reputation of your nail salon. You’ll want to hire nail techs that are licensed and experienced to ensure your customers leave happy. You may want to also consider offering ongoing training courses to make sure your nail techs  stay up to date with current trends and techniques. In addition to nail techs, you may want to also hire a receptionist and a salon manager. Remember that building a skilled and dedicated team often takes time and effort. By investing in their training and creating a positive work environment, you'll be more likely to attract and retain talented professionals who will contribute to the growth and success of your nail salon.


Services and Pricing Strategy

Determining the services and pricing for your nail salon is a critical part of your salon business. You'll want to offer a variety of services to cater to different customer needs while ensuring your pricing is competitive and profitable. While you want to offer commonly requested nail services such as manicures and pedicures, its also important to also offer additional services that will set you apart from competition. Research the latest nail trends in the nail industry to stay current and potentially offer unique and popular services. Keep in mind that pricing can vary significantly based on location, competition, and the level of luxury your salon offers. Study the salons in your area to get an idea of market rates for a variety of nail services so you can offer competitive pricing. 


Marketing and Promotion of Your Salon

You’ll need to market and promote your salon to get people to come in. In today’s world, one of the best ways to do this is through social media. Create an online presence with instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other popular social media platforms. This will create engagement with potential customers and get people talking about your salon. Another important thing to do is create a Google Business profile. This gets your salon on the map, creates social credibility, provides important info on your salon, and ensures you show up in search engines when people are looking for nail salons in the area. Check out our guide for all the tips on how to promote your salon with Google Business.


Launch Grand Opening

Once you’re salon is set up, you’ll finally be ready for your grand opening. To ensure you have a successful opening, its important to heavily promote your salon for a few days leading up to it. A great way to get people to try your salon is by offering a discount or incentive for their first visit. Make sure to post your opening on your social media platforms, reach out to local influencers and you can even collaborate with other local businesses to get the word out.