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How to start your own beauty business

Always wanted to set up your own beauty business? Start here...

Mobile or salon

The first thing to determine is if you want to set up a salon or offer your services mobile. Have a think about which would suit you and your customer base best. If you go mobile, you are able to fit work around your own time, but you need to keep in mind things such as fuel costs and transportation of your services. It will also limit what beauty services you can offer.

Business plan

Your first step will be to create a business plan. And you will definitely need one if you are planning to apply for a bank loan or other type of finance.

Make your business plan as detailed as possible – this will help you be absolutely clear about your business idea. You should include potential problems or challenges that you’ll need to address as well as your goals and how you plan to achieve them.

It’s also important to set out how your business will be financed, including business start-up and ongoing costs.

Skills and services

With high start-up costs, employees to manage and an extensive list of rules and regulations; aspiring beauty entrepreneurs need to be as skilled in business management as they are beauty therapy.

Many salon owners get business training to enable them to effectively manage running a business and a team of staff. One way to stay on track and focused is to draw up a business plan as this will help you identify key costs, targets and a plan for the day-to-day running of the business.

You need to make sure you have the necessary skills to offer your services. It’s important to prove to clients they are in safe hands. Having a relevant qualification within the industry is important. Consider taking a range of different courses that allow you to offer services legally to clients.


You need to be aware of the legalities behind offering beauty services to clients. There are a number of different regulations you need to follow.

On top of qualifications, insurance and licences for treatments like massages, beauty treatments, saunas, sun beds, and manicures; aspiring beauticians also have to deal with a range of planning and premises regulations.

Types of business

There are a number of different business models to choose between. You will need to take professional advice and choose the one that will suit you best. Types of business include:

  • Sole trader – you will take all the profits but will also carry all the financial risk.
  • Partnership – this is a business owned by at least two people.
  • Limited company – the main advantage here is that you won’t carry all the financial risk.
  • Franchise – as a franchisee, you would pay an existing beauty business to use their established business model and operate under their name.
  • Renting a treatment space or room – this means you would be running your own business as a self-employed person from someone else’s salon premises.


You must ensure your insurance covers all the treatments and services you offer. Your therapists must be properly trained and qualified for the treatments they provide, otherwise your insurance will not be valid.

Your insurance will not cover treatments you are not qualified to carry out. Find out more about insurance at ABT.


Who is your target market? You need to know as this will influence your choice of location. For example – a busy town location to attract affluent professionals? A college or university location to attract students? Or a multicultural area to attract culturally diverse clients?

You’ll also need to think about the location generally, for example, are there good transport links? Is there enough parking? Is it an ‘up-and-coming’ area? What competition will you have? Are there similar businesses in the area?

Courses to help you start your business