How to start a hair stylist business

There's more to cutting hair than you might think. Here's a guide to the cost, rules and preparations involved in setting up your own hair salon business

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What is a hair stylist and who is suited to?

A hairdresser’s is a business that deals with the maintaining and styling of hair. Those that deal with male customers only are known as barbers. You could even choose to specialise in colourings. But there is also a vast array of other services on offer at hairdressing salons; from manicures and electrolysis to body piercing and sunbeds.

Anyone that you employ has to be trained before they can go near someone’s scalp. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and wait until they are fully trained.

Hairdressing businesses are a common sight on the high street but you don’t have to rent expensive shop premises. Many businesses are mobile, where the hairdresser goes into customer’s home. Whichever you opt for, there are several rules that you need to follow before you wield those scissors.

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You may be drawn to the idea – but are you suited for a life of shampooing and shaving? Before you even start to think about setting up, you should have several years’ hairdressing experience of your own. It is a busy profession, particularly towards Christmas. Many hairdressers find they have no free appointments from mid-November.

“It’s not a business that will make you a millionaire.” This is according to Anita Barlow, owner of The Cottage Barber’s in Great Barr, Birmingham. It is, however, a business which tends to inspire a great deal of loyalty from its customers who will often visit the same branch for years. Many people will even follow a particular hairdresser if they move to a new business. From that point of view, it’s probably better to be a ‘people person’.

You may well be cutting children’s hair as well, many of the younger customers may well hate the experience of sitting in the chair swathed in a gown, so its important to keep your cool in the face of any possible tantrums.

As Linda Heald from Keeping Up Appearances in Chichester, West Sussex says: “I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful people. Getting paid for something you love doing and working with friends in a nice atmosphere can’t be beaten.”

Having said that, there’s more to it than just standing there and asking the customer where they’re going for their holidays. Things can get fraught, particularly on Saturday mornings or around Christmas and it’s best to be able to stay calm in stressful situations. Making mistakes with people’s hair is not one they’ll forgive easily.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.


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