Beauty salon equipment and software
Getting the right products and equipment and installing the best beauty salon software is key to the success of a beauty salon or spa. Here's what you need to know
For a beauty salon or spa, getting the right equipment and good quality products, and installing streamlined salon software, is key.
This article will cover:
- 01 | The specific equipment your salon might need
- 02 | How to source reliable equipment and product suppliers
- 03 | What you’ll need in order to accept customer payments
- 04 | How to choose salon software
It may be worth considering seeing if you can get a Start Up Loan (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) to help you with financing, and mentoring to start this business idea. You'll also need to think about registering your business, either as a sole trader or as a company - if a company, then Smarta Formations (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) are an organisation that can help you set up.
The equipment a beauty salon needs
As a starting point, every salon will need the following essentials:
- A reception desk, complete with a laptop or computer and a telephone
- Equipment for taking payment
- Sofas and chairs for a waiting area
- Wheeled trolleys with which you can easily transport tools and products from one client to the next
- The appropriate disinfecting cleaning products for your tools and equipment
- A washing machine and tumble dryer with which to clean towels, protective gowns and other items used by customers
Any further equipment and furniture you’ll need will depend on the services your salon will offer. These are the basic items you’ll need to carry out these key services:
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Sourcing equipment and product suppliers
To get your beauty salon or day spa ready for action, you’ll need to fit it out with the correct furniture, equipment, tools and products you need to perform your treatments to the highest standard possible.
First of all, Rachel Fox – founder of The Beauty & Blow Dry Studio – warns against the temptation to go down the cheaper route and buy your equipment second-hand:
Mica Nicole, founder of Mica Nicole Hair Salon, agrees: “Invest in good quality furniture as they will be heavily used.”
So, how do beauty entrepreneurs go about finding top-notch kit to stock up their salons and spas? In short, it all comes down to finding reliable, professional suppliers who can provide you with what you need (and sometimes at discount prices if you’re buying in bulk).
To find the right product, equipment and furnishings suppliers for you, try the following:
- Search online. A simple Google search will bring up plenty of potential suppliers – to narrow them down, you’ll want to compare factors like prices, shipping capabilities, lead time, and – if possible – reviews from other salon professionals.
- Ask industry peers for recommendations. Nothing is more reassuring than a positive review from someone you trust! See if anyone in your network can put you in touch with a supplier they’ve had good experiences with.
- Use online forums. Forums are another great way to find supplier recommendations from fellow salon or spa owners. Forums such as SalonGeek, which has over 100,000 active members, enable you to pose questions and receive honest answers from fellow beauty entrepreneurs.
- Go to trade shows. At salon exhibitions where suppliers show off their wares, you can meet sales reps face-to-face, explore a range of options, and more easily negotiate on price.
It’s worth considering that consumer demand for natural and organic beauty is consistently on the rise, so choosing suppliers who specialise in natural and ethical products could help your business to thrive.
Getting equipment for taking payment in your salon or spa
To take customers’ payments at your reception desk, you’ll need an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system; encompassing a cash register and monitor, a barcode scanner, a receipt printer and, in some cases, a credit and debit card reader.
To run this, you’ll need EPOS software – this will usually come in a package with your EPOS system hardware, but in some cases you may need to buy or rent it separately.
Alongside processing payments, this software can help you to track your sales, stock levels and more. You can find and compare different point of sale systems for your salon or spa here.
If your EPOS system doesn’t come with a card reader, you’ll need to buy or rent one separately (the ability to accept card payments is integral to success these days as fewer people choose to carry cash with them). Take a look at PDQ machines and their prices here.
Remember, in order to take payments you’ll also need a business bank account and a merchant account, where customer payments are stored while being approved for you.
Choosing salon software
Alongside equipment, furnishings and products, software is also a hugely important consideration for beauty salons and spas. An easy to use online booking system, in particular, will appeal to your clients and streamline your appointments process.
With customers able to view your salon’s available slots and enquire after – or even book into – one without having to call or otherwise contact you first, installing beauty salon software can free up precious time for you that, without the software, you’d be spending answering the phone.
Not to mention that the software will afford your customers a modern user experience which will show them that your business is forward-thinking and cares about how easily they can approach you and access your treatments.
Fox elaborates: “We use Timely and it’s fantastic. It’s not ridiculously expensive like some but its comprehensive and full of features and our clients love it. They always comment on how easy it is to use.”
As well increasing your appointment-booking efficiency, some software can also help your marketing and customer acquisition by keeping a record of your clients and enabling you to easily send marketing materials to them (of course, if you’re storing customer data you’ll have to make sure that you and your software are compliant with GDPR).
Leah Durrant, founder of Beauty Re:Treat, says: “We use salon software provider iSalon which is fantastic. It’s crucial to have software; it allows you to market your clientele with birthday texts, regain lost clients and get to know who your clients are.”