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:

For our complete, detailed guide on how to start a beauty salon or spa, click here.

For our guide to the legislation and regulations you’ll need to adhere to in order to safely and legally run a salon or spa, click here.


Useful links:
It may be worth considering seeing if you can get a Business Loan to help you with financing your startup idea.



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:

Service Equipment Products
Hairdressing and barbering
  • Comfortable styling chairs
  • Styling units with mirrors
  • Scissors, clippers and blades
  • Combs, brushes and grips
  • Hairdryers, straighteners and curling tongs
  • Protective gowns for clients
  • Dye application brushes, foils and mixing bowls
  • Aprons and gloves
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Shaving cream
  • Styling products and serums
  • Hair dyes, bleach and peroxide
Nail technology
  • Manicure and pedicure chairs
  • A desk or table for your technicians to work at
  • A UV/LED drying lamp
  • Clippers, files and buffers
  • Cuticle maintenance tools
  • Hand towels
  • A large variety of polish and gel colours
  • Acrylic and nail tips
  • Cuticle oils
  • Acetone for removing gel polish
Tanning
  • A spray tan machine
  • A tanning cubicle and protective floor covering
  • Extractor
  • Disposable underwear and soles for clients to wear
  • Gloves for your staff to wear when handling tanning liquid
  • Tanning liquid
Massage
  • A massage chair and massage table
  • Stones and a stone heater (for hot stone massages)
  • Towels
  • A relaxing soundtrack (CDs and a CD player or digital playlists and Bluetooth speakers)
  • Massage oils and lotions
Waxing
  • A beauty couch for clients to lie on, plus a paper roll to spread over it
  • A wax heater
  • A spatula for spreading wax, and wax strips
  • Tweezers
  • A variety of waxes
  • Lotions to apply both before and after the wax


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:

“Use the best products and equipment on your clients and you’ll reap the benefits. You definitely need to invest heavily in these things. No scrimping or thinking you can pick up a good UV lamp from eBay.”

– Rachel Fox, The Beauty & Blow Dry Studio

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</strong>, where customer payments are stored while being approved for you.

To find the best merchant account provider for your beauty salon or spa business, simply use the free form at the top of this page.


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.

“There is some really good state-of-the-art software on the market available to use that can sync with your mobile and allow clients to book themselves into your diary.”

– Mica Nicole, Mica Nicole Hair Salon

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.”