Wondering how to start a nail care business? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Size of the Nail Salon Market
Nail care is a big business. According to NAILS magazine, there are 57,505 nail salons in the United States, as of 2010. There are 376,165 nail technicians, and the total size of the nail care industry is estimated to be $6.27 billion.
An odd aspect of this industry is that 40 percent of nail salon owners are Vietnamese. Of course, anybody can start a successful nail salon, but it's a bit of industry trivia we just couldn't help but tell you about.
What Type of Nail Salon Owner Will You Be?
The vast majority of nail salon owners do their customers' nails. In other words, for the most part, this is a hands-on business for owners. You'll need to work for several years in your salon before you can build a team of nail technicians that can run the business while you are not there.
Accordingly, you shouldn't go into this business unless you love nails and everything about nail care. Sure, over time you can hire a nail salon manager, but initially it's going to be just you doing most of the work. Before you decide to take the plunge into starting a nail care business, make sure you will be happy working day in and day out on customer nails.
Renting Nail Salon Booths
Some nail salons hire employees. Others rent out booths to self-employed nail technicians. While prices vary based on salon location and reputation, you can rent out a booth for anywhere between $100 to $500 per month. If renting out booths is part of your nail salon business plan, you'll want to make sure that your booth rentals will make a healthy contribution to your overhead. Don't assume that your booths will all be rented all the time. You want to make a plan that allows you to break even if the business is doing much lower than your expectations. Otherwise, your new nail salon can quickly run into financial problems if things don't go as planned, or as hoped for.
Before you start your own nail salon, it's a good idea to rent a booth from some established nail care salons. You'll get a taste for the business and learn a few things about what is required to run a successful nail care salon.
Types of Nail Salons
You have a number of choices as to what type of nail salon to start. For example, you can start a nails-only salon, a full-service salon that does nails, a day spa, a home-based salon, or a mobile salon. In terms of location, you can find a street location, work at home, travel to clients, or locate in a hotel, train station or other busy facility with a lot of foot traffic.
Services offered vary by salon, but it's common for a nail salon to offer a basic manicure, a deluxe manicure, a basic pedicure, and a deluxe pedicure. From there, offers include acrylics, gels, wraps and other specialized nail treatments. Beyond that, many nail salons will venture into things like massages, ear piercing, eyelash tinting and the like -- but many keep things simple and focus exclusively on nails.
Regardless of what type of nail salon you start, remember that clients want to work with friendly nail technicians and they appreciate cleanliness and quality work. No matter what kind of nail salon you start, the fundamentals apply.
Buying Nail Salon Products for Your New Business
Nail care product manufacturers include companies like OPI Products, Orly, Sally Hansen and others. You can buy nail salon products from local beauty supply stores, directly from a dealer, or directly from a manufacturer. Ordering can be done by phone, online, at industry trade shows or in your salon with the assistance from a sales consultant.
Best Practices for Writing a Nail Care Company Business Plan
Many new nail care business owners feel unprepared for the challenge of writing a business plan.
Fortunately, you don't have to tackle your nail care company's business plan by yourself. There is a broad range of resources available for solo entrepreneurs who face the daunting task of writing a business plan from scratch.
Our Business Plan Help section discusses some of the business plan resources other entrepreneurs have found useful.
Where to Set Up Shop
New business owners often consider customer density when exploring site selection, but other factors are equally important. We recommend that you also consider things like quality of life, the public school system, local healthcare services and the like. The better the community, the better the pool of potential customers and employees.
Prior to launching a nail care business in your area, it's essential to determine how many competitors you have. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of nail care businesses in your area.
Gain a knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.
Getting Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs
If you are seriously contemplating launching a nail care business, it's a smart move to speak with somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby nail care businesses will give you advice, think again. What's in it for them?
But, a person who owns a nail care business in a different city may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where does one find a nail care business founder on the other side of the country to talk to?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Pros & Cons of Buying a Nail Care Business
Although there are significant benefits to buying a nail care business (rather than launching a startup), it's important to weigh the pros and cons before you commit to a purchase scenario.
BENEFITS: Existing companies have proven business models and a history of profitability. They should also have some degree of brand recognition and an established customer base.
DRAWBACKS: On the downside, nail care business acquisitions can be difficult to adapt to your unique business philosophy so it's important to make sure the business is capable of achieving your ownership goals before you initiate the buying process.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
Recognize that your chances of avoiding failure in business immediately improve when you franchise and benefit from the prior work of others and their lessons learned.
If you planning on starting a nail care business, a smart move is to check out whether franchising might alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing nail care business, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to nail care businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.