Updated: Apr 15
Starting a nail salon takes a lot of planning. Create a business plan. A business plan includes setting a budget, planning out which services you will offer, advertising, are you using a booking system, and what supplies will you need. You need to factor in all these costs when you set your prices for services. All these things need to be determined before you start. Why? If you prepare for them before you won't have as many surprises when you open. Extra things will come up but if you plan for them it will help.
Contact your local Health Unit
Find out what you need to do to prepare. I contacted the health unit first as I wanted to open as soon as possible. I had them come in and do an assessment of the space first. Ask about pedicures with a whirlpool chair? Are they approved and if so you will need plumbing for that. There was carpet in the room I was using to it had to be removed and I needed to have vinyl or preferably something that can be easily cleaned and is durable. Chairs cannot be fabric they must all be vinyl or leather so they can be wiped down after every client.
Start with construction of the salon. Outlets and sinks. The big thing if your room is pretty much set will be sinks! When I started my salon having a sink in the room was the big debate because I was in my home and my bathroom was close enough to the salon that health inspectors said it wasn't necessary to have a sink in the room. Save yourself the headache and have a sink installed in the room. 7 years after I opened I was required to install 2 sinks or receive a nice fine. I needed one for clients to wash their hands and one for cleaning tools and implements. This was a huge expense because my room was completely finished off it cost a whopping $4000!!!
Once your room is finished you can begin looking into furniture pieces. Look for the best deals all around local and online. Are you able to pick up your furniture from a beauty supplier or do you need it to be shipped or even delivered? Are there delivery fees? Do you live far away from the beauty supplier? If so what are shipping fees like to have furniture pieces delivered? I live in a small town far away from the big cities so when I looked at having the table I loved shipped to me it was going to cost more than the table itself. You need to look at all these thing. Stick to your budget. You can always upgrade things later as your business grows.
Because I checked with my health unit before opening it was not recommended that I have a whirlpool chair for pedicures. They said buying a used unit is also not recommended as you don't know if the unit has biofilm in the pipes etc. They said having those puts you in a higher risk category so I decided against it and saved money in plumbing. I actually ended up going with paraffin waterless pedicures as I don't have to worry about water spilling or plumbing and my clients actually love it more than a water soak. It's a much more luxurious moisturizing pedicure.
Register Your Business Name and Obtain City permits
Before you open you must contact your city and get your business permit. They will then contact the health unit to set up your opening inspection. Because I had already contacted the health unit I had my opening inspection date already booked.
When choosing your business name I recommend not just registering it with the province on even just in Canada. Register your business name internationally. Why? Because I when I opened my business in 2012. I did everything I knew to do and registered with the province made sure nobody else had my name etc. A few months ago I was contacted by someone who claimed I was violating their registered trademark by having their business name. How ridiculous I thought I'm in Canada and have no idea who this person is. I have never heard of them and they didn't come up when I checked for my business name in Canada. I checked internationally and sure enough they registered their name internationally. Something I didn't even know was necessary as online wasn't what it is today when I started. The name change story is a whole other blog.
Invest in lots of Preempt RTU wipes or surface spray and lots of CS20 for implements. One thing you should also know is that some companies sell reusable files but in Ontario all nail files are single use regardless of whether they are labeled as reusable. The only way a file can be re-used is if it's a been a stick file and the metal is sanitized after each client. Your health unit will discuss all this with you but it's good to be prepared.
Once you're finished construction, and setting up your salon you're ready to open. The health unit will give you the final sign off and you're ready to go. If I can give you one last piece of advise this is it. Stick to only answering calls and texts during business hours. Because you work out of your home many clients will think they can contact you at all hours so train them from the start that you stay within your working hours. This will save you a lot of frustrating calls in the middle of the night!