Starting your own business is an exciting time, but it’s important to set your expectations so that you have realistic ideas of how much you’ll be bringing home after your start-up costs.

What does it cost to start a hairstyling business? This article will look at the costs associated with the following areas to give you an idea of the total amount of money you might need to get things off the ground:

  • Do you need a salon location?
  • Equipment
  • Insurance
  • Inventory
  • Marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • What are the total start-up costs for a hair business?

Do you need a salon location?

First, you need to decide what kind of hairdressing business you’ll run – will you operate out of a salon, or will you be a mobile hairdresser, having customers to your home, or you visit them at their property?

If you choose to operate out of a salon, there are some more costs you’ll have to factor into your budget:

Rent or mortgage

You may decide to buy a property that currently operates as a salon and has the equipment you need set up and plumbed in already, or you may decide to refurbish an empty premises. The cost will vary widely depending on the size and condition of the salon (or salon to-be). Sources say that this could be anything between £3,000 and £35,000 depending on the scale of the revamp required.

You could also rent a salon that is already set up and ready to operate, and that could be around £150 a week, depending on the location. A prime location may be more expensive, or a salon further away from a bustling high street may be cheaper. 

A common practice in hairdressing is to rent a chair in another salon. You could start out by renting a chair so that you can build a customer base and start to turn a profit before you commit to a premises of your own. Costs of renting a chair in another person’s salon will vary widely, from £50 a week, to £50 a day, or the owner may prefer taking a percentage of your earnings while you use their facilities. 

Utilities

If you’re opening your own salon, you’ll have to consult local authorities and providers for the costs of the following utilities:

  • Water
  • Electricity and gas
  • Council tax and business rates (you can find out more detail about how business rates apply and how much, through the HMRC website linked)
  • Cleaning costs
  • Disposal of chemical waste 

Hairdressing services from home

If you choose to operate from your own home, you may only have to pay the cost of installing a sink and chair in your own home. Converting a garage or building an extension will likely mean you have to start paying business rates too. 

Mobile hairdressing services

A better lower-cost option for someone just starting their hairdressing business may be to travel to your customer’s homes and save the location costs altogether. 

Equipment

A hairdresser will be likely to need a lot of kit to begin trading, such as:

  • Quality scissors, razors and clippers
  • A variety of brushes and combs
  • Electrical equipment such as hairdryers, curling or straightening tools
  • Foils and dye 
  • Capes and protective clothing
  • Shampoo, conditioner and styling products

This list is by no means exhaustive, and to assemble everything you need could be up to £1,800. A good way to save money early on is to only buy the necessities and extend your kit as you start to make money.

Insurance

As a business that deals with the public constantly, it’s important to protect yourself and your business with the right kind of insurance.

First of all, prioritise public liability insurance. You could expect to pay around £150 a year for a policy, but as hairdressers have a lot of contact with the public, it may be a little higher. You can find many specialist hairdressing policies available at a reasonable cost.

If you employ anyone, even on a casual or infrequent basis, you will legally need to have an employers liability policy in place. You can find out more about what that entails here for about the same per month as your public liability policy.

Marketing

To grow your client base, you’ll need to promote your hairdressing services, and this can cost as much as you choose. 

Tools such as social media are free but can be time-intensive to manage and grow your audience there. This may be a worthwhile tool that will save you money at first, and you can choose to spend more on social advertising later if you choose.

You could also use more traditional methods of promotion, such as flyers, stickers, print ads, referral schemes and business cards to spread awareness of your business name locally.

Bookkeeping

Don’t forget that as a self-employed person you’ll need to keep your finances straight from day one. Invest in an accounting app that can help you with the time consuming parts of doing your own bookkeeping and save yourself hours of financial admin.

You can also employ an accountant to organise your books, though this is the more costly option.

So what is the total start-up costs for a hair business?

Choose which details in this article apply to the business you’re planning to start up and find quotes for each area, like rent, insurance and supplies. Working from these real quotes, you can total up how much money you’ll need to start the business that’s best for you whether a mobile hairdresser or a physical salon.

Save time on your bookkeeping with a simple app

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. With a separate current account for your business, automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your finances every day and spend more time growing your business. Find out more here.