How to Start Your Own Hairdressing Business

The UK hair and beauty industry is flourishing. This dynamic sector boasts a workforce of 245,000 people across 55,000 businesses, including hair salons.

With an annual turnover of £6.2 billion, the sector accounts for almost 1% of the UK’s economy, and that figure continues to grow. (1)

If you’re just thinking of starting your own hairdressing business, there are many things you may need to consider. Here’s our quick guide to help you.

Business Plan

As with any new business, it’s advisable to firstly develop your business plan. It’s usually an essential document if you need to borrow money, and a great way to keep track of your success.

Plan the setting up period, and set goals for the first year, and subsequent periods. Review annually to ensure you stay on track.

Type of Business

Are you going to work from home, set up a mobile business, rent a chair in a salon, or set up your own salon? Will you be a sole trader or a limited company?

Each option has its own risks and challenges, and points to consider. For example, if working from home you need to advise your mortgage provider and home insurance, and register for a licence from your local council. You also need to consider things such as toilet facilities and ensure your workspace is set up adequately.

Rules and Regulations

Hairdressers use a lot of electrical equipment on a daily basis, such as hairdryers and shavers, all of which need to be checked regularly – in a busy salon this is every 6 months. (2)

Your work involves handling potentially hazardous substances such as hair dye, so you need to be aware of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH). (3)

To work effectively in a salon, you’ll need training and usually expected to have a minimum of NVQ level 2.


If you’re setting up your own salon, costs may vary from £3,000 to £35,000+ depending on the work required. (4)

Costs tend to be lower if you’re setting up a mobile business or renting a chair in a salon, but you’ll still need to account for your basics, such as scissors, pins, clips, shampoo, conditioner and styling products, hairdryers, etc.

Setting Your Prices

Setting prices can be tricky when starting out, as you need to find the right balance between covering your costs and making a profit.

Consider your overheads, and work out what you need to earn to at least break even. Keep an eye on your competition, and ensure you provide value and an excellent service.


Having adequate insurance is vital for your hairdressing business. Your needs depend on factors such as the size of your business, whether you have any employees, and where you work.

You may require cover for public liability, employers liability, product liability, hairdressers tools, building and contents, and business interruption. If you work with a specialist insurance broker you should expect to receive advice on the essential cover you need. A broker aims to provide you with insurance that’s matched to your requirements, at a competitive price. 


You need to apply the same level of creativity to your marketing strategies as to your hairstyles, if you want to reach your target audience. Define which customers you want to reach, how much you want to spend, and target your campaigns accordingly. This could include building a website, making business cards and leaflets, advertising in local newspapers and magazines, and using social media.

This article covers a range of factors you may wish to consider, each of which will require your time and attention. If you don’t have the expertise or simply need help, there are specialist businesses that you can contact for further advice or assistance.








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