How to Open a Salon or Day Spa

Personnel

One of the more challenging aspects of being a salon owner will be hiring and retaining good employees. This can seem like a daunting task, not just because both of these responsibilities can be very time-consuming, but also because there's so much riding on employees' skills. After all, your employees will be the front-line representatives of the business you have lovingly and painstakingly cobbled out of little more than some loans, some ingenuity and a lot of "shear" determination. Their ability and talent, as well as their attitudes and work ethic, will influence every aspect of the business, from client retention rate to the bottom line.

Here's a rundown of the salon and spa employees you're likely to need for the day-to-day functioning of your new business.

Owner/Operator. You're an employee, too, so you're first on the list. Your day-to-day responsibilities will include overseeing operations, making sure customer service is a top priority, making financial decisions, checking salon product and retail product inventory, handling personnel matters, hiring new staff, and assessing employee performance. All of this is in addition to providing salon services if you're a licensed, practicing cosmetologist.

Salon Manager. While it may be tempting to try to undertake all the management tasks of the new salon yourself rather than hiring a salon manager, try to resist the urge. Unless your salon is extremely small, the price you'll pay for a manager's salary is worth it. The manager can handle myriad tasks like paperwork, record-keeping, employee scheduling and purchasing. He or she will also oversee salon maintenance and handle facility management issues. This person should have the authority to act on your behalf in your absence long-term success."

Hairstylist/Cosmetologist. Your stylists are at the heart of your salon staff. Every state requires stylists to be licensed cosmetologists, so you'll want to check their credentials when they apply for a job. A cosmetology license typically allows the holder to cut and color hair and give manicures and facials. Ordinarily, additional licensing is necessary for services like massage therapy, but it's possible your cosmetologist will be permitted to give hand and foot massages without extra licenses. Check with your state's board of cosmetology to see what the requirements are.

Shampoo/Salon Assistant. This is the person who shampoos clients' hair while the stylist is finishing up another client. He or she may also fold towels, sweep up hair clippings and provide other general assistance around the shop. Often these assistants are newly minted cosmetology graduates who are looking for experience in the industry, or licensed assistants who haven't yet completed enough hours to become a fully licensed stylist.

Receptionist. In addition to greeting customers as they arrive, the receptionist answers the phone, books appointments, gives directions, cashes out customers and performs various other customer service duties like making coffee or even hanging up coats for clients.

Manicurist. As previously noted, the manicurist may be part of either the hair salon or spa staff. This professional provides services like manicures, pedicures and acrylic nail application and tipping and must be a licensed cosmetologist.

Aesthetician. This is one of the most skilled people on your spa staff. Aestheticians hold a special license from the state so they can provide services like facials, waxing, massage and other specialty body-care services like Scotch hose therapy. Quite often this person also does makeup consultations and application, especially if there's not room in the budget to hire a dedicated makeup artist.

Massage Therapist. Although an aesthetician can provide many massage services, a massage therapist has a higher level of training and additional expertise. Most states require these professionals to hold a massage therapist license

Electrologist. This person provides hair removal services and needs an electrologist license in many states.

Independent Contractors. The independent contractor is a person who is not on your payroll but provides certain services in your salon, including hairstyling and manicuring. This type of business arrangement most commonly occurs when a cosmetologist rents space from you (known as booth rental), but is responsible for everything from buying his or her own tools and supplies to paying taxes on earned income.

How to Open a Salon or Day Spa

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