7 Steps to Opening a Waxing Salon
According to a recent study, the North American waxing service market is projected to grow in coming years, which is great news for anyone thinking about opening a new waxing salon! But opening your own waxing salon comes with its pros and cons. The most obvious pro is that you can be your own boss, giving you creative freedom to run a business your way. If you do it right, it can also be very lucrative and rewarding. But there are also some cons to consider, like startup costs, long hours, and managing staff.
There are also some important administrative details to take care of before you open a wax salon. You’ll need to research your target market and find a great location for your business. There are also some legal steps to take, like registering your business with your state’s board of cosmetology, so you might want to consider hiring a spa business consultant to help you navigate licensing requirements.
Checklist for Opening a Waxing Salon
Opening a waxing salon doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By breaking down the process into seven steps and checking off each item in the list, you’ll make consistent progress towards your grand opening!
Step One: Create a Business Plan
- Research target demographics & locations - It’s important to understand the neighborhood or part of town where you’re considering opening a new waxing salon. You’ll want to make sure the neighborhood has good foot traffic and successful businesses nearby. It’s also important to know if the average age and income of residents can support your business.
- Estimate all of your costs - To avoid unplanned expenses, you’ll want to record approximate costs for all your business essentials like your lease, renovations, equipment, supplies, and marketing.
- Forecast your revenue - Once you know your startup and monthly costs, calculate how many clients and how much revenue you’ll need. Aim to not only cover your costs, but to make enough profit to meet all of your business goals.
- Outline your pricing - When your costs and monthly revenue are estimated, you can start to price out your waxing services. We’ve put together a great guide to help business owners set pricing for salon and spa services.
- Determine your staffing requirements - When you initially open, you’ll probably want to start with a small team and scale up as the business grows. Refer to your cost and revenue forecasting to figure out how many employees you can afford to hire initially.
- Identify 3-5 year financial projections - To the best of your ability, plan three to five years’ worth of financial projections and funding requirements. Doing this kind of planning before you open can help minimize financial surprises while you’re running your waxing business.
Step one is foundational and worth doing right - learn more about the details that go into creating a successful salon business plan.
Step Two: Get Licensed & Certified
- Research state licensing requirements – Depending on where you are opening your business, there might be training programs and licensing exams that need to be completed before you can legally operate a waxing salon. In addition to a general business license, you might need approval from the local health department, and/or an inspection. In many places, estheticians or cosmetologists who perform waxing services are also required to be licensed.
- Apply for business permits – Beyond the requirements needed to provide waxing services, the business itself will likely require additional permits for things like renovations, signage, waste disposal and sales tax. As an employer, you’ll also need an EIN from the IRS for tax purposes. Make sure everything is covered from a legal standpoint so there won’t be any interruption or penalties to deal with down the road.
Step Three: Set Up Your Space
- Prioritize client convenience – You want to make sure that clients can easily find your waxing salon. Details like visibility and curb appeal, plenty of parking, and convenient access to public transportation can make a big difference when it comes to attracting new business.
- Optimize the layout - Consider sectioning your waxing salon into distinct sections: reception and waiting area, treatment rooms, and a preparation area for your staff (which may also double as a storage room). If you have more space you could add a consultation room for new clients. The reception area should be near the main entrance and include retail displays so customers can easily purchase products when paying for services. Putting treatment and consultation rooms toward the back of the business will provide the most privacy for your customers.
- Evaluate your equipment needs – Once you’ve defined the different areas of your waxing salon it’s time to plan for all the equipment and supplies you’ll need. This includes things like treatment tables, carts and trolleys, wax warmers and waxing supplies, and smocks or aprons for your staff. You'll also need a lot of cleaning and sanitizing equipment including UV sterilizers, an autoclave and hot towel cabinets, disinfectant sprays and wipes, disposable gloves for your staff and general cleaning supplies such as brooms, mops, hand soap, hand sanitizer and trash bags. And don’t forget about a reception desk, waiting chairs, and all-in-one POS software to streamline business operations.
- Decide on décor & ambiance – Most waxing salons present a calm and soothing feeling. Think about what colors, décor and lighting you’d like to make your waxing salon as inviting and comfortable as possible for guests. If you’re not working with an interior designer, tricks like the 60-30-10 color rule can help you create a space that looks like it was done by a pro. Use our free 2D space planner to visualize how everything fits into your floor plan. Client amenities like refreshments and reading material can make the waiting area more welcoming, and don’t forget to pick some playlists with suitable background music. And add some of your own personal touches like plants and artwork to help your business stand out.
Step Four: Hire Staff
- Post job listings & start interviewing – You’ll want to start the hiring process well before you open so have time to sift through applications, conduct background checks, verify training and licensing requirements, and contact references. Remember that in addition to estheticians or cosmetologists, you’ll also need support staff for jobs like reception and cleaning.
- Evaluate practical skills & attitude - Not only do your employees need to be skilled at waxing services, they also need to be a good cultural fit for your unique waxing salon. Look for experienced candidates that have a positive attitude, solid communication skills and good instincts for customer service.
- Provide training & onboarding – Make sure your staff is trained in the way you want them to perform waxing services. Someone may have waxing experience, but there can be variations in techniques and approaches, as well as specific types of services that require additional training. Consistency is important because your customers will expect the same level of skill and care, regardless of which employee is helping them that day.
Step Five: Obtain Business Insurance
- Start with general liability - General liability insurance is something every small business needs to protect your business financially in the event of a lawsuit or damage to the business property. General liability insurance is also usually required before you can sign a contract with a partner or vendor.
- Carry workers’ compensation - Most states require all businesses with employees to carry workers’ compensation coverage. It’s a good idea to have workers’ comp if your state doesn’t require it, because it provides valuable financial protection in the event of a workplace injury.
- Create a liability waiver - A liability release form doesn’t replace general liability insurance, but it does limit your business’ potential liability if a customer is injured as a result of a waxing service. Your liability waiver should also disclose potential risks such as allergic reaction, ingrown hairs, and increased sensitivity to sun exposure.
Step Six: Market Your New Waxing Salon
- Create a brand logo & color palette – When choosing a brand logo you’ll want to consider how it will look on signage, business cards, your website and more. Make sure the logo is unique, easily recognizable, and fits the vibe of your waxing salon.
- Set up a website & social media – You can get website inspiration by looking at the websites of other successful salons—not just waxing salons but hair salons, nail salons, and massage studios. When setting up your social media accounts, try to choose a display handle that you can use across all major social media platforms to avoid confusion.
- Offer promotions to generate interest – There many different types of promotions you can use to entice customers to try your wax salon. You could offer limited-time special pricing during your first week or month, a one-time new client discount, a referral and/or loyalty program, product discounts, promotions that bundle two services for a reduced price, and more. Make sure to crunch the numbers first, and only offer promotions that allow you to generate a profit.
- Connect with local businesses – Introduce yourself to the business community around you. You could even come up with referral opportunities, joint promotions or collaborative events to help you promote your new business in a way that benefits the local economy.
- Host an open house – An open house is a great way to generate curiosity and excitement about your new business, build personal connections and get early feedback on your service offerings. During an open house people can come in and meet your staff, ask questions, and possibly start making appointments. Making a good first impression can kickstart some word-of-mouth marketing for your wax salon, and might even get mentioned in local media coverage.
Step Seven: Prepare for Opening Day
- Fully stock your waxing salon – Make sure all areas of your waxing salon are set up for success. This includes well stocked retail displays and treatment rooms prepped with all the necessary supplies.
- Test your equipment – Avoid opening day hiccups by making sure all your equipment is working properly and ready to go. This includes lighting and music, your POS system, phone and restrooms as well as waxing and sanitizing equipment.
- Confirm staff schedule & bookings – Make sure all members of your team know when they are expected to be at the waxing salon. If you haven’t already done so, figure out what method you’ll use to confirm appointments and confirm your first week’s bookings ahead of opening day.
- Do a final deep clean – Sanitize the entire salon, clean it from top to bottom, and provide as welcoming of an environment as possible for your clients. Remember, first impressions are extremely important for new businesses.
- Welcome your new clients – Congratulations, you are ready to go! Give all new clients a friendly greeting when they show up for their first appointment. Train your staff to actively listen to client preferences and concerns. For bonus points, send a thank-you message after the appointment expressing your gratitude and asking for feedback, showing that you are committed to providing an excellent experience.
Opening a new waxing salon involves careful planning, preparation, and hard work to get everything in place for opening day. Once you’re up and running, stay focused on your business goals and make continuous improvements so you can grow your client base and revenue. Keep learning with these six strategies to help you grow your business, and seven client retention techniques that work!