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Opening a Nail Salon: The Ultimate Checklist

Opening a Nail Salon: The Ultimate Checklist

If you're in the process of opening a nail salon, congratulations on your new venture! While this is an exciting time for you and your new business, it does come with a lot of obstacles and requirements that need to be done. 

At Minerva Beauty, we pride ourselves on being the one-stop shop for everything you need to successfully open your new nail salon. But we don't just stop there – we also want to be a resource and guide throughout this time. We have many resources that will help you when it comes to shopping for nail salon equipment, as well as blog posts on how to decorate your spa once it's opened. 

While it may seem like you have a ton of tasks ahead of you, we are here to make it simple with this ultimate checklist on how to open a nail salon. We will go over everything you need to know in terms of budgeting, selecting a space, designing your nail salon, hiring talent and attracting new clients. 

We realize that every nail salon is unique, which is why we have developed this checklist to be versatile and adaptable so that you can apply it to the areas of your business in a way that sets you up for success.

Let's dive in together, shall we?

Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is an important first step in opening a nail salon. Your business plan is going to define important goals for your salon, as well as tell your brand story. It will also identify milestones that will allow you to create your business the way you want to. This first step will allow you to identify exactly what you need to do to successfully open your salon. Here is everything that should be in your business plan. 

Mission Statement – A mission statement defines your brand. The statement should include your salon’s mission and the goals it hopes to accomplish. Creating a mission statement will take some brainstorming and time, but it can also change as you open your business, learn more about your salon’s talents, introduce new services and build clientele.

Market Analysis – What sets you apart from your competitors? By conducting a market analysis of salons that are similar in the area, you can identify how your business can differentiate itself even before you open. It can be with the design and look of the salon or the services that you offer. A market analysis will come in handy when you are shopping for a salon location, as it will help you determine where it’s best to open your new business. 

Long-Term and Short-Term Goals – Every business plan should include long-term and short-term goals. Define how the business will grow over time and as it ramps up. While it's important to have attainable, short-term goals, you can also include long-term goals that may seem a little future-facing, too. 

Your Budget – Your business plan should also include your financial expenses for the first couple of months to a year. We will talk more extensively about how to create a budget below.

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Set a Budget

Of course, when you're starting any new business venture or opening a salon, you want to make sure you set a budget. A budget will give you a broad view of the financial aspects of opening your business and running it. Having a set budget early on is important for making sure that you stay within your means while having to cover costs for things like rent, talent acquisition, interior design, construction, marketing materials and much more. While it's important to have this framework, it’s equally critical to keep in mind that this budget may change as you cross off things on your checklist. With that being said, it's good to create a budget that's flexible. Here are some expenses you need to account for in your budget. 

expenses to account for in your budget

  • Nail salon equipment
  • Website costs
  • Talent and other professional helpers like designers, financial advisors and business partners
  • Remodeling costs
  • Interior decor
  • Rent or down payment on a storefront
  • Purchasing salon manicure supplies
  • Grand opening supplies and materials

Shop for a Location

Now that you have the logistics nailed down with your business plan and budget, it's time to go shopping for the perfect location to open your nail salon. The location of your salon is one of the most important aspects to consider when shopping for a salon space. Not only do you want to make sure your new salon is an area with other bustling businesses, but it’s important to make your salon accessible to every kind of client.

Parking – When your clients visit you, where are they parking? Is your salon in an area where most people will need a car to reach you or easily accessible via public transportation? Either way, it’s important to consider how your clients will be able to travel to and park near your salon. A salon that’s located in an area with no parking may be less appealing to people who need to drive. 

Competition – Are there other salons around the area where you will be opening yours? If there are, it’s not necessarily a deterrent. When you complete your market analysis, you will be able to see how your salon can differentiate itself amongst the competition. If you feel like your salon will fit in where there is a lot of competition, then great! If not, you may want to find a region that doesn’t have many salons to choose from. 

Access – Can your potential clients access and find your salon easily? This is critical in ensuring that your salon gets a lot of traffic and visibility. If your potential new space is hidden in the back of a shopping mall, how will people find you? 

Decorate, Design and Remodel 

woman looking through cloth swatches

Now that you have your space selected, you will need to start thinking about how you want your space to look. Depending on the space you choose, you may have to remodel and renovate. Either way, here are some ways to identify and determine your salon’s aesthetic so that you can get started on the remodel, renovation or decoration. 

Create a Mood Board – What do you want your salon to look like? You can start creating mood boards with color schemes you love and inspiration from other salons that have a beautiful interior. This will help you better understand the direction of your salon’s vibe and look. To see some stunning examples of our own clients’ work, check out our lookbook with tons of unique designs.

Choose a Color Scheme – Salons that look modern and stylish usually center their design around a cohesive color scheme made up of two or more colors. You will want to pick a color scheme that is flexible and can work with a variety of interior decor so that your space is versatile and can grow and change with your business. 

Shop for Decor – When you determine your salon’s aesthetic, you will want to shop for interior decor that blends in well with your salon’s space. Things like signs, mirrors, plants and shelves are great pieces to add when you’re designing your space. 

Invest in Nail Salon Equipment

Invest in Nail Salon Equipment 

Your nail salon isn’t complete without nail salon equipment from Minerva Beauty. Here are some pieces we think should be your highest priority when it comes to filling your salon with the right equipment. Once you have your equipment picked out, you can also use Minerva’s 2D design tool to lay out your salon with your chosen equipment. This is a great way to identify how much equipment you will need and what can fit into your new space. 

Manicure Table – Every nail salon needs manicure tables. We recommend having a few different styles so that you can accommodate any manicure or nail service. 

Pedicure Spa Chairs – Pamper your guests with Minerva Beauty’s pedicure chairs. We have a variety of styles that will perfectly match your nail salon — no matter the aesthetic. 

Sanitation Equipment – From hot towels to tools, your salon will need the highest quality sanitation equipment to ensure your supplies are always clean and hygienic. Using hot towel cabis will allow you to sanitize hot towels quickly and effectively. 

Hot Towel Warmers – Enhance your services by providing warm towels during manicures and pedicures. At Minerva Beauty, we have a variety of towel warmers that will fit your budget and style. Whether you would like reusable mani/pedi towels or you would rather have disposable Easydry thermal towels, Minerva Beauty has a wide selection of both options. 

Massage Table – If your salon will be providing services like massages or facials, you may also want to invest in massage tables

Couches and Chairs – Besides the chairs you will need for your staff and guests, you will also need chairs and couches for your nail salon’s waiting area. You want guests to be as comfortable as possible from the moment they walk in to the second they leave. 

Reception Desk – Even if your salon space is small, it’s important to have a reception area where your clients can check in and your people can collect payment. 

Product Shelves – Make sure your nail polishes and retail products are displayed properly and in an aesthetically pleasing way so that your clients can easily access them. 

Hire Talent 

With a salon that’s almost ready to open, it’s time to start recruiting and searching for talented manicurists, pedicurists, estheticians and staff to help you successfully run your business. Here are some of the key staff members you will need to hire first.

Receptionist – It’s important to have a receptionist who greets your clients as they walk in. This person can also manage your salon’s schedule. 

Salon Manager – Aside from yourself, you will want to have someone who can manage your people and ensure operations go smoothly throughout the busiest days.

Nail Stylists, Pedicurists, Manicurists – Of course, you will need talented stylists who can provide your clients with the latest services, designs and looks. 

Estheticians – If your nail salon is going to offer services such as facials or massages, it may be wise to hire an esthetician. 

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Establish Your Salons Digital Footprint

Establish Your Salon’s Digital Footprint 

While much of the work you have done thus far has been about establishing your physical salon presence, it’s time to get digital. Every salon needs to have a digital footprint and strong marketing plan — especially for new businesses. Here are some ways to make your digital mark. 

Create a Website – The first thing you should do for your salon is build and establish a website. Your website should be easily accessible and searchable. Use your salon’s name to purchase a domain name so you can easily share it with potential clients. On your salon’s website, you should list your services, contact information, location, information about your stylists and booking information. 

Social Media Platforms – Social media is going to play a large role in your presence and success as a salon. You will need to create social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter to reach your current clients as well as build clientele. 

Host Training and Education Sessions for Your People 

Before you open your doors, it’s important to ensure your people and staff are on the same page. It would be wise to provide training or education in your salon to align your staff to your salon’s mission. Below are some ways you can connect your people, train them and ensure you open your salon with synergy. 

Team Bonding – Bring your team together with team bonding exercises and activities. This will ensure your staff gets to know each other and works well together. 

Education on Your Services – When your salon officially opens, you will want your stylists to be ready for whatever is in store. To bring them up to speed and prepare them, it’s important to host educational seminars or training so they can learn about the services, as well as the level of service you wish to offer clients. 

business owner turning open sign

Plan and Host a Grand Opening 

After checking off all of these to-do items, you will be ready to open your salon! If you want to host a grand opening for your salon, it’s a great way to get new clients and introduce your salon to the community. Generate buzz around your new business by passing out flyers at local businesses and offering special promotions. You can also amplify your message by sharing more information about your grand opening on your website and social media accounts. 

We hope this guide has assisted you in opening your nail salon! It may be a long process that requires patience, but taking all of these steps carefully will be well worth it. 


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