When it comes to relaxation and stress relief, the beauty salon is the first port of call for many. It's estimated that the average UK woman spends over £133,000 on beauty products and services over her lifetime.

So if you fancy opening your own beauty salon, the opportunity to make money is definitely there. To earn a reasonable living, you should know exactly what is involved before you get started.

Start-up costs

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Start-up costs for a beauty salon are high. As a bare minimum, you need clean, spacious, well-equipped premises in a good location, a wide range of popular treatments and highly trained staff. Depending on the size and condition of the premises and whether you are renting or buying, an initial investment could be anywhere between £50,000 and ten times that amount.

If you are only going offer basic treatments such as manicures, pedicures and waxing, equipment costs will be a lot less than if you are going to specialise in laser hair removal, spray tanning and sophisticated facials. Going to trade shows to find salon fittings and equipment is a great idea as it provides plenty of opportunity to negotiate on price.


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Popular beauty salon treatments include massage, manicures, pedicures, facials and self tanning. New treatments are constantly being introduced, and it is crucial for a beauty salon to move with the times to keep existing clients happy and attract new customers. Staying on top of current trends within the industry and offering new therapies is key. Treatment prices vary greatly between salons. A London salon may charge £35 for a French manicure, £15 for a bikini wax and £65 for a deep cleanse facial. Prices will be a little lower in regional salons.

Running costs

The biggest expense to any beauty salon is staff, because without skilled, personable therapists, a salon is worthless. Therapists should hold a recognised qualification - at least a level 2 or 3 NVQ or equivalent. Habia (see Resources) is the government approved body for hair, beauty, nails and spa.

Most beauty therapists work five days per week and salaries begin at around £10,000 to £15,000 per year and increase according to experience. Salon managers typically earn over £20,000 per year.


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A beauty salon is unlikely to make any profit for the first few years, due to high overheads and the importance of putting money back into the fledgling business to build a loyal client base.

A well-established, reputable salon can be expected to make a healthy profit after a few years, with a margin of around 65%. A salon taking £500 per day, for example, would turn over £182,500 per year, of which £118,625 would be profit.