10 Tips for Starting Your Own Nail Salon Franchise

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nail salons

Most of us have treated ourselves to a manicure or pedicure for a special occasion, and for some lucky beauty fans, it’s a luxury that they can afford to maintain every day. If you want to play a part in the British public’s mission to look and feel good, here are our top tips for starting your own nail salon franchise.


The beauty business is booming. British women care about their appearance and are prepared to pay big bucks to look after and enhance it. A survey performed by Groupon found that the average British woman spends £70,294 on their appearance during their lifetime. That’s a whopping £1,352 a year. Nail and beauty salons are one of the fastest growing categories on our high street. Between 2017 and 2018, 176 new nail salons opened. The beauty industry as a whole is thought to be worth over £410 billion.

Many people believe having perfectly manicured fingers and toes is worth the £9.15 price tag a month that women spend in nail salons. But for many women, visiting local nail salons means more than just looking their best. In the fast-paced world that we live in, having the luxury to sit and relax for an hour comes as a welcome relief for many. Visiting nail salons also gives many the opportunity to talk about their problems and have someone listen. Follow these tips for starting your own nail salon franchise and you should be running your own profitable business in no time.


1. Choose the right nail salon franchise

If the thought of starting your own nail salon from scratch is enough to put you off pursuing your dream, then maybe you should consider franchising. Investing in a franchise is an excellent alternative to setting up your own business. You’ll still get to be your own boss, but you’ll also benefit from the help and support of an experienced franchisor. Click here to find out how you can choose a nail salon franchise that’s right for you.

2. Decide what services you will offer

You will probably pick most, if not all, of the nail salon services from this list:

  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Acrylic and gel nail extensions
  • Nail art
  • Shellac, gel and standard nail polish
  • Foot spa treatments
  • Cuticle oil treatment
  • Hand massage
  • Nail extension repair and take off

3. Who’s your target customer?

The ideal customer for your nail salon business is someone who cares about their appearance, appreciates style and has some discretionary income. The majority of salons’ customers are women, but the number of men seeking salon services is on the up.

While nail salon businesses do tend to have quite wide-ranging customer bases, you could choose to create a brand that appeals more to a certain type of customer. For instance, focusing on bright, colourful designs with wacky prints and nail gems might appeal more to a younger, hipper clientele.

Looking good is lucrative The beauty industry as a whole is thought to be worth over £410 billion.

4. Create a business plan

It’s important to develop a detailed, well-structured plan that you can present to lenders and refer back to throughout your business’ launch and development. See our eight tips for building a successful business plan for a nail salon franchise here.

The first step is to spend time creating a clear vision of your business. Yes, it should include how many stations, your menu of services, a detailed list of what you need, along with what it will cost you to open. – Meg King, salon and spa consultant for Empowering You Consulting

5. Consider how you’ll stand out from competition

With nail salons popping up on almost every high street in the UK, how do you offer your customers something different from the competition?

Firstly, the important thing is to invest in training. Lots of nail salons spend thousands of pounds making their salon look amazing and purchasing the best products on the market, but if the service is poor, customers won’t return. Spend time training staff and investing in processes and procedures to make your customers’ visits as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Also, don’t be afraid to charge more than the discount salons in your area. Of course, there will be people who want to get their manicure done on a budget, but if you’re focusing on the service you provide, then you should be confident to charge accordingly. Offering the full experience of having nails painted by a reputable professional is a service many are willing to pay extra for.

Finally, it’s essential to balance the service with convenience. Depending on your location, you may get a lot of business from people walking past your salon. Time is a precious commodity to many, so you also need to be able to accommodate the customers who want a speedy and efficient service too.


6. Choose the right location

To keep costs as low as possible, you could provide a mobile nail salon service, or you could provide your services from home. However, for many entrepreneurs this isn’t possible, so you’ll need to find a location to set up shop. The key here is visibility. If you’re opening a high-end nail salon, you might be stuck trying to balance luxurious privacy and commercial convenience, but while it’s important to attract your target customer, you also want to be noticeable to passers-by on the street. Find out what restaurants or shops are popular with your target customer and set up shop near them to benefit from spontaneous purchases.

7. Purchase your equipment

Remember that the different services you offer will require specific furniture. For instance, if you plan on offering pedicures, you’re looking at paying at least £1,000 for a professional chair. To display your nail products, you can use display casing or simple strip shelfing. If you’re sticking to a tight budget, you could look at buying equipment from an auction.

You’ll need to purchase the following equipment:

  • Nail scissors
  • Buffers, blocks and files
  • Cuticle clippers
  • Bowls
  • Brushes
  • UV and LED lamps
  • Nail polish
  • Nail remover
  • Paper towels
  • Hand soap
  • Complex tools for acrylic and gel overlays

8. Get your licence

To operate a nail salon franchise in the UK, you need to register the salon and contact your local authority to apply for a premises licence. It’s worth checking the GOV.UK website to find out about any other licences you need. Don’t forget that you need a licence for extra features like providing alcoholic drinks or playing music.

9. Market your nail business

As part of your marketing strategy, create some eye-catching flyers and distribute them in areas frequented by your target customer, e.g. shopping centres, restaurants, spas and gyms. Social media is an incredibly powerful promotional tool. Use Facebook and Instagram to showcase examples of your work and highlight any special guests that your salon has received. Also, make sure to share customer testimonials on your website. We rely on reviews more than ever, and having an impressive four or five-star rating really does make a difference.

10. Hire qualified technicians

The good news is that you don’t necessarily need any previous experience or qualifications to start your own nail salon. However, to build up a good reputation, there are lots of college and privately-run courses that you can attend. And it appears that, despite there being no minimum qualification needed to perform manicures and pedicures, the HABIA (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority) states that more than 96 percent of nail technicians have an NVQ Level 2 or above.

Interview applicants one-on-one so you can get an idea of their personality and whether they will be a good fit working for your nail salon business.

Start a nail salon franchise

If you’re creative, organised and a real people-person, then creating your very own nail salon could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. As long as you’re prepared to be dedicated, work hard and be driven to succeed, then you’re well on your way to owning a popular and profitable nail business. Check out our top hair and beauty franchises in the UK here. And, if you’ve enjoyed this article and haven’t decided which avenue of the beauty industry to explore yet, have a read of this: 12 Tips For Starting A Make-Up Business.

>> Read more articles on the Beauty Salon sector

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