Personal care services start-up checklist

This checklist will explore starting a hair salon and/or an esthetic services business which may offer services such as hair treatments, facials, manicures, and pedicures. These services are considered part of the personal care services industry.

For general information on business start-up, consult our Business start-up checklist.

Another option is buying an existing business — find out more.

  • Buying a business
    Find out what you need to know before buying a business: where to look, how to evaluate potential acquisitions, and what a fair price would be.
  • Franchising
    Learn more about buying a franchise as an option for starting a business.

Knowing the personal care services industry

As a business owner offering personal care services, you will need to know your industry thoroughly. As with any service-based business, you should enjoy working with and for people, offer excellent customer service and have physical stamina, as you may need to work standing up for long periods of time. You may also be required to work long hours and weekends to accommodate your clients' schedules. Use the following information to help develop your knowledge base and become an expert.

Setting up your personal care services business

You will need to plan every element of your personal care business. There is much to consider; from choosing a location (with adequate parking) to setting up the most beneficial layout for your salon. You will need to select the tools, supplies and equipment you will use and the furniture you require to make your customers comfortable. You may also want to consider offering your clients in-home services or setting up a home-based business.

You will need to find and establish a relationship with suppliers for your salon products and supplies.

You will also need to protect your business. Investigate what the best type of insurance would be for your situation.

  • Insurance
    Explore business-specific insurance coverage that is available to protect you.

Your price must be competitive, but must also cover your expenses and include a margin for profit. Check your competitors' prices to make sure you are in the acceptable range.

  • Pricing
    Know the factors that will help you determine the payment you will receive in exchange for your goods or services.

Advertising is essential to help you attract customers. Referrals may be the best way to increase your customer base. Providing excellent and personal customer service will certainly help with word of mouth advertising. Other ideas you may want to try to promote your business are: newspaper ads, signs, business cards and tapping into social media sites, including having your own website.

Complying with personal care services regulations

Find out what regulations may be required of your personal care services business. Search our permits and licences database or contact your local municipality.  If you are setting up a home-based business, be sure to check municipal by-laws to ensure your area is properly zoned to operate a business. To find out about health and safety regulations, including infection prevention, contact your local public health department.

Hiring and training your employees

Your employees reflect on your business, so be sure to emphasize superior customer service. Satisfied customers are often return customers. Depending on what type of business you are setting up you may require the services of a salon manager, hairstylist, cosmetologist, salon assistant, receptionist, manicurist, esthetician etc.

Additional Resources

Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced entrepreneur who's been in business for years, you can never be too informed when it comes to your business.

  • Starting a business
    Want to be your own boss? Find out how to start a business.
  • Business support organizations
    Seeking the advice of peers, professional business counsellors and coaches can help you transition from new business owner to experienced entrepreneur.
  • Contact the Canada Business Network
    The Canada Business Network has centres across the country that offer guidance, information and resources to help make your journey in business a success.
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