A trip to the hairdressers is often the only time people allow themselves to be pampered. On a personal level it can be a highly rewarding business to go into.
That being said, you’re dealing with a highly valuable product – your customers’ hair – so if you make a mistake you can guarantee you won’t last long.
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What is it and who is it suited to?
A hairdresser or hair stylist is someone who cuts, treats and styles others’ hair for a living. Most hairdressers work in a salon, although many work from their home or visit their customers’ homes.
Before you even start to think about setting up, you should have several years’ hairdressing experience of your own.
It is also a busy environment, particularly in the lead-up to the holidays, so be prepared to work long hours during certain periods.
Working in a salon can be fast-paced and stressful at times. It’s therefore imperative you enjoy working with people and know how to multitask.
Rules and regulations
A typical salon will contain an extensive range of electrical items including hairdryers, hair straighteners and curling irons. This equipment should be checked on a regular basis.
One of the most important laws that hairdressers must abide by relates to hair dyes and shampoos, some of which can be hazardous. Care needs to be taken when staff are handling chemicals and, in some cases, protective clothing may need to be worn.
As an employer, you are liable for the work your staff do. With members of the public stepping over your threshold, you must also have public liability insurance.
Many salons are in rented premises. It sounds obvious, but to avoid headaches make sure you have a written agreement with your landlords that you understand and are comfortable with.
Research and competition
There is no shortage of hairdressing courses to get you up to speed; the Australian Academy of Hairdressing is Australia’s major provider of hairdressing training.
The academy trains hairdressers and beauty therapists using innovative salon-based methods. The training suits all ages, including adult learners.
“Hairdressing college training offers an alternative to a hairdressing apprenticeship and you will be a fully qualified hairdresser in a third of the time, able to work in or own your salon,” it says.
“We offer Certificate II, III and IV courses to our local and overseas students. Our credentials are Australian Government and CRICOS-accredited.”
It may also be worth investing in an accountancy course. If you can complete your tax returns yourself, it could save you a good deal of money on accountants’ bills.
As with any business, when you start-up a hairdressing salon you will need a certain amount of capital behind you. You then need to decide who your core customer will be.
There are many different types of salons out there, which attract and cater for different sectors of the market. There will be those that mainly have young professional customers on their books, those that attract families and those that attract the older generations.
Phil and Shannon Adair, who founded StartupSmart Awards top 50 business Kidz Lidz Salons, identified a niche in the market for children and their families.
“Kidz Lidz is a special concept in kids’ haircuts and kids’ hairdressing… Our hairdressers are qualified to suit the needs and wants of children,” the founders say.
Costs and earnings
The Adairs had to sell an investment property in order to fund their business; their start-up costs were between $100,000 and $500,000.
In the previous financial year, Kidz Lidz recorded revenue of $750,000.
In addition to the venue itself, equipment includes clippers, heated rollers, straighteners, tongs, scissors, treatments and chairs.
If you’re in business purely for the money, then hairdressing is probably not the way to go. However, running a good salon isn’t really about the money. A good salon should inspire loyalty from its clients.
An average day
As stated earlier, working in a salon means you’ll generally be on your feet for most of the day and juggling more than one thing at once.
According to the Adairs, every day is a challenge. But it’s all worth it if you’re passionate about what you do and create a positive working environment.
“You learn that you never stop moving and that you must adapt with change or you will get left behind. When it’s your own business, you work harder than you’ve ever worked, though the payoff is that you are creating something and making a difference,” they say.
“[Kidz Lidz is] very community-based. You feel connected here. Everyone knows us and we know them; it’s a happy place work.”
Australian Academy of Hairdressing
03 9329 9544
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
02 6273 2311
03 9668 9950
Australian Government Small Business Support Line
1800 777 275