How to Start a Successful Salon Business in Kenya

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The salon industry in Kenya is one of the most lucrative and competitive sectors in the country. According to a report by McKinsey, the beauty market in Kenya is valued at over KES 20 billion and is expected to grow annually by 7.62% until 2027.

This means that there is a huge demand for salon services and products, as well as a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to venture into this business.

However, starting a salon business in Kenya is not as easy as it may seem. There are many challenges and risks involved, such as finding a suitable location, hiring qualified staff, complying with legal and health regulations, managing finances, and marketing your salon effectively.

In this article, we will give you some tips and strategies on how to start a successful salon business in Kenya in 2024, based on the latest industry trends and best practices.

And as always, we begin all our business idea posts with market research.

  1. Do Your Market Research

Before you start your salon business, you need to do some market research to understand your target customers, competitors, and industry trends.

If you are new to this research thing, consider using online tools such as Google Trends, Google My Business, and social media platforms to find out what people are searching for, what services and products they prefer, what prices they are willing to pay, and what feedback they have about existing salons.

You can also visit different salons in your area and observe their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their customer profiles and satisfaction levels.

Why is market research important for a new business?

Market research will help you identify your niche, differentiate your salon from others, and tailor your services and products to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.

For example, you may decide to focus on a specific segment of the market, such as men, women, children, or people with curly or textured hair.

You may also choose to offer specialized services or products that are not widely available in your area, such as organic or natural hair care products, mobile or on-demand services, or health and wellness offerings.

  1. Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that outlines your goals, strategies, and actions for your salon business. It helps you organize your ideas, plan your finances, and measure your progress.

A business plan should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary: A brief overview of your salon business, including its name, location, mission statement, vision statement, objectives, and unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Market analysis: A detailed description of your target market, competitors, industry trends, opportunities, and threats.
  • Marketing plan: A comprehensive plan for how you will promote your salon business to attract and retain customers. It should include your marketing objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, and metrics.
  • Operations plan: A description of how you will run your salon business daily. It should include your organizational structure, staff roles and responsibilities, equipment and supplies needed, legal and health requirements, and quality standards.
  • Financial plan: A projection of your income statement (profit and loss), balance sheet (assets and liabilities), cash flow statement (inflows and outflows), break-even analysis (when you will start making profit), and financial assumptions.
  • Appendix: Any additional information that supports your business plan, such as market research data, resumes of key staff members, licenses, and permits obtained or applied for.

You can use online templates or software to create your business plan or hire a professional consultant to help you with it.

If you write it well, your business plan will not only guide you in starting and growing your salon business but also help you secure funding from investors or lenders if needed.

  1. Find a Suitable Location

The location of your salon is one of the most important factors that will determine its success or failure. You need to find a place that is accessible, visible, convenient, safe, and attractive for your target customers.

chairs for a son business

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When choosing a business location, consider the size of the space (enough to accommodate your equipment and staff), the cost of rent (affordable within your budget), the terms of the lease (flexible enough for future expansion or relocation), the availability of utilities (water, electricity), the competition (not too many similar salons nearby), and the zoning laws (allowing for commercial use).

You can use online tools such as Google Maps or Zillow to search for potential locations or hire a real estate agent to help you with the scouting.

It also helps if you can visit different locations in person and evaluate them based on the criteria mentioned above.

Once you find a suitable location, you need to negotiate with the landlord or owner for the best deal possible.

  1. Hire Qualified Staff

Your staff is the face of your salon business. They are the ones who will interact with your customers, provide them with quality services and products, and create a positive impression of your salon.

Therefore, you need to hire qualified, experienced, and professional staff who share your vision, values, and goals.

Other than visiting beauty schools to recruit directly, you can use online platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Indeed to post job ads or recruit candidates.

You can also ask for referrals from your network of friends, family, or colleagues.

Before you settle on a candidate though, make sure you screen and interview them carefully and check their references and credentials.

You should also offer them competitive salaries, benefits, and incentives to motivate and retain them.

Lest I forget, you need to hire staff for different roles and functions in your salon, such as:

  • Salon manager

This is the person who oversees the overall operations of the salon, including staff management, customer service, inventory management, financial management, and marketing.

  • Receptionist

Greets and welcomes customers, answer phone calls and emails, schedules appointments, collects payments, and handles complaints.

  • Hairstylist

Cuts, styles, colors, and treats customers’ hair according to their preferences and needs.

  • Nail technician

The person who manicures, pedicures, polishes, and decorates customers’ nails according to their preferences and needs.

  • Esthetician

Performs facial treatments, waxing, threading, makeup application, and other skin care services according to customers’ preferences and needs.

  • Massage therapist

The person who provides massage therapy to customers to relieve stress, pain, and tension in their muscles and joints.

  • Barber

The person who cuts, shaves, trims, and styles customers’ hair and beard according to their preferences and needs.

And remember, hiring is not enough, you should also provide your staff with regular training and development opportunities to enhance their skills, knowledge, and performance.

As the store owner try to create a positive work environment that fosters teamwork, collaboration, and communication among your staff.

  1. Market Your Salon Effectively

What is marketing you ask?

Marketing is the process of creating awareness, interest, and desire for your salon business among your target customers.

It is essential for attracting new customers, retaining existing customers, and increasing your sales and profits.

You need to use a mix of online and offline marketing channels and strategies to reach your potential customers effectively.

Some of the best online marketing channels and strategies you can use are:

  • Website

A website is your online storefront that showcases your salon business to the world.

It should be attractive, user-friendly, and informative. It should include your salon name, logo, slogan, contact details, location map, services and products offered, prices, testimonials, reviews, photos, videos, blog posts, and online booking options.

You should also optimize your website for search engines (SEO) to rank higher on Google and other search engines when people search for keywords related to your salon business.

  • Social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube are powerful tools for connecting with your existing and potential customers.

Try to create engaging content that showcases your salon’s personality, style, and expertise.

You should also interact with your followers by responding to their comments, questions, and feedback.

And once in a while, run contests, giveaways, and promotions to generate buzz and excitement around your salon business.

  • Email marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective way of communicating with your customers regularly.

As a salon business owner also looking to make money online, you should build an email list of your customers and prospects by asking them to subscribe to your newsletter or offering them a freebie or discount in exchange for their email address.

You should then send them personalized emails that provide them with valuable information, tips, advice, offers, and updates about your salon business.

To make this marketing method effective, try to segment your email list based on different criteria such as demographics, preferences, and behavior to tailor your messages accordingly.

  • Online advertising

This is a way of paying for displaying your ads on various websites or platforms that are relevant to your target audience.

You can use different types of online ads such as banner ads, video ads, pop-up ads, or native ads.

If you have a budget, then also try to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to bid for keywords or audiences that match your salon business.

Online advertising can help you increase your brand awareness, traffic, leads, conversions, and sales.

Some of the offline marketing channels and strategies you can use are:

  • Flyers and brochures

Flyers and brochures are printed materials that you can distribute or display in strategic locations such as malls, supermarkets, schools, offices, or events.

They should include your salon name, logo, slogan, contact details, location map, services and products offered, prices, testimonials, reviews, photos, videos, and a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages people to visit your website or call you for an appointment.

  • Business cards

Business cards are small cards that you can hand out to potential customers or partners.

They should include your salon name, logo, slogan, contact details, website address, social media handles, and a CTA that invites people to check out your salon or book an appointment.

  • Referrals

Referrals are word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers or partners. They are one of the most effective ways of generating new customers for your salon business.

You should encourage your customers or partners to refer their friends, family members, or colleagues to your salon by offering them incentives such as discounts

To conclude, starting a salon business in Kenya in 2024 is a promising and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning, research, and execution.

You need to consider various aspects such as your market, location, staff, finances, legalities, and marketing. You also need to be creative, innovative, and adaptable to the changing needs and preferences of your customers and the industry.

By following the tips and strategies we have shared in this article, you will be able to start and run a successful salon business in Kenya in 2024. We hope you found this article helpful and informative.

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Frequently asked questions

Salon Business Classes in Kenya.

You can get your certificate in hairdressing and beauty therapy from any of these colleges in Kenya.

  1. Joyka College.

Specializes in hairdressing, client care, shampooing, hair and scalp physiology, braiding, make-up, salon management, and more.

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This college is in Kariobangi Estate Nairobi.

Fees per month – Ksh. 4,500 only.

2. Kivuli College – Wanginge.

Courses offered include: – Introduction to Hairdressing, Hair Relaxing and Cutting, Salon Procedures and Management, conditioning, and more.

The fees for this course are only Ksh. 4,800 per month.

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3. Cambridge University College.

This University is in Eldoret and its beauty and salon courses run for 6 months.

Exams and certification are by a professional examination body.

Other colleges for teaching about beauty and salons in Kenya include: –

    1. Pambo Beauty Salon in Kisumu – Visit them in Turkeys – United Mall Wing A.
    2. Ludepe Teachers College in Narok.
    3. Bumbe Technical Training Institute in Busia.
    4. Mumbai Technical Training College – Machakos.
    5. Pwani Vocational Center – Mombasa.
    6. The Serenity College – Gilgil.
    7. Gusii Institute of Technology – Kisii.
    8. Imara Institute of Science and Technology – Nairobi – Buru Buru.
    9. Jodan College of Technology – Thika.

After training, you may now want to know how much is needed to start a Salon Business in Kenya.

How much capital do I need to Start a Salon Business in Kenya?

This is usually the first thing most people would want to know when considering getting into this type of business.

The capital required to start a salon varies depending on the quality of facilities you wish to have and on the amount of start-up capital, you have planned to spend.

You can procure an already established Salon and build on it, or you can just begin afresh.

Some Salons have started with as little as KSh. 50,000.

You’d bet that such Salons would have a single hair dryer, Blow dryer, a handful of plastic chairs, and cosmetics.

A modern Salon with state-of-the-art facilities would cost between Kshs.500,000 to Kshs.2 million.

However, most standard, fairly modern salons in neighborhoods have around Ksh. 100,000 to Kshs.300,000 invested.

This should go some way in catering for the equipment needed and of course, the rental charges.

So you see, this business is not far-fetched at all.

Salon Businesses For Sale in Kenya.

If you are interested in buying a ready salon business that has clients and is making money, start searching on daily classified sites like the Star or Nation newspapers.

You can also ask around to see if your friends can help you get salon businesses listed for sale.

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Disclaimer: – Do your due diligence before buying an existing salon business.

Establish if the person selling is the owner. Also, ask why they are selling.

Their reason for selling could be the reason why you should not waste your money buying.

Or it could be why you need to acquire the salon.

Want to sell your salon business here? Talk to us.

Salon Equipment needed to start a Salon Business in Kenya.

As the stethoscope is important to the doctor, so is the hair dryer to the stylist.

Of course, this kind of business shouldn’t operate in an empty shop hence the need for procurement of equipment.

It is worth noting, that the whole array of equipment that is needed to run a salon varies with capital, competition, target market, and the prospective owner’s taste.

Generally, though the main equipment includes:

Furniture equipment.

a). Adjustable chairs.

You should choose the chairs which would give the customer maximum satisfaction, while simultaneously posing no hindrance to your work.

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Many salons start with very basic Kenpoly chairs which go for Kshs. 500 each – and they are successful.

The alternative is to go for specialist hair styling chairs.

Prices range from Kshs. 2000 to Kshs. 30,000 depending on the quality of material used and design.

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b). Hairstyling Station.

For a more professional look, a Hair Styling Station may be very necessary.

A hairstyling station is described as a wooden/metallic structure with a mirror, drawers, and compartments to hold different tools.

You can improvise by having mirrors, shelves, and bowls to hold equipment.

The price of a Hair Styling Station averages KShs. 20,000 but could be as low as 7,000.

Hair salon supplies – Everything you need to start a salon business in Kenya.

1. Sink seat: This equipment is usually used for hair treatment, washing as well as conditioning.

You can get it for around KShs.12,000.

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There are also the locally made sink seats, which go for around KShs.8,000 to Kshs.10,000.

2. Hairdryer: This is for all hair-drying activities in the salon. It is the classical trademark salon equipment.

The price of a new dryer ranges between KShs.12,000 and Kshs.30,000.

The most commonly used dryers with basic features average Kshs.15,000.

Also, second-hand dryers from individual dealers could go for as low as Kshs.7,000.

3. Blow dryer: The hair has to be straight, so enter the Blowdryer!

Prices for this range from KShs.2000 to Kshs. 15,000.

4. Sterilizer: This kills germs and ranges from Kshs.5,000 to Kshs.15,000 depending on the make or model.

5. Manicure and Pedicure Sets/Mini Spas— 500 to KShs.1500.

6. Other Miscellaneous Items: Prices of the items below will range from KShs. 100 to Kshs. 1500 depending on quality and supplier:

    • Towels.
    • Shower caps.
    • Combs and Brushes.
    • Scissors and Tweezers.
    • Gloves and aprons.
    • Cosmetics/applicants.
    • Hair chemicals.
    • Shampoos.
    • Conditioners.
    • Cutex.
    • Facial creams.

Best Salon Equipment Suppliers in Kenya.

Knowing suppliers in this kind of business is pertinent.

Therefore, the list below highlights some notable suppliers of salon equipment:

    • Superior Barbershop and Salon Equipment – E.A.
    • Nairobi Salon Equipments Sales.
    • House Of Braids.
    • Prestige Global-Link Ltd.
    • Salon Warehouse.
    • Kenya Professional Hair Salon Equipment Dealers.

Manicure pedicure station

The above businesses will go a long way in providing a variety of salon items that should be able to start you off.

However, if there is no money to procure new equipment, you may also be able to find second-hand salon equipment in Kenya.

The said second-hand equipment may not be as effective and reliable as new ones but relax, they will do a great job until you get enough profit to afford new ones.

Beauty Salon Service List.

The aim of most, if not every business, is to satisfy its clients. And then to make a profit.

In maximal profit matters, it is advised that you wear the cap of innovation to stand out.

Services offered go hand in hand with the various demands of customers.

These are the most sought-after services in Kenyan Salons. Make sure to include them in your service list.

1. Hair Services:

    • Cuts.
    • Relaxers.
    • Curling and weaving.
    • Shampoo.
    • Conditioning.
    • Perms.
    • Coloring.
    • Curling.
    • Reconstructing.
    • Weaving.
    • Waving.

2. Nails:

  • Manicures.
  • Pedicures.
  • Polish.
  • Sculptured nails.

3. Skincare.

  • Massage.
  • Facials.
  • Body Waxing, Etc.

How Do I Choose a Salon Business Location?

In Kenya and everywhere around the world, location is everything when considering any type of business.

And your best location will to a large extent depend on the amount of capital you have.

You could locate your business inside or near a mall if you can afford the rent and have a strategy to help your business make profits.

Or you could just get a space in some building where there is quite some traffic and save on unnecessary costs.

Before settling down to a location, a community survey is necessary. Get demographics facts.

For example, lots of profits are accrued when salons are situated close to institutions like universities.

Does a Salon Business Have Competition?

Yes, salon businesses face just as much competition as any other profitable business in Kenya.

However, the best marketing, good customer service, and quality work can help you acquire new customers as well as help in the retention of existing clients.

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