Your Essential Salon Equipment Checklist

what you need to run a salon

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, employment, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

What do you need to run a salon?

After nailing your salon business plan, registering your business, acquiring a licence, determining your financing and finding a location, you’re ready to take the next step and build out your space. But where should you start, and what are your options?

Having a well-equipped, connected, and easy-to-manage salon is essential to set up yourself, your staff, and your business for success. According to the Square Future of Beauty report, 29% of consumers say they want automated systems to schedule, reschedule, or cancel appointments, while 98% of beauty business owners agree that integrated tools will allow staff to focus on more important tasks, like the creative work they’re passionate about.

Here is the Square checklist guide for all the hardware and tools you should consider to get up and running.

Salon office supplies

Essentials

It can be easy to forget about these basics when you’re starting out and focused on fine-tuning your product, but planning will help your operations run smoothly while avoiding surprise expenses.

  • WiFi: Before you open your doors, ask yourself if WiFi will be used for staff only or if you also want to offer it to customers to connect.
  • Computer/tablet: While you can do plenty of business management from your phone, it’s helpful to have a computer or tablet available for larger projects.
  • Basics (pens/paper/staplers/clips): Like many of these tools, buying bulk and budgeting ahead can help save on future costs.
  • Cleaning supplies: Items such as bins, bin bags, brooms, mops, and disinfectant wipes will help your salon maintain cleanliness to attract customers.
  • First aid kit
  • Business bank account and necessary documentation

Consider

You might not need a traditional break room, but consider having a space dedicated to your staff. Giving employees an area to unwind with amenities — even small ones like comfortable chairs and a stocked fridge — is a nice step toward attracting and retaining talent.

  • Break room: You can get creative here, and employees will likely appreciate the perk.
  • Filing cabinet and safe: You might not require space for tracking physical documents or providing security for specific items at your salon, but both can be helpful tools as you’re getting started.

Salon services, washing stations, furniture, and chairs

Essentials

This equipment will make up a large portion of your startup costs. One tip: Most salon equipment and furniture can be bought at wholesale prices with your cosmetology qualification. It can help save money if you buy your styling needs in bulk.

  • Service stations (salon, shampoo, drying)
  • Chairs
  • Mirrors
  • Shampoo bowls
  • Storage space for products and tools
  • Scissors/shears
  • Combs/brushes
  • Chair mats
  • Utility trays
  • Dryer units
  • Straighteners/curlers/clippers
  • Vacuums/brooms
  • Towels
  • Spray bottles
  • Trolleys
  • Aprons/capes

Consider

  • Gloves
  • Ring lights
  • Power strips
  • Laundry equipment

Point-of-sale (POS) system

Essentials

Whether it’s a stand for your tablet, a small mobile terminal, or a full register, your point-of-sale system is so much more than a tool for the essential task of processing payments. The best POS nails the basics while streamlining administrative tasks and tracking everything from sales reporting to customer engagement to inventory management. Here’s how to get started choosing the one for you.

  • POS hardware

Consider

According to the Square Future of Beauty report, 96% of beauty businesses say they sell retail products, and 26% of consumers buy retail products from their personal care providers. It’s a potential revenue stream for your salon business worth considering as you’re getting started.

  • Retail product displays: The specifics here will depend on the size of your space, but prioritise highlighting your product and making it as easy as possible for your customers to make purchases in a way that works best for them.
  • Shopping bags: If you have the budget for it, this can be another opportunity to market your business with a creative shopping bag design.
  • QR code printouts: QR codes have become a leader in the way customers order and pay, improving the overall retail experience and a business’s bottom line.

Salon front desk, display, lighting, and decor

Essentials

Many beauty businesses reported struggling to balance safety precautions with a relaxing environment. It’s important to consider the look and feel of the salon you plan to create from the start to help avoid additional costs after opening.

  • Front-desk/reception area: Having a functional and welcoming reception area can be a key step in making a positive impression on customers and helping them feel comfortable.
  • Lighting: Your lighting choices can affect your business, including setting the right mood and guiding customers to specific areas.
  • Signage: Signage inside and outside your salon can guide customers while also acting as another branding opportunity.

Consider

Have the budget to amplify your space a bit more? Small things can make a huge difference in retaining customers.

Creating a welcoming environment and friendly experience for customers ultimately means repeat business from a loyal customer base, and helps businesses grow through word of mouth and referrals. As Foam café owner Gerald Arbuckle puts it, “customers really buy into the lifestyle more than just the coffee”.

  • Plants
  • Stereo system
  • Seating area
  • Bathrooms

Marketing materials

Consider

While physical marketing tools aren’t essential for your salon business, you should consider whether they’re useful for the business you’re starting and fit inside your budget. While digital marketing can be highly effective, a new salon can get a boost from these items:

  • Business cards
  • Stickers, pens, and small giveaways
  • Branded merch, including shirts, tote bags, and hats