Opening a salon is an exciting experience! All your hard work is finally paying off, and now you are ready to own your slice of the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry. Though it’s a great way to make your mark in the world, starting and running a new salon is an almost never-ending series of tasks.
From choosing a location to selecting products, there are many factors to consider when opening a salon, like:
- What licenses do you need?
- How do I get my Texas cosmetology salon license?
- Who do you contact?
- What business model are you implementing?
- here do you want to set up shop?
- What equipment and salon furniture should you buy?
- Who are your suppliers?
- What kinds of services can I offer?
Questions like these will frequently arise throughout the process. The list of things to do and consider seems endless but knowing what to do, where to go, and how to navigate and address these issues can make a tremendous difference in the success of your salon.
Many salons never get off the ground because of improper preparation and planning. Aspiring salon owners often do not know where to start or how to get a salon up and running, but we’re here to help you succeed by providing the resources and steps you need to open a salon in Texas.
Don’t Mistake Being Good For Knowing How To Run A Business
It’s great that you’re good at what you do and that you love what you do, but knowing your craft is only half the battle. Before you open the doors, you must put on your business hat and learn how to open a salon legally in Texas. Keep in mind that the beauty industry is a business first and learning the right way to set up and operate your salon in Texas is a fundamental step in achieving success and longevity in the industry.
In this article, we’ll talk about what steps you need to take to get started and provide you with resources to help you open a salon in Texas and get your Texas cosmetology salon license.
But First, A Note About Finances
Financial challenges are the number one reason salons fail. It takes money to open and operate a salon, and even if you are planning to open a salon suite, you must consider the costs first! Products, equipment, towels, tools, furniture, and other materials and supplies add up – and salons require many of these items before you open the doors.
How much do you have set aside to open your salon? Think about it! Estimate the cost of rent in the type of building you want, deposits, application fees, insurance, the equipment you’ll need, furniture, technology fees, etc. Do your research and calculate your expenses before you make one move toward opening a salon.
Knowing what you can afford upfront will help you make sound decisions rather than impulsive mistakes. What you want and what you can afford are often two different things, so figure out the budget before you start the process.
Choosing A Location
Now that you know how much you can spend, you are ready to find the perfect location for your new salon! There are several aspects to think about when choosing a location like the potential for walk-in traffic, space for various services (if you desire to have a multi-service salon), convenience and access for your clients, or even its proximity to major retail businesses.
Your space should be well-suited for a salon that you can easily bring into compliance without spending a lot of money for renovations. For example, renting a space with carpet on the floors could cause additional, unnecessary expenses because per the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR):
Failure to have floors in areas where services are performed of a material, which is not porous or absorbent and is easily washable, having carpet in restricted areas. (Floors made of non-porous, easily washable, material in areas where chemicals are mixed and where water may splash. Anti-slip or plastic floor coverings may be used for safety reasons.)Statute/Rule: 83.114(b)
The establishment should also:
Have suitable plumbing that provides hot and cold running water and is connected to drain sewage and potable water in work areas.Statute/Rule: 83.114(d)
Provide at least one restroom located on or near the premises of the establishment.Statute/Rule: 83.114(e)
Have the establishment properly ventilated.Statute/Rule: 83.114(g)
Review the statutes and learn what is expected from TDLR before seeking a new location. Be sure of what is needed in your salon space to save yourself time, money and headaches. For the full guide on statutes and rules, check out TDLR’s Cosmetology Administrative Rules.
Apply For Your License
To operate a salon in Texas, TDLR requires you to have a Texas cosmetology salon license. If you plan to work in your salon, you’ll need both a salon license and an operator license. The salon license covers the establishment, while the operator license as described by TDLR enables an individual authorized by the department to perform any act or practice of cosmetology under Texas Occupations Code, §1602.002.
Texas offers four types of salon licenses:
- Cosmetology Salon License
- Cosmetology Mini-Salon License
- Dual Cosmetology Salon and Barber Shop License
- Mobile Cosmetology Salon License
TDLR describes each license as follows:
Cosmetology Salon License
Cosmetology Salon License is for salons in traditional retail spaces offering cosmetology services to customers.
Cosmetology Mini-Salon License
Cosmetology Mini-Salon Licenses are for salons that rent rooms in a larger establishment, connected by a common area or hallway such as a salon suite. Building or salon gallery owners do not need to hold a salon license if all booth renters/independent contractors hold Mini-Salon licenses.
Dual Cosmetology Salon and Barber Shop License
Because barbershops and salons cannot operate in the same space under one license, establishments that provide both cosmetology and barbering services to customers must apply for a Dual Cosmetology Salon and Barber Shop License.
Mobile Cosmetology Salon
Last, beauty salons, specialty salons, or dual shops that are operated in a self-contained mobile unit may function under a Mobile Cosmetology Salon license. A salon inside of an RV is an example of this type of salon.
Applying for a Texas cosmetology salon license is easy. Visit the TDLR website and apply either online or print a mail-in application to send. Fill out the application and pay an application fee depending on the type of salon license you require. After you’re approved, and you receive your salon license, you’re ready to open to the public.
Opening The Doors
You don’t need to wait to receive an inspection before opening your salon in Texas. After you’ve received your salon license, you can open the doors and welcome clients to your brand-new salon. A TDLR inspector will visit your salon unannounced within the first three months of operation to conduct the initial inspection.
Passing The Initial Inspection
Inspectors look for required postings, forms, and lists, to see if health and sanitation standards are in practice and to ensure that salon owners are meeting facility requirements. Some common examples of concern are employee licenses with photos properly posted and visible in the salon, sanitation records, proper sterilization, and general compliance issues.
Your job is to ensure that your salon is compliant, and that your employees comply with TDLR rules and regulations. For a full list of salon inspection requirements, review the Cosmetology Establishment Inspection Reference Guide.
You can also check out the Ten Most Common Code Violations in Cosmetology Salons to help you create a plan for passing inspections with flying colors.
Quick Facts About Opening A Salon In Texas
Can I open a salon in Texas if I don’t have a license?
Yes. You can open a salon in Texas if you are not a licensed cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician. However, you must apply for a salon license as an owner. You cannot work in the salon as an operator, but any individual that provides hair, nail, or skincare services in your salon and is working under your salon license must have the appropriate license issued by the TDLR.
How often do I have to renew my Texas cosmetology salon license?
Salon and operator licenses must be renewed every two years. Operators need to complete 4 hours of continuing education (Check out our Texas-approved 4-hour cosmetology continuing education course). Salon licenses do not require continuing education.
I only want to offer nail or skin care services. Do I need a salon license?
Can I provide services to my clients in their homes in Texas?
Yes. To provide salon services in locations outside of a salon, such as a client’s home or office, review the rules for Digitally Prearranged Remote Services.
Are barber shops regulated by TDLR?
Yes. Barbershops and salons are both regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. Learn more about how to get barbering licenses in Texas.
Are there any continuing education requirements for Texas salons?
No. Only Operators (Hairstylists, Cosmetologists), Manicurists (Nail technicians), Estheticians (Skincare), and other individuals licensed in Texas are required to complete 4 hours of cosmetology continuing education approved by Texas/TDLR each renewal cycle.
Let’s Do This!
Now that you have the information and resources you need to open your salon in Texas, take some time to review TDLR’s Cosmetology Administrative Rules in full. The beauty business is an industry that is constantly growing and always ripe with growth opportunities. Set goals, create a plan, and start the process to open your salon today! Good luck!