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How Much Do Salon Owners Make?

Austin Chegini
22 Apr 2021

You may have a talent for nails, hair, or massage—or all three—and wondered about opening a salon. We take a look at how much salon owners make and the different factors affecting a salon owner’s salary. 

How Much Salon Owners Make Per Year

A salon owner’s salary depends on the types of services provided at the salon. If your salon specializes in manicures and pedicures, you may earn a different salary than someone who has a hair salon. Beauty salon owners who offer a one-stop-shop for personal care will earn a different salary than those offering only one type of service.

On average, the annual salary range for salon owners in the U.S. is around $67,000, but that depends on several factors, we explore in more detail below. On the low end, salon owners could expect to earn around $35,000 per year, while the most successful salons could bring in around $120,000 in annual income or more.

The first thing that can affect your income is your level of training.

Salon Licenses and Training

Depending on the type of salon you want to own, you probably need to have at least one of the following licenses:

The more you’re qualified to do, the more services your salon can offer to clients—meaning the more profit you can earn since your clients aren’t having to choose your competition to get services done you don’t provide.

Some states allow you to apprentice under a licensed beauty practitioner to further your education, and this could be a great way to expand the services you offer to clients without having to go back to school or go through a formal training program.

If you aren’t the one actually providing services in your salon, you’ll want to ensure that all of your employees have the required licenses or certifications to give perms, manicures, massages, and any other services you plan to offer clients.

After all, you don’t want your salon losing quality customers because you can’t provide the services they’re looking for. 

Type of Salon

While briefly alluded to earlier, the type of salon you choose to operate is worth looking at in more detail. 

Day Spas

It’s estimated that day spa owners could bring home an average annual salary of $35,000-$120,000.

Of course, this depends on location, clientele, and types of services offered. High-end salon owners, who bring in celebrity clientele, are more likely to be at the top of the estimated range.

Typically, the higher salary ranges here are due to the fact that clients are buying more expensive services and more services at one time—for instance, a facial and a massage or body wrap—instead of only one service.

Ensuring that your spa is a relaxing escape from a client’s daily worries may create additional expenses that other types of salon owners wouldn’t have. 

For instance, owners of a day spa may need to invest more heavily in décor, have more rooms for different types of services, and provide additional amenities, such as snack foods and beverages, to maintain a get-away-from-it-all feel to the business.

Hair Salons

On average, hair salon owners can expect to earn about $75,000 per year. 

Hair salons with “regulars,” those clients who come in a set schedule to retouch perms, hair color, or get a haircut, are more likely to do better than salons whose clients aren’t invested in a particular stylist. 

Since hair salon services are less expensive (in general) than those offered at day spas, and pricier services aren’t typically bundled together (such as perm and color, color and blow out, etc.), hair salon owners don’t usually tend to make as much as a day spa owner would. 

Nail Salons

Owners of nail salons can expect to earn, on average, around $40,000-$75,000 per year. 

It’s actually a great time to open a nail salon business, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 19% job growth in this industry through 2029. That’s more than four times the projected growth rate for other occupations. 

The average salary is lower for this group because, once again, the services provided are typically less expensive than other types of salons; however, nail salon supplies may be less expensive than for other types of salons.

Other Factors That Affect Income

Of course, not all salons are the same.  As noted above, the types of services your salon provides will affect how much you earn. However, there are additional factors that can affect how much you’ll be able to charge customers (and therefore, how much you’ll bring home in income.)

All of the following will impact the amount of take home pay you’ll receive as a salon owner:

  • How many employees you have and how they’re paid (commission, performance, hourly, annual salary)
  • Whether you’re offering a high-end experience to clients
  • Cleanliness of the salon (Is it a place clients want to return to?)
  • How often clients need to return for services (hair coloring, perms, nail upkeep, etc.)
  • Price structure for various services offered (How much is a cut, color, or perm?)
  • Location

It’s worth noting that physical location could be the most important factor when it comes to having a successful salon business.  If your business is hard to find, or it’s impossible to find a parking space, you may end up losing customers. In fact, nearly 50% of a salon’s income is driven by location.

If you lose profit, you lose income, since those are intertwined, but not interchangeable. We look more closely at the differences between the two below. 

Profit vs. Income

Many salon owners make the mistake of thinking that everything they earn in profit is their income. But that’s not the case. You need to pay any employees you have, which comes out of your business profits, including everything else in the list below:

  • State and federal taxes
  • Annual/semi-annual business insurance premiums
  • Rent or mortgage expenses
  • Equipment maintenance and repairs
  • Costs of supplies to keep your business running (nail polish, perm solution, massage chairs, etc.)
  • Utilities
  • Website creation and maintenance
  • Advertising

You may also have additional expenses that need to be taken into account. All of the above items will reduce your income because they’re taken out of your business profit. 

The best way to increase your annual profits is to grow your client base.

Grow Your Business

Everyone wants to have a successful, thriving business. Of course, this includes investing in the best salon tools and equipment you can afford.

You’ll also need to maintain the space you own or rent to keep it looking great so customers want to come back and want to tell their friends and family members to check out your salon.

Having a strong social media presence is another great way to grow your business and get your name out to a wider range of clients. 

But you might not even be thinking about your point of sale system. Having a difficult, frustrating, or easily compromised system that exposes client data could cause you to lose existing customers and miss out on new ones.

Epos Now has secure payment integrations that allow your clients to use Google Pay and Apple Pay, as well as accepting Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, to name a few. 

In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked Epos Now as one of the best point-of-sale systems in the United States.

When it comes right down to it, your customers will remember their payment experience, and you want it to be a sterling reflection on your salon, not an experience they’re trying to forget.

Contact Epos Now today to see our products in action.