How to

Start a Salon

  • 1

    Create Your Business

  • 2

    Plan Your Space

  • 3

    Apply for Permits

  • 4

    Begin Construction

  • 5

    Prepare to Open

  • 6

    Open Your Doors

Step 1: Create Your Business

Creating your business involves knowing the type of salon you will open, and figuring out the licenses and insurance needed to get it off the ground.

First register your business: LLC’s, Corporations, and Limited Partnerships with NY State; General Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with the County Clerk. An EIN (Employer Identification Number), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number is will identify your business, so applying for that is an important early step.  If you’re a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number. Apply for a Sales Tax ID from NY State here.

Step 2: Plan Your Space

Planning your space properly can minimize potential overages and future difficulties.

Find a location zoned for your business, have a lawyer make sure your location is right for your business and consult a licensed professional to plan any construction. Only a registered architect or professional engineer may submit plans to the NYC Department of Buildings. Changes to your space must comply with the NYC Department of Buildings, Department of Health and Fire Department. Allow time for approvals if your building is landmarked or in a historic district. If you will store more than 100lbs of aerosols (such as hair spray), you will need to obtain a Certificate of Fitness to Supervise Aerosol and a permit from the fire department. 

Step 3: Apply for Permits

Have your licensed professional submit plans and required documents to the NYC Department of Buildings and apply for construction permits.

Changes are often made to plans if there are objections due to safety or compliance issues, so make sure to be in contact with your licensed professional during each step of the construction process. Monitor your job on NYC Department of Buildings BISWeb. Research “Professional Certification” (Pro Cert) to potentially save you weeks in receiving approvals and permits. Have your licensed professional submit digital plans to the NYC Department of Buildings Hub. Make sure you consult with your team to identify utility requirements for your property as well: gas, electric, water and sewer.

Step 4: Begin Construction

After your plans are approved and your architect or general contractor has applied for and received all necessary permits, it’s time to begin construction.

All permits must be displayed at the worksite. Progress inspections will be made throughout construction but make sure you discuss any required progress inspections with your licensed professional so that you’re aware of them. If you want to install a canopy or signs on the outside of the building, ensure you comply with the NYC Department of Transportation or the NYC Department of Buildings.

Step 5: Prepare to Open

When the job is almost complete, prepare to open.

Hire a private carting service for waste removal if your building doesn’t already offer one. Depending on the services your business offers, you will either need an Appearance Enhancement Business License or a NY State Barber Shop License. These licenses are typical for salons - just make sure to apply for the right one for your business. Learn more about the various specialized licenses you and your employees will need (cosmetology, waxing, nails). If you hire independent contractors, they also each need renter licenses. Tattoo Artist Licenses are obtained through the NYC Department of Health.

Step 6: Open Your Doors

You’ve opened your doors and are operating your salon - congratulations!

Plan ahead to keep things running smoothly. Post a sign indicating that the business and individual operators are licensed by the New York State Department of State, as well as required posters and permits, such as a No Smoking sign and an occupational health and safety (OSHA) poster. Set reminders in your calendar to review your permits and licenses and work with your accountant to prepare to pay taxes. Be ready for inspections as these happen throughout the year, sometimes unannounced.