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How to start a waxing business in 6 steps

How to start a waxing business

Key takeaways

  • Differentiate your waxing salon from the competition by identifying a unique target market and business location
  • If you plan to perform your own waxing services, pursue a waxing license before registering your business to make time for training 
  • Create a liability waiver to give your business extra protection in case a client is injured

The old adage “pain is beauty” could’ve easily been referring to waxing. As anyone who’s undergone this service can attest, it’s surely uncomfortable but gets great results, which is probably why more than six million Americans opt for a wax four or more times per six-month period. 

With that many people flocking to waxing salons, the personal waxing and nail salon industry, which is already worth nearly $19 billion, has grown at an average rate of 5.3% each year from 2017 to 2022. 

If you’re thinking of starting a new business, waxing presents a great opportunity to get on the path toward owning a successful small business that’s in high demand. Follow these six steps to become an entrepreneur in the beauty industry and launch a business that sticks.

1. Pursue your waxing license

If you plan to perform your own waxing services, getting the proper waxing training and licensing is a crucial part of starting a waxing business. Alternatively, you can hire or contract certified waxing technicians for your salon. Legal requirements for professional waxers vary widely by state. Most technicians are required to have either a waxing license, cosmetology license, or esthetician license. Your state’s board of cosmetology can offer guidance on what type of licensing you need.

Licensing can require anywhere from a few hundred hours to thousands of hours of training before you can even take your exam. Licensing usually costs less than $100, though you can expect to pay up to $3,000 for training courses.

2. Identify your location and target market

Most waxing salon businesses offer similar services: full body waxing, brow waxing, and Brazilian waxing services, for example. Therefore, to make your business idea stand out, choose a business location and a target market that doesn’t have a lot of competition. For instance, you can set up shop in a rural area or target consumers seeking waxing services for sensitive skin.

Start by identifying your desired venue—many waxing business owners operate standalone locations, rent out space at a full-service beauty salon, or offer services from their own homes. You can also choose to operate a mobile waxing business that travels to clients. Take your time with this; there’s no need to solidify your business address until you register your business.

Once you know the general type of business location you want, do market research to identify your target market to help you define your audience. Figure out which consumers your competitors are already reaching versus whose needs are underserved. The latter can present a significant opportunity for you. 

Then, outline your audience demographics (such as age, gender, and income level), interests, cities or ZIP codes, and other relevant details that will help you focus on reaching a specific set of customers.

3. Start your business plan

Waxing professional working on a client's legs

With your target audience and location solidified, you can begin to write a business plan to further clarify what your company is all about. In addition to basic information like your business name and business structure, this document should provide in-depth details about your waxing salon, including who’s on your team (or who you’ll hire) and how much your waxing services cost.

There’s no need to fully complete your business plan yet—though you’ll want to do so before you apply for funding or market your grand opening. One section you’ll want to complete early on is your budget. This will help you determine how much money you need in order to launch and operate your waxing salon.

Create a list of expected startup costs, which may include waxing tables, wax warmers, and business registration and licensing fees. Then, list out expected monthly costs such as rent, cleaning supplies, and waxing supplies like hard wax, soft wax, lotions, waxing strips, and spatulas.

4. Register your business

Most waxing salon owners must register their business with their state agency, either online or with paperwork available on the agency’s website. Completing this step allows you to legally operate your company and secure your business name in your state.

If you own a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you’re not required to register before launching your business. However, these business structures aren’t recommended for waxing salons, as you’ll expose yourself to significant personal liability—like business lawsuits and debt—in an industry where client injury can be common. Limited liability companies (LLCs), on the other hand, separate your personal assets from your business, so you’re not personally liable if your business is sued or defaults on a loan.

In addition to registering your business with the state, check if your local county or city requires any business licenses to run a waxing salon. Your state agency or board of cosmetology can point you in the right direction.

No matter what type of business structure you choose or where in the U.S. you’re operating, you’ll likely want to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS. While this is mainly required by law for corporations, partnerships, and companies with employees, EINs are usually required by lenders and for opening a business bank account.

5. Create a release of liability waiver

Getting business insurance is one way to protect your salon in case anything goes wrong during a waxing session. For added protection, create a release of liability waiver for your clients to sign prior to being waxed.

Liability waivers, also known as informed consent agreements, release your salon of liability—removing a client right to sue—in case issues take place during the waxing appointment. These forms should also inform clients of potential risks, such as allergic reactions; potential for rash, sensitivity, or itchiness; or even less common reactions like bleeding or bruising. You can use a liability waiver template to build your document, then have clients sign it either before their first time in your salon or upon arrival.

6. Market your waxing business

How to start a waxing business: Man getting face waxed

Reaching your target market with news about your launch is the final step to entering the hair removal industry. Create a marketing strategy with tactics you plan to use to promote your waxing business so you can grow your customer base. These tactics can include:

  • Creating a Yelp Business Page with accurate business information and high-quality pictures to attract consumers who are actively in search of waxing services
  • Sending grand opening discounts to local consumers via direct mail
  • Posting skincare tips on social media platforms to showcase your expertise

Consider investing in digital advertising, such as Yelp Ads, to quickly expand your reach. Online ads allow you to set your own budget and specify exactly who you want to reach—often based on the search terms that your target audience is using, their location, or their demographics. Targeted ads allow you to send highly effective messages at an affordable cost, as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

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Build a successful waxing salon

Waxing is a growing industry fueled by people who are eager to wax away unwanted hair. Starting a waxing business is your opportunity to launch your own venture in an industry with ongoing demand. 

Start by acquiring the proper licensing, identifying your ideal location and target market, then write a business plan to clarify your vision. Before you start marketing your business, make sure to take care of all the legal requirements, from licensing and registration to liability waivers. As you get ready to open your doors, learn what it takes to market your brand and build a loyal customer base.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.