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How to write a successful nail salon business plan

How to write a successful nail salon business plan

Key takeaways

  • A nail salon business plan can help you prepare for future growth in a lucrative market
  • Stand out by emphasizing what gives your nail salon the competitive advantage 
  • Thorough market research and accurate financial projections will help make your case to future lenders

Beautiful nails are a luxury that inspire thousands to indulge in specialty manicures and regular self-care. The nail salon industry generates over $8 billion each year, with manicures and pedicures among the top five beauty services that women spend money on.

If you want to tap into this growing client base, a nail salon business plan will help you seize the opportunity without the guesswork. 

In the business planning process, you will flesh out every aspect of your new business—from your services to financing. The resulting document will not only serve as a roadmap for you and your team, but it will also demonstrate your company’s potential to lenders and investors.

Learn how to write a formal business plan for your nail salon, which research shows will make your business 16% more likely to succeed

Executive summary

Nail salon business plans begin with an executive summary: a one-page overview of your nail salon and what makes it special. You want to keep your audience interested, so open with strengths that set you apart from the competition: impressive financial projections, a unique business model, and/or any other engaging details about your nail salon.

As with an introduction to an essay, it’s easier to write your executive summary last. With the key elements of your business plan already established, you can quickly pull the standout details for this section to capture investor interest.

Business description

Once you’ve got your audience hooked, help them get to know you better. Introduce your company with a business description that expands on your competitive advantage. What’s the thing that sets you apart from other nail salons? Maybe it’s your customer service, freestyle nail art, or your easy online booking. Include that value proposition here as well as these other crucial details:

  • Legal business name
  • Business structure (such as sole proprietorship or LLC)
  • Founding year or launch date
  • Location (or service area, for mobile nail technicians)
  • Mission statement
  • Business goals
  • Primary services
  • Specializations (such as acrylic nails or nail repair)
  • Target market demographics

Since nail salons can follow a variety of business models, explain how you make money (and how your team members are paid). For example, you can employ nail technicians and earn from services provided, or you can profit solely from booth rentals. For lenders, your business model is crucial for evaluating your business stability, growth potential, and more.

Business structure and management team

Manicurist showing customer gel color options

A great team can help you reach viability faster, so your readers need to know how your small business operates and who’s running the salon. Start this section by stating your legal business structure, such as an LLC or a sole proprietorship, so potential investors and lenders can take your tax obligations and liabilities into account.

Then, introduce yourself and any other owners of your nail salon, along with details about your experience, nail tech licenses or certifications, and past awards. This is your chance to tell readers why they should trust you to run your own business. If you don’t have direct experience working in a nail salon, you can mention business or cosmetology degrees, as well as other achievements relevant to your role.

If you’ve hired any management team members, highlight their roles and experience as well.

Nail salon services

Nail salons offer a wide array of services, from gel manicures to nail repair. While your readers may already have some idea of what you offer, explaining your full range of nail services clarifies how you compare to competitors.

In this section, list every service you offer, along with a price list, time estimates, and any included services (such as a brief massage after a pedicure). Explain what happens during each service, as well as the products your nail techs use—for example, the types of polish available for a standard pedicure.

If you offer any packages, sell products on a regular basis, or provide services that no other local salons do, include those here.

Market analysis 

As a nail salon owner, you should demonstrate expertise in market and industry trends. Include insights from your research here, including:

  • Trends in the nail salon industry or beauty industry as a whole
  • Nail salon client demographics in your local market
  • Competitors in your area and who they’re targeting 
  • Untapped opportunities, such as increased demand for at-home services in an area with no mobile nail technicians

After this analysis, explain how you’ll take advantage of these untapped opportunities and overcome any challenges. For example, you could be the only local business with social media-famous manicurists, or you might target a rising segment of health-conscious consumers seeking nail salons that use non-toxic or organic products.

Marketing plan

Nail salon business plan: Woman getting her nails done

Your salon marketing strategy can make or break your business. Even if your salon primarily earns from booth rentals, you need a consistent flow of new clients and loyal customers coming through your doors. Use this section to describe the channels and strategies you’ll use to reach your target market. For each strategy, explain your key performance indicators (KPIs), or the metrics you’ll track to ensure you’re meeting your marketing goals.

For example, consider the following nail salon marketing strategies:

  • Claim your Yelp Business Page to respond to reviews and bolster your online reputation
  • Build your email list to send monthly promotions to new and loyal customers
  • Partner with local barbershops, hair salons, and other beauty salons to cross-promote each other’s businesses
  • Run online advertising—with platforms like Yelp Ads—to target shoppers who are actively looking for nail salon services 

Your marketing plan should also outline your marketing budget, including how much you want to spend on marketing collateral, ad campaigns, contract labor, and more.


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Financial plan

As the final section, your financial plan serves two important purposes: helping potential investors gauge your business viability and helping you make sound financial decisions for the next five years.

Start your financial plan with a detailed breakdown of your expected costs. If you’re opening a new nail salon, list one-time startup costs, like nail salon equipment, furniture, business licenses, and down payments. Then list monthly operational expenses, such as rent, wages, salon software subscriptions, supplies, and marketing expenses. Include a budget for miscellaneous and unexpected costs, like shop repairs or equipment upgrades.

Once you’ve outlined your costs, show your readers how your salon will stay in the green and grow over time. With the help of a financial analyst or accountant, mock up realistic cash flow statements, income statements, balance sheets, and other financial projections that show your potential.

Polishing up your nail salon business plan

A nail salon business plan sets you up for success and helps you unlock new opportunities—from outside funding to professional partnerships. Taking the time to hone your competitive advantage, research your market, and create a financial plan will also prepare you for any obstacles as you move toward a grand opening.

Ahead of the big day, take the next crucial step: selecting a pricing strategy for your nail services.

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.