Skip to main content

How to create an esthetician business plan

Esthetician business plan: woman at a beauty salon

Key takeaways

  • Choose a specialty early on so you can start envisioning your operations and startup checklist
  • A detailed esthetician business plan keeps you on track with your original goals and vision as you launch and grow your practice
  • Create a marketing plan to promote your new business on the right channels to reach the right type of customers

Skincare goes deeper than the surface. It’s an investment in wellness that not only helps people look better but also feel better. It’s not surprising then that esthetics is a rapidly growing industry, with an expected growth of 29% through 2030.

As you pursue your career path as an esthetician, there are a plethora of possibilities. It’s important to define your specialty early so you can decide what kind of provider you want to become and how you’ll run your business. If you love helping people take pride in their skin and are ready to start your own small business, this guide will help you create an esthetician business plan that will set you up for success.

What to do before crafting your esthetician business plan

Before you write your esthetician business plan, there are three things you should do: Choose your specialty, pursue your licensing requirements, and register your business. 

Choose your specialty

There are many popular beauty services that estheticians offer, such as facials, make-up application, and body treatments. To stand out, consider more niche services within those categories. For example, if you want to start a waxing business, you could also include holistic skincare (like homeopathic, herbal, and organic skincare treatments). Or perhaps you want to focus on esthetic combo specialties (e.g., yoga or acupuncture in addition to skincare) or specialized services, such as microdermabrasion, LED treatments, chemical peels, and permanent makeup.

Get your license

Next, become a licensed esthetician by completing an esthetician program. Licensing requirements vary by state, and costs can range between $4,000-$12,000 depending on the kind of institution you attend. Before committing to a program, make sure you understand the licensing requirements of your state board. Visit the website for your state board of cosmetology for more details.

Register your new business

To make things official, you’ll need to register your business. If you’re using a brand name that’s different from your legal name, some states may require you to register a “doing business as”  (DBA) name.

You’ll also need to register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain your federal employer identification number (EIN), which identifies businesses for tax purposes. In addition to your esthetician license, you’ll also need the appropriate business licenses with your city or county, along with any permits required by your state.

Crafting your esthetician business plan

Entrepreneur using a laptop

Once you’ve chosen your specialty and are working toward your license, it’s time to create a business plan. An effective business plan serves as a roadmap for your company and gives you a clear picture of your brand identity, budget, target demographic, sales and marketing plans, and other crucial elements. It also provides potential funding opportunities as lenders will want to see facts, figures, and projections about your company. Here are the main components of an esthetician business plan template

Executive summary

Your executive summary is the first impression of your business, so it should be a compelling introduction. It can make or break potential funding opportunities to launch or grow your business. While it appears at the beginning of your business plan, write this section after you’ve completed the rest of the sections. This way, you’ll have a better idea of the most worthwhile (and impressive) aspects of your business plan and be able to highlight them in a one- to two- page summary. 

Company description

Writing a company description is your chance to provide a snapshot of your brand. It describes who your business will serve, the services you will provide, the physical address of your business (if you have a brick-and-mortar location), and the competitive advantages that will make your business a success (such as the years of experience your employees bring to the business).

Market analysis

As the name suggests, this section of your esthetician business plan will provide an analysis of your market, including the overall industry as well as your specific target market. You’ll also share findings about your competitors to illustrate how you compare and if there are any opportunities to stand out.

While you can conduct in-person market research by visiting beauty salons, day spas, and other spots that offer esthetic services, you should also go through online directories and review sites like Yelp to read what people are saying about competitors in your area. You can use this data to identify shortcomings and explain how you can improve upon them to gain more potential customers.


Get a free Yelp Page

Promote your business to local customers.

Claim your free page

Products and services

This is where you’ll outline the services you will provide as well as any skincare products you plan to sell. Since you’ve already chosen your specialty, this section will outline your specific services, such as facials for problem skin, detoxifying body wraps, or prenatal massage therapy treatments. 

Operations and management

This part of your esthetician business plan outlines key details about how your business will run. To start, include the business structure you’ve chosen (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company). Each business structure comes with its own set of costs, risks, and tax liabilities, so be sure to select the one that’s right for you. 

Next, explain how you’ll manage day-to-day operations. For example, will you be a solo esthetician offering mobile services, or will you hire a management team to oversee a brick-and-mortar location? 

Financial analysis

This portion of your business plan should include your budget, including both startup costs (e.g., business license, property, and liability insurance) and operating costs (beauty supplies, esthetician tools, staffing, and advertising). 

In addition to your budget, the financial analysis needs to include a sales forecast, income projections, and a cash flow statement. This is an essential part of your business plan that outlines how your business will generate enough profit to grow (and repay your lenders). Include an outlook for the next five years, including forecasted income statements, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. For the first year, the breakdown should be more specific with quarterly or even monthly projections.

Marketing strategy

A strong marketing strategy can help drive sales. Think about your target market and how you want them to find your new business. Your marketing plan should include a budget as well as clear strategies and tactics that will bring in new customers, drive sales, and create customer loyalty to help you grow.

Here are a few ideas to promote your spa services:

  • Hold a soft opening event for your business: Build buzz in advance of officially opening your doors to establish relationships with local businesses and local media. This type of event gives them an opportunity to see the value you bring to the community and try out your services for themselves. If you’re not opening a physical location, you can still have a soft launch as a pop-up at another local business or rental space.
  • Connect with other business owners who also serve your customers: Partnerships are critical for promoting your products and services. For example, you can partner with hairdressers in your area to offer a percentage for each referral to your spa. They’re looking for customers too, so it can be a beneficial partnership. You can also offer special coupons to real estate agents to include in their welcome packages for new homeowners.
  • Create a social media strategy: Social media can feel overwhelming, but having a defined plan can help you focus your energy. As soon as you register your business or brand name, be sure to secure that name on different social media apps to make it easy for your customers to find you. Complete your social media profiles with your contact information and start getting active on your accounts.
  • Add your business to online directories and review sites: When you claim your free Yelp Business Page, you can update your listing with accurate business information and high-quality pictures to attract your target market. Research shows that 97% of people make a purchase after using Yelp, so having a complete business page can help you secure new business
  • Reach your target audience with online ads: Advertising is an important part of your marketing budget and can help you expand your reach, especially as you’re getting established as a business. Determine how much you’ll spend on different advertising options, like Yelp Ads (which only costs you when someone clicks). 

Ready to try Yelp Ads?

Put your business in front of more customers.

Start advertising

Bring your vision to life

Starting a new business is a journey, which is why it’s important to have a clear road map. Crafting an esthetician business plan offers guidance for you and your team while giving potential lenders a snapshot of why your endeavor is worth the investment. As an esthetician, you have the vision to help people feel beautiful and healthy in their own skin. And now, you’ve got the power to bring that vision to life. Now, discover six questions to ask when starting a business to ensure you’re fully prepared.

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.