The Salon Suite Starter Guide
Breaking Down the Basics Behind Renting Your Own Salon Suite
The best thing about a career in the beauty industry? If you do it right, you’ll never get stuck feeling stagnant.
In an industry of our size that’s filled with such diversity and demand, there’s always room for your thriving career to push the boundaries, open exciting doors, and of course, grow to be larger than life.
While there are millions (yeah, we said millions) of ways for you to push your beauty pro career even further, there’s one undeniably bold and rewarding strategy out there that we can’t help but get behind—running your own salon suite.
There are endless points in the “pros column” when it comes to renting your own salon suite space—for starters, renting your own salon suite means that you can (finally) be your own damn boss! That authority, coupled with the freedom to be as creative as you want, run things the way you want, and employ the help you want, can unlock a whole new level of potential for your career.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the process is always going to be easy. Just like with any step in your career, you’ll have to tackle new obstacles, take on new challenges, and learn how to transition to running your own business.
To paraphrase an insanely well-known cliché—it’s not always going to be easy, but you better believe it’s going to be damn worth it in the end.
So, before we start, answer one question for us—are you ready to live the suite life?
Yeah, we thought you might be.
Quick Intro: What’s a Salon Suite? Here’s Why You Should Consider It
At Beauty Insurance Plus, we’re all about helping professionals grow—and we realize that sometimes, that means providing a super sturdy foundational knowledge to build upon. So, we’re breaking down some serious basics—just for a second—before we dive into the more complex portions of renting or owning your salon suite.
A salon suite is basically a mini salon that lets beauty professionals from all types of industries (MUAs, stylists, estheticians, etc.)
to rent their own small salon, spa, or shop without the risks, overhead, and expenses that come with owning an entire building.
So, in other words, a salon suite is like a place that you’re renting from a landlord—the salon, spa, or shop that’s within that space is yours and you’re in charge of what happens in there. The room itself, well, that belongs to someone else.
You have the luxury and hard-earned right of running your own business without dealing with the headache, cost, and risk of being the owner of an entire building—leave that for the landlord, right?
Before we move on, let’s get something straight—this isn’t salon booth rental.
Salon booth rental implies that you’re paying someone to let you rent a space within their own salon suite—you know, like you’re renting a booth or station inside someone else’s salon. So, you work at that booth, but you’re obligated to follow the rules of that salon and you’re definitely not going to have any say on what happens within that salon.
But with salon suite rental, that’s not the case. You’re renting the salon suite, which means 9barring anything your lease says, which we’ll address later), all decisions are up to you.
Sounds pretty dang great, right? If you agree but you’re still not totally sold on the concept of renting your own salon space, consider a few of these pros:
Create Your Criteria: What Details You Should Consider
If you’re still reading, it’s safe to assume you’re down-with-the-salon-suite-get-down—welcome to the party.
Now that you’re on board, it’s time to start thinking about some of the hugely important factors that must be considered when it comes to picking out your salon suite.
We won’t lie—there are a ton of factors to consider, but we’re going to list the top three things we believe make all the difference when it comes to deciding on a spot. We encourage you to read these, take notes, and then brainstorm about other factors that should affect your decision.
Look past just the monthly rate and dive deeper. First things first, talk to your prospective landlord about any and all charges—sure, the monthly rent is $250, but is that all-inclusive?
Ask important questions about things like:
- Parking—both for you and your customers
- Laundry facilities
- Utility and other miscellaneous costs
- Additional charges that haven’t been discussed
Once you have all of those questions answered, start thinking about your costs—does this location make sense?
Think about the cost of the lease, the additional charges, products, manpower, etc.—all the things that you’ll need to account for now that you’re the one in charge. If the rental prices fit into that mathematic equation, it sounds like a good deal.
Lease Term Agreements
This is a very important thing, so make sure you’re reading this section thoroughly—don’t be shy about hashing out the specifics of your lease.
Sometimes, people avoid asking the tough questions because they don’t want to come off pushy, but it’s hugely important that you tackle these questions before you sign a lease—better you know now than later, right?
Ask your landlord to be transparent and iron out details like:
- Lease commitment
- Long-term discounts
- Month-to-month options
- Security deposit
- Move-in specials
- Breaking the lease options
- Additional feels—maintenance, cleaning, etc.
- Wi-Fi, utilities, water, etc.
No question is too small and no question is too silly—you’re thinking of renting this place, so it’s well within your right to ask any and every question you want or need.
The phrase “location, location, location” exists for a reason—AKA location matters, you guys.
Where you put down your salon suite roots matters. You could be the world’s greatest MUA, stylist, or esthetician, but if your salon or shop is entirely out of the way, hard to find, or in a not-so-great area, you can bet that very few clients are going to make the trip to come find you. Even though customers do have loyalty trends, those tendencies only stretch so far. You might have to pay a little extra in rent to achieve this, but if it’s within your budget, we encourage it—sometimes a little extra dough for a prime location can end up playing out in your favor in the long run.
Know where your target market is and be in a prime spot to reach them. Pro tip: if you’re trying to keep your current customer base on board, we suggest checking out spots that aren’t too terribly far from where you currently operate.
Sourcing the Perfect Salon Suite Location
Start your sourcing engines, people, because now that you’ve figured out which criteria matters for a suite, you can start actually looking for the perfect space.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret—there are likely hundreds of options in your city, state, region, etc. out there. While we can’t realistically list out every regional option specifically for you, we can give you a hint on where you can start your search.
Check out places like:
And that’s just the start. All of those recommendations are corporations that specialize in renting out studio spaces to stylists, professionals, and other artists, but the list doesn’t begin and end with them. Start looking in your area for a local landlord who might run similar operations.
License & Protect Yourself Properly
Okay, okay— we admit it, this isn’t the most exciting part about renting a salon suite, but you guys, stick with us, it’s necessary to talk about licensing.
Actually, it’s critical.
Make sure that before you start running a business out of your badass little salon suite that you’re properly licensed and insured—otherwise, you’ll be dealing with some costly, next-level headaches.
Be sure you obtain all the necessary licenses and protections, such as:
If you’re renting your own salon suite, you probably already have your cosmetology license. But, if for some reason you don’t, we recommend obtaining that ASAP. Even if it’s not legally required in your state, being a licensed professional is always going to put you steps ahead of any competition—plus, it’s something you’re going to want to hang up in your salon suite studio that says, “Hey, look, I am a badass—here’s proof.”
Get in touch with your local government (try City Hall) and schedule an appointment with the department that grants business licenses. We promise this part isn’t as scary as it sounds.
You probably need to schedule an appointment with your state’s cosmetology board so they can give your space the once-over approval. This means that you’ll have to know what’s required and what needs to be implemented before they check your space (if you want to pass, that is). You’ll need to know your state’s specific guidelines, CEUs, license renewal periods, fees, and more.
Yes, we’re an insurance company, so we get that this might come off a little biased—but hear us out. Cosmetology liability insurance is absolutely vital when it comes down to safeguarding your career, your reputation, your finances, and your future.
Why? Because it protects you from the unlikely, the improbably, and the unknown. We’re not going to totally harp on this right now, but we do have an entire article right here that delves into the must-knows about professional beauty liability insurance and we totally encourage you to read up on it ASAP.
Plan Your Space Accordingly
You guys, this is the fun part.
(If you thought the licensing part was fun, you’re probably just an insurance nerd like us, so no judgment).
We’re going to throw an obligatory “stay within your budget” warning here because, you know, responsibility and all—but don’t let that stop you from creating a sweet suite space that’s totally and completely reflective of who you are as a professional and what you want your business to be.
So, when decorating and planning, start thinking about things like:
- Brand & Theme: Your space should say something about you—it should reflect your established brand and be consistent in the message you want to reflect for your customers. If you’re a high-end, premium brand that’s touting clean aesthetics and minimalism, then your suite’s style should reflect that. You don’t need to be overly rigid with your decorating standards, but remember, your salon suite’s aesthetics will reflect your brand—make sure it’s consistent.
- Form & Function vs Fabulous Fashion—We’re talking about equipment and layout here. Obviously, you want a beautiful and aesthetic suite space, but if you design a studio that’s all glitz with no function, you’re going to struggle with your space. Make sure your design takes layout into first consideration. Try creating a blueprint of what your space should look like by mentally going through a day-to-day with your clients. Ensure your design reflects a comfortable, efficient, and seamless workflow.
- Color & Lighting—First things first, drop the paintbrush and double-check with your landlord that you can make those kinds of changes. All clear? Good. Now, consider the effects lighting and color have on how the space looks, but also, consider how these two factors contribute to a client’s mood. For example, if you’re looking to create a relaxing, Zen space, you might want to stay away from loud colors and bold patterns.
Are you ready to take the next step? Here’s a secret—we know you’re ready. Just by reading this article and looking into your options, it’s clear that you’re looking for that new, big leap in your career, and we couldn’t be happier to help guide you toward that decision!
Remember, if you’re feeling intimidated or scared by this concept, know you’re not alone—just because there are plenty of people out there who have taken this step before you doesn’t mean you’re the only one who was nervous to do it. The only difference between you and those who already have their own salon suite? Just a little time.
Dream on, dreamer, because your career goals are so close you can almost touch them.
At Beauty Insurance Plus, we’re proud to help you take the next steps in your beauty career, and if that means encouraging you to rent your own suite, then damnit, we couldn’t be happier for you. We’re here for you every step of the way—especially when it comes to protecting your career, your salon suite, and your dreams.
Reach out to us to chat about how our cosmetology insurance can help safeguard that dream, your badass beauty career, and your future all at once!