Choosing Your Salon's Target Market and Services

Understanding your market and the services you can offer will help you determine which path you will take when developing your salon business.

Figuring Out Your Market

I. Who is Your Salon's Target Market?

 One of the most important steps to take before starting your salon business is to identify your target market. Your targeted public will have a lot of impact on the development of your salon business, so be sure to research this carefully. Who do you want to provide salon services for? Is there a specific age range, gender, or income level you have in mind? All of these, and more, are important factors to think about when profiling your target public. You may think that it doesn't matter because you just care about providing services, but as you will discover in the next section, there are more types of salons than you might think, and each type has a very specific market in mind.

II. Salon Services

Now that you have determined who your target market will be for your new salon business, you can begin to learn more about the type of services your salon will offer.

Barber Shop Services

As barber shops focus primarily on mens grooming needs, is important to understand that a barber is different than a cosmetologist. They each require a different type of license and schooling. Barbers typically do not offer washes, perms, coloring, curling, straightening, and blow drying or extensive styling. 

Beauty Salon Services

A beauty salon offers services beyond simply cutting and styling hair. Cosmeticians offer a wide variety of cosmetic treatments, particularly for women. The professionals who work in a beauty salon will require specialized licensing and schooling that extend past hair-related credentials. 

Day Spa Services

A day spa offers a range of personal care treatments to both men and women that focus on improving health, relaxation and beauty. Some day spas will also offer salon services, but what truly sets them apart is their specialized facilities like pools, baths, saunas and whirlpools.

In-Home Salon Services

In-home salons typically offer services to men, women and children equally. An in-home requires a certain type of licensing in order to offer cosmetic services such as waxing, manicures and pedicures. In-home salons may also require special licensing and adherence to specific regulations, which you can learn about in a later chapter.

General Hair Salon

A general hair salon offers hair and cosmetic services to men, women and children alike. General hair salons typically only offer hair treatments and services as opposed to other cosmetic treatments that would be offered in a beauty salon. However, some may also offer brow and facial waxing. 

III. Type of Salons

Each of the salons and services listed in the previous section can fall into any of the categories listed.

Depending on which category your salon and services falls into will determine factors such as pricing, location and even your target market.

High End Salon

A high end salon is a barber shop, beauty salon or day spa that offers its services at a higher price than most other salons. This is usually due to its location, staff and atmosphere.

Typically, a high end salon is located in a central area, like the downtown core of a city. The salon itself is usually luxurious, full of high end furnishings, products and equipment. As well, the professionals working there are usually experts in their field and have years of sought after experience under their belt. If you choose to open a high end salon, your customers will expect only the best service and should be pampered. Beverages should be offered as well as extra free services such as scalp massages during shampoo services. High end salons typically offer services by appointment only, and do not usually offer services to children. Your target market for a high end salon will most likely be working adults with a mid-high range income.

Walk-In Hair Salons

A walk-in hair salon is a barber shop or unisex hair salon that offers services at a much lower price and do not require clients to book appointments in advance. Clients can walk in and receive service within only a few minutes. There are usually several stylists working at once in a walk-in salon, and often these are young professionals looking to grow their book of business and client base. Walk-in hair salons are usually located in commercial-heavy and residential areas within a city. The atmosphere is simple, child friendly and average in feel. If you are looking to open a walk-in hair salon, your target market will be broader than that of a high end salon. You will want to market yourself to men and women, as well as families in the low-mid income range. While this may not seem as glamorous as a high end salon, walk-in salons are very popular and receive a lot of constant customers due to their lower prices and quick service.

School Based Salon

The last type of salon is a school based salon. Barber schools, cosmetology schools and esthetics schools will most often offer services from a salon within their facility. School based salons can range in price and services. Many school salons will offer cheap services from their students who are looking to gain real-life experience. Some may even offer free services, such as free massages at a spa therapy school from students who are looking to practice their technique. Apprentices or recent graduates are required to work a set number of salon hours before receiving their full licence, so they too will offer services at a lower price. However, these salons also have fully licensed and experienced professionals who offer services at a normal to high price based on their level of expertise.