How to start a Nail Salon Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Nail Salon Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Nail Salon Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Nail Salon Business ?
  • How to find the best location to open a Nail Salon Business?
  • What different types of services you can offer as a Nail Salon business?

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Nail Salon Business?

With a Global market value of around $13 billion in 2023,  the Nail Salon Industry is one of the biggest industries in the world right now. 


Starting a Nail Salon business can be profitable for those passionate about beauty and customer service. A Nail Salon business is an establishment that provides customer services like manicures, pedicures, foot massages, etc.


By the end of this article, you’ll learn the steps you need to take to start a nail salon business and the critical considerations for making it a success.

Market Insight: In the UK, the nail salon market is valued at £238.4 million in 2023, while in the US, the market is valued at $67.4 billion in 2023.

Nail Salon Business

Types of Nail Salon Business models

The best way to choose the business plan is by checking the demand for your product in the area & how much you can invest.


There are several types of Nail Salon business models, including:


1. Full-service salon: 

This salon offers a wide range of services, including manicures, pedicures, waxing, and haircuts. Typically has a larger space and staff to accommodate a variety of services.


2. Specialty salon: 

A specialty salon focuses on a specific service, such as nail care, eyelash extensions, or threading. It may have a smaller space and staff, but it specializes in the service offered.


3. Mobile salon: 

A business model where the salon comes to the customer instead of the customer going to the salon. This can include traveling to the client’s home or office or offering services at events such as weddings or parties.


4. Nail Bar: 

A type of nail salon that focuses on providing quick, affordable, and convenient nail services, often in a fun, social environment.


5. Organic/ Natural Nail Salon: 

It uses natural or organic products on the nails, hair, and skin. They may also prioritize the use of less toxic or chemical-free products.


6. DIY Nail salon: 

A DIY Nail Salon is the type of nail salon where customers are encouraged to do their nails with the help of the salon staff. In addition, they may offer nail art classes and provide customers with the necessary tools and materials.


7. Spa Nail Salon: 

It offers customers a more luxurious and relaxing experience, incorporating elements of a spa such as massages, facials, and other spa treatments into its services.


8. Online Nail salon: 

A business model that operates primarily online, where customers can order nail products, schedule appointments, and get their nails done remotely.


9. Medical Nail salon: 

A Medical Nail Salon is a salon that caters to customers with medical conditions such as diabetes or fungus, providing specialized treatments and services that cater to their needs.


10. Home-based Nail salon: 

A business model where the salon is operated out of the owner’s home, providing more flexibility and lower overhead costs than a traditional brick-and-mortar salon.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Pros and Cons of a Nail Salon Business

Pros of a Nail Salon business:

  • High demand for services
  • Potential for repeat customers
  • Low start-up costs
  • Flexibility in terms of location and hours
  • Potential to offer additional services such as waxing, facials, and massages to increase revenue

Cons of a Nail Salon business:

  • High competition
  • Requires skilled and licensed technicians
  • Some services, such as acrylic nails, can be damaging to natural nails and lead to complaints or legal issues
  • Labor intensive and physically demanding
  • Requires a significant amount of inventory

How much investment is required for your Nail Salon Business?

The investment required to start a nail salon business in the UK & the US can vary depending on many factors, such as the size and location of the company, the type of services you will provide, and the labor cost.


The average cost to open a small nail salon business in the US ranges from $50K – $100K. While in the UK, the average cost to open a small nail salon business ranges from £20K to £50K.


Some Common Expenses in running a Nail Salon Business include:


  • Leasehold improvements
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Furniture and decor
  • Initial inventory
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Insurance
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Salaries and wages
  • Operating costs
  • Inventory and product cost
Nail Salon Business

How much will you earn in the Nail Salon Business?

It is easier to estimate earnings in the Nail Salon business with more information about the specific company, such as location, target market, and competition. In addition, factors such as overhead costs, sales volume, and pricing will all play a role in determining earnings.

The average US Nail Salons revenue is around $200K – $500K annuallywhile in the UK, it’s around £100K – £250K per year, with a profit margin of about 5% – 25%. 

Some approximate costs of Nail Salon services for you to do the calculations:

United States:


  • Manicure: $15 – $35
  • Pedicure: $25 – $50
  • Gel or Acrylic Nails: $35 – $65
  • Nail Art: $5 – $10 per nail
  • Waxing: $10 – $30
  • Eyelash extensions: $50 – $150
  • Facials: $50 – $80


United Kingdom:


  • Manicure: £15-£30
  • Pedicure: £20-£40
  • Gel nails: £25-£40
  • Acrylic nails: £30-£50
  • Nail art: £5-£10 per nail
  • Nail extension: £40-£70

Seasonal Business:

The month of December is actually the busiest time of year for Nail Salon Business. As this month has the highest number of festivals in a year, beauty industries including nails salon industry are in high demand during this month.

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Nail Salon Business

Checklist of Equipment needed for a Nail Salon Business

Here is a quick checklist of equipment and supplies you will need to start a Nail Salon Business:


  • Nail tables and chairs
  • Manicure and pedicure stations
  • Nail polish and gel polish
  • Nail files and buffers
  • Nail clippers and cutters
  • Nail drill
  • UV or LED lamp
  • Acrylic and gel nail supplies
  • Disposable items
  • Marketing materials
  • Insurance
  • Cash register and card machine


Note: This list is still ongoing, as you may need additional equipment depending on the specific needs of your Nail Salon. It’s essential to consult with professionals to ensure you have everything you need.

Nail Salon Business

Trends & Challenges in the Nail Salon Business 

Trends in the Nail Salon Business:

  • Increasing focus on health and safety
  • Use of natural and organic products
  • Incorporation of technology (online booking, digital payment)
  • Personalization and customization of service
  • Increasing popularity of gel and dip powder nails
  • Use of social media and online platforms for marketing and promotion
  • Offering additional services such as nail art, nail jewelry and nail embellishments

Challenges in the Nail Salon Business:

  • High competition
  • Rising costs of operation and supplies
  • Adaptation to changing consumer preferences and demands
  • Keeping up with new regulations and standards for sanitation and safety
  • Finding and retaining skilled staff
  • Managing and marketing the business effectively to stay competitive.

Tips for location in a Nail Salon Business

1. Look for high traffic areas

2. Research the area you're considering to ensure that it's a good fit for the services you offer.

3. Check for competition

4. Look for easy parking

5. Access to Public transportation

6. Make sure you are aware of all the regulations and legal requirements for opening a salon in your area.

Nail Salon Business

List of services in a Nail Salon Business 

As a nail technician, it is your responsibility to make your client’s nails look great and therefore, help them to feel great. A few common Nail Salon Services are:


  • Artificial Nails
  • Acrylic Overlay 
  • Shellac, Gel, Standard Nail Polish
  • Dip Powder
  • Gel (with or without UV curing)
  • Foot spa treatments
  • Hand massage
  • Cuticle oil treatment
  • Nail Extension Repair/ Take Off
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Nail Extensions
  • Nail Art
  • Gel Nails
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Paraffin Wax Treatments
  • Nail Repair and Maintenance
  • Nail Enhancements Removal
  • Nail Polish Change

Things to keep in mind while choosing the service you want to provide as a business:

1. A nail salon should offer anything from basic manicures and pedicures to personally curated special services.

2. Select your nail services on the basis of the demand and need of your target customers and neighborhood.

3. Start with the basic section of manicures, pedicures, and artificial nails, and build your list from there.

Nail Salon Business

Service Rate Card of a Nail Salon Business 

As a Nail Salon Business, it’s essential to showcase your service rate card in such a manner that is reasonable and attractive to any potential customers. 


Some salons may charge more for luxury services or for using high-end products, and some may charge less for essential services. Your rates depending on your country, can be:


United States:


  • Basic Manicure: $15-60
  • Basic Pedicure: $25-100
  • Gel Manicure: $30-90
  • Acrylic Nails: $30-120
  • Nail Art: $5-20 per nail
  • Nail Extension: $50-200
  • Nail Repair: $5-20 per nail
  • Nail Enhancements Removal: $20-80


United Kingdom:


  • Basic Manicure: £10-40
  • Basic Pedicure: £15-60
  • Gel Manicure: £20-70
  • Acrylic Nails: £20-80
  • Nail Art: £3-10 per nail
  • Nail Extension: £30-120
  • Nail Repair: £3-10 per nail
  • Nail Enhancements Removal: £15-50

Steps to consider while pricing your salon services to finalize a profitable pricing strategy:-

1. Calculate your overall budget and running cost per month

2. Calculate your cost per hour

3. Calculate the overall working hours per month

4. Know what others salons are charging

5. Calculate your service cost

Certification and Registration

Licences in a Nail Salon Business 

While the basic licences such as Business Licence, Health and Safety regulation, Sales Tax Permits are applicable to almost all business (To read more about the licences ‘Click Here to read our Mini Guide’). 

Some specific licenses and permits might be needed to open a Nail Salon Business in the UK and the US. Those licenses are as follows :

1. Beauty therapy or nail technician qualifications: 

Individuals providing nail services must have good beauty therapy or nail technician qualifications.


2. Cosmetology or nail technician license: 

Individuals providing nail services must have a valid cosmetology or nail technician license.


3. Massage establishment permit:

In some states, a special permit is required if the salon offers massage services.

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Nail Salon Business

Shall I go for a Nail Salon franchise?

Buying an existing Nail Salon Franchise of a recognized brand is a good idea; however, it is expensive also.

On the other hand, the franchisor will benefit you will all the existing brand image, customer loyalty, advertising, market research & strategies.

In addition, you will get guidance from the franchisor about training the workforce & ambiance of the premises. 

Some of the top Nail Salon Franchises in the UK and USA:

Some tips to help your Nail Salon business grow:

1. Offer a loyalty program to incentivize repeat customers

2. Utilize social media

3. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques

4. Create a clean and inviting atmosphere in your salon

5. Offer a variety of services and products to attract different types of customers


In conclusion, starting a Nail Salon Business in the UK and the US can be rewarding and profitable. However, conducting thorough market research, creating a solid business plan, and securing the necessary funding is crucial. 

It is crucial to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers. 

Following these steps, you can set your Nail Salon Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Inside Las Vegas’ 24-Hour Nail Salon | GET NAILED 24/7 – YT Channel ‘truly’

The Most Epic Nail Spa Ever | Localish -YT Channel ‘Localish’

This Cult Nail Artist Has the World at Her Fingertips- YT Channel ‘VICE Life’

A. Starting a Nail Salon Business can be an expensive endeavor, as there are many costs to consider such as rent, equipment, supplies, inventory, marketing, and staffing. The exact cost will depend on factors such as the location, size, and type of coffee shop you plan to open, as well as the equipment and supplies you will need.

Some estimates suggest that the cost of opening a small coffee shop can range from $50K to $250K or more. 

A. Yes, it is a profitable business. On an average, a well established Nail Salon earns a six figure yearly.

A. The nail salon industry in the United States is a large and growing market. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, the nail salon industry in the US was valued at $8.5 billion in 2020. 

A. The beauty industry as a whole in the UK is a significant market, worth billions of pounds. According to a report by the UK’s Professional Beauty Association, the beauty industry in the UK was valued at £28.4 billion in 2020 and expected to grow in the coming years. 

A. Here are a few well-known nail salon chains in the UK:

  • Townhouse Harrods – Milton Keynes
  • Lacquered + Stripped
  • Shian Nails – London
  • Simply Urban – Brighton
  • NUKA Nails – London

A. Here are a few well-known Nail Salon chains in the US:

  • Nail Trix
  • Luxe Nails Spa
  • J Nail Spa
  • Happy Nails
  • Pro Nails
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