How to Manage a Salon: Tips for Becoming a Leader and Ensuring Salon Success

How To Become A Salon Manager A Roadmap to Leadership Success

There comes a time in many experienced hairdressers’ and beauty therapists’ careers when they feel ready to take the next step and pivot into a leadership role. But beyond wondering how to manage a salon and the day-to-day, there’s a lot involved in making the transition.

Although a rewarding vocation, translating your beauty and hair skills into a managerial role can be challenging. To help, this guide was created to answer some of the unknowns. Today, we’ll answer how to become a salon manager, how to manage a salon, and the skills — and qualifications — that give you the best shot at success.

How to manage a salon: the everyday responsibilities 

Managing a salon is a natural career progression for many in the hair and beauty industry. Those with extensive experience and a passion for running or leading a business will find it especially appealing. The best way to tell if this role is for you? Having an insider view into what it entails.

A salon manager’s day-to-day can differ, depending on the type of salon they’re running. But generally, these tips for learning how to manage a salon can give you insight into what’s involved. 

  • Managing staff

Providing guidance and support to your employees, training and recruiting new staff members, and dealing with HR tasks like payroll, policies and procedures, and leave will all fall on your head.

  • Customer service

Having a high-level view of how employees provide customer service to their clients is your responsibility. Knowing how to use customer complaints to strengthen your service is the key to continual growth.

  • Managing finances

The goal of most salons is to earn a profit, and overseeing finances to ensure this is the manager’s job. A business’s finance includes utilities, inventory, wages, marketing, and property fees, so consider outsourcing to an accountant if possible.

  • Managing inventory

As the manager, you’ll need adequate stock of products like hair dyes, shampoos, conditioners, and others available. Additionally, learning about new products and embracing innovation in the industry is key to staying fresh. 

  • Resourcing

Making appointments and ensuring you have staff to provide services is the key to a well-functioning salon. Consider automation tools to help you keep track of resourcing and simplify your job.

  • Coordinating marketing

Salons don’t sell themselves, and as the salon manager, you’ll be tasked with marketing your services. Utilise opportunities like cross promotions, in-salon events, and social media marketing to gain a wider reach.

  • Compliance

A manager must always ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers. Your salon and its practices must be compliant with industry standards and regulations. 

Regardless of the size or scope of a salon, the manager’s role is vital. So, becoming an effective leader and learning to manage efficiently will be the key to its success.

How to become a salon manager

As with any role in the beauty industry, becoming a salon manager requires the right combination of education and experience. And as a more senior role, there are specific qualifications that can help get you there.

In Australia, no legislated qualification allows someone to manage a salon or start a beauty business. But as a leadership role that requires knowledge of the industry and commercial and managerial understanding, it makes sense to have the educational backing.

First steps: becoming a qualified beauty therapist or hairdresser

For some, the goal of managing a salon precedes becoming a hairdresser or beauty therapist. However, you’ll be better equipped to lead a team and manage a salon if you have the technical expertise.

Those considering a career in salon management but haven’t yet obtained a hairdressing qualification can take advantage of a dual diploma that teaches both. Demi International’s Dual Diploma of Salon Management and Certificate III in Hairdressing first helps you kickstart your career as a hairdresser and then teaches you the managerial aspects of the role.

Additionally, Demi International also offers a course bundle for individuals interested in studying Barbering and Salon Management, which could be the perfect fit for those who want to fast-track their career in barbering.

The right qualifications for the job

Undertaking formal study with a registered training organisation will give you the practical and theoretical skills you need to manage a successful salon. 

Studying the Diploma of Salon Management at Demi International will have you job-ready in just over 12 months. You’ll benefit from an experienced trainer guiding you through online units in salon management, including:

  • Team leadership in personal services
  • Recruitment and human resourcing
  • Managing people and performance
  • Individual and team training
  • Small business marketing and promotion
  • Providing a safe work environment 
  • Managing treatment services and sales delivery 
  • Developing workplace policies and procedures

Once qualified, you’ll further gain on-the-job experience that helps you develop the skills a salon manager needs.

Essential skills for becoming a salon manager

Beyond formal qualifications and experience, other essential skills can help you become a successful salon manager. Keep these in mind when weighing up whether it’s the role for you.

Communication skills

Communication is vital in any business, but when you’re managing a salon and dealing with customers and staff, they’re crucial. Written, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills should be finely tuned, allowing you to give and receive information as the representative for your salon.

Interpersonal skills

Active listening, motivating others, fostering a healthy team environment, being empathetic, and providing conflict resolution are some essential interpersonal skills you’ll need. As a salon manager, you’ll use them daily when dealing with customers and staff, allowing you to build solid relationships.

Time management

Appointment and service-based businesses, like salons, require absolute precision regarding time. You’ll oversee appointments, rostering, resourcing, and other general duties, ensuring everything is done punctually and adequately. 

Technical know-how

All great salon managers have the technical skills to back them up. As well as being an adept leader, you should have finely tuned abilities in hairdressing or beauty therapy, allowing you to guide and train staff and ensure the highest level of service for customers.

How much do salon managers earn?

One of the most rewarding aspects of managing a salon is the potential to earn a better income while driving profits. According to Seek, a salon manager in Australia can earn between $60,000 and $75,000 a year. However, variables like location, experience, and services provided can impact your earning potential.

To guarantee the best possible income, the right qualifications are a must. Salon managers with dual qualifications, like a Diploma of Salon Management and a Diploma of Beauty Therapy, have a higher earning potential thanks to their technical skills and comprehensive business knowledge.

Concerned about job stability? The Australian Government’s Labour Market Insight report shows a 12.2% future growth in job demand for beauty therapists – positive news for potential salon managers, indicating a burgeoning industry. 

Investing in the proper qualifications now can lead to better career outcomes later, especially if learning how to become a salon manager is your goal.

Ready to jumpstart your career in salon management?

Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to transfer your existing skills into a leadership role, Demi International can help. Our course advisors work with you to explore the study options that will allow you to achieve your goals, so reach out today.

Picture of Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith

Sandra owns her own successful nail salon in Grange, Brisbane. Her highly commended career involves winning the overall Champion for INJA competition in 2017, the Overall Champion Emendee trophy in 2019, a 1st place win in the NZ nail competition and two 1st place wins in Antalya (Turkey) World Cup Nail Championship in 2021.

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