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How Much Does It Cost to Open a Nail Salon?

13 Min Read

cost to start a nail salon
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While the shiny coat of nail paint excites every woman out there, many have found their calling in opening a nail salon. After all, it’s one brilliant way to fill your pockets while working on something you dearly love.

While starting a nail salon business is indeed exciting, one needs to pump some money to turn their dream into an actual salon business.

Well, this blog has all the answers to help you determine your nail salon startup costs. It contains a detailed cost breakdown for various startup expenses and a few tips to reduce those expenses. It also gives you a startup cost calculator to calculate your actual costs.

So what’s the wait for? Let’s dive right in and work our way through seemingly difficult numbers.

Average costs for starting a nail salon

Before we dive into details, check out this nail salon startup cost checklist.  It will help you plan your startup budget and know how much financing you need to get started.

Item Average Cost
One-time Expenses
Lease Deposits $4,500-$10,000
Remodeling $5,000- $15,000
Equipment and furniture $10,000-$50,000
Ventilation and AC units $4,000-$10,000
Inventory and supplies $7,000-$20,000
Training and certification $3,000-$10,000
Business registration $150-$300
Licensing and permits $150-$500
Insurance (annual) $1,500-$6,000
POS setup $2,000-$20,000
Professional expenses $300-$1,000
Business plan $50-$150
Website setup and logo $250-$2,000
Signages $2,000-$10,000
Marketing (pre-launch) $2000-$5,000
Total One-Time Expenses $41,900-$159,950
Recurring Expenses (Per Month)
Lease/ mortgage $3,000-$4,500
Inventory restock $1,000-$5,000
Utilities $1,500-$3,000
Payroll $1,500-$4,500
Software subscription $100-$300
Accounting service $100-$300
Marketing ( monthly) $500-$2,000
Total Recurring Expenses $7,700- $19,600
Total $50,000- $1,80,000

Using this nail salon startup cost checklist, you can plan your startup budget and get an idea of how much financing you will need.

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How to calculate the cost of opening a nail salon

You now have a list of potential expenses and a rough estimate of your startup costs. Let’s estimate your actual startup costs using these two proven methods.

The first, traditional method involves using a startup costs calculator to estimate the startup costs. However, the second, the Upmetrics method, is an innovative method that uses the Upmetrics financial forecasting tool.

Let’s understand both methods so that you can choose one that suits your requirements the best.

The traditional method—startup costs calculator

The calculator includes categories such as pre-trading, website setup, marketing, operations, and people. You can enter the estimated costs in each field and let the calculator estimate the costs for you.

Remember that many startup costs fall under recurring expenses, so cover those costs monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Calculate your startup costs using this calculator.

The Upmetrics method—financial forecasting tool

It is an intuitive and efficient method of calculating startup costs. Using Upmetrics will not just help you estimate startup costs but also help with financial forecasting.

All you need to do is enter your sales, costs, and other financial assumptions and let the tool calculate monthly/quarterly/ and yearly projections for you.


Check out the financial forecasting tool for accurate financial forecasting. Once you have an accurate estimate of startup costs, you can easily identify funding requirements for your nail salon business.

Financial Planning to calculate startup costs

Calculate Your Startup Costs

Raising funds for a new startup is certainly a nerve-wracking and time-consuming process, but having a solid nail salon business plan can make things a lot easier.

Let’s move ahead and discuss the factors that affect your nail salon startup costs.

Factors that affect nail salon startup costs

The cost of starting a nail salon is significantly influenced by multiple factors such as location, compliance, remodeling, marketing, and others. Let’s identify these factors and understand their influence on startup expenses.

1. Location

It’s a no-brainer that location is the secret to building a successful nail salon. However, building this success has a baseline cost. And, it is one primary factor that significantly influences the startup costs for all nail salons.

That being said, starting a nail salon in a highly-populated and popular metropolitan like New York is much higher than in other states like Texas or Arizona.

Not only are the lease rental expenses in these states high, but other expenses such as remodeling, licensing, insurance, equipment, and payroll of skilled nail technicians are also high.

On the other hand, choosing a prime location has its benefits. A buzzing area with easy accessibility will bring you higher foot traffic by making it easier for you to attract your right target market.

Take your own sweet time finding and choosing the location that’s beneficial for your business.

2. Purchase and lease rental

Now, that we know the location plays an influential role in determining the startup costs for nail salon owners, let’s add some numbers to it.

At this stage, you have a few different options to choose from:

Buying a commercial place

Buying a commercial place is indeed more expensive than renting a place for your nail salon. According to Statista, the commercial property price index in 2022 was 212.39.

Considering this, buying a place alone can cost you anywhere between $100,000-$450,000. These costs can span up to millions depending on the locality and size of your nail salon business.

Renting a commercial place

Renting a place for a nail salon is much cheaper than buying a place. However, the expenses still contribute significantly to your startup expenses.

According to Statista, the average square footage rent in the US in 2023 was $22.95. This could soar as high as $100 per sq. ft in metropolitan like New York.

Considering this baseline, nail salon owners can expect to spend $3,000-$4,500 on rent every month. Also, consider the security deposits worth $4,500-$10,000 in your startup business expenses.

Buying a pre-made facility

Another feasible option is to buy a pre-made facility or an existing salon to set up your nail business. This could cost you anywhere between $50,000-$150,000 and more depending on the location and condition of the salon.

Make a choice that could help in turning your nail salon profitable.

3. Nail salon equipment and furnishing

The ambiance of your nail salon is pretty important in writing the success of your business. So ensure that you invest in all sorts of right equipment and furniture to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Now, the remodeling expenses can fare up pretty high, especially if you are planning an upbeat luxury nail art salon. So spend some extra time working on the budget for your remodeling and decor.

The basic remodeling expense on paints, decor, and flooring can span anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 and more. However, this excludes expenses on equipment and furniture.

The equipment required for the nail art business depends on the services you plan to offer. Considering a basic establishment, here are a few pieces of equipment and furniture most nail salons require:

  • Manicure tables
  • Pedicure chairs
  • Couches to seat customers
  • Nail dryers or UV lamps
  • A case for nail polish displays
  • LCD TVs for entertainment
  • Shelves
  • Storage cabinets
  • Mirrors

The initial costs to equip the salon with essential furniture would span between $10,000-$50,000.

Additionally, budget for the purchase and installation of air conditioning and ventilation systems in your nail salon. The costs involved in installing a professional-grade AC unit system span anywhere between $4,000-$10,000.

All in all, the expenses made here should enhance the aesthetic appeal of your salon and should help in delivering efficient salon services.

4. Inventory and supplies

Again, you will need supplies of a few essentials to offer a range of nail salon services.  This includes a variety of nail supplies like nail paints, gel paints, manicure kits, buffers, extensions, nail care tools, lotions, creams, scrubs, and moisturizers.

In addition to this, you also need to invest in a few hygiene and cleaning products to keep the premises clean and hygienic. Take that business plan and identify all that you need to keep the nail salon optimally operational and budget for it.

Generally, the costs for building a sustainable small inventory would span anywhere from $7,000-$20,000.

5. Training and Certification

To stand strong and competitive in the beauty industry, it’s important to acquire essential certifications to prove your competence in nail art. As a salon owner, you would also have to incur expenses on getting your nail technicians certified.

Further, you can train your employees to be more proficient at the work by imparting one-to-one training programs to them. The training costs vary between $3,000-$10,000 accounting for supplies and the trainer’s cost.

Despite not being a compulsion, it’s essential to spare a budget for these activities to build your reputation in the nail salon market.

6. Payroll Expenses

As a salon owner, you would need a couple of people to keep your nail salon efficiently operational. Paying these people is going to take away the largest chunk of your operational capital.

Amongst the cost of hiring for different positions, hiring skilled nail technicians would be the costliest. According to Indeed, the average salary of a nail technician in the US is $21.24 per hour. Some of the most skilled artists could cost you as high as $51.14.

When you open a nail salon, you would also require a couple of cleaners, a receptionist, and a manager to look after the operations. Refer to your hiring plan before making any full-time, part-time, or hourly hires for the nail salon.

While budgeting for startup expenses, small business owners should keep at least $1,500-$4,500 aside for employee payroll.

7. Licenses and Insurance

Registering your salon to become a legal business entity can cost you between $150-$300. Apart from this, the compliance costs include the cost of acquiring essential licenses and permits, which would span anywhere between $150-$500.

Insurance costs for a nail salon are going to be large considering you have secured your business on all fronts.

Generally, you would require general liability business insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance to safeguard the business against potential theft, damage, employee injuries, or property damage.

The insurance expenses vary greatly depending on the location and coverage of your business. However, expect these to cost you around $1,500-$6,000 annually.

8. Technology and software

A small business might find it essential to spend money on software and technologies to keep expenses low. However, a business owner of a well-run nail salon won’t make that mistake.

A robust POS system is essential to manage inventory, payments, employees, and appointments efficiently. The cost of POS varies greatly, however, you can budget anywhere between $2,000-$20,000 for your POS system and $100-$300 for POS ongoing expenses on software.

9. Professional Expenses

While setting up your nail business, you can’t do everything on your own wearing a Superman hat. You need professional help in certain business areas so that you can ultimately deliver efficient nail services.

  • Legal services: Services to make your business legally compliant, i.e. business registration, licensing and permits, sales tax permit, EIN, etc. This would cost you $250-$500 for once.
  • Accounting services: Services to help you with book maintenance, account keeping, tax filing, etc. Accounting services would cost $100-$300 every month.
  • Business consultancy services: Services to help you grow your nail and hair salon business strategically. The business consultancy services would cost $500-$1,000 at a time.

10. Pre-launch and marketing

The marketing should begin much before you open the gates of your nail salon business to the public.

Begin by building a stellar business website and logo for your nail business. Accounting for hosting, domain charges, and web development fees, you can budget anywhere between $250-$2,000 to get your nail salon website ready.

Further, you need to work on signage and billboards to help people find you easily. The cost for these could span between $2,000-$10,000 and sometimes even more.

Then budget for the online and offline marketing activities such as social media marketing, email marketing, paid advertisement, and advertising through leaflets, pamphlets, and local radio. The budget for this could span anywhere around $2,000-$5,000 before launch.

And lastly, decide your monthly marketing budget as a certain percentage of sales or a fixed amount. This would be anywhere around $500-$2,000 every month.

And those are all the factors that would contribute significantly to your startup costs. Let’s now understand if there is a way to bring down those expenses.

Tips for reducing nail salon startup costs

Now before you start finalizing things, check these tips that can help you reduce your nail salon startup costs considerably.

1. Buy used equipment

Look out for salons that have recently closed. You are likely to find used equipment in good condition at a comparatively cheaper price.

Not only that, keep an eye out for garage sales to find nice pieces of furniture for your nail salon. Buying used equipment will help you bring down your startup costs considerably.

2. Buy an existing salon

Building, renovating and remodeling is a costly affair. If you have a nail salon in mind that’s about to close, strike a deal with the owner. Buying an already existing nail salon is much cheaper than building a new one from scratch.

3. Strike negotiation for lease rental

There is always room for negotiation so give your shot before finalizing any contract. You may get a deal that requires a small sum of security deposits or a better deal at monthly rental expenses.

4. DIY Marketing

Marketing is crucial but hiring experts for everything can be costly, at least initially. You can save a few hundred or thousand dollars by undertaking a few tasks on your own. For instance, making a logo, social media marketing, designing brochure materials, etc.

5. Avoid extensive hiring

Your startup costs include fixed expenses and operational costs for the first 3 months. So you want your operational expenses to be as little as possible, at least initially.

Don’t make extensive hiring plans from the first month. Instead, hire part-time employees and gradually convert them into full-time positions as the salon business gains momentum.


And that’s a wrap. By now you must have a thorough understanding regarding the cost of starting a nail salon.

It’s now time to calculate the actual costs for your nail venture using our startup cost calculator. And while you are at it, use our business planning app to make accurate financial forecasts and write an actionable business plan using our AI assistance.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s give a beautiful coat of reality to your nail business dream.

Use Upmetrics for Accurate Startup Cost Projections!

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Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more


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