What Do You Need to Open a Nail Salon

The anatomy of opening your own nail salon is pretty similar to the structure of a flawless manicure. Firstly, you prepare and embed your dream of a salon by getting a proper training and the needed certifications. 

Secondly, you give form to your ideas and start looking for a suitable place which you equip with the right furniture. Last but not least, you create an engaging atmosphere and practically color your studio to attract guests. Let’s see what you need to consider and purchase before you open a nail salon!

what do you need to open a nail salon

Home salon or traditional nail salon?

Deciding whether you would like to work from home or in a regular salon is one of the most important first steps, especially if you are just about to start your business. Here are some pros and cons of both: 

Home salon


You are your own boss

Undoubtedly the most significant advantage of starting your own nail business is that you are in charge. You decide the work schedule, whether you leave room for spur-of-the-moment french manis, what wallpaper or music you prefer.

Holidays are your best friends

If there is one secure thing when you decide to open a home salon is that you will always make money before any major holiday. Who wouldn’t like to have a little Santa on their nails before December ends? In the festive season, you only need a few faithful clients to make enough money for everybody’s gifts.


Client, where are you?

It is incredibly challenging to attract new clients to a home salon, even if you are a trained professional. While your regular guests – and your nail art – can definitely spread the word, it is highly recommended to develop a strong customer base before opening your nail salon.

Privacy issues

Mixing business with pleasure is never good – and this applies to your home salon as well! Most states require you to alter your home if you tend to open a nail salon there for a reason: having a separate room with a separate entrance door makes sure your intimacy is protected and gives your guest a professional vibe.

what do you need to open a nail salon

Traditional salon


Mixing beauty with itself

A traditional salon environment is loud of laughter and gossip. Working together with other beauty professionals (hairdressers, barbers, cosmeticians, masseurs, and makeup artists) develops you professionally, challenges you personally, and creates an engaging atmosphere that attracts guests. Recommendations from other beauty domains also find you easier if you are just working in the next room.

Sharing administration

Running a nail salon requires a lot of administration. It can be a huge relief to share the inescapable tasks with your colleagues.


Working in a team

While the feeling of camaraderie can be very comforting when you are working in a traditional salon, it can also cause problems. Working together with different kinds of people requires problem-solving and conflict management skills for the salon to run smoothly.

Wrong location – bad luck!

The location of your nail salon is key to your success. You have to know your neighborhood and your targeted clientele to choose the right area. For example, if the majority of your repeat customers are from a specific area of town, don’t open a nail salon in the other corner of the city.  

Furniture for your shiny new nail salon

Furniture doesn’t make a nail salon, but a nail salon without the special furniture simply cannot run smoothly. Make sure when you open a nail salon you have these necessities:

  • manicure tables
  • technician chairs and stools
  • manicure customer chairs
  • pedicure customer chairs
  • pedicure trolleys, carts

Apart from these, it can be helpful to have a polish display stand showing the variety of your polishes and an accessory cart and station for all of your utensils to be on hand.

Equip Your Salon Correctly

Beyond the fundamental furniture, there are few pieces of equipment your nail salon can’t miss, such as a nail dust collector. This comes in two types: it can go together with the manicure table (built-in nail dust collector) or function like an installed addition to it. Another essential equipment is a UV or LED gel nail lamp used to dry gel nail polish. Good luminosity is vital in a nail salon, so you will also need regular lights for the manicure table. when you open a 

what do you need to open a nail salon

Fundamental Nail Salon Stock

Every mani-and pedicurist needs special physical implements and equipment to do their work ans open a nail salon. For a basic manicure and pedicure, there are two types of items you should possess for a perfect mani. 

Prep tools

Firstly the prep tools with what you make the nails ready for the color. Getting a manicure done without the prep work is like putting makeup on an uncleaned face – simply doesn’t make any sense! Let’s see the essential prep tools you need to purchase before opening a nail salon:

  • nail clippers and nippers – for reducing the length of the nails and clipping off the dead cuticles
  • nail files and emery boards – to smooth the smooth edge of the nails
  • electric nail file – to make nail preparations quicker
  • buffers – to smooth and to give shine to your nails
  • cuticle pusher – to remove the skin from the nail plate
  • cuticle oil, cuticle cream – to smooth the cuticle
  • sanitizers – for hygiene purposes
  • soak off solutions – non-acetone and acetone for soaking off acrylic, gels and gel polish


After you have prepared every nail, you can dive into building them up, and coloring them! Your nail salon guests’ nails will look impeccable if you possess these: 

  • glue – for acrylic nails and nail art
  • nail tip – for acrylic nails
  • acrylic compound – for acrylic nails
  • regular polish and gel polish in various colors (including base coat nail polish and top coat nail polish)
  • acetone and non-acetone polish removers
  • pedicure separators for the toes – to keep the toenails apart 
  • brushes – to remove any dirt and residue from the nail surface

Cleaning Equipment

The cleanness of your nail salon and the neatness of your work is necessary to grow your repeat customer base. Proper sanitation of all your tools is a must – whether you are working at a traditional salon or from home.  Because fungal infections and bacterial diseases can be easily spread from client to client. Purchase these for your customers’ safety and your own renomé:

  • disinfectant
  • Barbicide, UV light sterilizer boxes and/or autoclaves – for proper sterilization of the utensils
  • antibacterial and antifungal soaps
  • restroom supplies
  • hot towel steamer

Other required tools may be: 

  • practice hand – a plastic hand you can use for exercises and practice purposes
  • smock – a particular type of apron which stops liquids from damaging your cloth
what do you need to open a nail salon

Certifications and training

Like in every retail-business, the would-be salon owner can’t skip the basic legislation work like acquiring a business license and insurance. Licensing requirements vary from country to country and state to state, but a cosmetology certification and an operation license is an absolute must. 

You might also need a seller permit to legally merchandise specialty products, a Tax Identification Number, and a so-called Certificate of Occupancy, which validates that your property is fit for the salon business. After you have opened your nail salon, make sure that all of these certifications are clearly displayed, together with your certifications from various courses and trainings.

Nail Salon Finances



  • At Home – The obvious advantage of working at home is that you don’t have to pay for the actual physical space of your activity. It’s free, so to speak. 
  • The cost you’ll have to pay in the city also depends on the location you choose: a less busy street in the suburbs or one with high foot traffic and ample parking space.
  • manicure stationtechnician chair, customer chairpedicure chair – $1,000 – $5,000
  • electric nail drill/polisherdrying lampsequipment sanitizers – $1,500
  • nail polish displaysnail salon trolleymagnifying lightnail dust collector – $1,500 – $2500 
  • initial supplies (specialty polishes, brushes, sanitizers, scissors, nail files, nail powders, towels, toiletries, etc.) – up to $20,000
There are a number of successful marketing methods and tools for people who open a nail salon to convert people into repet clients. Social media and Google advertisements, printed materials like flyers, posters, business cards and banners, newsletters, word of mouth, discounts and promotions all work really well.
Income sources
  • Client work
  • Renting out extra tables
  • Retail products

Lets not forget about the expenses regarding the daily or monthly running of a nail salon. There are many depending on the size and complexity of operation but here are the main ones:

  • Taxes
  • Salaries
  • Materials and suppliers
  • Marketing
Cash Flow

Income – Expenses = Profit

 Keep in mind that probably in the first 1-3 years you might not get back the money you invested in the business. Think long term, after all you will be using the purchased equipment for at least 5-7 years.

 If you need a shortcut creating all the consultation forms for your business we are here to help you out. Our nail tech forms are editable PDF so you can easily customize it for your business.

To sum up, there are some essential items you can’t skip buying when your dream is to open a nail salon. The good news is that you only have to invest once in your dream place, and with the right and regular disinfection procedures, your equipment and tools will serve you out for a good amount of time.