Hair and beauty professionals can only be as good as their tools, which makes it essential to find the right salon equipment. Stylists need clippers, blow dryers, and furniture that meet every customer need, match their brand aesthetic, and are durable enough to last for months and years.
Industry • Best Practice
Salon Equipment Checklist: Top Tips for Beauty Pros
The ideal salon equipment must factor in functionality, client comfort, and your brand aesthetic. Here's a full run-down of everything you need to get started.
For first-time salon owners, this can be a significant hurdle to overcome. To that end, we’ve compiled resources from beauty expert sources that will help you get started.
Remember that you can buy, rent, or finance salon equipment
If you’ve ever picked out salon equipment, you likely know that costs can add up. For first-time salon owners, the average total cost is $27,500, and the price tag increases based on quality. That’s why salon owners must choose a payment strategy for each item: leasing, financing, or buying it outright. Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks that owners must keep in mind:
Leasing or renting your supplies is an incredibly common approach that lets stylists acquire equipment quickly. The smaller payments are manageable as long as you have regular clients, and it’s ideal if you intend to upgrade any furniture or appliances after a few years.
The downside is that salons have no equipment ownership rights under this model. What’s more, renting is usually more expensive than other payment options over the long-term.
Financing is a middle-ground choice between buying and leasing salon equipment. Taking this approach ensures you will own every item after completing each payment, and your interest payments will be tax-deductible. Some equipment retailers offer in-house financing options, or you can obtain it from a bank or other financial institution.
That all being said, securing salon-friendly financing depends on your credit and the overall economic conditions. After all, no one wants to loan money that won’t be repaid! Research financing agreements in detail before you sign one so you’re aware of repayment terms and how fund distribution works.
If you have enough capital, buying your equipment outright might be the best option. It means the salon wholly owns its inventory, and you keep all selling rights when you decide to upgrade. Just be prepared to pay the most expensive cost upfront, and be aware that you’re responsible for all maintenance costs.
For more information on salon equipment purchasing strategies, check out our blog post, “Beauty Salon Equipment: Rent, Buy, or Finance?”
Pick salon chairs for comfort and function
Acquiring salon equipment is about more than buying clippers and hair products. You also need to think about furniture, especially when it comes to the humble salon chair. The entire client experience takes place in that seat, which contributes to their impression of your salon — so make sure these experiences are memorable and positive!
Go for comfort and style
Many elements contribute to a comfortable salon chair, from the cushions to lumbar support. Just don’t forget that you need to consider the comfort of stylists as well! Can they navigate around the chair? Is it easy to adjust the height without bending over? Does it swivel smoothly? Be on the lookout for comfortable and practical chairs to ensure everyone is happy with your decision.
Consider cleaning and maintenance
A full-time hairstylist sees 12 clients per day, so don’t forget to consider cleanliness and overall maintenance. Look for fabrics that are easy to clean, but durable. High-quality vinyl will likely be your safest bet. Easy-to-follow maintenance features are also a must if you need to repair a part or refill the hydraulic fluid. Remember: salon chair quality can be measured not just in comfort, but how long it lasts before needing a replacement!
Plan the workstation
Seating is an integral part of any salon workstation, but it is still just one part. When buying salon equipment, make sure that chairs will fit the station, both aesthetically and functionally. Stylists must have enough room to walk around the chair without tripping over anything or bumping into people in the next workstation!
Review warranties and service options
After putting all of this effort into choosing salon chairs, the last thing you need is for one to break down. Make sure you have at least a one-year warranty for peace of mind and an easy replacement option. If the manufacturer has a dedicated customer service team that can help you 24 hours a day, it's even better.
To find out more about seating purchases, read “Salon Chairs: 5 Things To Know Before You Buy.”
Help your salon stand out with decorative flair
Salon equipment must be functional but never overlook the brand aesthetic. It doesn’t matter whether your salon style is traditional, modern, vibrant, or calming, but it does need to be consistent. The most straightforward place to start is often with decorations, since visual flair says a great deal about your brand identity.
Here are some salon decorating tips to keep in mind:
Make a good first impression
Your waiting area is the first thing clients see when entering the salon and it sets the tone for the entire experience. Even if clients are only sitting for a few minutes, find ways to make the space appealing.
Adding a few plants can add visual variety while creating the illusion of privacy between seats.
Some clients may need a space to charge their smartphones, so consider a well-placed charging station.
If your brand is family-friendly, consider having a few toys or children’s books to keep kids busy while parents get their hair done.
Note: Be sure to follow regional guidance regarding reception areas in light of COVID-19. Download Boulevard’s full salon equipment guide for the latest information.
Choose a consistent color scheme
Color is a big part of any brand aesthetic, so be sure to pick something that will resonate with clients. Warm colors like orange or pink represent happiness and optimism, while purple emphasizes luxury and romance. Whatever mood you wish to set, color goes a long way.
Get creative with mirrors
Waiting areas may be the first thing clients see, but they look at mirrors the most. Add a little personality to your workstation with uniquely shaped frames. Alternatively, put some pictures of friends and family for a comfortably relaxed tone.
Show off what makes you unique
Your salon may already have unique physical details that set the tone for you. Do you have visible brick walls? Use them for a selfie station! Any exposed beams or ductwork? Paint them or use hanging plants as decorations. If the overall aesthetic is consistent, there’s no reason you can’t find room to be creative — and these touches will stand out to discerning clients.
Gain additional decorating tips from our recent guide, “5 Salon Decorating Ideas To Make Your Shop Pop.”
Choosing the right salon equipment can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible, either. Any beauty expert who understands their customers and has a clear vision can pick the perfect item that makes everyone happy. If you remember to keep form and function in mind with every purchase, you’ll find yourself in a salon that clients simply love to visit.