Starting a Hair Business in South Africa

Hair business is a profitable business to start in South Africa. As the average income increases together with the black middle class there has been an increase in the demand for hair services. It is evident that this is a business market that you can explore. South African women prefer a variety in their hairs, going from braids to weaves, to chemical treatments, to other drastic style changes. There has been a recent trend towards embracing ethnic hair amongst black people and the demand for hair products specifically meant for ethnic hair has been on the rise.

Open a hair salon is one of the directest ways to start your own hair business. A hair salon is a lucrative business, providing income for many entrepreneurs, but there are some essential factors you need to consider before you venture into this business. You need to decide on the size of your hair salon; the location, the various hair products and services you will offer, plus your target market. These factors will be affected by the amount of capital you have. Thus, you should carry out a feasibility study, market research and have a good hair business plan before you venture into this business.


This is an important decision to make before you start a hair business. It’s important that you locate your shop close to your target market. Consider the amount of road traffic, find an easily accessible location where people can stop and quickly get service. There are several possible locations, including shopping centres, malls, and the CBD. Opening a hair salon close to places that typically have potential for traffic will be ideal depending on your target market. The salon should be large enough to accommodate all your equipment and a number of customers at the same time. Your hair salon business plan should cater for the costs of purchasing or leasing the premises.


You need various equipment for your hair salon business. The equipment you need will depend on the size of your business and the kind of products and services you will offer. Some of the required equipment and tools includes blow dryers, multi-styling kits, curlers, hair brushes & combs, cart & trolleys, and hair styling stations. You also require furniture like hair styling chairs, dryer chairs and all purpose chairs. Your beauty salon business plan should cater for the costs of purchasing the equipment.


Your target niche will determine the types of products and services you will sell. The most popular products and services offered in most hair salons include cuts, relaxers, perms, colours, massages, weaving and braiding.  It will be advantageous to sell hair extensions and hair treatment products to compliment your services. It is also wise to provide complimentary services such as free Wi-Fi to attract and entertain customers.  Another essential factor in running a hair salon is selecting the right suppliers for your products. Consider suppliers who can provide affordable and high quality hairs consistently.


As a customer-centric hair business, it’s important that you hire employees that are friendly and efficient. Your employees should be passionate about serving the clients and about hair in general. If you want to hit the ground running it’s better to hire a team of people who have experience in this business. Your beauticians should be able to braid or cut hair well in addition to being able to serve customers efficiently on a regular basis.  Inexperienced staff members need to get extensive training before they can be given intricate hair treatment tasks.

The equipment and chemical used in salons can cause serious injury thus it is important that you take the necessary precautions for the safety of your staff members and yourself. Depending on the size of your shop, the actual number of your staff will vary however, you will need hairdressers, beauticians, cleaners, and security as well as management. Your hair salon business plan should cater for the salaries and day to day expenses of your employees.

Some of the day-to-day operations of this business involves:

  • Shampooing, cutting, styling, and colouring hair, as well as massaging and treating scalps
  • Managing Staff
  • Marketing and advertising

It is important to adhere to all industry related safety measures in place. These safety measures cover the cleanliness of your environment; how your staff members dress plus the general safety of your staff and customers.


Hairdressing in South Africa has developed and become recognisable as a profession and trade. There are more hair salons for the black population since they take up a large portion of the country’s population. There is an estimated 3 000 Caucasian hair salons and about 34 000 afro salons in the country.  They are a lot of hairdressers and hairstylists who offer a variety of hair services. A large portion of ethnic consumers is moving away from harsh chemical relaxers in favour of less invasive products to manage their hair. The continuous rise in the urban population has resulted in an increase in the demand for hair care products and services.

Given that the South African market is one of the leading emerging economies on the African continent there is potential for high growth. The personal care industry sector in the country has been growing steadily for the past years, thus opening a hair salon is a good investment. Whether you are a young entrepreneur, a professional seeking to start your own business or someone who needs a retirement plan, investing in a hair salon is something worth considering. One thing that can set you apart before investing in any venture is developing a business plan. A well thought out hair salon business plan will help you in both the short term and long term for your investment. There are various risks associated with running a hair salon, like any other venture, your business plan should clearly outline these risks and ways to minimize them.

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