Salon Pre-Opening Checklist: The Final Countdown

Get ready for a successful salon launch with this pre-opening checklist. This article provides a comprehensive roadmap for preparing your salon for its grand opening, including tasks like equipment testing, marketing, staff training, and more.

Launching a new salon is a thrilling adventure. As your grand opening day approaches, final preparations should focus on smoothing out operations, bolstering staff confidence, and perfecting customer experience. Our comprehensive checklist ensures you don't miss a beat during these crucial weeks. Let's delve deeper into each task, understanding its importance and how to execute it effectively:

4 Weeks Before Opening

  1. Finalize Staff Training

Training is a cornerstone of your salon's success. It's the foundation on which your salon's reputation, client relationships, and overall operation will be built. And it's not only about honing technical skills or ensuring your staff can provide top-notch services—it's also about embedding your salon's culture and values in every interaction they have with clients.

In the weeks leading up to the opening, finalize your staff training plan and implement it meticulously. Here are some elements you might want to consider:

  • Technical Skills: Regardless of their prior experience, all staff should be thoroughly trained in the specific techniques, products, and equipment they will be using at your salon. This ensures a consistent, high-quality service across your team.

  • Customer Service: The experience you provide to clients goes beyond just the quality of your beauty services. Your team should be trained in best practices for customer service, such as effective communication, handling complaints, and going the extra mile to make clients feel special.

  • Salon Culture and Values: Every staff member should understand and embody your salon's mission, vision, and core values. Whether it's sustainability, inclusivity, or exceptional service, these values should be at the heart of everything your team does.

  • Practice Sessions: Simulate a regular day at the salon to test workflows, address any concerns, and foster team bonding. These sessions are excellent opportunities for staff to get comfortable with their roles and responsibilities, and for you to iron out any operational kinks before opening day.

  • Open Communication and Feedback: Encourage your staff to voice any concerns, suggestions, or questions they may have during training. This will help create an environment of mutual respect and continuous improvement. Plus, their on-the-ground insights could prove invaluable for enhancing your salon's operations.

Remember, training isn't a one-and-done process. It should be ongoing, with regular refreshers and updates as your salon grows, evolves, and as new trends emerge in the beauty industry. If you want to learn more, check out our salon hiring guide.

  1. Set Up Your Salon Management Software

Salon management software will be your control center for bookings, schedules, sales, and more. Whichever software you're using, whether it's Noona or another system, spend time ensuring it's configured correctly. Take this time to familiarize your staff with the system, allowing them to navigate it confidently and efficiently.

Fun Idea: Run a "Scavenger Hunt" with your staff using the salon management software. Set tasks that require them to navigate through different sections of the software, from booking appointments to pulling up customer records. This can make learning fun and ensure they are comfortable using the software. Perhaps there can even be a small prize for the one that completes the scavenger hunt the quickest?

If you decide to go with Noona, we have such a scavenger hunt ready for you to use so you don’t need to plan one yourself 😊

  1. Prepare Your Retail Area

Your retail area can significantly boost your revenue if managed effectively. Ensure that your shelves are stocked with appealing and top-quality beauty products. Pricing should be transparent, and your staff should be trained to highlight these products during client interactions.

Fun Idea: Host a product knowledge quiz for your team, offering small incentives for those who know the most about the retail products. This fun activity encourages your staff to learn about the products you're selling and can provide them with the knowledge they need to confidently recommend products to clients.

  1. Set Up Your Payment System

An efficient and seamless payment system is integral to your salon operations. Before your doors officially open, ensure that your payment terminal is fully operational and all necessary financial accounts are connected. If you are accepting credit and debit cards, reach out to your banking partner to set up your Point-of-Sale (POS) system.

Ensure that your staff is well-versed in operating the system, and can handle tasks such as processing payments, issuing refunds, and reconciling end-of-day sales. It may be useful to simulate transactions during your staff training sessions to test out the payment system and allow your team to become familiar with the process.

Moreover, don't forget to consider mobile and contactless payment options. In today's digital age, many customers appreciate the convenience of using mobile wallets or contactless cards. Offering a variety of payment methods can enhance your customer service and make transactions more convenient for both your clients and your team.

Finally, it's also crucial to consider the security of your payment system. Ensure that it's compliant with all necessary regulations to protect both your business and your customers' sensitive data.

Making sure your payment system is ready and functional is a critical step to providing a smooth and positive customer experience from their first appointment onwards.

3 Weeks Before Opening

  1. Test All Equipment

The smooth functioning of your salon heavily depends on the reliability of your equipment. Any unexpected breakdown on your opening day can lead to service delays, frustrated customers, and a negative first impression – something that's hard to undo. Therefore, an extensive equipment check is an essential task in your pre-opening checklist.

A comprehensive equipment check includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Salon Equipment: This covers all the beauty equipment you'll use to provide your services. Ensure that your styling chairs, hair dryers, manicure and pedicure stations, sinks, and other equipment are in optimal working condition. Don't forget smaller tools such as hair straighteners, curling irons, and scissors. Any malfunction could disrupt your operations and affect the quality of service you provide.

  • Salon Systems: These include the software and digital tools you'll be using for salon operations. Double-check your salon management system, appointment scheduling software and customer relationship management (CRM) system. Fun fact - Noona does all of those things in one, so if you’re thinking about which one to try out, we’d love for you to try out Noona. You can also book a demo meeting with one of our Noonians to show you how it works by clicking this link.

  • Payment System: Your POS system is at the heart of your salon transactions, so it's imperative to make sure it's functioning flawlessly. Test out every aspect of it – card and cash transactions, issuing receipts, handling returns or refunds, and end-of-day sales reconciliation. If your system supports it, also test contactless and mobile payments to ensure you can offer a variety of convenient payment methods to your customers.

  • IT Equipment: This includes your internet connection, computers, tablets, printers, and other devices. A stable internet connection is particularly critical if you're using cloud-based software for your salon operations.

For more details, Checkout our guide on salon equipment essentials.

Performing thorough equipment checks well before your salon's opening day gives you ample time to address any issues, make repairs, or even replace faulty equipment. By ensuring that all your tools and systems are in perfect working condition, you'll pave the way for smooth operations and high-quality service from day one.

  1. Confirm Your Vendor Deliveries

One of the many keys to a successful salon opening lies in seamless coordination with your vendors. The products and services they provide - from haircare and beauty products to salon equipment and supplies - are the backbone of your salon operations. Hence, it's crucial to have everything in place and ready for use in time for your grand opening. This requires clear and consistent communication with your vendors, and here are some steps to help you manage this effectively:

  • Vendor List: Maintain an up-to-date list of all your vendors, including their contact information, the products or services they provide, and their delivery schedules. This will serve as a handy reference whenever you need to communicate with them.

  • Delivery Confirmation: Reach out to each vendor to confirm the delivery dates for your orders. This includes not just product deliveries, but also services like the installation of salon equipment or software setup. If you've ordered any custom items (like signage or personalized salon wear), these often require a longer lead time, so it's wise to check in on their progress.

  • Contingency Planning: Even with the best planning, unforeseen delays can occur. It's important to have a contingency plan for such situations. This could involve identifying alternative vendors, having a backup stock of essential items, or being prepared to adjust your salon processes temporarily. Discuss these contingency plans with your vendors; they might be able to suggest solutions from their end as well.

  • Invoicing and Payments: Confirm your payment schedule with each vendor to avoid any potential misunderstandings or disruptions in supply. It's also a good idea to have a system in place for managing invoices and payments efficiently, ensuring all vendor accounts are kept up-to-date.

  • Building Relationships: Lastly, remember that your vendors are not just suppliers; they are important partners in your business. Building strong relationships with them can bring numerous benefits, such as better service, more favorable terms, or access to the latest products. Regular communication, prompt payments, and respectful interactions can go a long way towards nurturing these relationships.

Confirming your vendor deliveries and having a backup plan in place will give you peace of mind in the final weeks before your salon opening. It ensures you're well-equipped to offer your clients the best services right from day one and helps establish a solid foundation for your salon operations moving forward.

  1. Implement a Cleaning Schedule

In the salon industry, cleanliness is not just about aesthetics; it's a crucial aspect of your business that directly impacts client satisfaction and trust, as well as staff morale. A clean and sanitary salon not only demonstrates professionalism but also shows that you respect your clients and care about their health and safety. Hence, it is essential to establish a thorough and regular cleaning routine ahead of your opening.

Implementing a cleaning schedule involves several key steps:

  • Identify Cleaning Tasks: List all the cleaning tasks that need to be performed daily, weekly, and monthly. Daily tasks may include sweeping and mopping floors, wiping down workstations after each client, sanitizing tools, and cleaning restrooms. Weekly tasks might consist of deep-cleaning sinks and hair-washing stations, dusting retail shelves, and disinfecting door handles. Monthly tasks could be cleaning air vents, washing windows, and deep-cleaning the staff area.

  • Allocate Responsibilities: Assign cleaning tasks to your staff members based on their roles and work schedules. Some tasks, such as sanitizing tools and cleaning workstations, should be the responsibility of each stylist after attending to a client. Other tasks like cleaning restrooms or common areas could be shared among the team. It's important to make everyone understand that cleanliness is a collective responsibility and contributes to the salon's overall image and success.

  • Create a Visual Schedule: Make a visual cleaning schedule and place it in a common area where all staff members can see it. This serves as a constant reminder of the tasks that need to be performed and who is responsible for each one.

  • Supply Appropriate Cleaning Products: Provide your staff with the necessary cleaning supplies and ensure they are stored in easily accessible locations. Using high-quality, preferably eco-friendly, cleaning products not only ensures effective sanitation but also conveys a message about your salon's commitment to sustainability.

  • Train Your Staff: Training is key to ensuring that all staff members know how to perform their cleaning tasks correctly and safely. This should include proper use of cleaning supplies, disposal of waste, and guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene.

Establishing a cleaning schedule before your salon's grand opening helps set the standard for cleanliness and hygiene from the get-go. This proactive approach will ensure that maintaining a pristine salon becomes part of your team's routine, ultimately contributing to a harmonious, professional, and welcoming salon environment.

  1. Exterior Preparations

Just as the saying goes, first impressions matter, and the exterior of your salon is the first contact potential customers will have with your business. It's crucial to get this right to not only draw in customers but also to convey the professionalism and aesthetic of your salon. Here's what you need to do:

1. Finalize Signage: Your sign is a visual representation of your brand, and it helps your salon stand out from its surroundings. Ensure it aligns with your brand in terms of color, font, and style. Make sure the sign is clean, well-lit, and visible from a distance. Check with local regulations to ensure that your signage complies with any restrictions.

2. Decorate Your Windows: Your window display is an important element that can capture attention and entice customers to walk in. Make sure your window display is finalized and installed at this point. Keep it attractive, clean, and reflective of your brand and offerings.

3. Clean and Maintain the Exterior: A clean and well-maintained exterior is as important as a sparkling interior. It sets the tone for the quality and cleanliness of your salon. Make sure the storefront, including windows and doors, is clean. Touch up paint where needed, ensure the area is well lit, and that any greenery is trimmed and neat.

Fun Idea:

Why not make the unveiling of your signage a mini-event? Invite some friends and family, and perhaps even local influencers or bloggers, for a little reveal party. It’s a fantastic way to start generating buzz.

2 Weeks Before Opening

  1. Run Through Staff Procedures

Conduct a comprehensive meeting to run through all salon procedures. This will clarify the operational flow for your team, prevent confusion, and ensure a seamless customer experience.

  1. Organize Your Back Office

Behind every successful salon lies an organized and efficient back office. This is where the administrative magic happens, ensuring that your business runs smoothly and effectively. While your clients may not see this area, the results of the work performed here directly impact their experience at your salon. Here's how to organize your back office for maximum efficiency:

  • Develop a System: Think about the various administrative tasks your salon must perform regularly - scheduling, inventory management, accounting, and more. Each of these tasks will generate paperwork or digital files that need to be stored and accessed easily. Develop a filing system that categorizes these documents clearly, making them easy to find when needed. The system you choose can be physical (folders, filing cabinets), digital (cloud storage, document management software), or a combination of both, depending on your salon's needs.

  • Staff Schedules: Your team's schedule is a vital part of your back-office organization. It needs to be easily accessible and updatable. You could use a physical planner or whiteboard, but digital scheduling tools (which can be integrated with your salon management software) often provide more flexibility. These can be accessed by all team members, can send reminders for shifts or appointments, and can be updated in real-time to reflect changes.

  • Inventory Management: Your salon will be dealing with a range of products, both for sale and for use within the salon. An organized system for tracking these items is crucial. Not only does it help prevent overstocking or running out of products, but it also aids in planning your budget and identifying your best-selling items.

  • Accounting: Maintaining clear and accurate financial records is vital for any business. Organize all invoices, receipts, tax documents, and other financial paperwork in a way that makes it easy to track income and expenses. Consider using accounting software to automate many of these tasks and provide useful financial insights about your salon.

  • Digital Storage: In today's digital age, a significant portion of your back-office work will likely be performed online. Ensure you have sufficient digital storage space and that all digital assets are organized logically. Regularly back up these files to prevent any data loss.

  • Training: Once your system is in place, ensure all staff members are trained on how to use it. Everyone should know where important items are kept and how to store new documents or information.

  • Maintenance: Regularly review and update your back-office organization system. As your salon grows and evolves, your back-office needs may change too.

Organizing your back office might not seem as exciting as designing your salon's interior or selecting beauty products, but it's equally important. An efficient back office will help your salon run smoothly, allowing you and your team to focus on providing top-notch service to your clients.

  1. Marketing and Promotions

  • Social Media Announcements: Begin to build the excitement on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Use attractive visuals and teasers about the services you will offer. Consider using a countdown or spotlighting staff members to make the posts more engaging.

  • Local Partnerships and Collaborations: Reach out to nearby businesses to see if they'd be interested in mutual promotions. For example, a nearby café might offer discounts to your customers in exchange for special salon offers for their patrons. This is a great way to integrate into the local community and expand your reach.

  • Grand Opening Special Deals or Packages:Introduce limited-time offers to entice potential clients. This could include discounts, buy-one-get-one-free deals, or bundled services. Ensure these promotions are clearly communicated across all your marketing channels.

  • Press Release Distribution: Draft a compelling press release detailing the uniqueness of your salon, its services, and the benefits to the community. Distribute it to local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. Consider also posting it on your website and sharing a link through your social media channels.

  1. Set Up Your Music Playlist

Music is a powerful tool that can shape the ambiance of your salon, influencing how clients perceive their experience. The right soundtrack can soothe, energize, and make time seem to pass more quickly. Consider these factors when creating your salon's playlist:

  • Brand Alignment: Your music should mirror your brand's personality. If your salon has a calm, spa-like atmosphere, choose relaxing instrumental music. If your salon caters to a younger, trendy clientele, opt for more upbeat and current tunes.

  • Client Comfort: The music shouldn't be too loud or intrusive - it should add to the overall atmosphere without overshadowing the services your clients are receiving. Avoid songs with potentially offensive lyrics.

  • Variety and Duration: Ensure your playlist is long enough to avoid frequent repetition, and mix in various genres and artists to keep it interesting.

  • Legal Aspects: Be aware of music licensing laws. Playing copyrighted music in a business setting often requires a license. Services like Spotify for Business or SiriusXM for Business take care of these legal aspects for you.

Remember, music is part of the sensory experience of visiting your salon. The right playlist will make your salon memorable and enjoyable, encouraging clients to return.

1 Week Before Opening

  1. Have a Soft Opening

Before you swing open your doors to the public, it's worth hosting a soft opening. This is a sort of trial run of your salon, where you invite a limited number of people—think friends, family, and perhaps a select few clients—to use your services.

A soft opening serves multiple important purposes:

Testing Operational Efficiency: A soft opening allows you to test your systems, equipment, and processes. It will help you understand how your salon operates under realistic conditions and helps identify any inefficiencies or issues that you need to address before the grand opening. Everything from the booking process to payment systems can be tested during this phase.

Staff Training: Your staff will appreciate a less-pressured environment to become familiar with the salon's systems and operations. It's an opportunity for them to get comfortable with the services they'll be providing, the tools they'll be using, and the dynamics of working together as a team.

Gather Feedback: Your invitees can provide valuable feedback about their experiences, from the moment they stepped into your salon to when they completed their transactions. Did they feel welcomed? Were they happy with the services they received? Was there anything they didn't like or thought could be improved?

Fine-tuning the Customer Experience: Based on the feedback, you can fine-tune the salon experience to make sure it aligns with your brand vision. You may need to adjust various elements, such as the ambiance, music volume, lighting, or seating arrangements, based on the feedback.

Creating Buzz: A successful soft opening can help generate a buzz about your salon. Those who attended can spread the word to their own networks, offering personal testimonials about their experience.

Remember, the goal of the soft opening isn't to make everything perfect—it's to identify where improvements can be made so that you're better prepared for the official opening. It's a learning experience, so embrace any feedback, good or bad, and use it as a valuable tool to refine your salon's operations and customer experience.

  1. Stock Up on Refreshments

Offering refreshments to your clients contributes to the overall salon experience. Whether it's a cup of coffee or a simple snack, small gestures like these can make a big impression.

  1. Create a Staff Communication Channel

Establishing a clear and efficient method for staff communication is vital for the smooth operation of your salon. A dedicated communication channel ensures everyone stays informed and connected, regardless of their work schedule. Consider these points:

  • Platform Selection: Choose a platform that fits your team's needs and comfort level. Facebook groups are straightforward and widely used, while tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams offer more features and customization, including separate channels for different topics, file sharing, and integration with other tools you may use.

  • Usage Guidelines: Make sure everyone knows how and when to use this communication channel. Is it for scheduling updates? For discussing client feedback? For sharing interesting industry news? Clear guidelines will help prevent misuse and clutter.

  • Community Building: An online communication channel isn't just for logistical updates—it's also a space to foster camaraderie among your staff. Encourage team members to share successes, ask questions, and support each other.

Remember, effective communication can boost productivity, create a positive work culture, and ultimately contribute to your salon's success.

Day Before Opening

  1. Double-Check Everything

One final sweep of the salon can help ensure everything is in order. Check everything from cleanliness to equipment, making sure that your salon is ready to welcome its first clients.

  1. Relax and Prepare Mentally

Opening a salon can be a whirlwind of excitement and stress. Be sure to take some time to relax, reflect, and mentally prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

Grand Opening Day

  1. Arrive Early

Ensure you're present well before your first client walks through the door. This will give you time to address any last-minute tasks and set a positive tone for the day.

  1. Enjoy Your Day

Remember why you started this journey. Embrace the excitement of your opening day, share your passion and enthusiasm with your team and clients, and celebrate the milestone you've achieved.

This checklist will provide a roadmap for your final weeks of preparation, helping you focus on creating a memorable grand opening. Adapt it to suit your unique salon and always be open to learn and adjust. Here's to a successful launch and a prosperous future for your salon!

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  • Point of sale

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    Appointment calendar

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    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

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Talk to a human

Schedule a guided walkthrough of Noona HQ

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 30 mins

Get more bookings with less scheduling

  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards

Talk to a human

Schedule a guided walkthrough of Noona HQ

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 30 mins

Get more bookings with less scheduling

  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards