Q & A: Start-Up Inventory

My wife is thinking about opening a salon. The more I read your blog, the more interested I become in helping her launch it. What I am curious about is the type of inventory you’ll need to open the salon. How many autoclaves, scissors, etc ., will you buy? What are the disposable cost of goods for services (COGS) for each manicure and pedicure? Also, what type of point-of-sale (POS) system will you be using?



Hi T,


Our back bar product order is based on enough product to supply a six-week training program and get us through our first month of (projected) services. As our salon is only 15 minutes from OPI’s headquarters, we have the advantage of getting product quickly. (As an OPI Concept salon, we’re using OPI Products for 90% of our services.)


I’m only ordering one full set of implements for each technician until our training is complete. Then, I’ll have a minimum of three sets per tech, based on their preference. OPI has numerous pushers, nippers, and other implements, and I feel it’s important to let our technicians use the ones that work best for them. We’re going to buy two autoclaves.


We plan to have a well-stocked retail area. Our retail order is based on a month’s supply of OPI's top-selling SKUs. Again, we have an advantage working directly with a manufacturer, but I suggest anyone opening their own salon develop a good working relationship with their local distributor. You want to be assured that whatever you need can be purchased without waiting days for delivery. A good DSC (distributor sales consultant) can be a big help getting you what you need when you need it. Plus, the consultant will keep you updated on the latest new products, as well as manufacturers’ new retail merchandising displays.


We also had to plan for our first trip to Costco for operating supplies (like paper goods, pens, trash cans, coffee, broom, and a mop). You have to try and budget for every little expense. I'm sure we'll overlook a few things; this is definitely a learning process.


As far as the COGS, each manufacturer should be able to provide a basic cost per service based on which products and services you plan to offer. This can vary slightly depending on if you use the product as recommended by the manufacturer or if you do it your own way. With that in mind, if your technicians are employees, portion control might be good topic to cover during training.


The POS software we’ll be using is Salon Transcripts (STX). It has all kinds of neat features like inventory management, payroll, and client scheduling.




salon M.O.M.

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