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How to start your hair salon in college?

This blog post tells you all you need to know to start your hair salon and run a successful hair salon business as a college student!

*This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase, in order to maintain the blog and provide you useful content.

Are you thinking of starting up a hair styling business or do you already have a hair styling business and want to take it to the next level? Here are some important tips to help you start your hair salon in college.

If you’re new to my blog, I’m Shade a hairstylist and 4th year medical student. I’ve been hairstyling for about 3 years now and since starting I’ve been able run a hair salon business that has earned me over half a million Naira with little to know capital right here in Nigeria.

Depending on your location and quality of service you can make far more than this amount.

I’ve learned a lot of secrets that help me balance my school work and business and I’d like to share the tips that have worked for me and I’m positive they can work for you as well.

Why start a hair salon in college?

A hair salon can be a very lucrative business that allows you to work at your own convenience and be your own boss while focusing on your school work.

I know how it feels to be stranded and in need of some extra cash and not knowing where to get it. 

That is when I got the inspiration from God to start my hair salon in my first year of medical school and since then I’ve had a way to make some extra cash on the side when my allowance can no longer cover my expenses

Besides, I’ve been able save up quite a bit of money to expand my business and invest in other areas.

The best thing about starting was that I didn’t have to invest any money. I just started my salon with things I already had on hand which was great because I was a broke college student, I had no source of income that is exactly why I wanted to start a business.

So if you’re looking to start a business and you don’t have a money at all, starting a hair salon could be a good fit for you!

What kind of hair salon to start in college?

There are different aspect of hairstyling. Here are some aspects of hairstyling that you can are worth specializing in.

Braiding and cornrowing 

This is the most common kind of service that hair stylists offer and there is a reason why it’s so common. The client base for this particular service is so wide, you’ll always find someone who want to get braids done. 

If you want to be a braider, you need to know how to make hairstyles like box braids, knotless braids, Goddess braids, twists, faux locs, feed in cornrows, Ghana weaving, Fulani braids etc 

Price range: 2,000-20,000 Naira depending on location and the hairstyle.

Hair coloring 

This is a service that involves changing the color of hair using different dyes. 

The client base for this is a lot, people might want to dye their hair or wigs for different reasons and there are not a lot of people who know how to properly dye hair.

If you can perfect this skill, you have the potential of getting a lot of clients and making a lot of money. 

Price range: 15,000 to 40,000 naira depending on the color and hair length 

Hair loosening, washes and cuts

The truth is not everyone enjoys caring for their hair by themselves, a lot of people will pay a good amount of money to have their hair be cared for by professionals. 

If you don’t know any special hairstyling skills yet this is the perfect business to start with!

This is also a great add on service that you can offer along side another service to help you make a lot more money with less effort.

You can also learn how to provide special hair treatments like deep conditioning, keratin and protein treatments, Hair relaxing and texturizing etc

Price range: 5000-40,000 naira depending on location, the hairstyle and hair products used.

Wig installation

Wig installation involves braiding down (or laying down if the client’s hair can’t be braided) and securing the wig to the hair by using adhesive glue around the perimeters of the hair line and using the wig clips to secure the wig to the braids.

This is a service that will be more popular in an urban location in Nigeria and has the potential to make you a lot of money. This services is usually offered along side wig styling.

The only issue is that you need a specific kind of client base to actually make money.

Price range: 10,000- 30,000 depending on the hairstyle. Extra charges can be included for additional styling.

loc installation

This is involves matting and knotting up small sections of natural hair to give a rope like appearance.

Locs are becoming a very popular protective hairstyle due to its versatility and low maintenance. 

There are various easy loc techniques like back combing, comb coils and interlocking. It is advisable to learn as many techniques as possible because clients usually choose loc technicians based on techniques.

Price range: 10,000-100,000 naira depending on the loc technique and location.

wig making and weave sew in

Wig making is an act of sewing in hair tracks unto a wig cap and it gives the illusion of hair. 

Wigs are a great protective hairstyle because it is tucks the natural hair away so that it has favorable conditions to grow.

Knowing how to make a wig qualifies you to be able to sew in weaves directly to your clients cornrows. 

Wig installation is a great skill to learn and it doesn’t require you to be near you clients location unlike wig installation. 

Although if you want to sew in weaves for clients you do have to be near them.

Price range: 4,000 -20,000 naira depending on the hairstyle.

wig revamping and laundry

This involves washing and styling wigs for your clients. This is a great hair styling service that you can offer because it is not limited to your location.

Occasionally, this service is offered along side with coloring. So if you’re thinking of opening a wig revamping salon it’s worth learning how to color wigs.

Price range: 2,000- 15,000 naira depending on hair products used.

Hair extension installation 

Hair extension installation is a little bit different than wig installation because the hair is not braided down first but instead the hair extensions are attached to the hair stands using different techniques.

This service requires special training and so is quite costly to get. This service is very location based due to the potential clients being on the wealthier side. 

Price list: 100,000-200,000 naira depending on the type of hair extensions and hair extension length.

Hair styling

This involves manipulating hair to a specific style and includes providing styles like perm rod, silk presses, curling hair, ponytails e.t.c

People usually require this skill for special occasions where they just want something quick and easy. 

Price range: 5,000 -50,000 naira depending on the style and location 

What to know to starting your hair salon?

How to style hair

The most important thing you need to know before you can start a hair salon, is the skill you plan on offering. 

To offer any service, the service must be worth paying for. If you want to get clients and have those clients keep coming back you need to give them a reason to come in the first place.

I’m not saying that you have to be professional hairstylist to start your hair salon because some things you learn with experience but you need a basic knowledge that qualifies you to style hair.

For instance when I started I already knew how to braid and cornrow but the difference between my braids and cornrows three years ago and now is obvious. 

Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you from starting that business today. Even if you don’t know how to style hair yet, it’s never too late to learn.

It’s will require a great amount of effort 

I know nowadays people are looking for the easy way to make money. If you’re one of those people then starting a hair salon will definitely not be the best business for you.

Being a hairstylist will require you standing for long periods of time and it can be tiring. Besides if you actually want to make a lot of money you might have to take on a lot of clients (depending on where you’re located and how much you charge).

There are a lot of times when I really don’t want to work but then I realize I need the money so I have to.

So if you’re ready to put in the work and see tremendous results I’m so excited to begin this journey with you!


Now you know what kind of hair stylist you want to be, the first thing you need to do is research about your area of specialties.

Find out the more established hair stylists in that specialist and how they operate. You can even reach out to them for mentorship programs if they offer any. 

You might not have to invest in any big tools to start your hair salon initially but it is important to invest in your knowledge.

A business plan

This is a document that highlights what your hair salon goals are and how exactly to intend to achieve those goals.

Having this written document keeps you on track to identify the important things you need to do in order to achieve your goals.

Hair salon essentials checklist

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to start your hair salon. If you’re searching for cheap and effective hairstyling tools to start your hair salon, check out this blog post on “10 hair salon essentials”.

10 tips for starting your hair salon 

Practice consistently 

The key to nailing anything is constant practice. Unfortunately, you might not always get that by going to learn to make hair in your local hair salon. 

This is because the most of the time they expect you to learn by just watching and not actually doing it. 

So instead of going to a random hair salon to learn how to make hair, get a hairstyling doll so you can constantly practice.

If you can afford it, find a mentor who specializes in training so you can have a one on one experience. Although, if you can’t afford it, you can always learn for free on YouTube.

Don’t try learning everything at once 

It can be overwhelming when you first start learning any skill. Everything looks so complex and difficult but you wouldn’t make it easier for yourself by trying to be the jack of all trades.

I highly recommend mastering one thing at a time and then moving on to the next thing.

Find out about prices

Like I said earlier, the prices of different hair services are largely dependent on your location. Find out how much other hairstylist charge for similar services around you. 

Understanding that you’re just starting out and you don’t have a customer base yet I’d recommend offering a first customer discount. 

Ensure that your client is aware of this discount so that you don’t undervalue your services in the future.

Just start your hair salon

A common question people ask is “when do I start charging for my services?” 

The answer is very simple, you start charging when you make a hairstyle and your client is happy with it. 

It doesn’t matter if the hairstyle is perfect, as far as your client is not complaining. Once you can satisfy your client you have successfully delivered your service and you should be compensated.

Tell your friends and family about your business 

This is very important you can’t get clients if no one knows you run a hair salon. The best part is you don’t need to pay a lot of money for advertising.

If you’re a broke college student, you can just design a flyer for your hair salon on canva for free by editing their pre-made templates.

The first set of clients you’ll ever get will be people you already know. This is because you already have some level of trust with them. 

It is important to target those people when advertising your hair salon.

Check out this blog post on “how to build a customer base for your hair salon”

Don’t start by offering free services 

I know it’s tempting to believe that just cause you’re starting out you’re not good enough and you shouldn’t be charging people but don’t fall into that.

You don’t want to give your potential clients the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing. 

In the end, they will take advantage of you. This is because to them they’re doing you a favor by letting you practice with their hair. Even though you’re the once providing them a service without compensation.

Soon enough your friends are going to realize that you’re running a serious hairstyling business and they’ll take you seriously.

Listen to your clients 

Please make sure you understand what your client wants. 

It’s alarming the way hairstylists just do what they think their clients want and not what their client actually want.

Make sure you ask the right questions during your consultation before you begin the appointment. 

Some clients may not know the correct terms for some certain hairstyles and that can cause a bit of confusion. Make sure you understand your client and you’re doing what your they wants.

Always check in with your client 

Most clients that I’ve observed don’t like to speak up when hairstylist make mistakes in hairstyles. So once the hairstylist is done, they end up leaving the appointment angry.

An angry client will not return and will definitely leave you a bad review. If this happens you will end up losing a lot of potential clients.

So always check in to make sure the client is satisfied with your service. 

I’ve found that asking direct questions like does it hurt? Do you like how this looks? Always gets your client speaking their mind.

Never let your clients dictate your prices

I get all kinds of clients and some of them really try to water down my services.

It’s important to understand that it’s your business, you’re in charge. 

You may not buy physical products to sell but you are investing a lot of time, energy and effort. Don’t let anyone tell you what your services are worth.

Your prices should be determined by you ultimately. If anyone tries to water down your service then they are simply not your target audience.

Priority your clients 

Remember that your clients are your source of income so always take them as your priority. 

Get regular feedback so that you’re constantly improving their experience.

Check out this blog post on “How to keep your clients running back for more” for more tips on how to manage your clients.


So here are 10 tips for starting your hair salon in college

With these tips you’ll not only run your own business and be your own boss but you can start making a lot of money while being a college.

Do you have any questions more questions on how to start your hair salon?

Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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