Types of salon in the beauty industry Types of salon in the beauty industry

Types of salon in the beauty industry: The lowdown from Direct Line for Business

There are a number of different types of salon in the UK, so the relevant health and beauty skills and qualifications could help you secure a job in a range of workplace settings.

Would you like to offer soothing therapies in a luxury spa or work in a smaller high street salon? Let's have a look at the kinds of salon that exist and the opportunities they provide to enterprising professionals.

Types of salon services

The beauty industry has grown so much that it can be hard to keep track of the treatments that are available. 'Beauty therapists' who do everything are long gone. Many independent salons specialise in a small range of treatments, from nail art to tanning, while even in the larger spa salons no single staff member is likely to do everything. Some of the most popular services provided in a salon may include:

  • hair-cutting, colouring and styling
  • waxing and other forms of hair removal
  • nail treatments
  • facials and skin care treatments
  • tanning
  • massages
  • complementary care such as aromatherapy

The range of salon services are expanding and changing all the time. So if you like the idea of a fast-paced career, where you'll have to continually update your skills, then it could be a good fit for you.

However, if you'd rather perform the same tasks from day one to retirement, then it may be worth looking elsewhere.

High street salons

With their eye-catching posters, bold logos and big windows, high street salons are what most of us picture when we think of hair and beauty salons.

According to the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA), there are 35,704 hair salons, 1,512 nail bars and 13,000 beauty salons in the UK, and the high street is where you'll find most of them.

High street salons tend to offer either hair, beauty or complementary health treatments and some are even more specialised, focusing just on nail art for example. High street salons are where most hairdressers and beauty therapists learn their trade, and many will spend their entire careers working in them.

Spa salons

Hidden inside many self-contained spa complexes, in hotels or country clubs for example, spa salons usually offer an upmarket service.

The emphasis is on providing a luxurious experience, so the customer feels taken care of from the moment they set foot in the salon.

Most spa complexes offer complementary health and beauty treatments, but some also have their own hair salons. HABIA says there are 400 spas in the UK.

To work in one of these high-end establishments, you'll need to be comfortable with making customer service as big a part of your role as the treatments you provide.

Mobile salons

HABIA suggests there are 947 mobile beauty therapists in the UK, but there may be others working more informally in this way. Beauty therapists and hairdressers both travel to clients' homes, as do some complementary health practitioners.

Mobile hair salons

Running a mobile hair salon can be a relatively low-cost way to set up in business. It can also help you cater to customers with mobility issues or commitments that make it hard for them to go to a salon for a haircut.

Lots of mobile hair stylists cut hair for all the family in one session, so you'd need to be skilled at both barbering and women's hairdressing if you choose this route, but not all mobile hairdressers work this way.

The major downside of this system is that you'll spend a lot of time travelling, which will usually cost you money in fuel, whereas if you were working in a salon you'd be cutting hair and earning more-or-less continually.

Mobile beauty salons

Mobile beauty salons, offering makeup for wedding days, nail treatments and a host of other services, have much the same benefits and drawbacks as mobile hairdressing businesses.

It can be hard to organise efficient rounds to minimise travel time, as your customers will want you to be flexible. You may also find that some home environments aren't a great fit for your work.

On the other hand, the barriers to starting a mobile beauty business are relatively low, especially if you already have a reliable vehicle. But you will need to have your van insured for business use, as your existing policy (even if it insures for commuting) is extremely unlikely to cover you.

Make sure you're insured

If you're planning to open any type of salon yourself, it's important to make sure that you have the right salon insurance in place to cover you from the risks of working in the hair and beauty industry.

Even something relatively minor like a slip or trip when a customer is visiting your in your salon could result in a claim that could seriously impact your business.

To find out more about the cost of beauty insurance, click here.

Or for more information about opening your own salon, take a look at our guide to opening a beauty salon here.

We've also built an interactive tool full of information to help you take the next step in your hair and beauty career. Click here to find out more and start styling your very own pathway to success.

Small Business Insurance Hair & beauty

Last Updated: 21 Mar 2017