How to start an esthetician business [Step-by-step guide]

how to start an esthetician business

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Are you passionate about skincare and beauty? Do you dream of starting your own business in the industry? Want to learn how to start an esthetician business?

If so, becoming an esthetician and starting your own esthetician business may be the perfect path for you. As an esthetician, you will have the opportunity to help people feel confident and beautiful in their own skin.

And as a business owner, you will have the freedom to create your own schedule and build a brand that reflects your unique vision.

Starting an esthetician business may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right planning and preparation, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of starting your own esthetician business. From creating a business plan and choosing a business structure to financing your startup and building a client base, we will provide you with the tools and information you need to turn your dream into a reality. So, if you’re ready to take the first step towards becoming an esthetician business owner, let’s get started!

How Does the Esthetics Industry Work?

If you’re interested in starting an esthetician business, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the industry. Esthetics is a rapidly growing field that encompasses a wide range of services, from facials and waxing to makeup application and massage therapy. Here are some key things to keep in mind as you consider launching your own esthetician business:

Industry Overview

The esthetics industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow each year. According to the International Spa Association, the spa industry generated $18.3 billion in revenue in 2018, with the skincare segment accounting for the largest share of that revenue. This is good news for aspiring estheticians, as it suggests that there is a strong demand for skincare services.

Industry Trends

As with any industry, the esthetics industry is constantly evolving. Some of the current trends in the industry include:

  • Natural and organic skincare products
  • Personalized skincare treatments
  • Advanced skincare technologies, such as LED light therapy and microcurrent facials
  • Multi-sensory experiences, such as aromatherapy and sound therapy

By staying up-to-date on industry trends, you can ensure that your esthetician business is offering the latest and most in-demand services.

Industry Regulations

Before launching your esthetician business, it’s important to familiarize yourself with industry regulations. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a license or certification to legally provide esthetician services. You may also need to comply with health and safety regulations, such as maintaining a clean and sanitary workspace and properly disposing of hazardous materials.

By understanding the esthetics industry and staying up-to-date on industry trends and regulations, you can position your esthetician business for success.

Creating a Business Plan

Starting an esthetician business can be an exciting and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning to ensure its success.

One of the most important steps in starting a business is creating a comprehensive business plan.

A business plan serves as a roadmap for your business, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections.

Market Analysis

The first step in creating a business plan is conducting a market analysis. This involves researching your target market, identifying your competitors, and analyzing industry trends. By understanding your market, you can develop a strategy to differentiate your business and attract customers.

To conduct a market analysis, you should research the following:

  • Demographics of your target market (e.g. age, gender, income)
  • Competitors in your area and their services
  • Industry trends and future projections
  • Opportunities for growth and expansion

Financial Planning

Financial planning is a crucial part of creating a business plan. It involves estimating your startup costs, projecting your revenue and expenses, and developing a plan for funding your business.

To create a financial plan, you should consider the following:

  • Startup costs, including equipment, supplies, and rent
  • Ongoing expenses, such as utilities, insurance, and marketing
  • Projected revenue based on your pricing and target market
  • Financing options, such as loans or investors

Creating a detailed financial plan will help you understand the financial viability of your business and make informed decisions about funding and growth.

Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy outlines how you will promote your business and attract customers. It should include a mix of online and offline marketing tactics that are tailored to your target market.

To develop a marketing strategy, you should consider the following:

  • Your target market and their preferred marketing channels
  • Your unique selling proposition (USP) and how you will differentiate your business
  • Online marketing tactics, such as social media and search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Offline marketing tactics, such as flyers, business cards, and events

By developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can build brand awareness and attract new customers to your esthetician business.

In summary, creating a business plan is a crucial step in starting an esthetician business. By conducting a market analysis, developing a financial plan, and creating a marketing strategy, you can set your business up for success and achieve your entrepreneurial goals.

Obtaining Necessary Certifications

When it comes to how to start an esthetician business, getting the right licenses and permits is super important, along with:

  • Creating a business form (like an LLC)
  • Getting a business bank account
  • Sales tax permits
  • Logo generation
  • And, more!

Tailor Brands can help with this. They offer everything your new business needs, in one place.

Click here to check out Tailor Brands.

Esthetician License

To practice as an esthetician, you must first obtain an esthetician license. The requirements for obtaining this license vary by state, but generally, you must have completed an accredited esthetician program and passed a state board exam. Some states may also require you to complete continuing education courses to maintain your license.

To find out the specific requirements for your state, you can check with your state’s board of cosmetology or esthetics. It’s important to make sure you have all the necessary documentation and meet the requirements before applying for your license to avoid any delays or complications.

Business License

In addition to your esthetician license, you will also need a business license to legally operate your esthetician business. The requirements for obtaining a business license also vary by state and municipality. You will need to check with your local government to find out what licenses and permits are required for your specific location and services.

Some common licenses and permits you may need include a general business license, zoning permits, and health department permits. You may also need to register your business with your state’s secretary of state or department of revenue.

It’s important to make sure you have all the necessary licenses and permits before opening your business to avoid any legal issues. Failing to obtain the proper licenses and permits can result in fines or even the closure of your business.

By obtaining the necessary certifications and licenses, you can legally operate your esthetician business and provide your clients with high-quality services.

Securing a Location

Starting an esthetician business requires a physical location where you can provide your services. In this section, we will cover the two main aspects of securing a location: choosing a location and setting up your space.

Choosing a Location

When choosing a location for your esthetician business, there are several factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Demographics: Consider the demographics of the area you are looking at. Are there enough people in the area who would be interested in your services? Are they the type of people who can afford your services?
  • Competition: Take a look at the competition in the area. Are there already established esthetician businesses in the area? If so, what services do they offer? Can you differentiate yourself from them?
  • Accessibility: Make sure your location is easily accessible by car or public transportation. If people can’t easily get to your location, they are less likely to use your services.
  • Visibility: Your location should be visible from the street. People should be able to see your business from the road and easily identify what services you offer.
  • Rent: Make sure you can afford the rent for the location you are considering. Remember that your rent will be a significant ongoing expense for your business.

Setting Up Your Space

Once you have chosen a location for your esthetician business, it’s time to set up your space. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Layout: Think about the layout of your space. How will you arrange your treatment rooms, waiting area, and reception desk? Make sure your layout is functional and easy to navigate.
  • Equipment: You will need equipment such as treatment tables, chairs, and lamps. Make sure you invest in high-quality equipment that will last.
  • Décor: Your space should be welcoming and relaxing. Consider using soft colors, comfortable chairs, and soothing music to create a calming atmosphere.
  • Supplies: You will need a variety of supplies such as towels, linens, and skincare products. Make sure you have enough supplies on hand to meet the needs of your clients.
  • Storage: Make sure you have enough storage space for your supplies and equipment. Consider investing in storage solutions such as cabinets and shelves to keep your space organized.

By carefully choosing a location and setting up your space, you can create a welcoming and professional environment for your clients. With the right location and setup, your esthetician business will be well on its way to success.

Investing in Quality Equipment and Supplies

Starting your own esthetician business requires more than just a passion for skincare. You also need to invest in quality equipment and supplies to provide your clients with top-notch services. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Research and Compare Prices

Before you purchase any equipment or supplies, it’s important to research and compare prices. Look for reputable suppliers that offer high-quality products at competitive prices. You can also consider buying in bulk to save money in the long run.

Create an Equipment Checklist

To ensure that you have everything you need for your esthetician business, create an equipment checklist. This should include items such as a facial steamer, massage table, waxing supplies, skincare products, and more. Having a checklist will help you stay organized and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.

Invest in Quality Products

Investing in high-quality products is essential for providing your clients with the best possible experience. Look for products that are made with natural and organic ingredients, as these are often preferred by clients. You should also consider investing in professional-grade equipment, such as microdermabrasion machines and LED light therapy devices.

Don’t Forget About Safety

Safety should be a top priority when purchasing equipment and supplies for your esthetician business. Make sure that all of your equipment is up to industry standards and that you have the necessary safety gear, such as gloves and masks. You should also invest in disinfectants and cleaning supplies to ensure that your equipment stays clean and hygienic for each client.

By investing in quality equipment and supplies, you can provide your clients with exceptional services and build a successful esthetician business. Remember to research and compare prices, create an equipment checklist, invest in quality products, and prioritize safety to set yourself up for success.

Hiring and Training Staff

As your esthetician business grows, you will need to hire and train staff to help you meet the demand for your services. This can be an exciting time as you expand your business and bring on new team members. However, it’s important to approach the hiring and training process carefully to ensure that you’re bringing on the right people and setting them up for success.


When recruiting staff for your esthetician business, it’s important to be clear about your expectations and the qualifications you’re looking for. You may want to consider creating a job description that outlines the responsibilities of the position, the necessary qualifications, and any preferred experience or skills.

To attract a pool of qualified candidates, consider posting your job opening on job boards, social media, and industry-specific websites. You may also want to reach out to local esthetician schools to see if they have any recent graduates who might be a good fit for your business.

When reviewing resumes and conducting interviews, be sure to ask questions that will help you assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and fit with your business. You may also want to consider conducting a skills assessment or trial period to ensure that the candidate has the necessary skills to perform the job.


Once you’ve hired new staff members, it’s important to provide them with the training and support they need to succeed in their roles. This may include on-the-job training, shadowing, and ongoing professional development opportunities.

To ensure that your staff is providing high-quality services and adhering to your business’s standards, consider creating a training manual or handbook that outlines your policies and procedures. This can help new staff members get up to speed quickly and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

You may also want to consider providing ongoing training and development opportunities to help your staff stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in the industry. This can help ensure that your staff is providing the best possible services to your clients and can help them grow and advance in their careers.

In conclusion, hiring and training staff is an important part of growing your esthetician business. By approaching the process carefully and providing your staff with the support they need, you can build a strong team that will help you provide high-quality services and grow your business over time.

Marketing Your Business

Once you have your esthetician business up and running, it’s time to start promoting your services to attract new clients. Marketing your business can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little creativity and effort, you can effectively reach your target audience and grow your business.

Online Marketing

In today’s digital age, online marketing is essential for any business. Here are a few ways to promote your esthetician business online:

  • Social Media: Create social media profiles for your business on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Share photos of your work, post updates about your services, and engage with your followers to build a community around your brand.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list of potential and existing clients and send regular newsletters with updates about your business, promotions, and helpful skincare tips.
  • Website: Create a professional website that showcases your services, pricing, and contact information. Include high-quality images of your work and make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Online Advertising: Consider running online ads on platforms like Facebook, Google, or Instagram to reach potential clients in your area.

Offline Marketing

While online marketing is important, don’t forget about traditional offline marketing methods. Here are a few ideas to promote your business offline:

  • Business Cards: Create professional business cards with your contact information and hand them out to potential clients or leave them at local businesses.
  • Referral Program: Offer existing clients a discount on their next service for referring a friend to your business.
  • Local Events: Participate in local events like farmers markets, festivals, or charity events to showcase your services and connect with potential clients.
  • Flyers and Posters: Create eye-catching flyers and posters to hang up in local businesses or community centers.

Remember, marketing your esthetician business takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. By using a combination of online and offline marketing methods, you can effectively reach your target audience and grow your business.

Building Client Relationships

One of the most important aspects of starting and maintaining a successful esthetician business is building strong client relationships. Happy clients are more likely to return and refer their friends and family to your business. Here are some effective ways to build and maintain strong client relationships:

Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for building strong client relationships. Make sure your clients feel valued and appreciated by greeting them warmly and addressing them by their name. Listen carefully to their concerns and needs, and provide personalized recommendations and solutions.

Respond promptly to any questions or concerns your clients may have, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via email. Make sure to follow up with clients after their appointment to ensure they are satisfied with the service they received.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize clients to return to your business. Consider offering discounts or free services to clients who refer their friends and family to your business or who book multiple appointments in advance.

Another effective loyalty program is a point-based system where clients earn points for each service they receive. These points can then be redeemed for discounts or free services. Make sure to promote your loyalty program on your website and social media pages to encourage clients to participate.

By providing excellent customer service and implementing a loyalty program, you can build strong client relationships and ensure the success of your esthetician business.

Maintaining Business Operations

Starting your own esthetician business can be a thrilling experience, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. Once you have your business up and running, it’s important to maintain your operations to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Here are some key areas to focus on:


Keeping track of your finances is crucial to the success of your business. You’ll need to keep accurate records of all your income and expenses, including receipts, invoices, and bank statements. This will help you to monitor your cash flow, prepare tax returns, and make informed decisions about your business.

Consider using accounting software to help you manage your finances more efficiently. Many programs offer features such as invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting. You may also want to consider hiring a professional bookkeeper or accountant to help you manage your finances.

Inventory Management

As an esthetician, you’ll need to keep track of your inventory to ensure that you always have enough supplies on hand. This includes everything from skincare products to equipment and tools. You’ll need to monitor your inventory levels regularly and order new supplies as needed.

Consider using inventory management software to help you keep track of your supplies more efficiently. Many programs offer features such as automatic reordering and real-time inventory tracking. You may also want to consider setting up a system for tracking your inventory manually, such as using a spreadsheet or notebook.

By staying on top of your bookkeeping and inventory management, you’ll be able to keep your business running smoothly and make informed decisions about your operations. Remember to stay organized and keep accurate records, and don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals if you need it.


Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at

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