Frequently Asked Questions about Salon Manager Programs and Careers

Do you think it would be awesome to manage or own a salon or spa? We do too! Before you get serious, take a peek at these FAQ’s about working in salon management. We’ll let you know what you can expect in the day-to-day role of a spa manager. Our questions about training cover the types of courses you can expect to take, what qualities great managers have, and more. It takes a mix of people skills, business skills, and cosmetology skills to be successful in this role. If you’re curious what salon and spa managers earn, we also cover salary expectations for this role.

About Salon Managers

What is a salon, spa or barbershop manager?

The salon, spa or barbershop manager plays a very important role in the daily operations of the business. He or she ensures that the business is running efficiently, the customers are tended to and satisfied, and the business is operating at a profit. Salon and spa managers also have to make sure that the business is operating according to the laws of the state and that all staff members have the appropriate licenses and abilities to perform their jobs. The managers are often responsible for hiring, maintaining and firing staff if necessary, and coaching employees to be successful at the salon, spa or barbershop.

The manager is a critical player when it comes to running a successful, profitable beauty or grooming business. This person essentially juggles all the moving parts to ensure satisfied customers, happy employees and a profitable business.

The managers can work in hair and beauty salons, day spas, hotel and hospitality management, beauty and skin care companies, or tanning salons. Top salons seek skilled directors that can oversee all operations of the business, including having knowledge of bookkeeping and financial concepts.

Many licensed cosmetologists and other beauty professionals decide to take their careers to the next level and either open their own or begin managing a salon or spa. This is a forward-moving career path for those beauty pros with the entrepreneurial spirit. This is a job well-suited to people who love to help a business grow, enjoy managing day-to-day business needs, like helping others develop their skills and are comfortable handling all types of customer service needs. Beauty Schools Directory has created this resource for people just like you, who are considering taking the next step in their careers.


These are managerial positions that a person generally works their way up through the ranks to obtain. Salon or spa managers usually start out as creative technicians before going into management, so they can have a solid grasp on how the business works on the ground floor.

A hair salon manager would need to understand exactly how the salon business works, so they generally have completed beauty school and are licensed in their area of expertise. They often have several years of experience as a hairstylist, barber, esthetician, nail technician or other beauty professional before advancing their career into a management or ownership position.

The stylist interested in becoming a salon manager could take business courses at a local college or even pursue a business degree at a traditional 4-year university. However, many have reported that this is a broad, generic business degree. More and more schools are starting to create a specific training program dedicated specifically to running salon, spa or barbershop businesses. There are many online or in-person spa and management training courses to gain knowledge about business concepts. 

A good salon or spa manager should definitely enjoy their work in a salon setting. They should be interested in and familiar with all salon and spa procedures, products, services and technologies, and be able to keep up with the ever-changing trends in their field. Good managers also know how to create a fun and relaxed environment for their customers and employees.

They know how to handle problems and complaints while remaining professional and maintaining an even temperament. Salon or spa managers are familiar with all roles within their workplace and are able to make sure all roles are filled effectively. They are able to recognize room for improvement and distribute tasks accordingly. Good salon or spa managers understand the needs of their customers. They make sure these needs are met to establish and ensure a steady, loyal and ever-growing clientele.

Becoming a Hair Salon Owner Advice - Salon & Spa Management

A salon and spa manager needs to be a leader who can guide the salon or spa team to success, a person who can think on their feet, and a person who is both innovative and creative about helping the salon grow its clientele and make its employees more efficient and effective. 

Excellent people skills are a must when it comes to managing a salon or spa. Managers must be able to work with many different individuals, all with varying personalities. These include customers, coworkers, vendors, and anyone who touches the salon business. Managers must be able to understand the needs and behaviors of both their customers and employees.

Communication and training skills are also important. The beauty industry is constantly changing and evolving. Trends come and go, breakthroughs and innovations are made, new products are created, etc. Staying up-to-date is crucial to the success of any salon or spa. Salon or spa managers or owners must stay abreast of the changes in their field and be able to train and retrain employees as necessary. Leaders in a salon should always push their employees to  pursue cosmetology continuing education  to stay current in the industry, even if the  state does not require it to renew licenses

Requirements for becoming a salon or spa manager differ by establishment. Some salon or spa owners may not require their managers to have their cosmetology license or other beaut certifications, and instead require a more business-oriented background, while others may expect managers to have formal training in salon or spa management and have work experience on the salon floor.

Some may even require managers to have a certificate or diploma in cosmetology, aesthetics or business management, though again that varies from business to business. For most, knowledge and experience of small business operations is a must. Also important (but not always necessary) is a background in the beauty industry. Many salon and spa managers started out as receptionists, hairdressers, massage therapists, nail technicians, etc., and worked their way up.

Work Day

Managers in the hair salon and spa business are in charge of all things staffing. Aside from interviewing, hiring, promoting and firing employees, they also schedule the employees so that staff is always available to provide the right mix of services to meet customer demand.

They often oversee staff training and development and make sure that advanced training opportunities are available to employees, such as conferences, workshops or continuing education units. Your staff should always strive to stay current on the latest hairdressing and other techniques, and be knowledgeable about the latest trends in beauty. This is ideal for a business to have a motivated staff that is always reaching for their maximum technical and professional potential, and it’s good for the clients as well.

The managers will also manage and supervise non-creative staff such as receptionists, schedulers and maintenance staff to keep the business running smoothly and on time. Communication is a core component of the manager or owner job, including communicating to the entire team about company policies and procedures, major staff changes, sharing customer feedback, the vision for the future of the company, and employee reviews.

Salon and spa managers must create an atmosphere where customers are comfortable and are satisfied, leading to repeat visits and referral business. This may sometimes mean fielding customer service concerns, or implementing sweeping changes in how the salon is run to better meet the needs of the community.

The managers ensure that all equipment is operating safely and optimally, and that the hair salon or spa appearance is one that creates an inviting, relaxing environment for customers. Clients should always feel they are entering a safe and sanitary environment when getting beauty services from your business, and you may need to regularly review and maintain the utmost client service standards.

Salon, spa and barbershop owners and managers are usually responsible for daily banking, budgeting, expenditures and other financial duties. This can range from managing petty cash for small maintenance tasks around the shop, to managing payroll and overseeing employees to accurately report their tips for tax purposes.

They are responsible for the ordering of supplies for the business, as well as ensuring retail operations remain stocked. Product sales are a critical component of the business’s revenue. This can include developing inventory control methods, creating major sales and promotions and other marketing activities to increase sales.

Salon, barbershop or spa owners and directors may be responsible for marketing activities for the salon. This could mean deciding on advertising campaigns and budgets to draw in more business in the community, choosing charities or events to sponsor on behalf of the salon or barbershop, or implementing an e-mail marketing campaign to past salon clients. They may also be expected to attend demonstrations, fundraisers or other events to keep the business involved in the community.


The salary a barbershop, salon or spa director or owner can earn varies on a number of different factors, including the size of the salon or spa, the number of employees and overhead costs of the business, the region of the country, years of experience and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) reports that first line supervisors earn a mean annual wage of $38,240. Salon, spa and barbershop owner salaries are likely highly dependent on how profitable and successful the business is.

Salon Management
Commercial Career