Flip-flops are always in season in Florida, which means pedicures never go out of style. The combination of beautiful weather, year-round traffic from tourists, and Florida’s entrepreneur-friendly environment make Florida an ideal place to open a nail salon.
According to NailsMag, there are 34,000 registered nail specialists in Florida. This means Florida likely has a sizable share of the 8.5 billion dollar a year nail industry. Opportunities in the nail industry certainly exist.
Anyone can open a specialty, or nail, salon in Florida. You do not need to be a nail specialist, cosmetologist, or full specialist to obtain a Florida salon license.
However, opening and maintaining a successful nail salon takes lots of planning, patience, and attention to detail.
If you are ready for that challenge and thinking about opening your own specialty nail salon, this step-by-step guide will simplify the process. There are some things you should know before you build your polish display case.
Step 1: Find Your Location
Not just any location with lots of traffic will meet the requirements for a salon. There are a few requirements for a salon required by the cosmetology board.
(5) Evidence that the full or specialty salon contains a minimum of 100 square feet of floor space. No more than one (1) cosmetologist or specialist may be employed in a salon which has only the minimum floor space. An additional 50 square feet will be required for each additional specialist or cosmetologist employed.
2. Toilet and Lavatory Facilities: Each salon shall provide –- on the premises or in the same building as, and within 300 feet of, the salon –- adequate toilet and lavatory facilities. To be adequate, such facilities shall have at least one toilet and one sink with running water.
Step 2: Apply for Your Florida Salon License
All compensated cosmetology services — with the exception of hair braiding, hair wrapping, and body wrapping — must be performed in a licensed cosmetology salon. This includes all compensated nail services (manicures, pedicures, and nail extension services) performed by cosmetologists, nail specialists, or full specialists.
Fees for Obtaining a Salon License
The fee for an initial salon license application and inspection is $95. You may also be required to obtain local business permits. To do that, check with your city or county government.
Renewal Deadlines for a Salon License
Salon licenses need to be renewed by November 30th (11/30) of every EVEN Year. The fee for each salon license renewal is $45.
Step 3: Pass Your Inspection
You may already be asking, “When can I open?”
A salon can open as soon as your license is issued and posted in your salon. There is no need to wait for your inspection. Soon after a license has been issued, an inspector will show up (unannounced) at your salon.
The FAQ board website states:
You must complete the salon application and pay the required application fee. After your salon license is issued, within approximately 90 days, an inspector will visit your salon unannounced for the initial inspection. You can open your salon when you receive your license. You do not need to wait to open until you are inspected.
If you pass the inspection, you get to stay open. If you do not pass the inspection, you will need to make the necessary changes to remain open and keep your salon license. Results of your inspection will also be posted online to the license verification system.
Inspections will continue on a biennial (every other year) basis after opening a salon, unless there is a complaint made by the public.
Inspectors will be looking for compliance with safety and sanitary requirements set by Rule 61G5-20.002, Florida Administrative Code. These requirements are in place to help keep the public safe. Nail salons can be dangerous to the public if proper sanitation requirements are not met. Here is the complete salon inspection checklist.
Those are the three main steps to opening a nail salon. However, you likely have more questions.
What are the Pedicure Cleaning Requirements
Florida Administrative code has specific requirements for cleaning pedicure units. These cleaning procedures minimize pathogens and keep the public safe.
- After each client
- At the end of each day
- Once a week
Here are some additional resourses about cleaning salons, pedicure units, or footspas:
- Complete list of safety and sanitary requirements (Rule 61G5-20.002, F.A.C.)
- 61G5-20.002 Salon Requirements (3)(g), F.A.C.
- EPA Footspa Cleaning in Vietnamese
Can I Offer Fish Pedicures?
Nope! Due to the potential adverse health effects for the public, fish pedicures are not currently allowed in Florida.
Can I have a nail salon in my Florida home?
Yes, residential salons are perfectly legal in Florida as long as it meets the below requirements outlined in 61G5-20.002 Salon Requirements (3), F.A.C.:
A salon, or specialty salon may be located at a place of residence. Salon facilities must be separated from the living quarters by a permanent wall construction. A separate entrance shall be provided to allow entry to the salon other than from the living quarters. Toilet and lavatory facilities shall comply with subparagraph (c)2. above and shall have an entrance from the salon other than the living quarters.
Do I Need to Carry Insurance for Myself or My Cosmetology Salon?
There are no salon insurance requirements in the Board of Cosmetology laws and rules.
Ready to Be Amazing?
Recently, as I ate lunch with my husband looking out at the Gulf, the lady next to me (a snowbird) asked the local, young servers, “Where do you go for a really good pedicure around here?” The servers immediately scribbled down a salon address that they both highly recommended. Make your nail salon one that strangers jump at the chance to tell others about!
I believe there are three keys to a successful salon. All of the busiest salons make it a priority to maintain a very clean and sanitary environment, hire skilled professionals, and create a friendly atmosphere for each and every client.
A Clean Salon is A Busy Salon
If you think clients are not going to notice your salon not meeting cleaning and sanitation protocols, you are wrong! Nail salons have the potential to spread common diseases like athletes foot, nail fungus, even MRSA. Clients will certainly share poor experiences that harm their health. This will inevitably damage your salon’s reputation, and put the salon a risk for legal ramifications.
Your salon inspections and fines are public information. Reviews posted online and personal recommendations will be essential to the success of your business. Which nail salon would you choose?
Someone call the Health Department! I received a mani/pedi, and for my pedi the nail technician pulled out toenail clippers that were in her toolbox, instead of from a sterilized package. I asked her to please use sterilized toenail clippers and tools and pointed out that they should come out of a package. She looked at me like a deer in headlights and kept working.
Or this one…
I have had many amazing experiences here with little to no wait! Very friendly staff who detail oriented. The atmosphere is VERY clean. I highly recommend this salon!
Hiring the Right Nail Specialists
Hire not just any nail specialists, hire talented nail specialists. Nail techs, manicurists, or pedicurists are technically referred to as registered nail specialists by the Board of Cosmetology in Florida. Full specialists are licensed to perform both facial and nail services. Skilled, professional workers will be the face and backbone of your business. It is hard to keep good nail technicians. Provide them with a comfortable work environment and a fun atmosphere.
The primary reason people are coming to your salon is they want their nails to look beautiful. However, they also want to be treated like they are an important, valued client. Many poor salon reviews indicate the reason they do not go back to a nail salon is the way they were treated by owners and employee.
People do not want to pay to be treated poorly. They can find a different place to spend their money. Make your salon a place where people want to return.
One time, we were walking out of the nail salon and one of my daughters stepped back inadvertently right onto her sister’s new pedicure. It ruined one freshly painted toe. Before the blaming and tears began, a wonderful nail specialist must have witnessed this event and came out to take my daughter back in and fix the nail. She did not have to come out and offer to make that repair. But it is one of the main reasons I return to that same salon regularly.
Take the First Steps
Big adventures usually start with small steps. This is certainly the case with opening a nail salon. Here are some useful links to help you get started with your exciting business endeavor. I wish you the best of luck!
Florida Nail Salon License Applications
4-hour HIV/AIDS Initial Course for Obtaining Florida Nail Specialist License
16-hour Renewal Course for Renewing Florida Nail Specialist License
Looking for information about how to renew the required 16-hour Continuing Education course for nail specialists? Click here.
If you have any questions, please let me know.