Salon Management

Design by Numbers

by Stacey Soble | May 1, 2018

The Salons of the Year application asks applicants all kinds of questions, breaking down how much of the budget went to specific areas of design, how they allocated space and even if the new space finished under or over budget. Looking at the averages of our 2018 honorees might prove useful for anyone beginning the process of renovating an existing space or opening a new salon or spa.


To be a qualified honoree in 2018, the new salon or spa space had to open its doors to the public in calendar year 2016 or 2017. On average, this year’s honorees occupy a space of 2,800 square feet. Of the 20 honorees, six reported owning their building, and the remaining 14 either rent or lease their space.

Here’s how they break down their budgets*: They reported spending an average of $21,434 on flooring; $18,369 on lighting; $59,164 on salon equipment; $10,376 on signage; and $298,358 on building expenses, including construction, electric and plumbing. Nine of the honorees this year consider themselves to also be a spa, and of those, they spent an average of $27,436 on spa equipment. Of the salons and spas who have a front desk (four honorees are deskless), they spent an average of $14,869 on their front-desk setup.

On average, this year’s honorees spent $478,253 on their spaces. For each of these, we calculated what they spent per square foot of their space and the numbers varied greatly—from $22 per square foot to $722. On average, though, they spent $209 per square foot.


On average, our 2018 honorees allocated 764 square feet to their cutting/coloring areas, 309 to the reception/waiting areas and 243 to retail spaces. Of those with shampoo/backbar areas, they averaged 273 square feet in size—all three barbershops have sinks in the station and didn’t report having a shampoo room/backbar space. Not including the four deskless salons, our 2018 honorees reserve 174 square feet for the front desk. Of those with spa services, they delegated an average of 545 to the spa.


On average, the 2018 Salons of the Year charge $70 for a shampoo, cut and style or $38 for a men’s hair cut and $95 for a single process color service. Of those with spa services, they charge an average of $86 for a 60-minute massage, $83 for a basic facial, $36 for a manicure and $57 for a pedicure.


Construction times on the new spaces varied greatly, from two months start to completion of the project to 36 months. On average, the Salons of the Year projects were completed within 12 months. Only two salons say their new design came in on budget and on time. Seven say they were on time, and 13 were delivered after schedule. The owners apparently had better control when it came to the budget, with 12 coming in on budget and eight spending more than budget.

* OUTLIERS: At 16,578 square feet, Gene Juarez is in a class of its own with a per-area budget and spacing to be several times that of the other honorees. For many of these calculations, it was an outlier and was not calculated into the averages. For the pricing scenarios, the Fashion Focus Academy is charging student rates, so they were not calculated into the averages.

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