- Plan a Business
- Start a Business
- Manage a Business
- Grow a Business
If you're thinking about opening a beauty or nail salon, start here for a checklist of items to consider and permits that you may need to obtain to get your business off the ground. Please note that this guide does not substitute for legal or professional advice, and additional permits may be required depending on the circumstances of your business.
The Beauty and Nail Salon Checklist covers key items that you may consider when starting your business. Get a head start on the planning process by knowing upfront what to expect so you don't run into unexpected surprises that may delay your grand opening.
After you've developed your business plan, you'll want to start looking for great locations for your new business. Make sure the property you’re interested in has the right zoning for a beauty salon by looking on ZIMAS. Also look to see if there are any overlay zones or other special planning zones - these may suggest additional restrictions above and beyond the zoning requirements.
Once you know the zoning for the property you’re interested in, check to see if a beauty salon is allowed within the property’s zoning category.
Identify the parking requirements for your business type and ask the landlord if the lease includes enough parking spaces to meet those requirements.
Ask the landlord whether the unit meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements so you are aware of and can negotiate and/or budget for any needed renovations.
It’s always a good idea to meet with your local Council Office, Neighborhood Council and community police station - getting their support and insights can be important for a smooth launch. You can find their contact information using the City's Neighborhood Info Tool.
Review your lease closely before signing it. Keep in mind that it may take several months to obtain the permits you need to start running your business and bring in paying customers.
Research the different elements of a commercial lease - they're very different from residential leases. You may also consider getting a lawyer to help you review and negotiate your lease.
Visit one of the City’s Development Services Centers or call (213) 482-7077 to connect with city staff who can help you review the zoning and physical requirements of your property location.
Before you open your doors, you will need to register your business, your business name and business entity. Check out the online start-up guide to get a tailored guide on how to formally register your business with the City, County, State and Federal Government and get set up to pay business, sales and payroll taxes.
If the business that was at your location before was not a beauty or nail salon (for instance, if the prior business was a retail store or office), then you may need to file for a change of use permit. A change of use permit ensures that your property meets the city requirements for your business type. For instance, the previous business may have required fewer parking spaces than a beauty or nail salon does, and you would need to demonstrate that you could provide the additional required parking spaces to obtain the change of use permit.
Building permits are required for electrical, plumbing and structural changes to a building, including additions, alterations, construction and demolition. To obtain a building permit, you will need to file building plans, have them approved and schedule an inspection to verify the work after it has been completed. Depending on the scale of the project, there are different “plan check” options for LADBS to review your building plans – ranging from an online application and automatic approval for simple projects to an extended review of architectural and structural drawings for large, complex projects.
If you’ve received a land use or building permit from the City, make sure to follow up with the Development Services Center after any work is completed and schedule an inspection to make sure the work meets the required standards.
In order to operate a beauty salon, nail salon or other business covered under the State of California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, you will need to complete an Establishment Application.
In addition to completing an Establishment Application, you, your employees and any independent contractors who are renting a chair or booth in your shop will need to have a current license with the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
To obtain a license with the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, complete an apprenticeship and/or have a certain number of class hours at an approved school. After you've completed your training, you will need to pass a written and practical exam before you may begin to charge for your services.
If you prefer a personal touch to getting your business of the ground, check out the Resources Section of the Business Portal. You can find organizations that might be helpful to you along the way, or visit one of the City's nine BusinessSource Centers for dedicated, free technical assistance.
The State of California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has collected a list of helpful resources and regulations to help ensure that your business is in compliance with state law.