A Quickstart Guide To Salon & Spa Business Permits In The UK

4 min

A Quickstart Guide To Salon & Spa Business Permits In The UK

If you’re about to open your first salon or spa, you’ve probably scoured the internet for a checklist of things not to forget. Alternatively, perhaps you got help from a friend who owns and runs a salon. Either way, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge. While in the midst of working out business plans, financing, staff, salon/spa fittings, finding suppliers and getting stock in, did you ever stop to think about all the rules and regulations, salon and spa business permits you need to know about before you embark on your journey?

Related | The True Costs Of Opening A Salon That Will Thrive

How Does One Go About Salon & Spa Business Permits? What Is There To Know?

I won’t beat around the bush: there are no one-plan-fits-all-opens. It’d be too good to be true, wouldn’t it! Now, in saying that, what I can provide you with is a quick run through of what you should consider. From there, you should be able to take the necessary steps to set up your business and getting the required permits for the type of salon/spa you are planning on opening and running.

Do You Need Consent From Your Local Authority?

If you’re opening a hair salon, you don’t need anything. However, if it’s a beauty salon, then you may need to register your new business and get a licence with the environmental health section of your local authority. If you offer laser treatment, you also need to register with the Care Quality Commission in England, Health Care Inspectorate Wales or Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Important: If you’re not sure whether you need a licence or not, find out by approaching your local authorities before you open.

Do You Need To Apply For Change Of Use Through The Planning Department Of Your Local Authority?

If you are changing the use of the business premises you’re moving into, then you may need to get permission for this. Find out about whether you need to before you sign a lease or buy your new salon/spa premises. Fortunately, all you have to do is to contact the local planning department where you plan to open your salon and open the discussion. Ask all the questions you want; you’re better off safe than sorry.

spa business permits

Setting Up As A Sole Trader Vs Setting Up As A Limited Company

Situation 1: Sole Trader

If you’re starting your business as a sole trader, or if you’re in a partnership, then you need to register with the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Important: If you don’t, you can be fined as it’s your responsibility to let them know if you owe them taxes. You can register online here.

Situation 2: Limited Company

If you’re setting up a limited company, then you will need to register your salon/spa with Companies House. Additionally, you will be required to let the HMRC know for Corporation tax purposes.

Finally, if you’re the director of the limited company, you will more than likely have to register to fill out a self-assessment personal tax return too.

Other Types Of Salon/Spa Business Permits & Things To Consider

    • Do you have the right insurance?
      Not only do you need a) building & contents insurance and b) public liability insurance, but you could open yourself up to big problems if you don’t have professional indemnity insurance. It only takes one small slip up for your reputation to go up in smoke and to be sued for large sums of money. Most insurers will have specific plans for salon owners – they will cover you for everything. Shop around to get the best deal and make sure it covers you for everything you need.
  • Do you keep data on your clients?
    Even if you only keep emails and telephone numbers, you need have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). You should also read up on GDPR – until we get a better idea of what will come from Brexit, it’s playing it safe than to assume data protection laws will be at least as stringent as the European one.
  • Surely there’s nothing else?
    Another permit you might not think about is a licence to place a street sign outside your business premises on the pavement or road. All the little things right?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many steps to think about before you can open your salon. If you want to get a better understanding of what’s awaiting you based on your plans, there’s a useful governmental website where you can check what you might need regarding licenses.

All in all, and especially when you’re starting out, it’s best to talk to an accountant specialised in working with your type of business. After all, we’re here to help!

You might also find these related articles useful:

If you want more tips on your financials and find out more about numbers in a supportive environment, join my Facebook group Knowing Your Numbers. It’s a safe environment for your questions to get answered.

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow

Gloria Murray, Murray Associates Accountants

Gloria Murray is a Glasgow-based triple award-winning accountant who has also been awarded the Most Innovative Business Advisor in the UK in the 2020 Annual Innovation Awards 2017. Director of Murray Associates Accountants, she specialises in helping small business owners grow sustainable and ethical companies that not only provide a better service to their customers but also contribute to local employment. If you would like to get more business tips from Gloria, you can get a free copy of her printed business magazine by sending an email to

Featured imaged shot on location of Leeson Beauty Lounge, in Dublin. © 2018 Phorest Salon Software.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Keep reading