Beauty standards in the 21st Century have really changed compared to past years. Nowadays beauty treatments are not only limited to women, men too enjoy getting a professional manicure and pedicure done. This makes starting up a nail parlour a viable business idea especially if you have a passion for making people look beautiful.

This article will help you learn how to set up a nail salon business by answering these key questions;

  1. How much money do I need to get started?
  2. What licences do I need?
  3. What are the basic equipment and items will I need and what is their approximate cost?
  4. How do I get started?
  5. How much profit can I make?


Running a nail salon has its glamorous side but it’s also a lot of work. As the owner of your salon, you need to be conversant with all aspects of your business and also figure out how to make the business sustainable and maintain cash flow.

That said, before getting into the nail salon business, it is advisable to learn by actually working in one. Take up a job at a fairly successful nail salon, learn the ins and outs of successfully managing the business, find out what it is you can do differently, know what are some of the latest nail art techniques and equipment and how much revenue you can expect to make as profit.

As with any other business, you need capital to get started. The least amount you need to open up a small nail salon is Ksh. 100,000 excluding licences and permits.


A good location is key to the success of a nail parlor. It is advisable to choose a location with high foot traffic for maximum visibility. This might set you back quite a generous amount due to high rent and a small outdoor advertisement board to help your business stand out. Rent prices vary from town to town. In Nairobi, depending on the street and proximity of your space from the road, prices vary from Ksh. 60,000 on the higher side to Ksh. 18,000 to Ksh. 10,000 on the lower side excluding goodwill.

You also need to set aside an extra Ksh. 20,000 to Ksh. Ksh. 30,000 to hire a carpenter and interior designer to revamp the space to fit a nail salon.


5 sets Acrylic Nail Tips – @Ksh. 2000 each

Acrylic Nail Kit – Ksh. 10,000

Nail File and Clippers kit – Ksh. 2,000

10 Nail Buffer blocks – @Ksh. 300 each

Nail Polish LED Light Dryer – Ksh. 4,500

Nail Polish (200 pieces) – @Ksh 100

10 Nail Cleansers bottles – @Ksh. 500 each

10 Nail Polish Removers – @Ksh 100 each

10 Nail Glue bottles – @Ksh. 300 each

10 Nail Moisturizers bottles – @Ksh. 500 each

5 Manicure Bowls – @Ksh. 700 each

5 Staff Aprons (depending on number of staff) – @Ksh. 500 each

Water Heater – Ksh. 1,200

Furniture (Seats, Tables, Décor) – Ksh. 7,000

TOTAL – Ksh. 77, 700


You will require a single business permit from your county government to operate the nail salon. The cost of it will depend on the size of your business and from an analysis from your area ward rep. A small salon will cost Ksh5,000 – Ksh15,000 per year to license.


So you have already identified a suitable location for your nail parlor, gotten the relevant licenses, furnished your work space and bought basic equipment to start with and hired a few staff members to help you. So what’s next? It’s time to open shop.

The first thing you need to do is have an effective marketing strategy that will help you get clients. This can include opening a social media business page, passing out flyers in the neighborhood, having an outdoor advert sign, having a discount for your first customers and depending on your budget, you can organize a grand opening event.


To start small, you can start with as little as Ksh100,000 and keep re-injecting your profit as the business grows.

Depending on your price list and the services you offer, a nail salon can make you between Ksh 10,000 to Ksh. 15,000 on a fairly busy day.


Nail parlor is a wise and timely business idea that doesn’t necessarily require too much capital and has a lot of potential. If fact, research by popular beauty magazine, NailsMag suggests that 82% of nail salon goers return to get their nails done.


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