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If you have experience working as a hairdresser or have the skills and aptitude of a talented hairdresser, opening your own salon can be a fantastic experience and a great business. However, there are certain legal considerations to make when getting started. There are specific hairdresser licences to acquire and regulations to meet before you can make your dream salon a reality. This article explores the key steps to setting up a hairdressing salon in New Zealand, including:

  • obtaining a licence;
  • ensuring your salon meets legal requirements; and 
  • structuring your business appropriately. 

Obtain a Hairdresser Licence

You will need a hairdressing licence in New Zealand to operate a hairdressing salon. Local authorities manage this licencing process, for example, Auckland Council if you are based in Auckland. It costs $232 per year to renew your hairdresser licence, and you will need to provide information about your salon and business. 

There are no specific requirements or certificates required to become a hairdresser, unlike some other professions. However, there are certain certificates that you can obtain if you would like to demonstrate your skills or experience. Likewise, many hairdressers do hold a related certificate. These include: 

  • New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing – Professional Stylist (Level 4); or a
  • New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Barbering (Level 4).

To be certified as either a professional stylist or commercial barber, you can complete an apprenticeship or have existing experience recognised. The main body that oversees these certificates is the New Zealand Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation.

Ensure Your Salon Meets Legal Requirements

You will need to ensure that your hairdressing salon is up to certain health standards to be allowed to operate. These requirements are set out in the Health (Hairdressers) Regulations 1980

Additionally, there are several specific requirements to be aware of when planning the design and makeup of your salon. For instance, you will need multiple wash hand basins and sinks, such as:

  • a shampoo sink
  • a sink for cleaning equipment; and
  • a hand basin to wash hands, which is within 6 metres of hair cutting chairs.

You will also need all basic cleaning supplies, such as soap, clean towels, brushes, and paper towels, and you must ensure they are on hand.

Note that the regulations also impose specific cleaning and other requirements on hairdressing salons. For instance, all hairdressing equipment, like combs and scissors, must be cleaned comprehensively between uses. This process is set out in the Health (Hairdressers) Regulations. It includes:

  • removing any hair;
  • washing in warm water using detergent;
  • soaking for 30 mins in a disinfectant; 
  • storing in a way that prevents re-contamination; and 
  • brushing to remove hair if required. 

You should also plan out your storage in the salon with these requirements in mind.

Your Salon’s Business Structure

Further, there are a few common ways to set your hairdressing salon up as a business. The main business structures to consider are companies, sole traders, and partnerships. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages.

Many hair salons begin as sole trader ventures with just one hairdresser, to begin with. This structure gives you full control of business affairs and full responsibility for the clientele and any liability in the business. Sole trader ventures are easy to set up, have low fees, and can suit hairdressing salons that are happy to see how it goes with the new business. 

On the other hand, while a company structure is more complicated to set up initially and involves some additional costs and filing requirements, it can suit hairdressing salons that want to emphasise quick growth and expansion. If you want to scale your business up quickly, a company will help you take on extra investment and be regarded as reputable. 

Finally, a partnership can be an interesting angle to consider if there are multiple of you looking to co-found the new salon. Make sure you are all on the same page with the goals and objectives of the business and that you trust each other. This is essential because you will be sharing liability for the business.

Key Takeaways

There are some legal requirements to be aware of when starting a hairdressing business in New Zealand. These include the need to obtain a hairdressing licence and meet the regulatory requirements regarding setting up your salon. There are also health standards to abide by in your operations to ensure safety for customers. You should also think about what kind of business structure suits your hairdressing salon best, depending on your goals and personal circumstances. 

If you would like more information about setting up a hairdressing salon, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a hairdressing licence to open a salon in New Zealand?

Yes, you need a hairdressing licence in New Zealand to start and operate a hairdressing salon. Auckland Council manages this licencing process in Auckland and the relevant local authority in other cities.

Do you need a hairdressing certificate to work as a hairdresser in New Zealand?

No, there are no specific requirements or certificates required to become a hairdresser, unlike some other professions. However, many hairdressers will have qualifications through the New Zealand Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation.

Do you have to go through an apprenticeship before opening a salon?

No, there is no requirement to go through an apprenticeship before working as a hairdresser. However, the additional experience can be helpful when starting your own business.

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