How to Start an Esthetician Business: Costs, Licenses, Plans, & More

Starting your own esthetician business can be an exciting venture. Still, it's essential to understand the various aspects involved in setting up and running a successful business. There are several key factors to consider, from obtaining the necessary licenses and developing a business plan to estimating start-up costs and building a client base. 

This article will explore these topics in detail, providing valuable insights and guidance so you’ll know how to start an esthetician business.

Understanding Esthetician Licensing Requirements

Before officially starting your esthetician business, you must familiarize yourself with your area’s licensing requirements. These requirements vary from one state to another, so you must research and comply with the specific regulations in your area. 

Researching Esthetician Requirements to Perform Professional Services | LashLift Store

To get a current esthetician license, you must complete a formal program, including a set number of hours in hands-on practice, pass a licensing exam, and obtain the necessary permits.

Formal Training

There are various options when it comes to completing a formal esthetician program. Many vocational schools and community colleges offer esthetician programs that provide comprehensive training in skincare, makeup, and proper hygiene practices. These programs often include theoretical and practical components, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in a supervised setting.

Licensing Exams

After completing an esthetician program, you must pass a licensing exam to demonstrate your knowledge in the field. The exam may have written and practical components, testing your understanding of esthetical theory and ability to perform skincare treatments.


After successfully passing the licensing exam, you must obtain the necessary permits to operate your esthetician business legally. These permits may include a business license, a cosmetology establishment license, and any additional permits required by your local government. 

It's essential to stay informed about updates or changes to permit regulations. You can do this by regularly checking relevant government agencies or professional associations’ websites, attending industry conferences, and networking with other estheticians in your area. By staying current, you’ll ensure that your business remains compliant and avoids potential legal issues later.

6 Factors to Consider When Developing a Business Plan

A well-thought-out esthetician business plan is the foundation of a successful business. It’s a roadmap guiding your decisions and actions as you establish and grow your business. Your business plan should consist of six essential factors.

Finding Your Target Audience | LashLift Store

1. Target Market

Understanding your potential customers’ demographics, preferences, and needs will enable you to tailor your services and marketing strategies accordingly. For example, your target market may consist primarily of young professionals seeking quick and convenient skincare solutions. If so, you may consider offering lunchtime beauty treatments and short evening appointment options.

2. Services Offered

Consider factors like the average price per service, the number of clients you expect to serve daily or weekly, and any additional revenue streams you’ll add, such as retail sales of skincare products. 

3. Your Niche

What sets your business apart from your competitors? Is it your expertise in a particular skincare technique or your use of organic products? Highlighting your unique selling proposition in your business plan will help you differentiate yourself in a crowded market.

4. Marketing

Consider the most effective channels to reach your target market, such as social media platforms, local advertising, or partnerships with complementary businesses. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to maximize your reach and attract new clients, including online and offline tactics.

Instagram Profile used to Market your Business | LashLift Store

5. Financial Projections

Consider all your anticipated expenses, including rent, supplies, staff salaries, advertising costs, and insurance. 

6. Management Organization

If you’re doing business alone, this step may not be necessary. However, if you have partners or plan on hiring, you must determine job position titles and responsibilities for each title. This way, things will run more smoothly when you open your doors.

Covering all six of these factors in your business plan offers the best chance to become successful quickly.

Estimating Start-up Costs

How much does it cost to start an esthetics business? Costs will vary depending on location, equipment needs, and the scope of services offered. Start by creating a comprehensive list of all the necessary items and services to get your business up and running. Think about:

  1. Equipment
  2. Supplies
  3. Renovations and Decor
  4. Licensing and Permits
  5. Marketing and Advertising
  6. Insurance

Cost of Supplies Needed to Start a Beauty Business | LashLift Store

It’s vital to conduct thorough research and obtain quotes from suppliers and service providers to ensure accurate financial projections. Any esthetician business can cost as little as $62 and as much as $35,000. However, it depends on how you handle the costs listed above.

Creating a detailed start-up cost estimate gives you a better understanding of the financial investment required. With it, you can plan accordingly.

Advertising and Promotion

Once your esthetics business is running, you must focus on effective advertising and promotion strategies to attract and retain clients. Create a robust online presence with a professional website and active social media profiles.

Consider partnering with local businesses or beauty influencers in your area to gain exposure and generate referrals. To attract new customers, try offering special promotions or discounts for first-time clients.

Remember that word-of-mouth referrals are incredibly valuable in the esthetics industry. Create a positive experience for each client and encourage them to spread the word about your services.

Finding Supplies and Suppliers

As an esthetician, the quality of your supplies and products can significantly impact the success of your business. Researching and finding reliable suppliers that offer high-quality products at reasonable prices is essential.

Consider attending industry trade shows or networking events where you can connect with reputable suppliers and stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in the field.

Networking at Beauty Trade Shows | LashLift Store

Building relationships with suppliers can also lead to potential discounts or access to exclusive products, giving your business a competitive edge.

Setting Prices and Services

Determining the correct pricing strategy for your business will attract clients and ensure profitability. Research your local market to understand average prices for similar services in your area. Factor in your business expenses, desired profit margin, and the value you provide to your clients.

Consider offering a range of services to cater to a diverse clientele. Your services could include skincare & facial treatments, microdermabrasion, waxing, and more. You can appeal to a broader audience and increase your revenue potential with various services and prices.

Building a Client Base

Building a loyal client base is essential for long-term success when starting your esthetician business. Begin by leveraging your existing network and contacting family, friends, and acquaintances to spread the word about your services. Offering loyalty programs or referral incentives can also encourage clients to keep coming back.

Networking within the beauty industry can also be a powerful way to attract new clients. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with other estheticians and beauty professionals in your area.

Should I Use My Home or a Business Property?

One of the considerations when starting your esthetician business is whether to operate from a dedicated business property or the comfort of your own home. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks.

Starting an esthetics business from home can be cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have limited funds or are building your client base. However, it's essential to check zoning regulations and restrictions that may apply in your area. Working from home may limit your reach and the ability to take on new clients.

Beauty Professional Performing Beauty Services in her Studio | LashLift Store

On the other hand, having a dedicated business property can provide a more professional appearance and allow for more significant growth. Before deciding, consider the costs of renting or buying a commercial space.

Get Your Supplies at the LashLift Store

Starting your own esthetics business requires careful planning, research, and dedication. You can set yourself up for success by understanding the requirements and strategies. Your esthetician business will thrive with the right approach and a passion for the beauty industry.

Part of providing exceptional esthetician services is to source your supplies from a reputable supplier. LashLift Store offers a wide range of high-quality esthetics supplies, including skincare products, lash lift kits, and tools. Shop with us today and equip your esthetician business with the best products in the industry.