Your Guide to Starting a Salon Spa Business in Ontario

Jan 15, 2018

Congratulations on your decision to open a salon spa in Ontario! It’s sure to be an exciting venture.

But the thrill of being a business owner also comes with a long to-do list.

You have to be sure to have all of your bases covered with finances, registration, licensing, and tax filings.

Get all of those in order, have a strong business plan, a talented team and you’ll be set up for success.

Read on for a list of information and resources on how to launch your salon spa.

Services Offered

Decide on the types of services you want to offer your clients.

Businesses that offer haircuts, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, and waxings are considered salons.

Spa services are generally more for relaxation, like massages, facials, saunas, body wraps, etc.

By combining spa services with what is typically offered at a salon, you can refer to your business as a “salon spa”.

Look at other salons and spas to see what they are offering and research online to learn about trending beauty or spa services.

Each salon spa has there own aesthetics and vibe. Think about how you can set yours apart, but still offer guests the services they love in a relaxing environment.

Create your list of desired spa and salon experiences, then plan and hire accordingly.


It’s very important to register your business.

There are two main ways that you can register. One is as a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership which will provide you with a Master Business Licence. And the other is to incorporate the business.

You need to select a business structure that best meets your business needs.

If you register as a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership, there’s no distinction between you as an individual and your business. You are personally liable and responsible for all financial dealings, property losses, etc.

If you incorporate, your business is considered separate a separate entity. It is liable for it’s own debts, with the exception of personal guarantees and negligence.

Licences and Regulations

Before you open your salon, you need to make sure that you’re in line with various licences and regulatory requirements.

Certification of Hairstylist

Your hairstylists must have official certification to work in a salon in Ontario.

To legally work and be certified as a stylist your staff must either be a registered apprentice and member of the College’s Apprentices Class.

Or, he or she must be registered in the College’s Journeyperson Class having passed the Certificate of Qualification Exam.

Additionally, staff members may have a “Red Seal” certificate. This permits stylists to work in any territory or province in Canada without needing to re-apply for a certificate if working in a new region.

Cosmetics Standards

If your salon spa makes or sells cosmetics or other beauty products you must do the following:

  • Submit a Cosmetic Notification Form to Health Canada
  • Certify that the ingredients in your products are safe
  • Label your products per Health Canada specifications and regulations


Tanning Services Regulations

If offering tanning services, your tanning equipment and practices must be in line with the legal requirements of Ontario. You essentially need to observe all tanning salon regulations.

You must hang official signs regarding tanning and let your public health unit know you have tanning services.

Additionally, in Ontario, you cannot market or sell tanning packages to anyone under 18.

Therapeutic and Alternative Healthcare Services

Be sure that any therapeutic services that use injections, lasers or other various technologies are within legal requirements and meet health regulations.

For any laser technology, be sure that any laser device in your salon spa is approved and licensed by Health Canada. Heed all regulations and guidelines for safe laser operation.

You may also want to offer acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic work or massage therapy. These are often known as alternative or complementary services and they can only be practiced by those who are licenced in that specific service.

Be sure your staff has obtained their licences or certificates from a professional regulatory body.

Prevent and Control Potential Infections

Salon spas are comfortable spaces and sanitation should be your top priority.

Keep everything in your salon clean and sanitized to prevent infection among staff and customers.

Reach out to Public Health Ontario for more information on how to maintain cleanliness and prevent infection.


The taxes that apply to your business will depend on the location and how much you business brings in from in sales.

For example, if your business brings in more than $30,000 per year you will need to register for an HST Number with the Canada Revenue Agency, and collect HST on what you sell.

More information on registering for an HST Number can be found online here.

Also, we recommend consulting with your accountant to discuss proper tax planning.

Salon Spa Success

Starting a business is an incredibly exciting time. It can seem overwhelming at times, especially when getting started.

But when the ball is rolling, your team is assembled, and the money comes flowing in, it’s well worth it.

Get a solid business and marketing plan together and you’ll be well on your way to a successful grand opening.

Once you are up and running, you want to keep the day to day operations running smoothly. You can read more here for tips on how to most effectively manage your business.

If you have any questions or need guidance in the process of starting your business, please reach out to us. We would love to help your business dream become a reality!



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