• Hair, nail, and beauty salons in South Africa are pretty reliable businesses to buy.
  • Many of the household names in this industry, with presences in shopping malls, are franchises and available to purchase as turn-key businesses.
  • Although the popular brands can cost more than R2 million, if you're looking to start a hair or beauty franchise in South Africa, some smaller options are available for less.
  • Here's how much it costs to open a Sorbet, Dream Nails, and other hair and beauty salons in South Africa in 2021.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Although the hair and beauty industry took a knock during South Africa's hard Covid-19 lockdown, this sector has historically been one of the more exciting to buy into as a prospective franchisee. 

Many of South Africa's leading nail bars and beauty parlours are franchises available for purchase, including the famous Sorbet brand and its various spinoffs. And with turn-key business solutions available to buy out the box, sometimes with little direct beauty industry experience needed, it's possible to run your own successful branded business in this sector in a matter of weeks.

Although some of the established beauty store brands are reasonably expensive, smaller nail bars and similar franchises are available for less. If you'd like to run your own Sorbet, Legends Barbershop, Perfect 10, NUDO Hair, or Dream Nails salon, here's how much you can expect to pay.

Perfect 10 Nail & Body Studio

Perfect 10 is a nail and body business launched in 2003 as a price-competitive alternative in the industry. Imbalie Beauty Group bought the company in 2010, and its since grown to include more than two dozen franchises throughout South Africa. These studios offer a range of products and treatments centred mainly around hair removal, skin treatments, and other beauty procedures.

The franchisors are looking for people they describe as "trendsetters" to buy into the business as franchisees. A standard 65 square metres Perfect 10 salon costs roughly R1 million, depending on the size and nature of the store. This includes a R100,000 franchise fee, but excludes VAT, lease deposit, and recommended working capital.

NUDO Hair Lab

NUDO Hair Lab launched in 2015 as Hollywood Hair, with the NUDO Hair Lab brand following two years later. The business started in Pretoria, but the owners are looking to franchise their product with turn-key hair studios available for purchase. 

A new NUDO franchise costs between R2 and R3 million, depending on the store size and location. On average, the establishment cost for a new branch is R2.99 million. Franchisees must also pay monthly fees of 10% that go towards advertising, marketing, and management.

Legends Barbershop

Legends Barbershop is a business that launched in Eldorado Park as a sidewalk hair-dressing operation. Today it boasts 57 outlets throughout South Africa, of which 30 are franchise stores. They primarily focus on haircutting, design, and styling, as well as other traditional barber-related services.

Buying a new Legends Barbershop requires a R100,00 initial deposit, and the total setup fees range from R1,1 million to R1.349 million, depending on the number of hair cutting stations. Franchisees must then pay a monthly royalty fee of 10% and a monthly marketing fee of 2%.

Dream Nails

Dream Nails is a 35-year-old beauty franchise that claims to enable women "to express their creativity with the latest nail trends in their own individual way". The nail franchise now has a large footprint of stores throughout South Africa, and they're looking for more people to grow their network.

They are looking for people with entrepreneurial flair with a hands-on approach to business - and although qualifications in the beauty, marketing, or business world are advantageous, they are not essential.

Buying a turn-key Dream Nails business requires an initial licensing fee of R100,000 and marketing and management fees of 6% of monthly turnover. A new 55 square metre nail salon costs roughly R600,000 to establish. Together with stock, franchise fees, and other expenses, franchisees can expect to pay approximately R765,800, excluding VAT, lease, and working capital.


Sorbet is a health and beauty business that the founders explicitly built with franchising in mind - and it's gone on to be one of the hottest franchises to emerge from South Africa. The business launched 16 years ago and currently consists of 220 salons throughout the country. 

Five different store formats are available to buy - full Sorbet salons, nail bar, Sorbet Man, dry bar, and Candi & Co. 

The exact amount you'll pay for a Sorbet franchise depends on the format that you purchase, but a new salon of approximately 90 square metres typically requires a cash amount of R2 million, of which R1 million must be in unencumbered cash. This includes design and shopfitting, graphics and signage, and a R125,000 franchise fee.

Given the large franchisee footprint, there are occasionally established Sorbet stores available for purchase as well.

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