Starting a New Personal Appearance Business

Do I need to register my business with Council?

All skin penetration businesses must be registered with Council.

What is a skin penetration business?

  • Body, nose and ear piercing
  • Tattooing and cosmetic tattooing
  • Semi-permanent make-up
  • Colonic lavage
  • Waxing and hair removal with tweezers
  • Electrolysis
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Nail treatments (cuticle cutting and acrylic nail application)
  • Blackhead removal using a needle
  • Any other procedure that involves penetrating or removal of the skin or is prescribed by the Regulation.


Acupuncture businesses must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia for them not to be considered as skin penetration businesses and to be allowed to use the terms acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine in signage or advertising.

Skin penetration procedures not covered by the Public Health Act 2010, the Local Government Act 1993, or the regulations thereunder, include procedures carried out by, or carried out under the direct supervision of, a registered health professional such as a dentist, chiropractor, osteopath, pharmacist, physiotherapist, nurse or doctor. These professionals are governed by other legislation and infection control guidelines and are not regulated by Council.

What about other Personal Appearance Businesses? 

Other businesses such as beauty salons, or hairdressing and barber shops, are regulated by Council under the Local Government Act 1993.

Development approval

Do I need Approval?

For all new businesses that are going to be used for personal appearance services and involve a change of use, building work, or internal renovations, development consent is required before you start, as it is not considered as Exempt Development.

If you are not changing the use of a premises, and you are not carrying out any building works or renovations, then simply notify Council of your business.

Site considerations for a personal appearance business

  • Is the site suitable?
  • Is there already a Development Consent in place to use the site as a personal appearance business?
  • Is the site large enough for all the activities, equipment and facilities that will be required? 

Once a suitable site is found, you may need to apply for development consent. You should speak with Council’s town planning staff to check if the proposal is permitted and what requirements are necessary.

Personal appearance businesses need to notify Council of their proposed activity prior to operation commencing.

What do I do if I want to set up a home salon?

Home beauty salons, hair salons, barbershops and personal appearance businesses must comply with the Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012. You should speak with Council’s town planning staff to check if the proposal is permitted and what requirements are necessary.

Standards for construction and operation

The construction or fit-out of a barber, hairdressing or beauty salon must comply with the Local Government Act 1993 and Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. The standards can be found in Schedule 2 of the Regulation here.

Businesses conducting skin penetration procedures must also comply with the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2022.

More information on hygiene requirements for skin penetration procedures can be found on the NSW Health website.

Fit-out inspection

Before you start operating, you can request Council carry out a fit-out inspection to ensure the premises comply with the relevant standards. A $250 fee must be paid before the inspection can take place. 

Request a fit-out inspection