The first time I heard of a Salon Suite was in 2005. The person that cut my hair at the time told me that she was starting her “own salon”. My first reaction was surprise because I thought she meant that she was opening a traditional salon. She laughed and told me about the salon suite concept.
After about a year – she ended up getting married and moved away. However, I really liked the salon suite concept and found another salon suite specialist that could cut my hair in a newer location that was closer to my home. It was about this time that I started to notice a few more salon suites popping up in the area that I lived. Fast forward to 2017 and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a hotbed for salon suites and they not only continue to popup around here, but the model is spreading across the Nation and into Canada, Europe, India, and Australia.
The model itself seems like a winner – and it can be to many owners and their tenants. It’s a great real estate play if you can fill your suites with paying tenants and it’s a great business move for the specialist that wants to start their own business and potentially make more money by not having to share with employers. However, as with anything that catches on – it begins to evolve as it gets bigger.
A few months ago, I was talking with an owner of a twenty-something store operation. We were having lunch and he was telling me how fifteen years ago people from all over the nation would come to his first salon suite to take pictures of it. At the time, he didn’t realize they were wanting to copy his property and replicate it somewhere else. He also told me how the owners of one of the largest franchised operations in the United States came to him when they first started to ask for his advice. He kindly gave that advice – they took it – and today they have over 90 locations. He went on to tell me that he is beginning to lose business to the “franchised players” who were opening up stores across the street from him and he has a store that is not making any money at all. I felt bad for him, but at the same time – he did not evolve.
I look at so many salon suite websites and see all the amenities they offer their tenants. Chairs, sinks, washer and dryers, breakrooms, WIFI, and free rent. However, until our company hit the market, Salon Suite Solutions, I did not see any amenities that directly helped tenants manage and market their business. The old-school owner mentality is/was, “I’m not here to help them” or “It’s not my business to help them” or “My tenants are loyal to me”, but that mentality is quickly changing. Why? Because forward-thinking owners are realizing that with tenant turnover as high as 25%, they should be helping their tenants do whatever they can to succeed. Even if their location has been filled for years – they know there soon will be competition opening up around them and calling on their “loyal tenants” to offer incentives to move. These same forward-thinking owners also realize that the times are a changing – and they will either need to evolve with those times or risk losing their once loyal tenants and perhaps business.
Technology is our future. There is no denying it. Those that embrace technology, whether they like it or not, will rise with the tide. Those who do not will find them asking where did it all go wrong. Are you a salon suite owner? Do you have a website? Do you have a mobile application that helps your tenants succeed? Are you using social media for marketing? Do you want to grow and/or remain strong?