There are more than 1 million hair salons in the United States! Buying a hair salon for sale can be a very good investment if you find the opportunity and have the right skill set to run it. Hair salon opportunities range from independent businesses of all sizes to franchise locations that you see on every corner.
The hair salon industry is a unique industry that differs from most other businesses. While the fundamentals are basically the same as any other business, hair salons are successful when the owner and staff are good relationship builders. In my opinion the success of any given establishment depends largely on the staff's level of skill as well as their personalities and their ability to form relationships with their clients.
Also, in some industries, entrepreneurs use franchises as a way to enter an industry that they do not have experience in. Since most franchises provide training and other information that an owner would need to be successful, buying a franchise is a good way to learn about an industry with someone guiding you through the process. While the same is true to a degree in the hair industry, you should understand that in this industry you are providing a service to clients in which you are directly impacting their appearance. In my opinion, the most successful hair salon owners are those that are either licensed cosmetologists or those that have experience in the industry. Also keep in mind, many people, especially high-end clients, prefer independent salons as opposed to franchises, so buying a franchise may not be necessary in this industry if you are coming to the table with the right skill set.
Aside from reviewing the financials which is a given in any business purchase, one of the first things you should take into consideration is the community's perception of the salon you are considering. Take a look at online reviews, visit the company's social media pages and just do some overall searching to see what people are saying about the salon. Much like restaurants, salons have somewhat of an "it" factor meaning people want to go to the latest and greatest salon so be sure the one you are considering is getting positive feedback from the community. Even if it is minimal you can build of off positive feedback. In this industry, negative feedback takes time and effort to improve.
For a hair salon, the Stylists it employs can make or break the business. As I said earlier, success in this business is largely determined on a Stylist's skills and relationship building abilities. If you find a salon with Stylist's that hate their jobs, hate their customers and complain all day"¦. keep looking. You can teach a Stylist ways to improve their skills but it is very difficult to change a bad attitude. Stylist's like this will likely always be looking for the next best opportunity. Remember as a Stylist leaves your employment, they will mostly likely take their clients with them so look for a salon that employs a loyal team of personable Stylists.
Also, ask the current owner if he or she has any type of employment agreements in place. Some salons, especially those that offer specialty services, require their Stylists to sign non-compete agreements which say that if they leave employment they cannot work in the same industry within a certain radius of the establishment. These can be good to have but at the end of the day if an employment situation is no longer working for both parties, especially in the salon business, it's usually best to part ways.
Being a popular salon means you have to offer the latest and greatest beauty services. There is a fine line here that you need to watch out for as some new beauty treatments require equipment or the purchase of expensive products. So, while you want to find a salon that is up- to-date with the latest trends, be sure that they have not assumed a lot of debt in adding these new services as you could be responsible for the liability after assuming ownership.
The facility that the salon is in should be something you examine closely. This is an appearance business. Much like a restaurant, clients want a clean, up-scale environment to receive their services in. If you find a salon that has old, worn out equipment, you are going to have to replace that sooner than later, so don't pay full price and go into the purchase understanding it will need to be replaced. Ideally you want to find a place that is clean, has up-to-date decor and has relatively new fixtures and equipment. Bottom line, if you want to buy a salon that is going to make your bank account beautiful, look beyond the financials and examine the softer side of the business closely.
#photo#About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder (of BizBen.com) & the Director Of the BizBen California Network (founded in 1994!) consisting of business buyers, owner/sellers, business brokers, agents, intermediaries, and advisors (there are over 90,000 users, and 8,000+ listings posted on BizBen.com). To join (FREE) the BizBen California Network, phone Peter Siegel direct at 925-785-3118 - get signed up for salon for sale listings (Email Alerts) before they hit the market, view requests from serious business buyers - wanted notices, notices about upcoming FREE online webinars on the topic of buying and selling California small and mid-sized businesses and much more! Call 925-785-3118 to get info about salons for sale in your area.