Before I finally chose to invest in a Mailboxes Etc. (now The UPS Store) franchise in 2002, the only other franchise that I seriously considered was Great Clips salon franchise.
Owning a hair salon franchise had never been on my radar, but I met with a franchise consultant and he spoke very highly of Great Clips and its business model. On a whim, I decided to request for more information and I was so impressed with the company and how much valuable information they shared.
I received a lot of marketing materials from them (including a videotape!) and their franchise disclosure statement provided a lot more detail on potential earnings than any other I’d received.
I still think that the Great Clips salon franchise was (and is) a good fit for me, and I wish I’d given them more serious consideration. There are a lot of things that I continue to like about Great Clips:
1. Potential for Multiple Store Ownership – Their business model makes it easy for an ambitious franchisee to open multiple stores in a relatively short period of time.
Owners are not expected to have any hair cutting experience. In fact, the business model allows an absentee owner to hire a full-time manager to run the salon. When the owner is ready to open more locations, he/she can simply “manage the managers” and does not have to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the individual salons.
Looking back, I was burned out by being on the front line of my UPS Store day in and day out for 3 years. So the idea of managing a team, and focusing on store expansion, marketing, and strategy really appeals to me.
Most of the existing franchisees of Great Clips are multiple salon owners and the business model seems to make this a natural progression for most.
2. Recession Resistant Industry, Immune from Shifts in Technology – Even in the worst of times, there’s always a need for a decent haircut. And since they’ve positioned themselves as an affordable option for the entire family, they’ve been able to weather the recent recession. In fact, they continued to add more stores in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
And I can’t imagine any future technological innovation that will make the hair salon business obsolete!
3. Professional and Respected Franchise Company – The Great Clips salon franchise is consistently ranked among the top franchises in the country by Entrepreneur Magazine (their current rank is #29), and usually second only to Supercuts in the hair salon franchise category. And my personal experience in dealing with their franchising department gives me great confidence that they have a very well-run and professional franchise organization.
4. Low Franchise Cost – The total investment required to open one Great Clips salon franchise ranges from $108,250 to $203,000 — and this amount already includes the franchise fee of $20,000 and additional working capital for 12 months! This makes it much more affordable to open multiple Great Clips salon franchises versus a fast food franchise concept.
So why did I decide against investing in a Great Clips salon franchise? I just had one reason.
1. Not Easy to Find Good Locations – I wanted to open my Great Clips salon franchise in San Francisco where there are very few strip malls. One of the few strip malls already had an existing Great Clips salon franchise (which by the way, is still open today, nearly 9 years later). Since I couldn’t even find one suitable location, opening multiple salons in the city seemed unrealistic.
I’d imagine that given the current size of the franchise (with 2,787 US locations in 2010 according to Entrepreneur Magazine) finding a good location would be a challenge even in a city where there are a lot of strip malls.
If I had only been more willing to open a Great Clips salon franchise in a neighboring city, I’m pretty sure I would be a multiple salon franchise owner by now, too!
To read my exclusive interview with Rob Goggins, VP of Franchise Development for Great Clips, click here.
To read my exclusive interview with David Hands, franchisee of Great Clips with 7 salons in Illinois, click here.
What do you like and don’t like about the Great Clips franchise opportunity? Are you a current franchisee of Great Clips? What are your thoughts? Do you work for the Great Clips franchise organization? Do you want to add anything to the conversation?