(Ambrosio’s note: The response to my interview with Colleen Braun, franchisee of Anytime Fitness, was overwhelmingly positive. It’s been my most popular blog post so far. I’m so excited to follow up that post with another inspiring interview, this time with David Hands, franchisee of Great Clips. David and his wife Tanja own 7 Great Clips salons in Illinois. I hope this interview motivates all those who aspire to be successful multiple franchise owners.
I’m pleased to report that more and more franchise companies are willing to share their stories (and their franchisees’ stories) with us. I have more exclusive interviews ready to be posted in the coming days. A franchisor or franchisee who’d like to be featured in an exclusive interview can get in touch with me via email found in the Contact section of this blog.)
I was the Managing Partner of a small Clinical Research Consulting Firm called MedFocus in Chicago. We provided contract staffing of high level consultants who helped pharmaceutical companies get their drugs through clinical trials.
Prior to that, I was in sales and sales management for the Dontech Yellow Pages, now called Dex.
2. What made you decide to become a franchisee of Great Clips?
I interviewed all the players in this niche and Great Clips had the most solid brand and support system. As well, it seemed that the other players were “sleepy” and just “getting through day to day” while Great Clips had a Spirit and a growth attitude, despite increased competition and market pressures.
3. What is a typical day like in your life as a franchisee of Great Clips?
Half of the day is spent putting out fires and dealing with human resources issues and the other half is spent developing the managers to deliver the ultimate experience to our customers and creating new or improved ways to make the door swing.
4. Can you name 3 specific things that you’ve done for your business that have produced the greatest results?
We have heavily discounted haircuts to get customers through the door and then WOW’ed them with amazing service to keep them returning. Our base of customers is amazingly loyal!
Two others would be civic involvement and our commitment to employee retention.
5. Can you share the highest point and lowest point of your franchise journey so far, and what lessons have you learned from them?
In my second week open, we had a two hour wait and I was standing in the parking lot telling people not to get out of their cars and handing them free haircut cards to come again another time. THAT never happened again. We didn’t hire enough staff for that first salon. Clearly that was the lowest point, we overpromised and underdelivered.
The highest point was when we successfully opened our fifth salon without borrowing any money and also being voted the number one salon in Bloomington/Normal, IL by the Daily Vidette three years in a row. The Vidette is the Illinois State University school newspaper.
6. What mistakes have you made as franchise owner of Great Clips that have taught you the biggest lessons?
I rushed into my first store and rented too much space. I used a General Contractor when I realized I could cut my buildout prices by 1/3 if I handled it myself (with zero experience with a hammer in my hands — ever).
7. If you were to speak to a prospective franchisee about the profit potential of a Great Clips salon, what would you say?
If it were easy, everyone would do it. However, if you are deeply committed to working on the business (rather than “in” the business) and relentless about driving customer satisfaction, you will thrive.
8. Can you describe your working relationship with the home office of Great Clips?
Outstanding. They are so very responsive and always stay ahead of the curve. Take Online Check-In, for example. In five years everyone will do it. We did it first. (Ambrosio’s note: Online Check-In is a new and convenient way for clients of Great Clips to check wait times at salons near them, and then check-in online to reserve a spot at the salon.)
9. What do you like most about being a Great Clips franchisee?
The flexibility of the hours and the knowledge that, when I turn out the lights to go to bed, whatever happened that day — good or bad — was mine and mine alone in terms of accountability.
To read my exclusive interview with Rob Goggins, VP of Franchise Development for Great Clips, click here.
To read my review of the Great Clips franchise opportunity, click here.
David and Tanja Hands’ Great Clips Salons:
9915 N. Knoxville
Peoria, IL 61615
Normal Walmart Center
1700 Parkway Plaza Drive
Normal, IL 61761
3416 N. Veterans Drive
Pekin, IL 61554
Camp Street Crossing
805 W. Camp St.
East Peoria, IL 61611
1715 Bradford Lane
Normal, IL 61761
4811 N. Rockwood Dr.
Peoria, IL 61615
833 W. Jackson St.
Morton, IL 61550 USA