This post is the first of two parts. Please check back on Sunday for Part 2.
Some franchises are a better fit for someone interested in owning multiple units, and the male-oriented haircutting system Sport Clips is one of them, says franchisee Alex Howson.
“For most people, this is a business that requires multiple units to make it worth your while,” Howson said. “It takes a while to break even and it takes multiple stores to get to an income to make it worthwhile.”
Howson should know. He owns 14 Sport Clips franchises in the Chicago and St. Louis areas. And when he talks to potential franchisees who are considering investing in the chain, he offers several pieces of advice. One is to think long-term.
“I tell people you are building a business, you are not buying a job, which is a very different philosophy. Building a business is going to take a while; and if you do it right, the payoff down the road is tremendous. But it’s not immediate.”
Secondly, Howson cautions potential franchisees to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make the business viable. The advantage to investing in a franchise is the proven system for success that one offers. But the system doesn’t bring success without effort from the investor.
“It’s hard work and you get out of it what you put into it,” Howson said. “I see a lot of franchisees who come in and think it’s turn-key.”
No Cutting Experience Required
Howson has put a great deal of hard work into making a success of his own string of Sport Clips. With a degree in economics from Duke University, he spent 20 years working for American brands such as Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s, as well as Associated British Foods, before striking out on his own in 2007 to open his first Sport Clips location.
Sport Clips stores might be seen as a hybrid between a sports bar and a sports club. They average about 1,400 square feet and contain sports memorabilia, a large-screen TV in the reception area, and TVs tuned to sports programming at every cutting station. Lockers hold a fresh set of combs and towels for each client; and open ceilings create a spacious, sports-arena look and feel.
“The decision to focus on Sport Clips was driven by a couple of things: the brand, the work, and the financial model that I was able to put together,” Howson said of his decision to become a franchisee.
He has such confidence in the brand, he believes it will transform the industry from a past of men getting a haircut at a barber to a present and future of men being groomed at a Sport Clips.