Updated March 27, 2019.
The salon industry in the U.S. is worth $60 billion and entrepreneurs who want a slice of that market have three excellent choices in the relatively new beauty segment known as “salon suites.”
For most of the industry’s history, salon professionals had three basic options when getting into the business. Option one was to take on the huge financial commitment of building and opening their own salon. A second option was to work on commission in a salon, keeping an average of 40% of their earnings. The third option was to rent a booth in an existing salon, but still working by the rules and hours of the salon owner.
Salon suites offer a higher-end concept of individual, separate salon spaces that operate as their own individual businesses within a central facility, similar to the co-working spaces that have been springing up everywhere. The salon suites concept allows beauty and wellness professionals to run their own salon business as they please at a fraction of the cost it would take to do it on their own, paying a simple rental fee for their space that is often competitive with the traditional booth rental concept.
Here are the best salon suites franchises of 2019, all of which have achieved rankings on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list.
1. Phenix Salon Suites
Phenix Salon Suites was founded by Gina Rivera in 2007, building upon her Peneschi family’s more than 85 years of experience in the salon industry. Her husband, Jason Rivera, currently serves as CEO and Gina serves as president.
Their innovative concept was to build a set of “salon suites” that offered a much higher-end environment than the usual “booth rental” concept of yesteryear. Their first 4,500 square-foot Phenix Salon Suites location in Colorado Springs, named after her first son, included 22 individual suites, all of which were rented by opening day – and there was a waiting list of additional salon professionals who wanted in. Its suite rentals are month-to-month with no long-term commitment and all equipment and utilities are included, except for telephone service.
The chain received a big boost in 2015 when it was featured on the Emmy Award-winning CBS television show Undercover Boss, seen by more than 8.5 million viewers.
This company currently ranks #197 (down from #122 last year) on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2007 and franchising since 2010, the number of locations has grown rapidly from only five in 2011 to the current total of 230 (up from 202 last year), all of which are in the U.S. and only three of which are company-owned.
2. Salons by JC
Salons by JC was started by Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller back in 1997 when they opened their first location in Dallas, Texas to offer a different kind of salon concept to salon professionals. Their suites can be rented for a wide variety of salon niches, including hair, hair extensions, braiding and weaving, nails, skincare, hair removal, massage, makeup, eyelash extensions, tanning, and body art.
The chain emphasizes the individual freedom salon professionals experience when they can break free from the standardized procedures, creative limitations, brand rules, and boring uniforms when working for others instead of working for themselves, all while having the basics of salon logistics and facilities handled by the company. The company also coordinates salon mixers and networking events to create a collaborative community of salon professional in each location.
This company currently ranks #188 (down from #108 last year) on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 1997 and franchising since 2011, the number of locations has grown from just nine in 2012 to the current total of 91 (up from 82 last year), of which 10 are company-owned and one is located outside the U.S.
3. My Salon Suite/Salon Plaza
My Salon Suite/Salon Plaza was started by salon owners Al Ferrigno and Alan D’Alessandro in 2010 with their first location in New Orleans, Louisiana. It claims to offer the largest suites in the industry (although there’s no easy way to verify the claim), with enough space to have three workstations in each suite. Their motto that explains what they’re all about is FLAIR: Fun, loving, creative, inspired entrepreneurs.
The suites are available to a wide range of beauty and health professionals, including those that specialize in hair, nails, massage, skincare, and more. Beyond the rental fee for a suite, the salon professionals keep 100% of their earnings with no commissions, and are also free to sell whatever products they desire and keep all the profits from those sales.
Each suite comes with all the high-end equipment and furnishings needed, along with all utilities, including electricity, heat, air conditioning, and WiFi. The chain also claims that salon professionals can earn as much as 40-50% more income than working at a traditional salon. The company also offers Eco Salon Suites for reduced energy and water consumption in an eco-friendly environment.
Founded in 2010 and franchising since 2012, the number of locations has grown from three in 2012 to the current total of 90 (up from 70 last year), of which 29 are company-owned and one is located outside the U.S.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.