This annual list of the best salon suites franchises was revised and updated on February 10, 2022.
Beauty is a growing industry. While services meant to improve our appearance, like hairdressers and nail salons, have always been popular, the whole industry has gained renewed traction and credibility in the social media age. The growth of beauty-oriented social media personalities and YouTube channels has pushed the art of makeup into the mainstream and validated those who use the services of these skilled professionals.
The beauty industry is worth $511 billion globally. A large part of this is made up of cosmetic sales, but salons also play a significant part, selling products as well as services. There are over 1.1 million hair and nail salons in the US, and they made more than $57 billion in sales in 2019. Salon suites are a way for people who lack beautician training but have a gift for management or property to get in on this market.
The salon industry has typically been dominated by independent shops, but that’s a very expensive route for beauticians to go. Another way to get started is to get hired into an existing salon and work on commission, which means keeping only about 40% of one’s earnings on average. A third option is to rent a space within an existing salon, but in this case you still have to operate under the rules, and hours, of the salon owner.
A fourth approach has recently been on the rise. Salon suites are like the co-working spaces increasingly used by desk-based professionals, except that the shared space is specifically geared towards beauty salon services. The facility is centrally managed, but each space operates as its own independent business under its own rules and hours. The franchisee in this new beauty industry segment acts as a facility manager, renting space to individual beauty service providers. They run the property so that the stylists and beauticians can concentrate on what they do best.
The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for beauty salons. Salon staff typically see 5-10 customers each day, and their interactions involve direct physical contact. This was impossible while strong COVID containment measures were in place. In adapting to the pandemic, many beauticians moved away from salon work toward home visits, while others lost their jobs. Over 150,000 salon businesses closed across the US.
As we emerge from the pandemic, customers are returning to the comforts of beauty salons. A return to in-person socializing, and a desire for something that feels like the old normal, have created growth for struggling beauty specialists and the suites housing them. The salon industry expects to see 2.7% growth in 2022, with nearly 100,000 more business open than two years ago.
The reopening of salons could translate into more business for salon suites. While business isn’t as strong as it was three years ago, there’s demand to be tapped into. Salon suites can reduce the work and risks for beauticians, providing them with a smoother route to restarting their businesses, and so channeling more business to salon suites. Populous states like New York and California offer particularly strong opportunities, with over 12,000 salon businesses each. In a disrupted economy, middlemen like salon suite owners provide a buffer and support for independent contractors.
Where beauty is concerned, customers are willing to pay higher prices for better products. While many people use it regularly, the beauty industry is still a luxury sector, and needs to be presented that way. Customers want to feel like they’re special, like they’ve spent good money on themselves. Natural, organic, and clean products also appeal in the environmental age, and a salon suite could try to focus on these approaches to create a strong overall brand. Balancing this sort of marketing against an economy still struggling to recover from the pandemic will create a challenge for all parts of the beauty industry over the next few years.
The Top Salon Suites Franchises of 2022
1. Sola Salon Studios
Sola Salon Studios is committed to always keeping the interests of salon professionals first, giving them maximum control over their schedule, environment, pricing, and more. The company also keeps innovation front and center in its salon suite model, offering cutting-edge technologies and ongoing educational opportunities for salon professionals.
In 2016, it launched Sola Pro, an exclusive app for industry deals, special offers, and various educational resources. In 2017, it launched SolaGenius, an all-in-one business platform for salon professionals to run their business, including scheduling, customer relationship management, marketing, analytics, and payment processing. Finally, in 2019, it created its own Book Now search engine to find available appointments through its website.
Co-founded in 2004 by Stratton Smith and Matt Briger and franchising since 2005, the number of locations has marched steadily upwards in recent years from 83 in 2012 to the current total of 576 (up from the previously reported total of 524), of which 30 are company-owned and five are located outside the US.
2. Phenix Salon Suites
Phenix Salon Suites built its first location big enough to accommodate 22 individual suites in a 4,500 square-foot facility. Every suite was taken by opening day, and there was a long waiting list for many more beauticians who were hoping to get in. Locations typically are between 4,000 to 7,000 square feet and house between 22 to 40 suites. Each suite can be rented on a month-to-month basis without a long-term commitment. The only basic utility not included in the rental fee is phone service.
The spaces are luxurious, and peak-hour reception service is provided so every guest is greeted as they enter the facility. Other tenant amenities include complimentary credit card machines, break room (sink, microwave, seating), on-site laundry, WiFi for tenants and clients, and an after-hours security system.
Founded by Gina Rivera in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2007 and franchising since 2010, the number of locations has grown rapidly from only 31 in 2012 to the current total of 315 (up from the previously reported total of 280), of which six are company-owned and one is located outside the US.
3. My Salon Suite/Salon Plaza
My Salon Suite/Salon Plaza offers beauticians generously-sized suites with enough space for three workstations in each one. This is an upscale concept that brings together multiple suites and a variety of beauty services. The chain emphasizes building a community among the beautician tenants based on shared values of fun, love, creativity, inspiration, and entrepreneurial spirit. Suite tenants keep all their profits after paying their rental fee and are also free to sell whatever products they desire.
In addition to all the amenities and utilities included, tenants can also access training and support to grow their business, and tap into a powerful referral network. The company also offers Eco Salon Suites for reduced energy and water consumption in an eco-friendly environment.
Founded by salon veterans Al and Alan in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2010 and franchising since 2012, the number of locations has grown from three in 2012 to the current total of 207 (up from the previously reported total of 172), of which 30 are company-owned and one is located outside the US.
4. Salons by JC
Salons by JC are multi-suite locations where franchisees can assemble a wide range of beauty services depending on who they select to rent space. These services often include hair, hair extensions, braiding and weaving, nails, skincare, hair removal, massage, makeup, eyelash extensions, tanning, and body art. As with other companies on this list, the appeal for beauticians is that they can truly run their own business as they see fit.
The salon suites are customizable and come with all kinds of amenities, including full-service concierge, high-speed WiFi, 24/7 building access and security, and a free JC booking app, all of which come with one weekly rental payment, greatly simplifying a service provider’s finances. Suite tenants can also take advantage of business coaching and ongoing education services.
Founded by Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller in Dallas, Texas in 1997 and franchising since 2011, the number of locations has grown from just nine in 2012 to the current total of 116 (up from the previously reported total of 108), of which 10 are company-owned and one is located outside the US.
5. Beauty Square
Beauty Square is a combination of two different brands: Beauty Mall Suites and My Suite!@Beauty Square. The concept here is for the franchisee to carefully select tenants for the spaces to provide a broad range of services, such that customers know they can get everything they need in one spot, from hair to nails to various spa treatments (facials, peels, waxing, massage, and so on).
Utilities included in the rental fee are water, WiFi, electricity, satellite TV, and a line for credit card processing. Furnishings include sink, mirror, cabinets, stylist chair, shampoo bowl, manicure table, and a range of options depending on the specific services being offered. Additional amenities include laundry, private suites, kitchen, vending machines, ATM machine, security alarm, 24-hour security cameras, and daily maintenance of all public areas.
Founded by Odalys and Julio Martin in 2010 and franchising since 2016, the company Facebook page currently claims 9 locations in southern Florida.
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.