What to Look for If You Want to Buy an Existing Salon
Updated: Oct 12
If you’re an established beauty therapist but feel like striking out on your own, you may be thinking of buying an established business rather than setting one up from scratch. As you look at options, what do you need to bear in mind to give you the best chance of success?
Facing the Challenge
When buying a salon, the overriding rule is to take one step at a time and try not to become overwhelmed by the prospect. It is always difficult to know where to start with what appears to be such a mammoth undertaking, and you may feel as if you are the underdog among the more established team. Nevertheless, always remember that you are in charge, and you are the one who needs to make the big decisions, so maintain self-confidence at all times.
Championing Customer Satisfaction
One of the first tasks is to assess the current state of play. You may have done some of this due diligence already, as this is certainly what you need to know before buying a salon. Still, you will need to focus on customer satisfaction.
Pay close attention to all feedback and customer reviews, especially if you find anything negative or encounter complaints. In fact, any complaint should be dealt with formally; and if there isn’t one in place yet, establish a log for complaint procedures. Engage everyone concerned and make sure that each complaint is resolved to mutual satisfaction. If any underlying problems may have given rise to the complaint, prioritize a fix.
Focusing on Staff Morale
You must also ensure that your staff members are comfortable and content. If there are any unresolved or pressing HR issues, focus on these next. Likewise, set up a process to deal with recruitment if there is no formal way to do this currently. The recruitment process should be efficient and timely. It should also be consistent and centred on getting the best possible person for that position. A salon will rise and fall based on staff efficiency, personality, and ability, so you can see why this is so important.
The best way to learn about the dynamics of your salon is to stand back and watch what goes on, and you can certainly achieve this objective by pitching in and doing some of the work yourself. Don’t encroach on the responsibilities of an individual staff member, as this may send the wrong message or create disharmony. Instead, just watch and learn rather than try to implement any changes up front. Then if you need to make any of those changes, it is likely to be less disruptive, and you may get more acceptance from your staff.
Implementing Day-to-Day Procedures
After you have taken the time to observe the salon in action, you may want to implement some new procedures. This can be lengthy, so don’t try to fix everything immediately. As mentioned, quick fixes could be disruptive and create disharmony, which could end up being counterproductive. However, stamp a certain amount of your own authority on this business, but do so with care.
When changes are necessary, you should always explain why to your staff members. Don’t leave it up to them to guess, as they may make the wrong assumptions, which could lead to growing dissatisfaction. Explain why the change is for the better; usually, it’ll go down well.
Meeting the Staff
It may not be possible to meet each individual staff member on your first day at the helm, and as mentioned, you’ll want to take some time to observe what’s going on before you do so. However, set the time to meet with each person informally, and make such a meeting all about them. Understand their position and ask them if they would like to see any changes. Tease out any niggling dissatisfaction and promise to address any problems, and you’ll certainly be able to create a good connection with each person. Further, schedule meetings with each staff member once per quarter.
Setting a Budget
You have many questions when buying a salon, but one of the biggest ones will focus on budget. You will have reviewed the business’s financial performance before purchasing and may have your own expectations, but now that you are at the helm, you have to create a budget. This will help you manage your cash flow in the short term, but once you have made some plans, you’ll also be able to project growth. Be realistic and even conservative in the early days as you gaze into your crystal ball.
Looking at Your Costs
Every business needs to look carefully at its ongoing costs, especially overheads. For example, could you rent a chair to a self-employed stylist to establish another source of income and keep some overheads down? Could you strike a new deal with product suppliers, which could certainly make a difference over the weeks and months ahead? You may want to take a close look at your marketing and advertising budget to see if you can streamline some of those outgoings or attempt some organic marketing rather than paid.
Focusing on Your Insurance
Every business owner needs to be prepared for a rainy day, so look carefully at your insurance coverage. Are you fully protected from any public liability claims, and do you have a policy that deals with any professional indemnity issues? If you have any questions about the scale of your coverage, get in touch with the experts immediately. You can talk with one of the knowledgeable staff members at Salonsure, and they will be delighted to guide you.
How to Succeed When Buying a Salon
If you pay close attention to all these areas, you will stand a good chance of succeeding. There is a lot to consider, and you can certainly expect to encounter some ups and downs along the way. However, remember that this is your passion. You may now have the opportunity to capitalize on those years of training and experience.