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How To Choose the Best Salon To Maximize Your Income and Hairstyling Goals

decorated hair salon

Does the salon you’re currently working at fulfill your income needs and hairstyling goals?

Are you able to run your business the way you want to run it? Do you have freedom to express your brand and grow your clientele?

Or are you feeling enormous pressure because it’s entirely up to you to fill your chair and you don’t know how?

Maybe you’re working at a no-appointment salon where your schedule is filled for you? There’s nothing wrong with this option, especially when you’re just starting out. It gives you a guaranteed income while you gain experience and confidence in your craft. But does it fulfill your long-term goals?

There are a variety of salon opportunities available today. So how do you choose which one is right for you now and in the future?

The bigger question is: Where do you find all the information to make this choice? How do you even start?

Is Your Salon Right For You?

Emily was renting a station at a popular downtown salon. She was responsible for bringing in her own clientele but the salon began giving her most of the walk-ins because she was one of their fastest and most skilled stylists. Her chair was constantly filled so she didn’t even need to look for new clients.

Day after day, Emily continued to do what she loved most…cutting and coloring hair and making people happy. She was so busy that she didn’t really have time to build relationships with the walk-in clients but they asked for her by name so she thought of them as her clients.

Her skills kept improving. Her confidence kept growing. She was making decent money and felt she was starting to build a solid clientele from all the walk-ins.

One morning, Emily was grabbing a quick coffee on her way into the salon when she ran into Anne, a gal she met in beauty school. They chatted for a few minutes and Anne insisted they meet for lunch because she had something really exciting to share.

A few weeks later, they met for lunch and Anne told her about a new salon suite she wanted to rent. Anne’s excitement was contagious and it really piqued Emily’s curiosity when she learned that in a salon suite, she would be her own boss and get to keep all the money!

The two of them could rent it together to help share the costs. They could choose their own hours, decorate the suite the way they wanted and sell their own retail products. Since they both had appointment books filled with happy clients, they knew this would be an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

How Do You Know If You Don’t Know?

I know, I know, you can easily see where this could lead to disaster. And you wouldn’t be wrong with that assumption. But when you’re fairly new to the industry and you don’t even know that you don’t know, it isn’t always so obvious.

In this case, Emily got so caught up in Anne’s excitement that she didn’t even stop to consider the drawbacks. While positive thinking and taking a leap towards your goals can be a good thing, the reality of the situation can be harsh when you aren’t fully prepared.

Investigating every salon opportunity sounds like an overwhelming task. But your final choice in where you hang your license will have a tremendous impact on your financial and business goals. It’s worth taking the time to really explore all the facts before making the final decision.

You might be wondering how you can even make an educated decision if you don’t even know where to begin?

My Favorite Decision-Making Tool

Have you ever used a Pros and Cons List to help you choose which way to go when you have a big decision to make?

Back in the “old days,” before home computers and smart phones were available, we had to grab a sheet of paper and a pen, draw a line down the middle of the page and write the Pros - all the reasons why the idea might be a good one on the left column and write the Cons - all the reasons why the idea might be a bad one on the right column.

Once all the Pros and Cons are written in both columns, it becomes pretty obvious if the final decision a Go or a No!

It might seem like an outdated method but it’s still my favorite decision-making tool when I’m not really sure which way to lean regarding an important decision.

pros and cons list

This approach gives you a clear picture so you can decide based on the most favorable outcome for you. Something that is a Pro for me might be a Con for you. That’s the beauty of this technique. It will help you find the answer based on your preferences and individual goals.

Decisions, Decisions

Let me clarify that there are no “right” or “wrong” salon types. They are all successful in their own way and offer a great opportunity for different stylists.

It’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. And I encourage you to do your research before making your final decision.

There are several ways you can approach it. If you don’t have enough experience or knowledge about the various salon types to create your own Pros & Cons list, you can ask other stylists you know what they like and don’t like about different salons.

You can also search the internet and gather input from forums and groups. Or you can receive my free Salon Pros & Cons guide here.

I’ve Done The Research For You

In my Salon Pros & Cons guide, I break down the positive and negative aspects of the top four types of salons along with bonus questions you should ask before you make your final decision.

I made this guide to help you decide which salon opportunity will be best for your career now and in the future.

Did They Or Didn’t They?

Emily and Anne agreed to rent the salon suite together. They invested a lot of time and money into paying the deposit and first month’s rent, creating a new business name, designing a logo, printing business cards, setting up their social media accounts, choosing a retail line and decorating their suite. It was a dream come true.

Until it wasn’t.

In her excitement, Emily completely forgot that her rental agreement with her former salon clearly stated that all walk-ins remain clients of the salon when she leaves. And they planned to enforce it. That cut Emily’s clientele by 80%.

Other People’s Experience

Learning from other people’s experience is a valuable tool. Some of us are impulsive and we have to learn lessons the hard way.

In Emily’s case, her impulsive decisions cost her a LOT of money. If she would have read through her rental agreement, she would have realized she was giving up 80% of the clients she mistakenly thought were hers.

Also, if she had done a pros and cons list about renting a salon suite, she would have discovered that she needed a solid client base to make the transition.

Yes, when you rent a salon suite, you do get to keep all the money. But if you have just a few clients that won’t even cover the rent and operating expenses.

Pro Tip: Before making major changes, do your research. Talk to other stylists who have been in the industry for a while. Or download my Salon Pros & Cons guide here. Learn from other people's experiences. It could save you time, money and your sanity!

Is the salon you're working at a good match for your hairstyling goals?


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