When it comes to your salon, picking the perfect location is crucial. You have to make the decision in the early stages of planning your salon, and, there’s no undoing your decision once it’s made. That’s why you have to pick the perfect place on your first try.
The right location for your salon receives plenty of traffic (from both potential customers and cars), is easily accessible by highway or byway, and offers ample parking space. The area surrounding your salon must also be well-lit and safe, for the sake of your customers and your staff. According to long-time salon owners, it might also help if there are other retail businesses in your salon’s vicinity, as these businesses can help encourage their own customers to try out your salon’s services.
Of course, your choice of location will also depend on the available fund you have and on the size of the salon you want to build. In most cases, your choices will be influenced by the available space in the city where you want to do business, the local competition, and your willingness to put up with local zoning requirements.
Your choice of location must also be able to accommodate the size of salon you want. A salon usually ranges from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet; if you want to offer spa services, you’ll need to plan for even more room. You’ll need enough room for four separate areas: reception and retail, shampoo, cutting/service, and storage. The services area should take up about half your salon’s space.
Expandability should also be a factor. It’s important that you pick a location which can give you the room to expand if the need arises. You’ll need room for adding more service stations or specialized rooms like a facial room or a massage room. Industry experts say it’s always better to have too much space than too little, because it’s cheaper to renovate than to move to a new location altogether.
You will usually have three building choices when it comes to your salon: freestanding buildings, storefront properties, and shopping centers like strip malls.
- Freestanding buildings
Sometimes, salons are located in malls, but they’re more commonly located in free-standing buildings that are located on the perimeter or on property attached to a mall, since rent inside the mall is typically expensive. Many salon owners choose to put up their salons in freestanding buildings because these buildings tend to be highly visible.
Leasing a freestanding building offers many of the advantages of buying, although leasing requires you to interact with a landlord. Buying or leasing such spaces is also recommended for owners who want to have more freedom when it comes to renovating and decorating their salon. You’ll also have the tax advantages of owning the building.
With freestanding buildings, you completely control fixed costs like overhead and utilities, and you usually also control the terms of the mortgage. Common-area charges for service such as snow removal, advertising, and security can be avoided, unlike in strip malls.
- Storefront properties
Using storefront properties for salons is becoming increasingly popular these days. This is especially common in communities with historical or renovated downtown areas. Like in strip malls, storefront properties are part of a string of stores with common walls on either side. These properties are usually part of a business district that stretches for blocks or even miles, unlike strip malls that can spring up anywhere, even in residential areas.
Industry experts and long-time salon owners recommend grabbing the chance to lease a storefront property in a busy downtown area, especially in resort towns with year-round activities. This location will ensure that your salon gets a steady supply of customers, no matter what time of the year it is.
- Strip malls or shopping centers
Strip malls or shopping centers are the ideal location for salon owners who don’t want the responsibility of leasing in a freestanding building. It’s still a good idea to set up shop in a strip mall or shopping center because these locations will give your salon a lot of exposure. Leasing agreements in these locations will also have provisions that prevent too many of similar businesses in the same mall.
However, many tenants in strip malls complain that heavy fees for marketing and maintenance are built into the leases. This is why you should carefully check your lease before you sign it, if you choose to set up your salon in a strip mall or shopping center.
Aside from these three building choices, you have one more option: a facility that once served as a hair salon. One advantage of choosing such a location is that most of the infrastructure you need – like plumbing and electrical systems – will already be onsite and available for purchase. You must consider, though, why the facility was closed in the first place. Find out why the shop is on sale, as it might later affect your salon’s operations. It’s also recommended that you compare remodeling costs to the expenses and costs of starting from a completely blank space in a different facility.