Hard decision to make on potential salon


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Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2011
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Hi Geeks,

For a while now I've been looking at premises for a salon. I've been mobile for nearly 5 years and it's time. I want to open a beauty/massage clinic, providing sports massage, lash extensions, waxing, facials etc.

I've found a place and I really cant decide what to do. Location wise, it's amazing. It's in the centre of town, in a very busy shopping area (Harvey Nichols and John Lewis within 2 minutes walk), and physically the outside of the shop is perfect. Theres parking (metered though) in a few places nearby. Quite few of my clients work nearby so know I wouldn't lose them at least.

The rent is ridiculously cheap for the location, the guy is offering 3 months free...

BUT! And it's a big but...The place is an absolute wreck inside. It used to be an old cobblers 30 years ago, and hasn't been touched since. It needs completely gutted out and then reconstructed into a salon. Ideally, I wanted a small 2 room salon so I could let out one of the rooms to another massage therapist. But I just don't know now. It's small and to me, that was appealing because it's more manageable than a big salon to start with. When I say small I mean 276sq ft. There is definitely enough room for a spacious room at the back for massage and facials, but I'm not sure if there is quite enough room for a smaller room for waxing/lash extensions. There is no floor plan, which isn't helpful...but I'm going back tomorrow with a joiner etc to see what is and isn't possible.

I'm just not sure. The location is amazing, the price is manageable, but I'm just not sure if it's a tiny bit too small, or if I should just make it a one room salon with nail bar and maybe a wee spray tan room. I would like to let out the nail bar to a really good nail tech.

I just wondered if anyone else had a similar situation, i.e decision to make about sizing/number of rooms, and what you ended up doing?

I would appreciate any thoughts, thanks!
Hiya. Didn't want to read and run.

Couple of things I would say;
1. How long has it been empty?
2. Remember if you are renting your in charge as is there is that much work needed doing your probably looking at £10-20k if structurally sound.
3. With this much investment need a long rent agreement.

You are doing up his property in essence. If had 12 month contract after you done all hard work and money he could say no thankyou bye, then get someone in for top dollar rent due to location. Something to bare in mind.
Check how long it's been empty and why?
Don't spend a fortune on a rented premises! I know you want it lovely but don't invest so much at the beginning
Make a contractural agreement that there will be no rent increase for 5years+ if your doing it up

If you can get someone to help with the rent then that's a bonus
Good luck!
Hello, thank you for your replies!

You have made good points. I should have added, the minimum lease is for 5 years. The guy who owned the cobblers business owned the shop itself, and from what I'm aware he is now really old, like 80 and decided to sell the premises to someone. Im not actually sure when the cobblers seized trading, by the looks of things years ago. but thats a valid point I'm going to ask about. Now this someone is looking for someone to settle long term in the unit. The landlord is my boyfriends cousins family friend (which is how I know about it in the first place) and he has told him (before I was on the scene) that he just wants someone to do it up and settle in the shop long term so he doesn't have to "worry" about anything...Then the letting agent told me that there has been other interest from a guy looking to open a clothes shop, but the landlord would prefer a beauty business because he sees it more of a long term venture.

For the area, the rent is really cheap, and I think it's because he's well aware that there's a lot of work that needs done! I'm meeting three different contractors (joiners etc) over the weekend so I will have three different quotes / opinions on what is and isn't possible and how much it will be. I will probably add a couple grand onto that figure just to be on the safe side. So I suppose it's just a case of seeing what they had in mind and figuring out if its an options. But I do need to be realistic and think of what I can no really can't afford. It's easy to get swept up in excitement.

I'm very scared at the thought..lBut at the same time, it could potentially be amazing. I guess there is always going to be risk involved. I will see what the weekend holds.

good luck! Keep us posted! :D
Hi geeks,

Wee update for you..l met with four different contractors today, thought it would be best to get a few opinions and quotes instead of one! It's looking like for what I want/ need it will cost around £10000...and the work can be completed in 4-8weeks.

I knew it was going to be expensive, and I'm adding on a couple extra grand to that figure. So now I need to make a decision. I really don't know what to do! Im trying to look at this rationally instead of getting over excited / stressed. As I'm working freelance and also based from a clinic 3x week, my current income from my freelance clients could cover the rent/bills for the salon, initially. In an ideal situation, all of my clients would come to the salon, happy days. But I know it's not going to happen so I may need to continue mobile as well as having the salon, until I'm busy enough...

I have £10k saved, and so does my partner, he says he will lend me money too. I wouldn't mind spending all of my savings, and some more if I knew it would definitely work...but obviously there is absolutely no guarantee. I'm trying to rack my brains here thinking of reasons why it's good (busy street, affluent area, on street parking, good transport links by bus and tram soon, centre of town and easy to get to, not much direct competition) and bad (it's an absolute dump inside and needs a lot of work, parking is expensive, could it be too noisy?would lose some clients from mobile work).

I'm going to speak to the letting agent on Monday and explain how much it's costing me, and ask if we can negotiate the rent since I will be spending so much money. As you can probably tell, I have a million things going through my head now.

Ahhh if only money wasn't a problem eh...:(
If its been left unvented for 30 years, there's a reason for that and I'd say you need to find out what that reason is, before investing. Could you not have a home salon as well as mobile and then start to make the transition at a later date? On the other hand if you feel it's time, then just go for t, you'll make t work xx
I think it's too much, unless you can negotiate a really good deal with the rent for a very long time I would be nervous about taking the jump xx wish you all the luck in the world tho

My flat is far too small for a home salon, so unfortunately that's not an option for me or I would love to! I have looked into renting a room a few times too, but ultimately I just want my own place where I'm in control and responsible for everything. I'm definitely going to negotiate the rent, because as it stands just now it's too much for me to pay out at once, and then monthly... They have said there's someone else is really interested, which could be true but at the same time, they are bound to say that...

We will see what the letting agent says on Monday! :0 what will be will be :)
Just to give you an idea - we have 2 treatment rooms that are 12 foot by 6 foot. We have cupboards in one end, with a gap to tuck a trolley in, so the working area is 10x6. We do everything in these rooms except nails, and you could not really go any smaller. They are perfectly workable and we push everything to one side to put up a tan tent. Just thought it may help to give you an idea of workable room sizes.

Good luck x
Just to give you an idea - we have 2 treatment rooms that are 12 foot by 6 foot. We have cupboards in one end, with a gap to tuck a trolley in, so the working area is 10x6. We do everything in these rooms except nails, and you could not really go any smaller. They are perfectly workable and we push everything to one side to put up a tan tent. Just thought it may help to give you an idea of workable room sizes.

Good luck x

Hello, that's interesting to know thanks. Basically, there's room for one really spacious room, and then there's room for a room around the same size that you have. I plan on using it for waxing and lash extensions. When I spoke to the contractors they all said that once everything is ripped out, it will look bigger than I think, but right now it's an absolute mess. I suppose my worry with a wee room is, what the clients would think? Or if it would even bother them?

I used a small room once in the Physio clinic I worked in, for a massage,and my client referred to it as a "cupboard" and made it clear that she didn't like being in there...So I guess that's why I feel a bit worried about having a small room. Personally, if the room looked professional it wouldn't bother me as a client...

Thanks for your comment x
I have never had any negative comments - it may help that we have a bright waiting/nail area, and I also have some larger ladies who have never had a problem. Maybe you just had one of those clients!!!
Best of luck x
Yeah you are totally right I think it was just one of those clients to be honest,

I have another query. One of the contractors suggested today that I actually leave the WC where it is, i.e. contained in one of the (proposed) treatment rooms. Instead of moving it and squishing it in another area of the salon. I thought it would be best to have the wc completely separate from he treatment rooms, In case a client waiting at reception needs to do their thing whilst I'm in treatment.

Do you think it's acceptable if the toilet was to stay where it is, i.e. self contained in one room? I'm only going to have room for one spacious treatment room (which has the toilet) and then one small one... And planning on just using the small one for quicker treatments ie tinting and waxing, where the client will most likely be in and out within half an hour.

It would save a lot of money if I could just leave it where it is... But I just never thought it was really the best idea. I would be intrigued to know what you guys think about this?

Thanks xx
I would never have a massage in a room with a toilet! Not sure if just me. Can't say about other treatments as I don't get anything else lol.

Had massages where there is a shower but this is so you can shower after if you want to.
Yeah... That's what I kinda thought...I mean if the toilet was in its own separate room with its own door etc? Within the room...? Basically a mini room inside the room. So you wouldn't actually know what it was unless you needed to use it? I don't think I am explaining anything very well lol x
I'd give them 2 choices, either they give you the long term your looking for or they do all the work for you at their expense not yours (then they'll want to give you the longer term because they put out so much for it) just like you would feel if you had payed for it.
Otherwise i'd leave it, like everyone else has, they'll have to change for someone, it might be you

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