Salon owners - no experience with hair!

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Sarah-Jean

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Please can I start this by saying I've searched through the forum and seen other threads like this turn a little nasty - please be gentle with me! LOL :green:

I'm in the process of buying a salon. It's got a great location, gorgeous beauty room (which is why I want it) and the front is fitted out for hair. Unfortunately I have no experience with hair and am a bit stumped as to where to start. I thought about renting the chairs out, but honestly I'm a bit worried about being taken advantage of with my lack of knowledge and I'd really rather have more control of what's going on, especially as the hair part is the part which is viewable to the public.

I have space for 3 stylists (but only one wash basin), there's already a fairly new stylist there who may stay on with us but I'd also like someone more experienced and senior who would possibly also assist me with managing (the hair side). Is this realistic? Can I expect someone to work the shop floor as well as help me to handle the day to day running of the hair part of the business? I'm pretty sure I've heard of senior stylists/assistant managers before. Also what sort of pay structure is normal for that kind of job? I know the new stylist that is there is currently on min. wage plus a commission on hair and retail - is it the same for a snr stylist/assistant salon manager (but obviously higher than min. wage basic) or is it a flat rate (like £18kpa) or is this something that's kind of a "lick your finger and stick it in the air" subject?!

I'm quite happy to do the leg work, I have (or have had) numerous businesses in various sectors so I'm no stranger to business in general, just hair! Unfortunately this is my real weakness in this instance.

Other than that I'm good to work for. I pay fairly (I think anyway, never had any complaints), I'm all for extra training and courses for employees, there's also opportunity for advancement as I'll be moving to the USA in a few years time (only for a few years but still I'll be gone for most of the year in that case) and at that point I will be looking for someone to take over the roll of managing the salon.

Am I really naive to think I can handle a salon that does both beauty and hair if I know nothing about hair? I've looked over the figures and it seems viable if I can find good hair stylists. There's already a good client base for the existing salon and I do a LOT of networking due to my other businesses so I'm sure I can pull in a fair amount even without the current client list. And I'm hoping anyone who comes to me, may have some regular clients they'll be bringing with them.

I'm also a bit sketchy on whether hair stylists do trade tests? How does that work? Do I just get them to do something to my hair, or do I get them to show me on someone else's hair?

Thank you in advance for not shouting and screaming at me! It's lovely and friendly here, but sometimes you more knowledgeable types scare the crappola out of me! :lol: I've been debating posting this for four days now and only just got up the courage! Yeah. I'm a Salon Geek wimp... :smack:
 

Keeley20

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Aww dont be scared! lol :hug:

Unforunatly i cant help u out with the business side of things and all the rules etc. But i would say just be careful you dont tell your employees to much about the fact u have no idea about hair so you dont get taken advantage of. But i think u will soon pick up how a hair salon is run.

As for trade tests, i had to to a colour cut and blowdry on mine. But get them to do a family member someone who wants to be pampered lol n who will give you an honest opinion of what they thought of the person.

Hope this helps a bit :green: xxx
 

dellaznailz

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I don't do hair either but know where you are coming from.:green:

How about asking your local college? speak to one of the tutors about possibly sitting in on a few classes and the best books to look at ( yes I know you cant learn hairdressing from a book!) so at least you will have some theory under your belt

hth's :hug:
 

Sarah-Jean

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Thank you for your kind responses!

I honestly don't know how I'd hide the fact I don't know anything about hair?

I'm a more than competent business person (I know, I'm being big headed, but still!) so I'm not worried on the business side of things... I think what I really need is to find a senior stylist who is willing to manage the hair side - what products to buy, what stock to order, what colours, whether the less experienced staff are doing OK, what training or further education needs to be taken... I can probably read about all that in books and on the website, but really - reading isn't nearly as good as real life experience from what I've seen and done in the past.

I hadn't thought of going to the local college, that's not a bad idea... I did think of doing one of those fast-track hair courses just so I can learn a bit about it, but honestly I don't want to cut hair. It's not my area if you know what I mean? I'm not a creative person like that - I can make people feel special, pampered and relaxed... But artsy, creative things are not my forte... I can barely make my own hair look semi-decent! LOL
 

BlondieBear

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Aw never be scared to post anything,this is why this forum is here,it would be pretty boring if new posts were not posted.

I do not own a salon but i am sure some other geeks will be able to answer your questions.I am a hairdresser and would love to open my own salon so am starting back at college to do beauty therapy in 2 weeks and am able to fit it around salon hours,like you i was thinking when i do own my own salon i want to be able to know about all of it and not have to rely on someone else.

Just find somebody you trust who has passion/drive and a love for hair as well as a good head on there shoulders.
Good luck with your salon and i am sure there will be plenty of hairdressers who would love the chance to be part of it.

xxx
 

persianista

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Most salon owners are non hairdressers, so don't panic! Maybe try and recruit experienced hairdressers rather than college leavers as exp hairdressers don't need a top hair pro behind them all the time.
 

Sarah-Jean

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Thank you girls. I'm feeling much more confident now and slightly stupid for being scared of posting this! LOL I just noticed that someone has bumped one of the other threads back up to the top? Weird - that was the thread I had in mind when I was scared to post.

I think the deal is going to be completed probably by the end of next week if all goes well - we're in the middle of getting business finance sorted out and getting everything written up, just hoping nobody else comes in with a higher price as I really, REALLY want it. I'm excited because it'll give me somewhere to properly focus on my beauty stuff and it'll be a new challenge for me!

At what stage would you suggest starting to advertise for experienced hairdressers? As soon as we've got the money sorted (less than 2 weeks in all likely-hood) we'll be good to go basically (unless anything major gets in the way) and obviously the longer the salon stays shut, the longer we're not making any money and the more customers we face loosing.
 

persianista

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You should start advertising now, to try and get people in place in 2 weeks time.
 

wonderwoman

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i think you should start advertising now, that way it will help you to know what brands of hair colour they are familiar with, also whether you'll have a brand selection you may choose from, and if this brand does any product knowledge training/ further courses season cuts etc eg im a l'oreal gal but one of my hds is a wella lover!

Also before you start you've obviously done your business plan, get a rough idea on costs per tube. etc, water/gas electricity and wage for hds. then impelment it into the price list for hair, same applies for beauty. (make it as a provisonal treatment menu) Then at interviews id ask how much they charges for say a cut and colour before id hire them. You gain more insight to the level and experience of a hairdresser that way!

Im a bit of a saddo and plan out my whole year, i know what offers i do all year long, technical/ beauty and even when i get a great offer from suppliers i make limited offers this way! i know how much to give for a bonus when sales have been good! hope this gives you some incentive on hiring your #2! good luck with your venture! xoxo
 

Sarah-Jean

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LOL Wonderwoman I do the same! I'm a total planner and can not stand to not have an idea of what's happening next!

I think I'm just nervous because I've read that hairdressers can sometimes try and run rings around bosses who don't know anything about hair. I don't want to be suspicious and questioning everything, but I don't want to be taken for a fool either.

I'm feeling more confident today. I've been doing loads of reading, looking at various aspects and I'll be fine so long as I can find someone who seriously wants to do well within my business. I'm going to write up an job ad today and maybe post it around the 'net and look into getting it in the local rags. Thanks girls!

Thank you for all the help - I'm sure I'll have a ton of questions along the way, but for now you've all really helped me, even if it was just a bit of a confidence boost and pep talk!
 

persianista

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Stuff to look out for;
Altering services and pocketing the difference.
Losing clients and their cash
Telling you services tale longer than they do, so they can have a fag and text in between each client
Pocketing stock
Nicking equipment
Giving clients their numbers for private work
Taking clients details for private work
Using your computer for surfing at work (one of mine looked at 954 pages of a dating website!)
Not booking towards the end of the day "in case they run over"
Selling fake/stolen stuff at work

These are a few of the antics my staff have got up to over the years. Watch them like hawks!
 

Sarah-Jean

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Blimey! You've had a few run in's!

I should be there all the time anyway, apart from very few occasions when the chances are my Husband will be there, or my sister... I've had similar problems with employee's in the past (different sector but same kind of problems) and it's left me a bit wary of trusting people to deeply with what's effectively my money!
 

persianista

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I have had salons a lot of years!! I don't think my employees are any worse than anyone elses. I have lots of friends with salons and they have some real horror stories.
 

hayleyb

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hi sarah, im in the same position as you, im opening a tanning salon beauty and hair dressers, im so scarred an feel the abit vunarable, Iv done so much research my head feels like it popping, iv got a beautician who i can trust so im not worried to much about that, but a friend of mine said i could go into her hairdressing shop and she would show me as much as possible (how to book clients in ect) do you know of any hairdressers that you could do the same for, also i was going to rent the chairs, but she recomended to employ staff as it would be alot easier and it would bring in more money, mybe intime change it to chair renting when i know a little more of what im doing, i will be running the whole salon, i think once your in doing it, it will be better, do you know of anyone that could mentor you, i think if you contacted business link they mite be able to help you, when i have more info i will post to you, bye the way i have had no experience at all, not even the business side, just goin to give it my best shoot, hope everythn goes well for you.
 

persianista

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I should hire myself out as a salon consultant!!
 

Sarah-Jean

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