Monday, July 5, 2010

How to start a salon business

Almost every mall in Metro Manila is said to have two to eight beauty salons.

According to the 1999 Job Demand Survey of the Levittown Beauty Academy, salon owners receive an average of 174 clients a week. But a chair, a mirror and a pair of scissors are not the only things you’ll need if you want to start a salon business.

Lidwina Morales, owner of Lid Salon in Malate, Manila, invested P500,000 initially on equipment and her parlor’s interior. Janett Pineda, a franchisee of David’s Salon in San Pedro, Laguna, bought the franchise for P2 million and took over the parlor in November 2002.

But you need not spend big bucks right away. Patrick Bishop, author of Money-tree Marketing, says “Don’t overspend. Buy used equipment or rent a space that was a beauty salon previously, but is vacant and includes all the equipment.”

Pick your location well

In a salon business, you must pick your location carefully. One won’t go wrong picking a mall. You'd also want to cater from Class A to C. Spend time looking for a good location and an area that would give you a comfortable size. Consider a place near a restaurant so that it would be convenience for your customers to buy snacks in case they get hungry. It’s also a good idea to pick an area with lots of foot traffic if you think you’ll depend on walk-in clients.

Invest in good equipment

It’s better to buy good used equipment if you can get it. If you prefer new supplies, shops like Hortaleza and Accessories and Beauty Equipment stock everything you are likely to need. It is also important to buy high-quality shampoos and chemicals for nail care, hair treatment and coloring to please your clients. Try to charge reasonable rates, but do not compromise on quality.

Train your staff

Now it’s time to recruit good people for your parlor. Your staff should have the technical expertise especially in hair coloring and styling using international standards as a benchmark. They have to undergo regular training to update them on new products, hairstyles and customer service.

Ricky Reyes Learning Institute offers a three-month cosmetology course that costs P14,900 and includes hair cutting, coloring, perming, styling, make-up, manicure and facial treatment. The Classic School of Cosmetology in Binondo, Manila, offers short courses in hair coloring, blow drying and scalp manipulation, among other things, for P1,500 to P4,000.

Salon franchises take care of personnel training and provide equipment and supplies. They take care of almost everything—even bookkeeping and accounting and the preparation of the payroll. You just wait for your monthly dividend. It’s up to the owner if he wants to visit the parlor once in a while.

It’s important to keep your employees happy to avoid high staff turnover. You may consider giving them salaries apart from commissions. Salon Studio follows a chart system where suppliers reward parlor staff selling their products.

Price your services well

Salon Studio uses celebrities like MTV videodisc jockey Donita Rose and former Binibining Pilipinas-World Daisy Reyes to promote the chain. Reyes Haircutters believes in charging minimal fees for maximum profit. Continuous research is very important to know the latest trends. Think how can you innovate.

According to Les Reyes, founder of the Reyes Haircutters chain of beauty salons, there are a few things you must know about the business before investing in it:

  • Naming your salon after yourself may not work in the long run. There are icons in the beauty salon business who have successfully built a business around their names. The downside is when they die or grow old, says Les Reyes.
  • Find your niche. Your target market will determine your choice of location, pricing, promotion strategies, and brand image. Reyes Haircutters is very clear about its market positioning—it’s a clean, well-designed salon offering quality services to the masses, and it doesn’t compete directly with Ricky Reyes and David’s.
  • Conduct your promotions during lean hours. Few customers usually come in between nine in the morning and two in the afternoon. To boost business during off-peak hours, Reyes Haircutters offers 40-percent discounts to senior citizens and free haircuts to infants.
  • Keep a profile of each customer. Les Reyes plans to develop a card that will carry valuable facts on each customer. If a client’s regular hairdresser is absent when she visits the salon, whoever assists her simply swipes her card on the computer to obtain information on her preferred services, likes and dislikes.
  • Assign a person to handle inventory control. Assign accountability for releasing parlor supplies to a stock clerk. He alone should have access to your inventory to make it easier to prevent or control pilferage.
  • Measure the amount of chemicals needed for each type of service. Know, for example, the number of haircuts and hot oil treatments you can provide using one bottle of shampoo and moisturizer.
  • Be a hands-on manager. How much money you make is a function of the amount of time you spend in the salon. You have to be there because it will greatly affect the sales, the energy and the customer service, among others.
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