Salon Expansion: 6 Tips Before Adding a New Location

Is it time to grow your salon’s vision?

There’s nothing more rewarding than expanding your salon to multiple locations, growing your brand, and creating more jobs for talented stylists.  But how do you know when it’s time? And what steps do you have to take to make sure everything runs smoothly?

For some salon owners, the only logical solution is to expand and keep moving forward. At Tangerine Salon, we knew when it was our time. We took the plunge to open another location once we were 90 percent booked and had clients pouring in from all over the area.

The best way to preserve the company’s culture and bolster our vision was to become a multi-location enterprise. For other salon owners in different stages, however, the idea of expansion isn’t always a green light.

Take it from us: The rewards far outweigh the challenges—if you’re ready. Before you add a new location, make sure you’ve considered the following:

1) The “85% booked” rule

Before opening a new location, make sure you have the resources, funds, and quality stylists to mirror your current business. (Click to Tweet)

We recommend the 85 percent rule: Don’t open another location until you’re at least 85 percent booked in your initial location. Why? Because there’s no reason to reproduce something that hasn’t fully come into fruition.

You can’t realistically propel your business forward and sustain its current success if it’s not ready. Wait until your community recognizes the quality of your brand—until you’re at least 85 percent booked—before taking the leap.

Opening a new location exhausts energy, time, money, and resources. There are many areas to inspect before taking action, and the 85 percent rule is the best place to start.

Tangerine Salon - Dallas / Preston Hollow Location

2) Protect your salon’s identity

Our salon slogan is simple and crucial: One salon, four locations.

If you’re ready to open a new location for your salon, ask yourself if you can transition into a multi-location enterprise without sacrificing your salon’s identity and company culture. You cannot replicate your business without replicating what sets your salon apart and what makes it unique.

How do you open a new location while maintaining the salon’s identity? Define your value system and core competencies.  

Personality ≠ Identity.

Another location may acquire a different vibe or specialize in different types of haircuts, color, or styles. Personality does not need to be replicated, but ultimately, your brand should be cohesive at each location. Before expanding, ask yourself, “What standards do I want my new location to abide by?”

Tangerine Salon - Coppell Towne Square Location

3) Be strategic about location
Business owners in various industries know location is everything, especially if they rely on foot traffic or exposure from other nearby businesses.

If you’re ready to become a multi-location enterprise, look at high rent districts and consider where your salon would thrive.

I advise owners to keep an eye out for co-tenancy. If Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or high fashion brands cater to your demographic, don’t be far behind. Take your time finding the perfect spot, and adjust your rent budget accordingly before diving in to a new salon.

4) Set a culture foundation
Before you can recruit for your new location, stop to consider the company culture. Do you have a plan for your culture foundation?

One helpful exercise: select two talented stylists at various locations to create a team at the new location. Choose individuals who believe in your vision and identity.

Invite your staff into the conversation so they can take ownership and contribute to the culture foundation. It takes more than a manager to establish a good work culture.

5) Recruit, but build a brand that attracts people
Hopefully, your brand attracts interested hairstylists and you won’t have to spend a lot of time and energy on recruitment.

Don’t stretch yourself too thin; if you can’t afford to staff the second location or you can’t find stylists who meet your standard, continue refining your brand and vision.

When it comes to finding top talent, go after what you want. (Click to Tweet)

Seek out the talent you’ve envisioned by targeting hairstylists on Facebook and building connections on social media. There are a number of ways to recruit talented stylists.

Find out what works best and explore as many avenues as possible that align with your salon’s standards.

Tangerine Salon - The Star in Frisco Location

6) Train a manager to fulfill your vision
Unfortunately, you can’t be in two places at once. Find and train a manager to preserve your salon’s brand in the new location. A manager development program is paramount to our success at Tangerine Salon.

We adopt a competition to measure which assistant manager takes the salon’s vision to heart and whose personality best aligns with the new location.

The most important part of vetting any new manager is cultivating a positive, one-on-one learning relationship. (Click to Tweet)

As he or she learns the culture and fundamentals of the job, work with the manager personally. Do walk-throughs and sit where clients sit; gain a new perspective into the guest’s experience.

You may be eager to throw caution to the wind and start a new location, but I urge you to seek out a coach during this important season of your business.

Learning the hard way costs a lot of time and money. If it’s your first time moving to a second location, Salon Forward can give you outside perspective, encouragement, and advice.