1. Do I have a clientele?
The first and most important question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you have clients.
If you just graduated from school then most likely you won’t have many clients other than friends and family. And while that will give you a good start it won’t be enough for a reasonable income.
The type of salons you should be looking at are ones that have enough walk-ins and call-ins to help you to start building your clientele. This is one of the first questions you should ask when contacting the salon owner or manager. If the salon you’re interested in does provide clientele, you need to ask them if they allow access to their information should you choose to ever leave in the future. This may seem like an uncomfortable question to ask, but it is important for your future in this business down the road. Should you ever want to change salons or start booth renting, you need to make sure that you’re able to let those clients know that you’ve moved.
Yes, there are ways around this if it’s not permitted. You can sneak your clients info secretly before you leave, but this could get you in trouble, especially if you signed a contract stating that you won’t take their clients when you leave.
If you already have a clientele and won’t need a ton of new clients for a reasonable income then you have many more options of salons to search for and it shouldn’t really matter to you if they have a good new client base or not.
2. What area should the salon be located in?
Salon location is something that is usually taken into consideration when you’re job searching, but most of the time you’re searching for something close to where you live. While this is a good factor, there are other things to consider.
Everyone wants convenience, so most of the time people won’t travel too far for a service they get regularly. If you’re looking for those high paying clients then you need to look for places that are close to where people with higher incomes live or work.
If you want to always have plenty of new clients, then you may want something that is in the center of town thats easily accessible for everyone. Something that is easy to see off of a busy road is usually best.
If you have an established clientele then it’s important for you to stay reasonably close to where you’re working now. Typically you lose about 10% of your clientele every time you move. This changes drastically the further you move from your location now. A few miles might not seem like much to you, but it might to your clients. If you absolutely know you want to move to a different area a good thing to do would be to get a general idea of how many clients would follow you. You could mention to your clients that you’re just thinking about the idea of moving and see what their opinions would be. If the majority of them say they would follow you anywhere then most likely they will.
3. What type of clientele do I want?
Most people don’t even think much about this when looking for a salon, but it is definitely something to think about if you’re just starting out or if you have a clientele and want to make sure they feel comfortable there.
Some salons have a general feel to it and try to cater to everyone, while others have a definite style to attract a certain type of person. Ask yourself if that style would match the type of clientele you would like to have and if your current clients would feel comfortable in the new place. For example, if most of your clients are older you don’t want to take them to a place that plays electronic music and everyone else is half their age. Chances are, they won’t feel comfortable there and most likely wouldn’t come back.
If you don’t have a clientele yet you’re probably thinking “I don’t care what type of client I have. I’ll take what I can get.” It’s understandable that you’re willing to take any type of client to start getting busy when you first start out, but in the long run you’re going to attract the type of person that’s most like you anyway, so why not give yourself a better chance of building a clientele faster and find the best place from the start.
4. How many people do I want to work with?
Some people may not care either way, but for some this could be a huge difference in whether you like to go to work or not.
If you don’t like to be around a lot of people don’t just go to that huge fancy salon with a lot of employees just because the salon might be the most well known place in your area. In the end, you will get overwhelmed and won’t thrive as you would with a smaller group of people.
If you’re someone that needs to be around a lot of people and thrives on it then that huge salon is for you. There might be another smaller salon that you’re interested in but it might be a little quieter and if you thrive off of peoples energy then you might get bored and won’t look forward to going to work.
If you enjoy your own company and are tired of the salon drama and work well by yourself, then you might want to think about renting a suite by yourself. It can be a little scary to do but if this is how you thrive best then it might make going to work more enjoyable.
5. What does the salon have to offer me?
This can mean different things depending one what type of salon you are wanting to work at. If you’re looking for commission or hourly based salons then look into the benefits that each one has. Things like paid vacation, health insurance, 401k or even a sign on bonus can mean a huge difference.
For booth renters, you might want to see what kinds of things the owner provides for you. Having free wifi, towels or backbar that are provided, or even having drinks available for your clients can be a huge money saver down the road. These are just some of the things to consider when you’re looking for a new place.
Don’t be afraid to write these things down and ask the owner or manager about when you are inquiring about a position.
Hopefully these 5 questions will help you to make the best decision when searching for a salon whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for a change.