Getting Started in a Salon Suite Rental

Renting a salon suite is a great option for beauty professionals aspiring to run their own business, bring in higher profits, or get more creative control over their craft. A salon suite rental is the next step up on the path to owning your own salon, and it often comes with its own perks, too. But there’s a lot to consider before getting started, and a lot to learn before signing a lease.

What’s the Difference between a Booth and Salon Suite Rental?

While a booth rental usually gives you a stall or a small area within a salon, a salon suite rental gives you an entire space to yourself. Booths usually come with rules and restrictions as to what services you can perform, how you can decorate, and how you ultimately run your business. While booths are cheaper than suite rentals, they have less flexibility, less independence, and less opportunity for expansion. Salon suites are dedicated locations for your salon within a coworking space occupied by other beauty professionals like hairstylists, barbers, and more. 

The Benefits of Renting a Salon Suite

Salon suites give you full control over how you arrange, decorate, and run your beauty business. They offer more control and space than a booth rental, at a lower price point than owning your own salon. For established beauty professionals, renting a salon suite has a number of benefits:

1. Being your own boss

Renting a salon suite means you get to be your own boss. Within your salon suite rental space, you are the queen, and what you say goes. You can control your work-life balance, and cultivate your business to reflect the person and the professional you want to be. You can set your own schedule (within the building’s operating times), and control your own workflow, policies, and procedures.

When Florida-based hairstylist Kendall Whitley went solo, she realized how valuable it is to have control over her own life and schedule. “Being a hair stylist is mentally and physically demanding, so I’ve designed my business around being able to only work three or four days a week – work-life balance is so important.”

2. Keeping your profits and setting your prices

Being your own boss doesn’t just mean you get to make the rules – you also get to keep all the money you earn. Outside of rent, you don’t have to pay any cut of your profit to anyone. As our friends at Elite Beauty Society describe it, “if you are renting a salon suite, you are able to reap 100 percent of the rewards by keeping all profits.”

Similarly, you also get to set (and raise) your own prices to keep up with your costs, level of experience, and your customers’ needs. Not only do you get a bigger piece of the pie, you get to make the pie larger all around.

3. Curating the customer experience

When you rent a salon suite, you can tailor your customer experience however you please. From the decor you choose to the vibe and ambiance you set, you’re in total control of the customer experience. You don’t have to worry about the rules or personnel within a salon you don’t run, and you don’t have to squeeze yourself and your identity into a space that someone else created.

4. Building your brand

Beauty business is about more than just the end result: your clients want a beautifying experience, and with a salon suite rental, you can tailor that however you see fit. That means you can build your brand through more than just the end result of your work, and you can show off more than just the final product on your social media accounts. With a salon suite, you can show the world what your brand means and how it lives through your studio, and make a memorable impression on your clients.

5. Expanding your network

Because salon suite rentals live in coworking spaces for beauty and wellness businesses, you are constantly surrounded by like-minded professionals who are also honing their craft. You’ll be exposed to new ideas, best practices in action, and new sources of inspiration and creativity. Through your coworking space, you’ll be able to network with other professionals, form partnerships, and be a part of your local beauty community.

What Are the Cons of Renting a Salon Suite?

With flexibility comes responsibility. Although renting a salon suite opens up a world of possibilities in how you create and cultivate your space and brand, your operating costs can be higher than in a booth rental and your responsibilities are greater.

1. Running a business isn’t easy

Being your own boss is great for your creativity and independence, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. You’re solely responsible for taxes, compliance, payroll, and more. You’re also on the hook for any debt or loans, and you take on some personal financial risk as well. You need to come up with responsible, sustainable business operations around tracking costs, inventory, and more, as well as your marketing and sales.

2. You have to work harder to get clients

Since you’re in charge of the business, you’re also in charge of getting clients. Salon suite rentals have fewer walk-ins by nature, and because you’re not sharing a salon with other beauty professionals, you have less direct exposure to new clients. Running your own business makes it even more important to leverage text, email, social media, and even Groupon marketing to get new clients in the door.

3. You’re responsible for all operating costs

Unlike a booth, you’re responsible for all operating costs based on your rental agreement. That means in addition to rent, you need to pay for inventory, utilities, wages for any staff, and more. And because many of these costs are recurring, it means you need to generate enough income each month to keep up with your costs.

How to Choose a Salon Suite to Rent

The easiest way to think of a salon suite is like an apartment within a building. You rent your suite from a landlord, and share common spaces with other tenants who are likely other beauty or health and wellness-related businesses.

But much like apartments, not all salon suites are made equal. Most rental agreements will include provisions for the space you’ll occupy, but depending on the space, some helpful things will be included, and some annoying things won’t be. When evaluating a rental, make sure you read the rental agreement carefully, and keep an eye out for these important things before signing the salon lease:

1. Location and access

You’ve definitely heard the phrase “location, location, location.” First and foremost, evaluate where your salon suite is located, both on a map and within the building. 

In terms of where the building is on the map, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your suite easily accessible by car or public transit?
  • Is there parking for you and/or your clients?
  • Is it in a nice neighborhood or near other businesses? 
  • Is there security onsite?
  • Is it reachable by your current list of clients?
  • Is it in your target market?

Within the building itself, consider how accessible the location is: 

  • Is it easy for first-time customers to find? 
  • Is the building ADA-compliant and easy to navigate? 
  • Will you be sandwiched between other similar beauty businesses or potential competitors?

2. Square footage and interior design

Looking at the space itself, evaluate what you can do with it. You should take a look at the square footage and make sure you have enough room for your needs. Additionally, you should consider:

  • Is the space laid out efficiently? 
  • Is there enough room to maneuver?
  • Do you have shelves or furniture to display products?
  • Do you have access to a break room, an office, or a supply closet?
  • Are laundry facilities available?

Additionally, you should see how much you can really customize the space, and what changes you can make with and without your landlord’s permission:

  • What is the process for redesigning or redecorating the interior?
  • What do you need permission to do or change?
  • What kind of maintenance are you responsible for?

3. Amenities and rules

Salon suite rentals often include amenities, but it’s important to understand exactly what those are. And for any amenities that aren’t included, make sure you know how to get them into your space – and how much it will cost. Ask questions about things like:

  • Laundry facilities
  • WiFi and cable TV
  • Bathrooms
  • Covered/included utilities

When you’ve found a space that feels right and you’ve combed through the details and feel comfortable with the arrangement, then the next step is to start thinking about how to build your very own small beauty business!

Laying the Foundations for Your Small Beauty Business

You’ve found your salon suite rental, you’ve read through the contract, and you’re ready to sign the lease. What’s next? Funding, insurance, and operations. 

1. Securing funding for your small beauty business

Starting a business typically requires startup money. Financing your small beauty business, whether getting a loan from a friend or family members or from a financial institution, requires you to have all your ducks in a row. You need a business plan, a firm handle on your numbers and operating costs, and to know what financing options make the most sense for you. With a salon suite rental, you need less startup capital than buying or renting your own space, but you’ll still likely want and need some help covering the basics. Taking out a small business loan or opening a line of credit are great ways to help pay for the upfront costs like furniture, supplies, and decorations.

2. Getting liability insurance

One thing that’s not included in your lease? Liability insurance. When you own and operate your own business, you can potentially be held liable for anything that happens to your clients when you render services. Insurance can give you much-needed protection and peace of mind, so that a slip and fall or an allergic reaction won’t destroy your business.

3. Setting up your business operations

When you own your own business, it’s not enough to be good at what you do: you also need to run your business efficiently. Here are a few things to consider:

Setting up your salon booking management

You can’t make money if you don’t have clients, and you can’t have clients if they can’t book appointments. Gone are the days of the hand-written calendar: in the digital age, online booking is more important than ever  – so make sure you’re integrating an online salon booking app into your workflow that makes it easy for clients to schedule appointments, and easier for you to track them.

Creating and maintaining your online presence

Your online presence is essential to your marketability and brand. You need to build a beautiful and functional website to be discovered online and drive bookings, and you need to build your brand on social media so that people in your target market can find you.

Tracking your business performance and analytics

With so many of your operations being conducted online, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll track things like bookings, prices, and performance. You’ll also want to make sure you’re capturing your performance so you can analyze your business month to month and year to year. Think about how you’ll track salon expenses and inventory, and what beauty business technology you’re going to use to stay on top of everything.

Read more: Free Salon Checklist: The Only Checklist You Need For Opening A Salon

What’s Next? Setting up Your Operations and Signing Your Lease

With all your needs and requirements evaluated, your ideal location found, and your lease thoroughly read and prepared, it’s time to sign the dotted line and get started on your next adventure!

There are so many different tools and techniques you can use to run your salon. As a small business owner and sole proprietor, you want to set up operations that save you time and money. 

GlossGenius’ beauty business software features an award-winning salon booking app, an easy-to-use website builder, business reporting and KPI tracking, email and text message marketing tools, and so much more. Kendall Whitley estimates GlossGenius saves her, “as much as 10 hours a week for sure.”  Start your free trial today to learn how GlossGenius can help you set your new small business up for success.

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