Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm looking to buy a Salon & Spa. What questions should I ask the owners.?

In planning your first salon you should budget for the best quality equipment you can possibly afford and that major equipment items offer sufficient flexibility to encompass the full range of therapies and treatments that you envisage offering, both initially and as your business develops.

The design of your key equipment, a treatment couch or chair should provide for client comfort and an effective treatment; it should also afford a safe and comfortable working environment for the therapist. The working height of a couch is most important and couches may need to be at varying heights to suit your staff. A flexible alternative is the hydraulic or electric couch - these can be quickly and easily adapted to suit individual treatments. Correct posture for a seated therapist is vital and ergonomic seating contributes to the welfare of the practitioner.

Most heavy-duty static couches are multi-functional and will be suited to a variety of treatments. If you are diversifying over a number of therapies, you should know that beauty equipment offering the comfort of thick padding may not be so well suited to massage or manipulative work which requires the firm support of higher density foam.

If space is at a premium a single major piece of equipment can be adapted to many disciplines. A top specification electric couch will be strong enough for heavy massage and sufficiently flexible to convert to a chair for foot and beauty work.

Further versatility for manipulation treatment may be offered where the design of the couch provides a lifting leg or knee elevation or sectioned to provide both a positive and negative tilt facility offering a wide variety of treatment positions for massage therapy, medical application and also useful in leg waxing and foot treatments. Where you are buying from the manufacturer you may be able to specify the dimensions of your major equipment item so that it is customised to your needs.

Where the full range of equipment and accessories is available from a single supplier you may coordinate items in terms of material, colour and finish, giving an overall effect of harmony and uniformity. Major manufacturers should offer you an extensive range of choice.

Buying the least expensive couch may be a false economy. Such items become shabby quite quickly and will not be sufficiently robust to withstand the demands of a busy salon. If your budget is tight then my advice is to buy quality items that are relevant to your initial needs and as your business prospers, you can gradually enhance your facilities. You are offering a professional service and the investment in equipment should reflect this fact; a quality image will result in customer and employee satisfaction which will give you the return on investment.

Make sure you plan to purchase your equipment well enough in advance, one of the most common statements made to our sales consultants is “I’m opening in 2 weeks time and I am looking for a complete salon suite”!.

Ground work can be carried out well in advance, as long as you have your treatment plans in place you can begin your search for the right equipment to encompass the treatments your salon will be offering, even before you have your premises. Also take into account your longer term business plan and choose equipment that will grow with your business and be able to adapt to perhaps more treatments being introduced as you progress.

Your colour scheme can also be planned well in advance so when you are ordering your equipment you know what finish /colours will match your overall design. e.g. wooden natural theme, clinical colours, or corporate colours.,etc

For your main equipment, such as electronic couches /tables/plinths, treatments chairs you must allow at least 4-6 weeks for its manufacture. If you having bespoke furniture made to your special dimensions then 6 weeks is the absolute minimum you should allow for your equipment to be made. Also if you are ordering from a company who offers a personal installation service with their delivery you need to notify them well in advance of your opening date to ensure that a delivery date is booked for you.

A common error is that more money is spent on the aesthetics’ of the salon and the furniture takes ‘back stage’. Designers and architects are not necessarily the best authority to give you advice on therapy equipment. They know about the things they are qualified to do and that’s design and plan buildings, staircases, flooring, doors and perhaps can advise on plumbing and electrics etc. In our experience they do not have working knowledge of therapists and remember the business you are in is very, very specialist. If you can be lucky enough to have the chance to talk to an actual equipment manufacturer about your equipment needs they have the business knowledge combined with an in depth-product knowledge to best advise and give guidance. They will be well experienced in dealing with salons and spas on a daily basis and will know what will best works in your salon environment and, more importantly, what doesn’t work. They may highlight certain issues that you may not have even considered and would certainly not be considered by an architect.I'm looking to buy a Salon %26amp; Spa. What questions should I ask the owners.?
Number 1: Why are they selling the business? Could mean MANY things.

Number 2: What kind of competition is there?

Number 3: What costs/debt/problems are you inheriting?

Number 4: Is the location good, because that could make all of the difference? How long has this place been in business?

Number 5: Who is going to do the managing of daily activities of the business if it's not you?

Number 6: Think about who is going to leave the company should ownership change and how change might affect morale. Loyalty is huge

Number 7: Think about how much you know about the industry and how this salon %26amp; spa's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, going to affect you

Number 8: How has the advertising been done? If necessary, you should think about a new marketing strategy

Number 9: Look at the financials to see what the profitability is; cash flow statement, balance sheet, income statement, etc.

Number 10: How many times has the ownership changed? If it's many, that's a bad sign

Number 11: What is the mission statement, and if there's not one, you better creat one and create a vision for this business. You can't go anywhere as a business unless you know what direction you want to take it.

Number 12: how are you going to create value for your clients?

Number 13: How have you been keeping your employees happy?

Number 14: Will the culture of the business change and how will you manage that change and adapt to it if that happens?

Number 15: Ask YOURSELF how much you know about the health code regulations with this type of business.

There are so many other questions to ask, but I feel that these are pretty important questions. Something else to think about it what type of exit strategy and time frame you have to give it a try before you default on loans and foreclose on a business.
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