Franchising: The ins and outs
Thought about opening your own salon? Always been too nervous to take the plunge? Franchising could be the option for you. Andy Phouli, Chairman of Rush Hair, reveals what it means to franchise.
What is franchising? For many people when they think of franchising they think of large international companies such as McDonald’s, Subway and Domino’s Pizza, but franchising in the hairdressing industry has been around for many years. Franchising allows you to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself. It’s all about relationships. If, as an individual you want to go into business but feel you’d have a greater success running a business under the umbrella of a larger successful brand, with systems in place for everything from HR to recruitment – then franchising is for you. Franchising is about the franchisor’s brand values and standards, how they support their franchisees, how the franchisor meets their obligations to the franchisee and, most importantly, the working relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee.
What are the benefits of franchising over setting up on your own? You have the autonomy of running your own business but with the benefits of having the systems, training and procedures of a large organisation. Opening your own business can be scary; it was for Stell and I when we opened the first Rush salon over 20 years ago. We’ve learnt huge lessons as the years have gone by and understand how important it is to have systems and procedures in place for every aspect of the business. Anyone franchising with Rush receives the full package of over 20 years of experience backed up by excellent systems and first class training.
How much money would a potential franchisee need? As a guideline, for a Rush Franchise, you would need a minimum investment of £15,000. There are lots of other factors to be taken into consideration such as the location or the salon refit, so each case is treated individually.
What are the chances of success as a franchisee? As with any business, success isn’t handed to you on a plate. Whether you franchise or decide to open independently, you have to put the work in. We’ve had franchise salons for almost 10 years now and they continue to grow and develop because the franchisee is continually working on evolving and growing their business. Several of our franchisees now have two very successful Rush franchisees and are looking to open additional Rush franchise salons in the not too distant future. I believe you have a better chance of success as a franchisee as you have the support and guidance of the franchisor. It’s our job as a franchisor to ensure, especially in the important first 12 months, that systems are working; clients are returning and fantastic hairdressing and great service is offered to each and every client.
On average, how long is the process from making that first call to setting up your salon? On average it takes approximately six months. After the initial interview and consultation process, you start your journey on our training programme, which offers fantastic hands-on experience in salon and in our in-house academy training facilities. You’ll also receive training days in all of our departments including Marketing, HR, Operations and our Call Centre, to give you a taste and understanding of all the processes and systems within the company. Finding the property can be time consuming, but we have a team that is constantly on the look out for suitable premises.
What can a Rush franchisee expect to get? There are many benefits to becoming a Rush franchisee and training comes exceptionally high on that list. Outstanding training underpins everything we do at Rush. With our Training Academy in Croydon we provide hairdressing education from basic NVQ training to advanced. We have the best in the business heading up our training programme – Andy Heasman, Chris Williams, Tina Farey and Paola Pinto, to name just four. We also provide business and management training for all franchisees. Our team works with them on a one-to-one basis to ensure every aspect of running a successful business is supported and addressed. As the franchisor we’re on hand to support and guide the franchisee through any challenges they may have. We have a large team of experts in their field who are there to ensure the franchise is successful, profitable and provides a secure future for the franchisee and their team.
How much control will a franchisee have over aspects of their salon such as interior design, services offered, etc.? As the salon is under the Rush banner, they will have to adhere to our branding. We have a distinct look in salon design, but at the same time we are sympathetic to the salon’s location and style of property. We’re just about to open a new franchise in Greenwich and we found a window that’s over 100 years old – which has now become an important part of the design. It was the same with our Chelmsford franchise, the building had beautiful beams and we made this a feature of the design and even tweaked our colour palette to suit the style of the building. We also have a menu of services, which all salons provide to their clients. With regards to service, as a company we set very high standards and are more than happy if franchisees add individual touches, which make the client’s salon experience even more enjoyable.
What happens if a franchisee wants to set up on their own after their time as a franchisee? Is this an option? Who knows what the future will hold and sometimes circumstances change and people have to move on. Running your own business isn’t for everyone and sometimes you have to try it and experience it before you know it’s not right for you.