Chances are good that sooner or later the time will come to relocate the salon. Whether spurred by a change in landlords, growing pains, the relocation of a family member, or natural disaster — moving is a major undertaking.
Time to inventory your resources. Do you have access to labor? Will family, friends, or staff help with the physical move? What new equipment will the salon need? What will you do with the old equipment? The questions can be dizzying. Where to start? With a list! We’ve started the list for you with some key items you won’t want to forget. It may help to jot things down as you think of them. You can then research them and assign a time frame and a dollar amount needed to complete. Most of the salon professionals we talked with stressed the need to stay within a budget, so you may also want to mark some of the things on your list as needs, wants, or just pure fantasy. The point is to start planning your move as far out as possible and to be able to adjust.
When Shannon Stickman, co-owner of Seven Salon, in Omaha, Neb., looked at the possibility of moving, the salon was looking for more space. What she found was a location with a modern feel near a main intersection in Omaha. “The staff helped by painting and cleaning. One Sunday, we packed up the old salon and moved to the new one. We kept a lot of the equipment from the salon that had previously been there.”
It’s possible the new location may need some alterations to house a salon. One of the biggest obstacles for Katrina Bell of Laws of Attraction salon in Bridgeport, Ohio, was ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliancy. “Everything had to measured precisely and spaced a certain way. We had to install a handicapped toilet, sink, faucet, and door handles.” She also stresses the importance of securing funds — especially if you are renting a building. “You never know what will happen,” she says. “The owner might get sick or run into financial problems and may need to sell the building or worse — it could go into foreclosure.” After announcing her intent to move the salon, several staff members decided not to follow. The new building was purchased in March and the salon was open by December, with the help of an architect, a professional electrician (which was required by law), a contractor, a laborer, and family. They made the move with only three nail techs.
Monica Kitching of Nail Boutique in Brackenfall, Cape Town, South Africa, moved her salon from Port Elizabeth when her husband was transferred for work. Her biggest obstacle? “Starting from scratch! I had to build my clientele from nothing, as I had to leave six years worth of clients behind. My old clientele was very sad but wished me the best of luck. My new clientele was a bit skeptical, as I had to prove myself first. It took a week to move everything. I packed all my nail products in the car so I could start working as soon as we were settled.”
After years of operating in a larger location, Brenda Gibson of Brenda Gibson Center for Nails in Perrysburg, Ohio, made the liberating decision to downsize. After holding a big garage sale to unburden her salon of unneeded equipment, Gibson moved to a space large enough for her, her daughter, and a hairdresser. Armed with the same phone number she had for nine years and a location a mere half-mile from the original, she was free to spend more time pursuing educating.
Nancy Donatone McCoy, owner of McCoy Nail Salon in Walnut, Miss., has experienced a myriad of reasons to move.
Expanding, downsizing, catering to the location of her target market, and finally, being more accessible to her son whom she homeschools. Finding appropriate locations was a chore but each time the property owner was willing to make changes to accommodate her salon at no cost to her. She is proof that, sometimes, all you have to do is ask. And, there is another move on the horizon for McCoy. “I have always wanted my salon to be in a historic, downtown building in a busy business district — and to add tanning services to my menu.” McCoy’s husband has started a new job in another town and they are waiting for the house to sell. All these moves have taught her a thing or two about the process. She also keeps the same phone number. Learning to negotiate with property owners has ensured that she could reduce overhead and get things like utilities included in the rent.
When the salon in which Shannon Chomanczuk was booth renting closed instead of being sold, she was forced to step out and relocate. Stretched between performing services at the old location and preparing the new location for opening day, she was able to make it happen in a month. “I am very lucky to have a husband who is a carpenter, a brother-in-law who works for the phone company, and very helpful parents and in-laws.” Would she have done anything differently? Chomanczuk, currently the owner of A Polished Image in New Windsor, N.Y., replies, “Given myself more time to work on the new location.”
To Do Before the Move
☐ Update client contact information.
☐ Develop a budget and moving fund.
☐ Back-up all business records off-site.
☐ Research licensing requirements and codes for any prospective locale.
☐ Collect information on salon furnishings.
☐ Decide if you are up for a name or logo change.
☐ Assess how invested you want to be in a salon. Do you want to build it to sell or just have a place to work?
☐ Keep an eye on what the market is doing in your area. Is it expanding or contracting?
Packing for the Move
> Plan on hand-carrying anything extremely valuable or breakable.
> Mark all boxes clearly. List the room of the salon and the contents. Keep an ongoing inventory with box numbers so you won’t have to open 15 boxes to find the extension cord.
> Wrap items with repurposed bubble wrap or newsprint and pack in sturdy boxes. It helps if the boxes are similar sizes.
> Lock the moving truck if you are doing it yourself.
> Assemble more help than you plan to need, and plan on feeding and entertaining the help.
> Avoid moving flammables if it is more than across town. If hiring professional movers, they will likely restrict the contents they will move or warehouse.
> Have a professional relocate the signage, if appropriate.
> Talk with your accountant and plan to take advantage of any special tax credits.
> Get an insurance check-up.
> Secure back-up funding for emergencies.
> Keep an eye on your credit report to prevent unwelcome surprises when shopping leases.
> Plan for utility deposits.
> If moving into a busy shopping center, will the salon be the only salon? Ask for an exclusive deal.
> Have any contracts looked over by an experienced business attorney.
Tips for Relocating
> Sort items as they are packed. Purge any unwanted items early on. Consider donating usable equipment to a local beauty school. If it’s sticky or worn, let it go!
> Start having supplies delivered to the new location ahead of the move. Use up what you have in the old location.
> Plan to have utilities turned off at the old location after the move and turned on at the new location well ahead of the move.
> Hire a technology company to route phone lines, cables, and set up computers.
> Allow extra days for city and state inspections and unforeseen work that may need to be done.
> Try to build in wiggle room on the departure date from the old salon.
> Notify everyone you have business with of your change of address. Don’t count on mail forwarding for items like magazine subscriptions.
> Keep a binder with contracts, paint chips, fabric swatches, lists, etc., that pertain to the move.
> Inspect any rental equipment before leaving the rental company to avoid being charged for damages that you didn’t incur. Pay attention to insurance needs on rental equipment. Leave the gas tanks full on moving trucks to avoid hefty fuel charges.
> Ask property owners, codes and compliance, state boards, etc., if there are any permits you may need. Every location is different.
> Talk with state board about interior requirements for the salon.
> Sign up online with major home improvement stores. Many have moving help sections and even send out percent-off coupons to help with things like paint and plumbing supplies.
> Remind clients of the moving date. Update telephone prompts with directions to the new salon and any parking requirements.
> Collect menus from nearby restaurants and get to know your new neighbors.
> Carry a flashlight for any late night trips to inspect the build-out before power is turned on. Make a note about any needed security measures, such as lighted entrances, doorbells, alarms, etc.
> Consider doing a video walk-through of the old and new locations as a benchmark for how the properties were left and found.
> Draw the floor plan and measure rooms. A measuring tape can help you plan the space and avoid costly mistakes.
> Try to look at salon furnishings in person. Colors can vary online and it’s hard to determine quality.
> Update the employee manual with emergency plans, etc.
> Update social media and marketing — anywhere your address appears. Do an online search to find locations you may have missed such as free telephone directories.
Marketing a New Location
> Tap into social media. Facebook fan pages, Twitter, Ning, Myspace, and more offer platforms to share what’s going on in your salon.
> Reward long-time clients by holding a soft opening and giving them the opportunity to prebook premium appointment times.
> Offer tours of the new location before opening day.
> Call the local newspaper. Have before and after photos and staff bios.
> Distribute the new salon menu to all existing clients and to local hotels.
> Postcards listing your old and new location can be quickly dropped in the mail.
> E-newsletters keep salon patrons up-to-date and are the perfect place to tuck coupons.
> Consider bag stuffers with coupons and a moving notice.
> Hold an open house with mini treatments, door prizes, and food.
> Showcase local professionals by hosting mini lectures on interesting topics.
> When calling to remind clients of appointments, let them know about the new location and offer directions and information on parking.
> Offer to speak at the local beauty college. It’s a great way to give back to the community and to network and locate potential employees.
> Ask your best clients for referrals.
> Get involved with the local chamber of commerce. Most have mixers and business after hours events where you can meet other business people.
> Host a campus girls’ night out with freebies and light fare to get young people into the salon.
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