To Rent or Own?

February has been a crazy month, and some new business prospects are landing on my plate

Just to recap, I work out of an office space in a busy shopping center that is host to other small business owners. There are two restaurants, one salon, countless other massage therapists, and various other offerings from counseling to lawyers and pool supplies to real estate. I have a cozy, quiet office that allows me to do all the services I offer. A plus is that I pay a much cheaper rent than what the average salon would charge for my space. The downside being that I am separated from other salon professionals on a daily basis (unless I am online or have coffee/lunch with my other professional friends). I also don't have the ability to network directly with hair dressers and meet their clients on the spot when they are recommending me to their clients. (This has always been effective for me, and I highly recommend doing this if you aren’t! Hair dressers are a huge source of referrals. Do their nails and do them well, or in some cases, make their skin glow, give them great eyebrows or a to-die-for-massage, and they will become walking billboards for you!)

The gal who does my hair used to work at the salon in the same shopping center, which was fabulous because the salon didn’t have an esthetician or massage therapist on site. She gave me great referrals and I returned the favor. She has recently moved to a brand new salon about two miles from my current location. This beautiful, modern space is located in the old garage of an old house, and the not-attached house was converted into a day spa. It's darling and charming, and the owner has an available room for rent for an esthetician/massage therapist/manicurist.

And I am considering it. It would put me back to renting from someone, which is going backwards for me in a sense, but it is actually a great option. It is located at a busy intersection, and there is huge opportunity there.

The other thing that happened this month is that a dear massage therapist friend of mine is taking over the salon that I left while I was in manicuring school. She is redoing the decor, trying to bring in new people, and pretty much doing an all over facelift, including eventually changing the name. I have gone over there to do Shellac services and pedicures a few times and have had a good time doing so. Two gentleman manicurists have opened up a non-standard salon right next door. The only blessing being that neither they nor my friend have any sort of wording saying that only one of them can do nails and that the other can’t in their respective lease agreements. There is potential there as well.

Going into either one of these salons puts me back into a rental situation when I would ultimately rather be opening up my own place, which my husband and I have been talking about for months. So many options, and while I don’t have to make a decision immediately (as in: not this week) it's not a bad idea to access where I am at and make sure that I am getting everything out of my current situation that I need.

On a side note, my client referral program that I started last month is working out well, and my friends and clients are excited about it. I have a good friend who is doing a great job of earning herself half off services, which means more clients for me!

My next project (in addition to figuring out my next business move) is making sure that all my clients’ flies are current and up to date.

—Karyn, Body Skin and Nails by Karyn, Roseville, Calif.

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