Chloe Randall

Nail salon franchising: What you need to know & why it is an attractive option

By Chloe Randall | 10 November 2023 | Business, Expert Advice, Feature

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Are you considering franchising your nail salon – or do you want to benefit from an existing business model?

A whopping 85% of franchises are still in business after five years, compared to just 38% of independent start-ups, according to online sales website, Franchise Local. For budding nail and beauty business owners, this makes franchises a very attractive option for long-term success.

What is a franchise?

A franchise is a business model in which an established company (the ‘franchisor’) grants an individual or another company (the ‘franchisee’) with the right to operate a business under its established brand name, systems and practices.

In this arrangement, the franchisee typically pays fees and royalties to the franchisor, in exchange for using their business concept, trademarks and ongoing support. Franchises are found across various industries, from fast food restaurants and retail outlets to hairdressers and beauty salons.

Why run a franchise?

“Most professionals love the idea of owning and running a salon business, but have no idea where to start or how to make it a success,” comments Denise Taylor, managing director at Lemon Tree Nails & Beauty Ltd, which has salons in Cardiff, Totton, Bournemouth and New Milton.

“Franchisors help with locations and keeping costs down, and can also benefit from funding opportunities.

“There is a ready-made appearance for franchise salons, making it easier to set up a business as there is a concept already in place.”

“The beauty of joining a franchise, compared to starting out alone, means that you can turn to your franchisor for guidance and support,” adds Jody Macmillan, UK business development manager at N.Bar, a salon chain with premises in Essex and London.


The process & considerations

“The location of the salon and the individual franchisee is key,” comments Amy Lewis, managing director at Mooeys, a group of six salons across Berkshire, West Sussex and Surrey. “Mooeys works well in affluent market towns that have a strong commuter community.

“There are certain property restrictions and expectations for running a franchise, however we like for each franchisee to put their own stamp on the design and feel of their salon.

“When it comes to the individual, it isn’t necessary to have experience in the industry, as we teach everything the franchisee needs to know about running the business and a team. They don’t need to be a hands-on owner, delivering treatments, but an ‘operator owner’, managing the staffing and financial side of the business.

“The most important thing for me as a franchisor is that the franchisee cares. I can only work with people who care about their team, service and standards, and making others feel great. The rest can be taught, but these qualities are the core values that Mooeys stands by, and anyone we work with has to have the same.”

Is it for you?

Emily Price, chief operating officer at the British Franchise Association, shares key franchise considerations…

• Do you have the money to get through the first year? You are starting a brand new business; it will take time to build up clients before the money starts rolling in.

• Do you have enough savings to be able to pay your regular bills for that first year, until you are earning good money? If not, can you get a loan from your bank or building society and would you be able to repay the money comfortably once your business takes off?

• Are you comfortable with being told exactly what to do? Franchising doesn’t suit everyone, and it particularly doesn’t suit people who like to do it ‘their way’. A franchise only works if the franchisee follows the model pretty much to the letter. If that’s not you, then franchising probably isn’t for you either.

She adds: “Unfortunately, there are still some rogue franchisors who are happy to take your money and effectively let you ‘sink or swim’. To avoid one of those, take the time to talk to all of a business’ franchisees: not just the ones you are pointed towards. Every franchise has a few who are less than happy, so don’t be put off by a couple of grumbles, but if the majority of people say they are well supported, this is a good indication that the franchisor is doing a positive job. If most franchisees can’t wait to tell you how bad the franchisor is, please avoid.”

To read the full feature on franchises, purchase Scratch’s November 2023 issue here.