Opening a Beauty Business: Finding Premises

January 20, 2016

Finding premises for your salon is one of the most important decisions you will make. Here you’ll see why it is so important, and learn how you can find your ideal premises. Getting your choice of premises right will help your salon to operate effectively, with fewer unnecessary costs.

Before you begin, you need to think about your salon needs, and also what you can afford. If you haven’t thought about working from home, you should, because it can be much cheaper than renting commercial space. However, if that isn’t an option, you should start to list what you are looking for in a property.

Location

You need to work out what you need from your premises; what’s really essential for your salon to operate? Usually this is its location, and this unfortunately is something that is overlooked by many businesses when starting up. Choosing the wrong location can impact on both customers and staff. If it is too remote, it can be difficult for them to get to, and your salon may depend on passing trade, or require a location to reflect its image.

Location, location, and location

Even things such as car parking and local transport networks need consideration. If your staff or customers can’t easily get to your premises, your salon is going to struggle. Your customers are less likely to visit your premises and your staff are going to be put off by the commute. You should also be aware of whether rival businesses are already located in the area, and conduct some competitor analysis accordingly.

Building Size

Location is one thing, but the size and layout of the building are also important factors. If you don’t have enough space or the interior is badly laid out, you and your employees may be uncomfortable. You’ll find that processes don’t work efficiently, or the layout or conditions prevent people working well together. As well as this, too little space could limit the chances of growing your salon in the future, if you don’t have room for extra storage, more employees and so on.

Doll salon

When you’re looking at premises with a view to taking them on for your salon, there are some practical factors to consider too. You need to think about whether the facilities are good enough for your employees. Are there any special requirements that you need? Do the premises have adequate water, power and drainage? Do you plan to expand at any point, and would these premises allow you to do this? Once you have considered these sorts of questions, you should write down locations and premises you’d be willing to consider. Include a rough size of building you think you’ll need and any other important requirements that you want from your premises. This information will help you to find what you’re looking for.

Rent or Buy?

Before you rush off to find your premises, there is one last consideration that hugely impacts upon where you locate your salon, and that is the cost. Paying for premises is a major cost for any business, and you will need to balance the location of your salon with how much you can afford. An important factor in the cost of your premises is whether you want to rent or buy. Buying premises is not for everyone, but it can work well for businesses that can afford it. The obvious costs when buying your premises are the purchase price, maintenance, and repairs. But there can be other costs such as solicitors’ fees, building surveys, and stamp duty that you also need to think about.

Rent or buy?

On top of this, you will also have to get a commercial mortgage, and this isn’t always easy. It’s likely that you will have to find at least 15% of the purchase price to qualify for a mortgage. It can be a time consuming and sometimes stressful process. You will also need to be confident that you can afford the mortgage repayments. However, buying premises isn’t all bad, and doing so can bring some major advantages. For starters, you’ll own the property, and that means you can do almost anything you like with it. For example, you could change the lay out, and how it is decorated. You can stay there as long you like. You don’t have to pay rent. As well as this, your property might go up in value; meaning you could sell the premises in the future for a profit if you no longer needed it, or you could even rent it out to someone else.

Shop to let

However, as attractive as buying premises may seem, it is often unrealistic. Most businesses choose to rent property, simply because properties for rent are usually easier to find, cheaper than buying premises, and are often more flexible. You can agree the conditions of your salon lease in advance, and legally you are usually well protected.

Even renting a salon property can have its downsides though. You will usually have to pay a premium to buy the lease, and depending on who you deal with, this can be expensive. It is also likely that you will be responsible for maintaining and repairing the building, even though you don’t own it.

Although you’ll have to do this, you may not be allowed to change the interior, which is a problem if you want to expand or improve the layout, or incorporate your salon’s branding into the décor. You might even find that the landlord wants to increase your rent when it’s reviewed. So you should always take this in to account when you’re looking at premises at the top end of your budget. Due to these factors, you need to make sure that renting is the best option for you before taking on a property. Commercial leases often run for a minimum of 15 years, and that would be a very long time to put up with the wrong premises.

 

Legalities and Costs

Whether you decide to buy or rent premises, make sure that you always check the legal terms before you agree to anything. Make sure that there are no hidden clauses, obligations or costs in there that could come back to haunt you. For leases in particular, always check that you are not committing to an overly long period of time, that you can afford the repayments in the agreement, and that you can also keep to your side of the deal.

If you are buying the premises, make sure that you can afford the mortgage repayments, insurance and all the other costs associated with owning a property. Always use a commercial property solicitor to check through your lease or mortgage. Though it may be costly, they will be able to explain the contract in detail and show you any pitfalls. They might even be able to help you negotiate a better deal. Just remember; when working out what you can afford, there are other costs as well as mortgage and rental payments. You might need new equipment for your premises, such as IT and telephones, salon chairs and sinks, mirrors etc. It is also likely that you will have to pay someone to move you in to your new premises. These might all seem like small costs, but they will add up, and if you haven’t budgeted correctly, it could cause you some concern.

Charges add up

Now that you know what to look for, you also need to know where to look. It isn’t that difficult, but you need to do your research. Check local and specialist newspapers for properties, or ask local surveyors, your local authority, local chambers of commerce, or even your trade association. You can even ask any personal or industry contacts that you might have. You can get a commercial agent to do this for you. They are essentially estate agents for businesses, and should be able to find properties to match your needs.

Make sure you have a generous list of possible premises to look through. Don’t set your sights on just one. It might be out of your price range, or it might not be that suitable. Be thorough, stick to your requirements and what you can afford, and you’ll find the right salon premises.

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