Over the past few years and after several conversations with the owners of smaller, multi-unit salon operations, Qnity’s Tom Kuhn recognized a unique opportunity in the professional salon industry. Sponsored by the International Salon and Spa Business Network and SALON TODAY, Kuhn and Qnity recently launched the 2 to 10 Project, a research study that analyzed then shared the statistics, benchmarks and best practices of salon operations with between two and ten locations.
“Salon operations with between two and 10 locations represent 80 percent of the chain business, but this category of salon business is not very defined,” says Kuhn. “Most benchmarking information is only available for single operations or large chains—not much benchmarking has been done for this group. Working with this group, I’ve heard from many of the owners that it’s lonely out there, and that’s what’s been so great about the ISBN and its support of this study.”
In 2012, 29 salon companies participated in the study by opening up their books to Kuhn and sharing the details of their profit and loss statements. By analyzing them as a group, Kuhn was able to identify benchmarks in all areas of the smaller salon chain business, including information on sales, profitability, cost control, retail, client acquisition and retention, and payroll and commission structures to name a few. On the first afternoon of the 2012 ISBN conference at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Califonia, the owners of those participating 29 salons were invited to a special workshop to share the benchmarks and best practices that emerged from the study and receive a special scorecard that revealed how their own operations measured up compared to the group.
As part of the workshop, Kuhn invited four of the study’s owners to talk about different topics related to growing their salon into a multi-operation business in a special panel:
Frank Zona from Zona Salons in Boston talked about the personal and professional stretch of growing his operation from two locations to three within the past year. Susan Dykstra, general manager of the Van Michael Salons in Atlanta, described how she and Owner Van Council divide leadership responsibilities in his organization. Larry Walt, owner of Design 1 Salons and Spas in Grand Rapids, Michigan, talked about improving employee retention and shared his unique system that incorporates employees in the hiring process by letting them vote a new hire in or out. And, Susan Haise owner of Milwaukee’s Neroli Salons and Spas detailed her multi-pronged system for communicating with members of her growing staff.