I Want To See P&Ls for All Involved!

I bought a Brazilian Blowout on DealChicken this week. (Yay for straight hair!) I called the number for the shop to schedule my appointment and got a voicemail saying I could leave a message or go online to schedule.

Awesome!

As social as I am in person, I am just the opposite on the phone. I would much rather get/send a text or an email. And, playing phone tag is the worst especially since I don't answer if I don't know the number and then end up with a voice mail that I "might" listen to in a week.

So, I jumped online and googled the salon, Fancy That, and found the link to schedule. It was clearly a software scheduling service but it was great. The web pages looked professional and clean. The scheduling part was easy. You just picked the service you wanted then an optional stylist and the date. Up came a page with the price and the available times. One click and a name and phone number entered later and it was done!

I was all set to ask a multitude of questions about the software (the company is called Vagaro and it's designed for spas and salons) but then I got to the building this morning and had even more questions!

First, to the software. It's pretty slick and template driven so you don't have to be web savvy to set it up. You program in your hours of operation, services and the amount of time each service takes. When someone schedules, it considers that data and what's already on your schedule and only shows appointment times where you won't get doubled up. The salon owner, Kim, said it was a little scary losing control at first because she was used to keeping a paper calendar book but she can't imagine going back. (See, Barb Young, people can give up a physical calendar!)

I asked her about other features like inventory and financials. She said it can be used to track inventory but she didn't use that feature and she uses Square to process her credit cards. We then had a long conversation about the challenges of tracking salon inventory per appointment as it's so variable. I gave her some ideas on tracking but made it clear I'm no Accountant, I just know enough to know "stuff".

Then, the real interrogation began. You see, when I pulled up to the address it was to find a two story building with a big sign saying "Signature Salon". There was a directory inside the front door and it was clear that every place in there belonged to a stylist, nail tech or skin care professional. Each place was numbered and under lock and key like an individual office.

So, the scoop is that the building was designed specifically to house these types of businesses. You get a decent sized room (some are larger than others) can use their furniture or your own and paint and decorate in your room/salon as you wish. Part of your rent goes to the common area which had a nice lobby with magazines and comfy chairs. The renter is responsible for cleaning inside their room and the building management takes care of the common area.

What a great idea!

I've gone to many stylists who rent chairs at an existing shop. The upside is that there's usually someone there on your days off to schedule appointments for you and you can share walk-ins. A very big downside is that you either have to lock all of your stuff up each night or risk someone "borrowing" your product or your equipment. It can also be a very drama heavy environment as anyone who's watched Tabatha's Salon Takeover knows. (Yes, I watched a reality show but, to be fair, I only watched it when I was getting my hair done.)

I'm not sure they get many walk-ins at this place, it's mostly geared to people with established clientele but with an online scheduling service and an easy lock up, I think it's a major win over renting within a salon.

I really would like to see the profit and loss statements for Vagaro, Signature Salon and a sample of the renters of the latter. My hope is that they're all profitable because I think it's all genius and I'd like to validate my assessment skills.

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