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Ready to sign a lease for your Salon? Here's what you need to know!

Updated: May 29

Scouting spaces for lease to open your new salon? Keep reading!

You've driven past several plazas everyday on your way to work and see the "FOR LEASE" sign in the window...and everyday, you ask yourself, "could that be my salon?"

As someone who hunted for several years (with and without a commercial agent) before landing the perfect spot to lease for my first salon, I understand the absolute adventure it becomes when trying to find the right space.

I'm going to reveal to you some important things that should be on your radar as a potential renter (that often get overlooked in all of the excitement) as you explore your options.

Let's break down the most commonly overlooked things to be vigilant for when venturing out to open your salon.

First things first: WHAT are you looking for? Are you searching for a busy plaza with lots of foot traffic or a quieter destination spot? Consider this the very first question you ask yourself before you set out on your location search. Get clear on your overarching goal and always move from there.

Ok now let's get into it

My first nugget of advice is to start by looking for a space that was previously a salon. Plumbing is often the most expensive part of any salon buildout and you can more easily adjust existing waterlines and find a more simplistic layout to start with if your new space once connected shampoo units, stations, etc.

Another reason for finding a shop that was previously a salon? New clients will likely already associate your location with a salon and gain traction more quickly.

However, sometimes it can be difficult to find a former salon space or maybe what you're dreaming up means any space you approach is going to need the work of a complete renovation.

If you visit a newly built space that hasn't yet been occupied by a business, it's probably going to look like a shell.....with wires and exposed equipment and unfinished floors. So, what are you looking for in this big empty room?

I remember walking into these hollow boxes thinking "ok, I like this plaza & it's location! But am I going to have to pay to get this space at least up to the basic plumbing so I can design and decorate?"

Seriously. Some of these places can be totally empty and it's challenging to see it for it's potential.

The answer: (usually) No. Ask the landlord what they are willing to upfit or demo, because sometimes you can negotiate having the space (at a minimum) upfit to a 'vanilla box' level so you can proceed with your own salon renovations. Really though - Ask!

Here's what to look for whether you're touring a big empty box or an old doctors office:

  • water lines/plumbing: where is it? slabbed or in the walls? where might you need it to continue?

  • walls: are they load bearing or not? what can you safely remove?

  • windows: locate your natural light sources (aka one of the most important features in a salon and will likely affect your ideal layout)

  • water heater: just be aware of where this is in relation to where you may place your shampoo units as they will need hot water fairly quickly throughout the day.

  • flooring: carpet? tile? tile on tile? planks covering old office carpet?-->(my personal favorite so far). Get a feel for what the current flooring situation is and what you will need to do to remedy it.

  • lighting: florescent, leds, panels, recessed? can you change it? do you want to?

These are all important because some you can work with and some you'll need to properly budget-plan. It's easy to be so excited that these things get swept under the radar!

Negotiating & Securing Lease Agreements

First things first: How much are your payments, how often, and for how long? Which of these 3 are negotiable?

Can you negotiate a balloon lease if your business is new? When negotiating for my first salon space, I was offered a slightly higher rate for a shorter lease and negotiated it into a lower rate that increased to his goal rate over a longer term. Typically, when you're confident about a longer term, you can benefit from a lower rate.

Be aware of:

  • rent increases

  • who is responsible for fixing/repairing things

  • asking for aid in upfitting your space (look into a space being "Vanilla Boxed" if new or request demo if it was a different business prior to your move-in. (This will save you a LOT of money on the front end.)

  • Make sure you know the minimum capacity your salon can handle to avoid defaulting on the lease.

  • Review what would happen if you were to default on your lease agreement

  • Review if there is a clause on what would happen to your lease should the owner sell the building. Peace of mind is everything!

Ask your potential landlord questions about the little things ( that become big things) such as:

  • winter weather parking lot preparation

  • utilities

  • trash/recycling

  • anything you may be responsible for that can impact your day-to-day operations

Last but not least: ask other tenants in the building what their experience has been before you sign. This is a good way to find out how your landlord/tenant relationship will be.


About the blog

Hi, I'm Juli! Stylist, Salon Suite co. Owner, and your personal guide to getting your suite right the first time.

 I'm here to bring ease into your journey of salon ownership by sharing my 10+ years of lessons learned.

Interested in working together? I'm launching a new program for Suite renters designed to give you a triple-threat advantage and help grow your business.

Learn more about The 3-Step Framework and get notified when my books open!

Go get 'em,

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