In this post (and review), I’m going to tell you why Great Clips is one of the top franchise business opportunities around. And how good the company is.
The Great Clips Franchise
Created in 1982, Great Clips® is one of the most recognized franchise names in the hair salon industry, with a robust presence throughout North America.
The founders, David Rubenzer and Steve Lemmon, came up with the idea of creating a walk-in haircare salon with weekend and evening hours.
Fast forward to now, and it turns out that their idea was a game-changer, as there are now over 4,000 Great Clips franchise salons up and running.
But what is it that makes Great Clips a great franchise business?
5 Things Great Clips Does Great
1. Great Clips Franchise Model
30% of the people who reach out to me for my franchise advice are interested in “semi-absentee” franchise opportunities.
Specifically, they’re aspiring franchisees who want to keep their current jobs while starting a business. And for some of them, Great Clips is the perfect fit.
That’s because Great Clips prefers awarding franchises to people who are currently employed and have the means* to invest in Great Clips franchises.
*Great Clips has stringent financial requirements for aspiring franchisees.
Namely, you need to have a minimum net worth of $300,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000 (depending on the needs of their market), and liquid assets of $75,000, $100,000, or $250,000. In addition, would-be franchise owners need to have a credit score of at least 675.
That said, experience tells me that you really need to have a net worth approaching $1 million. Why?
Because, as a franchise, Great Clips focuses on multi-unit salon ownership.
Here’s a breakdown of the initial startup costs for one Great Clips salon.
Great Clips Franchise Cost
|Initial Ad Fund Contribution||$5,000||$5,000|
|Leasehold Improvements and Site Fees*||$119,800||$268,900|
|Additional Funds for 12 Months||$15,000||$55,000|
|Grand Opening Advertising||$20,000||$25,000|
|Training, Travel, and Living Expenses (per participant)||$1,500||$2,500|
So as you can see, if you plan on owning 3 GC franchises, your total cost (over time) will be close to $1 million. And there aren’t many franchisees in the system who own less than 3 salons.
2. “Great Clips Near Me”
GC excels at marketing. And here’s how you can quickly see for yourself.
Just open a new window in your browser and type in “Great Clips near me.”
Pretty good, huh? Especially if you need a haircut.
And while a lot of businesses can quickly be found with the “near me” internet search, the executive team at Great Clips headquarters doesn’t play when it comes to helping their franchisees have a powerful online presence.
That’s because they’ve wisely focused their efforts on top-level digital marketing initiatives. Like SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and a robust local online presence.
In addition, the company has a strong, easily recognized brand. One that has taken years to build.
I’m talking about a salon franchise that has developed a loyal customer base that appreciates the brand’s commitment to affordability, convenience, and quality.
Finally, GC has several advertising plays, like the excellent ones I’ve seen used in Northeast Ohio, live, during Cleveland Guardians television broadcasts.
Now before I share 3 more great things about the Great Clips franchise salon business opportunity, I need to mention something that was recently done to help improve (and update) the brand.
A Bold, Revamped Salon Design for Great Clips Franchise Salons
Great Clips has embarked on a total salon makeover with a clear aim – to distinguish itself even more from its competitors.
This exciting overhaul, dubbed “Greenlight,” has quickly revitalized the overall aesthetic of Great Clips franchise salons, introducing a design that can be easily adopted by existing franchisees. Look!
It’s pretty sharp.
By boosting brand awareness and maintaining a fresh, appealing image, Great Clips is solidifying its top spot in the franchise hair salon market today…and for years to come.
Let’s continue with the 5 things that make the Great Clips franchise business a great one.
3. January, 2001
That’s the month I attended formal training in Solana Beach, California. It’s story time.
After I was canned from my management job at a franchised automobile store, I was angry, lost, and…angry and lost. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Plus, I was a new dad. I had “obligations.” But I can tell you what I didn’t want to do.
I didn’t want to be in the automotive business working for a bunch of idiots anymore. And this is when my dad came up with an idea.
“Joel, why don’t you join my firm and do what I do?”
“The job requires salesmanship, public speaking, networking and the like. You’re good at all of it. I’ll fly you out to California to get trained by a master, and you can become a franchise broker. You would do great.”
Me: But there’s no salary. How can I do it? We have Grace at home, and Jeannine doesn’t make enough for us to live on.”
Dad didn’t want to hear it. He “knew” I would kick ass at it.
A couple of months later I was on a plane. And the training was incredible. 3 months later I did my first deal.
I stayed with it for 7-8 years, and a couple of them were pretty darn good ones.
I’m not a broker anymore…I haven’t been for a long time, but I did learn a lot about franchising.
“And what does this have to do with the Great Clips franchise, Joel?”
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I’m glad you asked.
3….Continued: What My Dad Told Me About Great Clips
After I came back from training, my dad and I talked about the things I learned, including some of the franchise names that came up.
“Wait until you learn about Great Clips and meet some of the people who run it.”
Me: “What do you mean dad?”
“Great Clips is probably the best franchise organization we work with, Joel. They’re super-professional, they have great ethics, and they offer a terrific opportunity for the right person. And they do lots of deals.”
Turns out my dad was right. On all fronts.
They are a great company to work with, and the folks I’ve met over the years are good people and highly-professional. In a nutshell, it’s their stellar reputation as a franchisor that sets them apart.
To summarize, if you’re looking for a multi-unit franchise opportunity, have the means, and live in an area where GC is still available, I encourage you to request information from franchise headquarters. You’ll see what I mean.
4. The Company Is Picky As Hell
Let’s say you’re interested in learning more about the GC franchise opportunity, and you submit a franchising information request.
If you do that, you’ll receive an email acknowledgment from headquarters and you’ll be asked to type in a few available times for an introductory phone call with one of their incredibly skilled and professional franchise development reps.
During this call, you and your rep will get to know each other a bit, and get territory availability along with the financial information needed to become a Great Clips franchisee in your geographic area. So far so good.
Then, if all goes well, you’ll participate in a week-by-week process where you’ll learn everything you need to know about the franchise opportunity.
And during this time (4-6 weeks), they’ll be learning about you, too. How?
By watching how you go through their process. For example:
- Are you following directions?
- Are you doing your homework assignments?
- Are you asking intelligent questions?
- Are you nice?
- Do you understand the financials?
And much, much more.
Why are they studying you so much?
As in, “Wait Joel, I’m the person about to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars…aren’t I supposed to be looking hard at them?”
Me: “I understand. But here’s the deal. The Great Clips franchise development team is picky as hell.”
Translation: they only award franchises to candidates that they consider to be exceptional. That means GC turns down a lot of franchisee candidates.
And it’s the fact that the company is picky that makes Great Clips a premier franchise business opportunity and a top-shelf franchisor.
What? You don’t believe me?
Fine. Just promise me you’ll ask them about their extremely low franchisee failure rate.
Opinion: if more franchisors had the courage to turn aspiring franchisees down, their success rates would go up, too.
5. GC Technology
If you’ve ever done business with your local Great Clips salon, you’re probably aware of their powerful Online Check-In® process. In essence, you can put your name on a waiting list online from anywhere.
Then, after you’ve checked in online (on greatclips.com or the Great Clips app), you’ll be asked if you want to receive a ReadyNext text. If you decide to opt in, you’ll get your ReadyNext text alert when your estimated wait time reaches 15 minutes, so you can drive over to the salon. Talk about convenience!
Note: more than 7 million customers now use the Great Clips mobile app.
Another way GC uses technology is Clip Notes.
These “notes” are added to your profile by your stylist.
They include things like the shape or type of haircut you like, clipper settings, amount taken off, desired length of hair or sideburns and more.
It enables you to go to any one of the 4,000+ GC salons anywhere in the country, and pretty much get the same hairstyle you always get, as the stylists can pull your name up on the system and get the particulars.
Finally, the technology the company provides for their franchisees includes web-based business intelligence tools, a top-of-the-line Point of Sale (POS) system, and a tablet-based app that delivers critical operational data for every salon in real time.
Bonus: One More Reason Why Great Clips Is A Premier Franchise Opportunity
I asked the President of Great Clips (who I’ve known for almost 20 years), to name one thing he feels sets GC apart from other franchises. Here’s what Rob Goggins told me:
“Joel, if I had to start with the main thing it would be our strong focus on partnering with, and listening to, our 750 franchisees.”
Thank you, Rob!
Tip: When you’re doing your franchise due diligence, ask the franchisees if the franchisor listens to their concerns. It’s important.
Great Clips has built a franchise system that prioritizes franchisee success.
One way they do that is by being picky about who they award franchises to.
Another thing GC does is they offer an incredible franchise opportunity for people who want to remain employed while launching a business. It’s truly a compelling and proven business model for the right person.
Next is their marketing prowess. The marketing team knows how to fill seats. And they excel at online marketing and SEO.
Another great thing about Great Clips?
Their technology for both consumers and franchisees is second to none. It’s actually award-winning.
Finally, Great Clips employs great people, from the top down.
Their executive team is second to none.
Their franchise development team is 1st-class.
And let’s not forget their I.T. department, marketing department, trainers, administrative team, along with all the other people who keep the GC ship sailing on a smooth course.
A course that’s truly great.
P.S. like any business venture, success as a Great Clips franchisee is not guaranteed, but earned.
That means you need to ensure you’re a good fit before you write a check to the company. Of course you will need to have enough money for multi-unit franchise ownership.
Finally, as with any other franchise you’re thinking about buying, you need to do careful research.
Great Clips Franchise Opportunity FAQ’s
Franchisee profit varies, depending on the location, lease prices, cost of goods and more. Consult the FDD for earnings claims and talk to as many franchisees as you can to get individual franchisee profit information.
No previous experience in haircare or beauty is required for franchise hair salon ownership. But experience in business operations and financial management is recommended.
The Great Clips team provides initial training on operating a salon, ongoing education on new products and services, marketing and advertising assistance, and ongoing operational support. The company also offers resources for site selection and salon design to help ensure the success of each franchise location.
The site selection process for a Great Clips franchise is a collaborative effort between the franchisee and the franchisor. Great Clips has a team of real estate professionals who assist in the process, using market research and demographic data to identify potential locations. Like most franchise opportunities, franchisees are heavily involved in the final decision-making process, ensuring they feel confident in the selected business location.
Yes, Great Clips offers opportunities for multi-unit franchise ownership. In fact, the company encourages franchisees to own multiple units as a way to increase their potential earnings and take full advantage of the economies of scale provided by the franchise system.