Are You Sure Your Franchisor Has Your Back?
Franchisees Pat McLaughlin and James Cummings jumped into their Great Clips business with gusto, opening three salons in six months. McLaughlin is a chiropractor and Cumming is an attorney, though McLaughlin only practices one day a week and Cumming just sold his law practice. They had no experience operating hair salons, but since Great Clips is intended to be a manager-run business, this wasn’t a barrier to ownership.
They signed their first agreement and were ready to take on the world operating a walk-in hair salon. When it started to go a bit off track, they wondered if they had bitten off more than they could chew. They quickly realized they needed help, so they reached out to the franchise corporate office.
“That was the best thing we did,” McLaughlin says. “Great Clips was instrumental in helping us correct our course. They sent one of their operations specialists to see what was going on, which was invaluable.”
The specialist helped McLaughlin and Cummings develop better hiring and organizational business practices, and to be patient to see the changes they were making have an effect on their business.
“Turns out we needed to do a better job actually following the Great Clips process, instead of trying to create our own,” McLaughlin says. “Go figure!”
Using support from the home office and guidance from other franchisees, and participating in the multiple learning opportunities their franchisor provided, McLaughlin and Cummings managed to stabilize their operations.
Once they felt they had their feet back underneath them, they made the somewhat surprising decision to purchase more salons — 12 more, to be exact.
“Going big was a turning point. We went to 15 salons overnight. Now we were big time.” McLaughlin says.
It also meant the two franchisees could attend a program offered by Great Clips to help their larger franchisee organizations plan for the future and share best practices with some of the most successful franchisees in the Great Clips system. Being able to compare notes and learn best practices from other franchisees was invaluable to their growing operations.
Today, McLaughlin and Cummings own 48 salons across North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. They have grown at a rate above the system average, setting multiple sales and customer records.
So do they feel they’ve mastered what it takes to be a successful franchisee?
“Let me put it this way,” McLaughlin says. “Being a franchisee is a lot like golf—you never master it 100 percent. But just like my golf game, I will always have goals for improvement!”
McLaughlin has high praise for how Great Clips supports its franchisees and offers these suggestions to prospective franchisees for vetting a franchisor about how they handle adversity.
- Find out how the franchisor supports new franchisees before they open a store, after they open a store, and at every stage down the road.
- Ask to talk to a franchisee who struggled in the beginning to get first-hand testimony about how the franchisor responded.
- Find out what learning opportunities are offered to new and established franchisees. Good franchisors know what works and what doesn’t work. Make sure they have a system for helping franchisees learn all that they can.
“Our franchise organization is a great example of why Great Clips works,” McLaughlin says. “The company is there when you’re doing well, and we are proof that they’re also there when you need support. The system works, if you apply it. That’s the beauty of a Great Clips franchise.”
If you want to know more about the support services available to Great Clips franchisees, especially if you’re interested in investing in a manager-run business with a 35-plus-year record of success, Great Clips wants to hear from you. Cick here or call Great Clips today at 800-947-1143.