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To Compete Against Other Salons, Sport Clips Made It Easier for Franchisees to Run Their Businesses

It upgraded the point-of-sale systems at all 1,750 locations and introduced online check-in, a service popular with competitors.

This story appears in the January 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jeff Burroughs lives in a rural area south of Baltimore and in 2009 was seeking a side gig while working full-time in the auto industry. The options were limited. He needed something flexible that would allow him to coach his sons' football and baseball teams and continue his civic duties as a volunteer firefighter. That's how he found what would become far more than a side gig: Franchising.

Courtesy of Sport Clips

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"Originally, I bought a three-pack of Sport Clips to pay for my kids' college," he says, by which he means three units of the salon where men and boys come to get haircuts and watch sports on the shop's myriad televisions. But pretty quickly, he realized how much his professional skills could bolster his small businesses, and today he owns 17 locations, with two more in the works. "I don't need to know how to cut hair. I just need to coach people, and I know how to coach, manage and market."

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Burroughs is the type of franchisee helping fuel Sport Clips' growth. When he started, he was advised that certain counties in his area could support only one Sport Clips location. But he knew what would work in his region; now most have two. Sport Clips in total opened 130 locations in 2017 and aims to hit 2,000 salons by 2019, focusing on California, the Northeast and the upper Midwest.

Sport Clips isn't alone in the marketplace, of course -- even a quick flip through our top 10 franchise list will tell you that. So in 2017, to help its franchisees compete, the brand made operations even easier: It upgraded the point-of-sale systems at all 1,750 locations and introduced online check-in, a service popular with competitors like Great Clips. "I feel positive about the impact that will have and how it will make the experience more convenient for our clients," says founder and CEO Gordon Logan.

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Burroughs watches the competition, but he welcomes it as well. "I've got one [location] in the top 30 nationwide, and I've got one that struggles," he says. "You're always going to have pluses and minuses. Frankly, I learn the most from the minuses and use that to make the other locations even better."

For more on franchises, check out 2018's Franchise 500 list.

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