How multi-unit ownership helps you achieve lifestyle goalsJune 21, 2018
Our salon business opportunity will help you scale up quickly to increase your earnings potential and achieve your dreams
Scott and Selina Hansen never thought they would be running their own hair salon empire. In fact, when the two met at church more than 20 years ago, Selina was competing with her sister for Scott’s attention. “May the best woman win,” her sister challenged. The younger sibling won that challenge as a friendship with Scott blossomed into a romance, which led to starting a family and then a business partnership. Now, the Hansens are a family of six who own six Fantastic Sams hair salon franchises in the suburbs of Mapleton, Utah.
The oldest full-service unisex salon in the country — with more than 1,000 franchise locations and counting — provided the Hansens an opportunity to purchase multiple locations at once and achieve the financial freedom and lifestyle goals they wanted, which was to live in an area they love and enjoy it with their four children.
No salon experience necessary
Scott might not have known the difference between a bob and a pixie when they purchased their salons in 2017, but as a mall manager for 25 years, he did understand things like leases, marketing and day-to-day operations. He likens managing a mall to running a small city, which might explain why he has served his community well as a city councilman for the past six years. As an accountant, Selina understood a profit and loss sheet. As a team, they are building an encore career for themselves by growing a Fantastic Sams fiefdom an hour south of Salt Lake City. Scott knew the future was looking grim for shopping malls and was considering his next move when the couple heard of a local businessman retiring and looking to sell all six of his franchises. The salon business opportunity seemed doable.
“At the time, we didn’t realize purchasing six was a lot. We thought, ‘no big deal, it’s kinda like kids,’” laughs Scott. “It just made sense because we could do it, and we were looking to replace my salary. Fantastic Sams has a good vision, excellent field-level support and an established name. And there’s no Amazon. We like the fact we don’t have to compete with online sales (unlike a mall).”
The $75 billion beauty industry, which is showing no signs of slowing, has proven to be recession-resistant, especially for Fantastic Sams, which offers a premium salon experience at an affordable price for the entire family.
Making it work
The Hansens’ Fantastic Sams story is uniquely theirs in that they bought six existing salons through a combination of an SBA loans and prior owner financing. However, Fantastic Sams also provides incentives for multi-unit ownership and financing assistance to its franchisees.
While one salon license is $30,000, a 3-pack is $50,000, and a 5-pack is $70,000, offering owners a substantial discount up front when buying multiple units. The Fantastic Sams Strategic Bank Program is a partnership with The Bancorp Bank and Radius Bank, which provides startup funding for franchisees entering the system as well as expansion and remodeling funding for existing franchises. For franchisees that may qualify for a financing arrangement, 15% down may be an option, allowing for access to working capital to begin building their Fantastic Sams empire.
Fantastic Sams works with owners on a development schedule that works for them, so they can grow into multi-unit ownership successfully. For the Hansens, the all-at-once purchase of a profitable business meant reinvesting. Two locations received a full remodeling with the brand’s New Image look, complete with new logos, imagery and sleek ultra-modern interior, “a high-end salon experience without the high-end salon price.” The other four locations received a “refresh.”
“Everything we did was to improve the guest experience. We are very client-oriented. If they come in having a bad day, we want them to enjoy being here and leave smiling, 100 percent satisfied,” said Scott.
Juggling six salons at once might have been a bit daunting at first, but the Hansens quickly realized economies of scale. They save on digital marketing and accounting costs and can move stylists and managers around between stores to cover shifts as needed.
Because the salons are so easily scaled, 70% of Fantastic Sams’ franchisees own multiple locations. Whether it is two or 27 units (the largest multi-unit owner in Minneapolis), all Fantastic Sams franchisees receive the same level of franchisee support, including field-level support with a regional director, operations specialist and stylist educator, ensuring consistency and quality across all locations.
Making it YOU
Scott and Selina agree that the biggest reward to come from their franchise journey is the ability to bring their family philosophy to work with them and share it with employees.
“Be humble and serve,” says Scott. “Helping and serving others is how we grew up, and that’s what we are trying to teach our stylists. We are building a culture around those values. We feel like that’s the key to success here.”
Another key to their success and happiness has been hiring a General Manager who oversees and roams between all six locations, providing the Hansens with precious time to spend with their children ages 9–19.
“We love exploring all the great places in Utah together, going boating and camping. I’ve been able to drive my kids to school and their activities. We don’t miss any of their basketball or football activities. We make that a priority,” said Scott.
At Fantastic Sams, owners have options on how best to fit their franchise to their lifestyle. Many owners have other careers and hire quality managers to run the day-to-day operations, while others enjoy being owner-operators. With Selina still working full-time as an accountant and Scott managing his managers, the Hansens feel like they are getting the best of both worlds.
“We have 52 employees, and we have grown to know each one. There is gratification in ownership and being able to provide a career and a way for someone to make a living and love their job,” Scott says.
They have already realized their first-year goal of replacing Scott’s mall manager salary, and they now have an eye toward growth. Scott would like to increase overall sales 30% by year three. And he hasn’t ruled out growing his Fantastic Sams empire by adding more salons.
The good news for the Hansens and other prospective franchise owners is that, as a part of Dessange International, a premium-luxury European salon chain, Fantastic Sams is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth with many locations still available and new markets that are still untapped.