Franchise News


Salons by JC has always been on the digital forefront, offering tenants, their guests and franchise owners the latest tools to stay engaged. Now, the company is offering those affiliates the first FREE software system and mobile app that were created specifically for those involved in its salon-suite business model.

Steve Griffey, CEO and president of Salons by JC says “This is the first and only truly integrated software solution that helps tenants manage their businesses and helps franchisees manage their property. And, it is completely free. Unlike other apps such as Style Seat and Vagaro, the tenant’s app includes a messaging system that allows our tenants to communicate directly with our franchisees. That’s huge, because it speeds up communication and allows us to help our tenants even faster. Additionally, the Property Management System software is integrated with the tenant rent-payment system, so we can now dispense with Excel spreadsheets and save a lot of time managing payments.”

At Salon Suite Solutions (S3) in Dallas, Texas, the company that developed the system, founder and CEO Erik Hanson says the software for suite owners and companion tenant’s app are intended to help all users succeed and remain successful.

Advantages for Tenants and Their Clients

The way new app works for Salons by JC tenants is simple but powerful. Both tenants and their clients download the app, which allows tenants to toggle between their appointment calendars and the in-app text messaging system. This in-app system keeps personal, native text messages separate from professional ones, which simplifies running a business.

“Clients never see tenants’ appointment books, which is something they told us was extremely important to them,” says Hanson. “Because tenant’s fill-in the appointment book themselves, there’s no more looking at online books only to discover a 10 a.m. and a 7 p.m. appointment with a huge gap in-between.  Tenants can also adjust any appointment time if they know a client will need an extra 10 or 15 minutes. Other apps have fixed times that don’t allow such adjustments.”

Other business-enhancing features for tenants include:

  • The app collects full client histories that allow Salons by JC tenants to instantly see hair color formulas, contact numbers, personal notes or photos of a look that a client is working toward.
  • All the information stored in the app, including the appointment book, is backed up in the cloud. There’s no more worrying about lost phones or paper books.
  • The innovative app comes with a complete marketing system. Each tenant gets a mini website with a link that can be shared on social media. The website includes a link to download the app, information on any redeemable specials, bios, style photos and a salon menu. The same information is contained within the app itself. This makes it simple for anyone, such as a client who just got new hair color, to post a photo on Facebook along with the link, so that the client’s friends can download the app, book an appointment and redeem the special offer.
  • Tenants can collect payments through the app or through the mini website. While clients do not book with a credit card, tenants can use the app to invoice clients in advance for special items, such as hair that must be ordered for extension services.
  • Clients receive appointment reminders through push notifications, text messages or email, which they must confirm. They will also have the opportunity to cancel an appointment or request a change, which helps make no-shows a thing of the past.
  • Tenants can pay their rent directly through the app, a time-saver that users love.

Says Jennifer Retz, a tenant at Salons by JC in Waco, Texas, “I’m really excited that Salons by JC is using this app and that there is no cost to us. It’s nice to have access to so many tools in one app, and the processing fees for card payments are comparable to others we’ve been using.”

Additionally, in a first of its kind, the web-based software system gives franchisees a complete solution for managing their properties.

Advantages for Franchisees

Property Management System software is fully integrated with the tenant payment system, which allows franchisees to not only collect rent but to see individual suites and payments made at a glance. The software also tracks in-coming payments, and provides document and cloud storage. Additionally, a reporting system shows vacancy rates and other data, such as income per square foot.

“We’re very excited about the new app and all the features and functionality it provides to our own business and our tenants’ businesses,” says David Greenberg, owner of three Salons by JC locations in the Nashville area. “Tenants love the fact it’s free and offers a wide array of features; they particularly love the credit card processing. We love building value into the Salons by JC brand and know that the new app will help us attract and retain tenants going forward.”

With 360-degree support that benefits franchisees, operators and guests, Salons by JC maintains a strong commitment to its proven model. Eventually, all the tenants in one Salons by JC location will be able to offer a special by mutual consent, increasing their geographic competitiveness.

Says Griffey, “In the future, the app will create opportunities for our tenants to market to new clients, order back-bar, manage inventory and sell their preferred products. For franchisees, we’re developing our brand with new prototype designs and marketing tools that help them recruit and retain tenants.”

The business-smart software and app are now available to all Salons by JC tenants and franchise owners. The app is compatible with Android and iOS; the Property Management System is for Macs or PCs.

About Salons by JC: In 1997, Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller began their journey to transform the beauty industry one salon suite at a time. Like most young entrepreneurs, they started out with a big idea, but had to learn how to start and run a business from scratch. After much perseverance and hard work, Salons by JC opened its doors in 1998 in Dallas, TX, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists who were ready to break free from the traditional salon model. The company has since moved its headquarters from Dallas to San Antonio, where it continues to grow through franchising. Today, Salons by JC has 53 locations in over 20 states and Canada. In 2016, Salons by JC plans to add 25 more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada and is committed to developing over 200 stores in all major markets over the next several years.

Franchise News

ApplePie Capital Enters into $180 Million Loan Purchase Agreement

New investments will fuel ApplePie’s growth and its transformation of franchise finance

San Francisco, December 12, 2016ApplePie Capital, the first online lender solely dedicated to the franchise industry, today announced that it has entered into a $180 million loan purchase agreement with TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. (TowerBrook) to purchase franchise loans originated by ApplePie over a two-year period. Funding will come from TowerBrook’s Structured Opportunities Fund and a credit facility provided by SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI). The TowerBrook relationship will enable ApplePie to further strengthen its position as a leading provider of innovative growth financing for the franchise industry.

ApplePie simultaneously announced a $16.5 million Series B round, co-led by QED Investors and Fifth Third Capital, the direct equity investment subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp. QED Investors follows its previous investments in ApplePie’s Seed and Series A rounds, while Fifth Third Capital is expected to add significant strategic value and open up new opportunities for growth.  Previous investors participating in the Series B include Signia Venture Partners, Freestyle Capital, and Prosper president Ron Suber. Also participating in the round is Colchis Capital Management, L.P., a prominent investor in the online lending space.

“At our core, we are a growth delivery system for the franchise industry,” said Denise Thomas, ApplePie CEO and co-founder. “We unlock value for our franchise brand partners by providing capital to their franchisees, which helps brands grow.”  Thomas continued, “The investments announced today will allow us to scale and dramatically advance our mission of transforming franchise finance, while providing TowerBrook with unprecedented access to high-quality credits in proven small businesses.”

As part of the agreement with TowerBrook, ApplePie also announced the addition of Tim Morris, former Chief Risk Officer of GE Capital Franchise Finance, as a strategic advisor to the firm.  Tim spent over 25 years at GE Capital, a leading franchise lender specializing in financing mid-market operators in the restaurant industry.

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Business & Marketing

Salons by JC – Top 5 Reasons for Becoming Self-Employed

Owners of employee salons have long argued that making more money isn’t one of the biggest pay-offs of going solo. Not so. The problem with the side-by-side income comparisons most often used in the industry is that they underestimate self-employed stylists’ incomes and overestimate taxes because they don’t account for business deductions like rent and education. To explore the full, true benefits of self-employment, Salons by JC polled hundreds of its own suite renters, whose professional experience ranges from one year to over 16 years. Thus, Salons by JC has pinpointed the top five biggest real-world financial and personal benefits of becoming a self-employed stylist. 

ONE:  The Ability to Make More Money. The majority of salon pros who chose self-employment did so in hopes of making more money. And, the clear majority did. In the Salons by JC 2016 Tenant Survey, 75% of Salons by JC suite renters said their incomes increased by as much as 20%, and another 24.3% said their incomes increased by 21% to 30%.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, Tim “Bo” Mac, says he wasn’t looking to be self-employed but when his salon owner presented him with a 150-mile radius non-compete, it left him no option. “I’ve been in a Salons by JC suite for about 9 months now, and my income has increased by about 40%,” says Mac. “In my old salon, I was paid a salary with no benefits. Now, own a home and have new car, instead of living paycheck to paycheck. I am in control of what I make. I wasn’t a person who thought he could be self-employed, but the deal breaker was how minimal start-up costs were; a Salons by JC suite comes with quality furniture, electricity, plumbing and everything I needed.”

Sarah Heath, whose Salons by JC suite is in Austin, Texas, says she was always entrepreneurial and went right from cosmetology school to a rental salon to a Salons by JC suite. “Last year, I made just over $100,000, says Heath. “My rent is about $12,000 a year, and I’m disciplined about running a business. I also sold $12,000 in retail last year. I know I’d feel bad giving my clients 100% and getting only 50% back in income. But I really chose independence for the opportunity and flexibility.” 

TWO:  Freedom Over Your Own Schedule. Heath isn’t alone in wanting control over her schedule. In the Salons by JC survey, nearly 30% of respondents said they moved to a suite for “freedom over my hours.” Mac uses that freedom to educate for Pravana and have “husband and father days,” while Heath, whose retailing success resulted in the opportunity to teach bimonthly classes for Aquage says, “That wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t at Salons by JC.”

Many other stylists say they want flexible hours to be able to take classes, work on platform, accommodate early-morning or late-evening clients and enjoy a work/life balance.  At Salons by JC in Bolingbrook, Illinois, tenant Monna Bianca says she became self-employed so she could leave work to pick up her children from school, share a dinner and then return to work for a while. 

THREE:  Total Independence. It isn’t just scheduling flexibility the self-employed crave. Several surveys reveal that independent-minded salon professionals want to set their own policies and procedures, design their own spaces, decide to discount or not on their own and choose the products they want to carry.

Esthetician Katheen Fereday, whose The Light Touch by Kathleen is located in Salons by JC in Charlotte, North Carolina, says “If I had known how much better being self-employed was, I’d have done it a long time ago.” After 30-plus years in the beauty industry and 13 years in a local salon, she recalls that employees were required to carry clear purses to deter product theft. “Now, I can charge what I want, and if I decide to do a client’s brows gratis, I don’t have to worry about someone telling the desk how I did brows that weren’t paid for.” 

FOUR:  Convenience for Stylists and Their Clients. As an esthetician, Fereday says she always worked in a private room, but that both she and her clients favor the bright, clean, private suite and concierge service at Salons by JC. “My clients love the atmosphere,” she says. “You always lose a few clients when you move, but I’ve gained more though marketing, word-of-mouth and referrals from the stylist renters. I can come in early or stay late, which is as convenient for my clients as it is for me. If I want, I can book an extra 15 minutes to accommodate clients who run late, so neither of us is rushed. I love that I’m not under pressure anymore; even my husband noticed I’m in a better mood than when I was an employee.”

FIVE:  The Ability to Keep More of What You Really Earn. Ultimately, self-employment means keeping more of what you earn. When employees deliver services, and sell retail, they often bring in much more than they keep, and it’s not just due to commission payments. It’s rarely mentioned during hiring but some salons deduct “product fees” from stylists’ incomes, which can bring 50% commission down to about 43%. Then, there’s retail. Self-employed stylists can mark-up products as much as they want and keep all the profits, instead of getting 10 or 15 percent–if they meet quotas.

Fereday estimates that after moving into her Salons by JC suite 2½ years ago, she makes about 35% more than she did as a commission-paid employee and reinvests it into new equipment, so she can offer all the new services, like LED light therapy.  She also says she now has the extra money visit her grandchildren in Kentucky, travel to the mountains and “enjoy life more.”

Mac set up a retirement plan—one of the best ways to keep more money and earn even more from it. Bianca, who raised her balayage prices by $25 for current clients and by $40 for new ones, says she can now pay for the higher-quality products she prefers and take the classes she chooses. “I invest in unique classes first; I’m still working on saving more,” she says. “But I can pay my bills just fine and never work on weekends. When stylists hear that, they’re amazed.”

Whatever your reason for joining millions of other self-employed professionals, the fact you can make and keep more money is a reality. The key is to recognize that working for yourself isn’t all about the flex-time. Put in the hours, add to your income with retail, manage your salon suite like a professional business, and a higher income will follow.

Franchise News

Franchise Encourages Like-Minded Entrepreneurs in Arlington, VA

Any Arlington resident that either drives or strolls through Ballston knows the neighborhood is booming. It’s an area of Arlington that rarely – if ever – sleeps.

Starting in January 2017, the Ballston neighborhood will also be a hot spot for people looking for a beauty or wellness treatment — from haircuts to massages. The soon-to-open Ballston location of Salons by JC, a national franchise, will offer local hairstylists, cosmetologists, estheticians and other wellness service providers a way to perform their specialties to their own customers. Salons by JC leases suite space to specialists who want to pursue their craft on their own terms, but are not able or interested in running their own full-fledged spa or salon.

“After a lot of perseverance and hard work by its founders, Salons by JC opened its doors in 1998 in Dallas, Texas, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists ready to break free from the traditional salon model,” said Drew Johnston, Salons by JC vice president of operations.

Salons by JC franchise owners offer opportunities all over the country for professionals to take a space, make it their own, and conduct business based on what they do best.

“Salons by JC empowers beauty and wellness professionals with salon suite rental opportunities, and provides them with all the tools they need to operate a business tailored to their strengths and areas of interest,” Ballston franchise owner Dean Coulopoulos said.

Today, there are more than 50 Salons by JC locations across the United States and Canada. According to Coulopoulos, his will be the first salon suite inside the Virginia beltway. He is looking forward to helping a multitude of local stylists achieve their dream of owning their own business.

“My primary goal is to help as many salon professionals as possible to take control of their professional life and gain their independence from their current employer in order to improve their professional and personal lives,” he said. “I also hope to earn a reputation as a vibrant retail business within the Ballston market that provides convenient ‘one stop shopping’ for local residents and workers in the Rosslyn-to-Ballston corridor and beyond. If I am successful in doing this, then I will have a successful business which I plan to extend to other locations.”

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