A few of my readers have expressed dismay at hearing that as owners of booth rental salons, they are “just a landlord.” One of them said, “I don’t want to run their businesses or have employees but I don’t want to be someone that just collects checks every week.” Oddly enough, a lot of the renters I talk to say things like, “I don’t want to work for anyone else, but running a business is a ton of work and sometimes I feel like I just can’t keep up.”
A mutually beneficial solution is right in front of your faces, you just aren’t looking hard enough to see it.
Owners: Don’t be “just a landlord.” You can do and be so much more.
Offer business services to your renters. In addition to providing them a space to work in, you can provide them with solutions that make it easier for them to run their own businesses. Everyone wins. You will get to do more than “collect checks;” you’ll be helping your renters succeed. You’ll get to supplement your own income with the money you make from the business services and as a result of using the services you offer, the renters will become better professionals.
So here are some ideas I would be implementing if I were the owner of a booth rental or salon suite business. As a renter, these are all things that I would have been incredibly thrilled to have available to me and would have been happy to pay for.
Training Classes: You can offer training classes to your renters for a fee. How you do this is entirely up to you. You can hire guest artists or educators to come in and teach the class or you can recruit one of your staff members to instruct for a discount on her rent that week. Since your renters are business owners, you have a huge range of topics to pick from outside of technical cut/color/product classes. You can have an accountant come in to talk about proper tax filing, you can have a small business adviser come in from SCORE (for free) and talk about how to budget.
Business Cards & Promotional Materials: A consulting client of mine is married to the owner of a printing business. Her husband’s company makes all of the business cards, flyers, and promotional materials for the salon’s renters and sells them to the renters at a reduced cost. The renters love it because the landlord’s husband is also a skilled graphic designer, so in addition to cheap business cards, they’re also getting logos and card designs for free!
Advertising: If your salon has a website, offer to sell a “featured” ad to the renters for a small monthly fee. It’s incredibly easy to do if you’re using Wix.
Reception Services: This area can be tricky, but if done right will not raise any issues with the IRS in terms of employee classification. A lot of renters do not answer their phones while they’re with clients since it is unprofessional, but their landlord wouldn’t let them use the receptionist since it crosses that employer/landlord boundary. The only time you cross that boundary is if you make it mandatory for the renters to book at a central location and have their clients pay at a central location. Offer reception and scheduling as an optional business service. Let your renters know that if they have a busy day, they can turn over their cell phones and individual appointment books* while they’re working on their clients. For a fee (per call, per day, it’s up to you), you can answer their phones and book their appointments for them.
Mailing List Management: I’m a big fan of newsletters. MailChimp is the service I use for mine. If you’re good with computers and with writing, offer to compose newsletters for your renters for a fee. They would maintain their own account, you would just write up their newsletter for them. They could proof it and send it out themselves once you’re done. If someone offered this service to me, I would gladly pay an extra $20 a month. I love the newsletters, but I hate writing them.
Portfolio Development: Creating a network of photographers and models willing to produce excellent images for free is as simple as joining Model Mayhem and sending a few messages to other professionals that share your creative vision and work ethic. If you set up your own network of reliable professionals, you could easily offer portfolio development services to your renters.
Web Design: If you know how to drag and drop, you can design a website. There are tons of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web building services now, but Wix is my favorite. If you’re good enough at designing pages that you think you can charge for it, offer it.
Supply Purchasing & Delivery: Booth renters are working owners. Finding the time to run to the supply store can be hard when you’re busy running a business and managing a clientele. Offer to purchase their supplies and deliver them…of course, for a fee.
These solutions are great ways that you can make some additional money and make life easier for your renters. Instead of being “just a landlord,” you can be an incredibly useful asset. These services are things that go largely ignored by busy booth renters but desperately need to be addressed regularly in order to ensure that their business continues to thrive.
Help your renters thrive.
By doing so, you’ll also ensure the continued happiness of the clients and the continued success of the salon overall.
I never include footnotes, but I have to here. Do NOT use a central phone line or central appointment book. It must be their phones and their books. Not yours. It must also be an optional service.
Let me repeat this: THEIR STUFF, NOT YOURS. OPTIONAL SERVICE, NOT MANDATORY.
I don’t want ANY emails that start with “…but what if I..?” There is no room for that here. It has to be this way or NO way. Otherwise, you cross that employer boundary and may whatever god you worship have mercy on your soul, the IRS certainly won’t.