The Suite Bubble

The allure of a private space to serve your nerve wracked, Covid paranoid clients is a very real thing. Autonomy, self-reliance and privacy rule in the suites. Freedom, sweet freedom absolutely RINGS in the hallways of this business model as happy licensed professionals go about their days in their own space at their own pace.

The desire to be our own bosses and or to own a salon, spa or barbershop is common in our industry. This dream is a highly attainable goal in the suites. A single or even a double suite is “EASY” to decorate, keep clean, stock full of your favorite products and manage.

MANY OF US DREAM OF BEING INDEPENDENTS, SELF EMPLOYED OR OWNERS.

Suites provide the best of all of these worlds, often you will find budding owners in suites and former owners who chose to downsize. Suites often are a holding tank for would be owners and former owners.

The only person you need to worry about in a salon suite environment is you…or is it?

Covid has taught us many things, one of which is clients tend to feel “safer” in a small, enclosed space. Two or four people in a room IS safer than a salon full of breathers, right? Much like shielding ourselves from crime, accidents and unforeseen happenings, the “safety” aspect in suites is an illusion.

NON-MASK WEARERS ARE PLENTIFUL IN THE SUITES.

As much as suite owners try to enforce mask wearing, this is proving to be a futile effort as suite dwellers are on their own. Some go into common areas unmasked as well as go about their daily lives inside of their rooms without adhering to the county mask mandates.

The varied opinions on masks and scattered usage of them is not exclusive to the suites. In traditional salon environments you are forced to be more accountable and requirements are easier to enforce. The scattered usage of masks and covid prevention protocol has caused many an issue, especially in suites.

IDEAS ABOUT SUITES AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO OUR INDUSTRY ARE HEARD IN EVERY FORUM, CLASS AND SPACE WHERE THE SUBJECT IS BROACHED.

The current climate of isolation and removal from other humans from normal socialization fits perfectly into the suite model. Thoughts like “suites are where you go to die”, “you cannot grow in a room by yourself”, “why would you want to seclude yourself from normal salon life, we are social creatures” to “being your own boss in your own space is the best thing ever” are rampant, throughout the industry.

Booth rental owners in open concept salons are fighting the worst kind of opposition imaginable with suites.

Owners are scrambling to find reasons their salons should be chosen over suites. Rental saturated areas like Lee’s Summit, KCMO, Northland KCMO and Johnson County are 4:1 rental salons vs commission salons. There are very few salons, commission or rental in Kansas City that don’t have at least one chair or room available to rent.

Pre-Covid, suites sat at a 50-70% capacity, city wide. There were a plethora of options for the would be suite dweller. Space everywhere with massively discounted rent and deals up to 12 weeks free if you sign a lease. Early 2020, rent saturated Johnson County was the empty suite leader with over 25 suites, just within the county borders. Today, most hair and barber suite rooms are full, or close to full with more salon suites being built, every day.

SUITES HAVE CHANGED THE FACE OF OUR INDUSTRY, THAT IS UNDENIABLE.

Suites are truly a great option for the licensed professional that is good at being self-sufficient and are in a place in their careers where they do not need to be fed clientele, can find education and opportunities as needed. Suites have carved out their place in our industry and are here to stay, but how many do we really need? What is the future for the suites once we are past the pandemic?

You choose to live in a bubble when you rent a suite. Like it or not, you are effectively isolating yourself from other creatives, stimulation and socialization are found sporadically and mostly from your screen. At some point there will be “too many suites”. We were almost there in Johnson County, one year ago.

When does the suite bubble burst? How does the suite bubble burst? How will suites be competitive when they are as plentiful as traditional rental salons? How will suites keep licensed professionals that suffer career attrition or those who enter suites too early in their career from leaving and not coming back?

If you are considering living the suite life, think about the following, before you take the plunge.

  • Do you enjoy the stimulation and collaboration with other hair stylists, barbers, nail techs, estheticians and massage therapists?
  • Are you able to gain new clientele on your own?
  • Do you know where to find continuing education and resources to keep yourself informed?
  • Are you prepared to supply everything you need to conduct business?
  • Are you willing to do all of your own laundry and cleaning?
  • Are you claustrophobic?
  • Do you like having someone else in charge of making sure others around you follow rules and protocol?
  • Are you good at managing money?
  • Have you calculated how much it will be to start up in a suite?
  • Have you done your research and calculated costs for rent, insurance, product cost, scheduling and payment software?
  • Can you afford rent if you are sick, have a baby or are prevented to work for any reason?
  • Do you understand taxation and what self-employment tax looks like?
  • Do you know how to obtain and maintain proper licensure?

These are just a few things to think about BEFORE signing a lease. Suites ARE an amazing option for the RIGHT licensed professional. Renting in a traditional salon is a wonderful experience. Working in a commission salon is an incredible journey where you are supported and cared for by owners and management.

Find what is right for YOU! Everyone is different, we are not all meant to become suite renters or independents. If you are questioning what the right move is for you, we are here to help. Reach out to have honest conversations HERE. If you are ready to start looking for options, we have over 300 opportunities for you to choose from. Browse on your own or ask us for assistance.

Salonspa Connection is the only non-brand affiliated company offering straightforward advice and resources throughout your entire career!