Monday, February 26

#ExpertTalk: Checklist for Salon Space Selection by Architect Viki Thakkar


Picking out the right salon space is inevitable for guaranteed success in the beauty business. We asked Viki Takkar, Architect and Interior Designer for Salon and Spa Architecture, to share a few ground rules to follow while selecting a property to house your salon in.

Selecting the right property is one of the most important step towards building a thriving a salon or a brand outlet. Be it an entrepreneur salon, a celebrity stylist salon or a franchise, if the location is not picked out carefully, low footfalls and revenue is sure to follow.

Reputed Indian and international brands conduct a catchment survey before selecting a property for their salon. This survey evaluates target segment, age, lifestyle, hierarchy of that zone etc. A new entrepreneur may not have the technical know-how of a catchment survey and it would cost a lot to outsource the work to an agency. In this case, here are a few points that could help small to medium new salon owners to get started on a survey on their own:

1. India is a versatile market and we cannot generalise anything here. For example, in Delhi or Baroda, a salon could function well throughout the year on the first floor. But in Mumbai, this might not be the case. This indicates that, local beat of the crowd considerations - target segment, age, colleges, schools, theatres, malls etc - is very important.

2. The target crowd's spending pattern can be analysed by their cars, purses, attire etc through observation during peak hours of shopping on the street front, colleges, schools, malls etc. This will give the salon owner a hint of how well the target crowd will spend and in turn help to decide pricing.

3. Competition is always around - more the salons better the footfall.

4. Unfortunately, the real estate space is not properly governed by a local body. Estate agents are focused on cracking a deal, rather than some important points like:

- Property papers

- Whether the previous tenants' bills like telephone, electricity were cleared or not.

- Nature of property - residential/commercial/educational - is also a very important detail, which most landlords reveal only after registration. If it is a residential property, the local municipality authorities would likely take down your renovations or demand a hefty bribe. Dont sign a deal or pay token money until the estate agent/landlord show approved municipal plans of the property, indicating nature of property.

5. Electricity meter has to be commercialised three phase with a load capacity of 40 KW. As taking the cable cost on the salon owners may result in overshooting the budget, which is the landlord’s responsibility. Consider telephone landline junction, internet connection availability, network check etc as well.

6. Water supply meter is to be dedicated and not shared with residences above. Storage of water on a loft is essential because if the water is used from the residentially used terrace tank, there is a possibly that the residential society may cut the supplies to the salon resulting in inconvenience and chaos. Don't look for short cuts, go the long way which is safe and promising. Not building a loft for water storage may save money temporarily, but may cause inconvenience in the future.

7. Check whether the street has enough street lights as well as parking space. Consider a valet service if the parking availability is limited.

8. Old leakage, plaster cracks and seepage is to be repaired by the landlord and not the lease, i.e. the salon owner. Click pictures in case of any irregularities and keep them for future reference in case of disputes.

11. A NOC is to be given by the landlord to salon owner saying that the society does not object to a unisex salon / skin clinic / spa / make up studio / academy.

12. Free fit out period 30-60 days, depending on the location in a particular city or suburb.

13. If the salon is in a mall, make sure to read the documents thoroughly before signing as fire fighting, air conditioning, plumbing, water supply, glass front entrance etc is in the malls scope. Vicinity to washrooms in a mall is very important from operations point of view.

14. Signage visibility from cars and driving distance or from a nearby point is also important.

15. Having AC Ventilation units in front of the shop is not advisable. Consider power cuts and arrange for backup before signing the agreement, as this creates lot of ambiguity later.

16. If the property has outdoor space like a porch or front space, try and mention about awnings or retractable umbrellas with chairs, water jet fans to the landlord, as this may help for seating and smoking zone for clients outside the salon.