The New Grooming Salon Part One: Choosing A Location

By Kathy Rose

The creation of a new grooming salon is a multifaceted endeavor that requires extensive research, thought and time. A high functioning floor plan design in the right location with a scrupulously executed lease and well thought out equipment choices will bring years of gratification in your career choice.

Choosing a location, understanding the commercial lease, hiring a general contractor, creating a floor plan, equipment choices and salon set up make this a multifaceted project. In this salon build-out series I will try to demystify some of the terminology and provide some helpful hints to get you started on the right path.

Affordability               

Probably the most important concern when searching for a commercial space is finding a place that you can afford. You should have a clear estimate of how much rent or mortgage your business can afford monthly, given its projected revenue and expenses. A detailed business plan is mandatory and should be created well in advance of choosing a location and signing a lease.

Have a clear plan of your immediate square footage requirements and possible capacity for expansion. Keep in mind that a lot of business can be packed into a small space if the space is designed wisely.

Investigate the Area Market

Research the area market. This will not only tell you if you can afford a particular area, but may give you bargaining leverage with the landlord. Investigate rent options and rates in your area and familiarize yourself with what is available, and at what cost. Brokers and agents are good sources of information for rental costs.

Verify Lease Type

Determine what type of lease is customarily used in your selected area. Different locations may offer different types of leases. The lease type may become a significant factor in your location choice. Be sure to identify exactly what is included in the rent for each location you research, such as utilities, taxes, insurance, common area maintenance and existing HVAC repairs or replacement.

Zoning

Local zoning regulation—referred to as land use ordinances —doesn’t allow all businesses to practice in all places. Zoning laws vary from place to place and may affect the type of business and regulate specific activities. Activities such as parking, signs, water restrictions, air quality, waste management, noise control and the use of pesticides come into play.

Keep in mind that pet related businesses may require more stringent adherence to local laws. Don’t rely on the previous occupant or the landlord to answer your zoning concerns. Previous tenants may have been grand–fathered or received special considerations called a zoning variance. Verify with the proper zoning authorities that your selected space is legal for your business. For more information, research: planning, zoning and building for your county, city or municipality.

Electricity, Plumbing & Climate Control                                                                                          

Make sure the space meets your electrical and climate control needs. The addition of electrical outlets is not a huge issue. But the condition and capacity of the main circuit panel and the condition of the existing heating and air conditioning equipment is important. Carefully inspect the HVAC system to insure that it is adequate for the space. Some zoning ordinances have more stringent ventilation requirements when animals are being housed.

Although plumbing lines can be moved to accommodate needs, it is costly. Using the proximity of existing drain and plumbing lines is usually a bonus and will save you in build-out dollars. Spaces formerly occupied by hair salons make great makeover choices because they have abundant plumbing lines and drains, and usually the flooring is non porous.

Make sure the location has adequate parking with easy access to your store. Evaluate the green areas to determine where the pets will relieve themselves. Keep in mind that pet litter left by discourteous clients remains your responsibility.

Pay attention to the shopping center or area surrounding the space you are considering. Is it well maintained? The condition of the shopping center and common areas are a clue to the stability of the center and viability of growth in your business.

With your livelihood and perhaps a substantial amount of money at stake, it is imperative that you choose your location wisely. Your initial decisions may affect the outcome of the entire project and future of your business. ✂

Coming next month: Part II: Understanding and Negotiating the Commercial Lease.


Reading recommendations:

  • How to Write a Business Plan  By: Mike McKeever—This popular book will show you how to write the business plan and loan package necessary to finance your business and make it work.
  • www.Barkleigh.com
  • www.petgroomer.com—Lots of info about salon set up and business plans.
  • nolo.com—Great web site containing legal information and links to forms and books.

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