Running a Booth Rental Salon in the Time of Coronavirus.
In our initial post about salon ownership in the days of COVID-19, we covered important tactics for securing your business before and at the beginning of a mandated shut down. (You can find that here). Today, we want to discuss specifics for owners of booth rental salons as there are particular challenges you may be facing in taking care of your business and your renters alike.
Negotiating Rent with your Booth Renters.
Have the conversation now.
Whether it is someone who does (or will) owe you money, or someone you do (or will) owe money to, we recommend having conversations with them early. That means having a discussion about abatement with your landlord now, but it also means having a frank and caring conversation with each of your booth renters as well. Keep in mind that this time away will make stylists as well as clients free agents. All of us will have the chance to consider options about how and where we work or get services done. Making agreements now can help shore up your future post-shutdown.
My booth renters have been applying for unemployment. What do I do?
If your state is like ours, they are still evaluating the new stimulus package and have yet to offer guidance on gig workers and independent contractors. Check back frequently with your state’s Employment Department to keep yourself up to date. We will keep an eye out and update this section as soon as we know more as well. That said, prior to the passing of the stimulus, our advice would have been to dispute an unemployment claim because they were not previously available.
Are booth renters able to get SBA loans?
Booth renters are their own small businesses and as such are able to apply for assistance. Encourage them to visit SBA.gov to discover relief options and teach them what you yourself have learned in the application process.
Open up your books.
Talk to your stylists about how open they can make their schedules as soon as the salon opens again. If they were part time, can they commit to 2-3 months full time? Are you able to extend salon hours to accommodate their needs as well? Pent up demand from clients may be unprecedented when restrictions are safely loosened and social distancing standards will likely mean you won’t be able to have every chair full during the course of the day. Make sure everyone in your salon is aligned with serving the new level of need.
Consider a reduction in rent for your stylists.
We would not advise you to give your last dollar in rent when your family should come first, and the same must be true for your booth renters. Consider offering a temporary reduction in rent as you get back on your feet together.
Can I just let my booth rent stylists pay me later?
We do not recommend a deferred payment program. It is tempting, but could ultimately compound problems. Budgets will be tight across the board and from our work with hundreds of stylists over more than a decade teaches us that they will spend the money they need to when they have it. For that reason, we think agreeing to new terms at a potentially reduced rate is something we encourage you to consider now.
How much should I discount my stylists’ rent?
You could discount their overall rent by a percentage that seems fair to you. However, consider a temporary change to your rental agreement that would charge them 20 or 50 cents on the dollar they earn. That way you are all benefiting from their full schedule, while they are able to get money into their pockets immediately to support their family.
What about product sales?
Here is another win/win/win idea. Consider letting the commission your booth renters would get from product sales, or up to 100% of their product sales, go straight to their rent. You will still be making income on the product sales, and they can lower their overhead. (This tip came to us from Tribe salon in Wildomar, CA and Studio One Hair & Body in Spokane, WA. Shout out to them for contributing to community knowledge!!)
My salon is still open for now. Should I discount rent?
The time to incentivize your stylists’ strong return is now, so agreeing upon terms for their return now as well.