From GS Online's MLS Forum
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Recently, GS Online Forum member M1CHAEL posed the following question: What's been your experience writing salons? Good accounts to go after?
He received a range of opinions on the matter from forum members. Here's a sampling of perspectives shared:
"Generally small volume multimerchant accounts. High-end salons are good, but many are tied to POS and appointment software. I tend to leave them alone.
"Many salons have multiple independent contractors, whereas the owner leases out the additional chairs in the salon. May be a good account for e-loyalty/gift cards.
"Length of ownership is often very short. Many have revolving doors."
"Generally more trouble than they're worth."
"I have mixed feelings about salons... As long as the account is profitable, all accounts are good accounts; all the verticals have their challenges, and this vertical challenge is the turnover. ... In my experience, they are profitable, and I will take them all day long."
"I tend to look at these accounts as one merchant regardless of the amount of stylists. If there's five stylists each doing $5k each, that's $25k total volume. If you can make it worth your while there, then it's worth it. They can be a pain, but usually only when stylists move around (i.e. hired/fired) which can happen monthly, just once a year or anywhere between.
"I'd go for them, especially if you're still getting your feet wet in the industry. The account has multiple merchants, so there's a good opportunity for some training on various points including programming terminals (again and again and again), troubleshooting basic issues, dealing with customer service problems, etc.
"One piece of advice, not all salons are the same, and even stylists at the same salon can be very different. Sometimes you'll make most of your money through volume fees, other times through monthly fees. Watch out for blanket pricing that may not always cover costs (i.e. waiving monthly fees)."
"If you just outline the expectations from the get-go, they are fine businesses. Many salons have five to 10 stylists all in the same machine. You should definitely explain that that type of setup requires an update to the machine to remove old and add new stylists, which is done over the phone with tech support. Many salons see the first setup and don't know the work involved in removing old and adding new each time it's done. So as you begin that relationship, define the expectations so everyone is on the same page. In recent memory, an ISO had a salon of 20 accounts and said new ones can only be added or removed on the 10th of the month - or whatever day it was. So each month, he got paperwork and cancellation forms during the first week, and he went back a day or so later and updated the terminal. That way, the agent was not going there 10 times a month doing downloads."
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