The Best Advice We Got: Lessons Learned by Rookie Franchisees

By Beth Caron Nilssen

These Great Clips franchisees in Memphis, Tennessee like to follow the rules, which came in handy in the middle of a pandemic.

What’s it like to be a relatively new franchisee in turbulent times? We checked in with Ty Bushart and Jason Foley, Great Clips franchisees since 2018 in the Memphis market, to see how they are doing.

First, some background on Ty and Jason who received the Great Clips Rookie of the Year award in 2019. The award recognizes franchisees who have been in the system fewer than five years, and who show an ability and willingness to embrace the Brand through dedication and leadership.

From the start, it didn’t take long for these partners to get the attention of the Great Clips system or their market. Right out of the gate, they were big brand believers, using the tools and resources from the corporate office to open their first salon fully staffed.

They attend every Great Clips event to learn and share with other franchisees the challenges and successes of their new business. Their unrelenting message is to focus on the basics, hire great people, and schedule aggressively. “And when you get overwhelmed,” Ty says, “follow corporate’s advice and keep moving!”

Ty and Jason currently own three walk-in hair salons with a fourth to open soon. They answered a few questions about how they have continued to thrive in the midst of a pandemic.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received from another Great Clips franchisee?

Ty Bushart & Jason Foley: The best advice we got from another franchisee was to play inside the box. Every brand has unique guidelines for how to deliver what the customer wants, and Great Clips is no different. There are certain things we do in the salon to create more customers, have happier stylists, and deliver the Brand Promise: We care more about you.

Delivering a great haircut, following the operating system, and elevating the customer experience are our box, and Great Clips doesn’t play outside of it. We’re rule followers so we knew this was the perfect match.

Q: How did you use this advice to navigate the ups and downs of running a walk-in hair salon in 2020?

Ty & Jason: We focused on what we’ve always done: helping stylists and customers feel confident and safe in the salon, delivering outstanding haircuts, and growing our market share. The Great Clips corporate office supported franchisees by developing resources to transition salons during the pandemic—ready to plug-in and play with continuous updates and communication. It built on what we’ve always done; it just had more intensity in 2020.

Q: Before the pandemic, you were fully staffed with a waiting list of prospective stylists. Where are you now?

Ty & Jason: We actually had 95% of our team members return, and we still have a waiting list of stylists who’d like to work with us.

Q: That’s impressive! What’s your secret to staffing?

Ty & Jason: We’ve always made it a priority to give our stylists the respect and appreciation they deserve, so that’s paying off now. While we can’t control the individual customer experience for every single customer, we can control the stylist experience and how they feel about their work. So we try to do three things:

  • We’re approachable. Stylists just want to know us. Within two days of joining the team, every new stylist receives a call from us, saying, “We know you had many choices of where to work; we’re glad you chose us.” You can almost hear the phone drop. Some brag to their former coworkers that their new salon owner called them on their first day. They become our best recruiters.
  • We recognize stylists publicly. We do shout-outs for stylists—not just the top performers, but also those who show improvement—by visiting the salons on a Saturday, when 80% of the staff is there. Public recognition is good for the receiver and everyone who shares in the moment.
  • We incentivize with opportunities. You never have a recruiting problem if you don’t have a retention problem. We incentivize by showing them opportunities to grow and how to soar with shears!

Thank you, Ty and Jason, for your enthusiasm and advice, and for being great representatives of everything that makes Great Clips great!

Beth Nilssen
Director of Franchise Development | Great Clips, Inc.
800-947-1143 | [email protected]

As Director of Franchisee Development for Great Clips, my job is to help prospective franchisees figure out if investing in a salon franchise is a good match. Even in the middle of a pandemic, that work doesn’t stop. Right now, we’re working with dozens of prospective franchisees who are going through the initial steps of exploration. I’d love to hear from you, wherever you are on this journey. Give me a call!