Ken’s clinic

Ken’s diagnosis:

Before you embark on any major refurbishment of any retail business you should ask yourself two questions:

One: can I afford it?

Two: how will it increase my business?

The answer to the first question should really only be yes if you have been wise and put money aside on a regular basis into a refurbishment fund. Just as you should plan in advance for a rent increase regularly, you should do the same for refurbishment. Rent increases will happen and your salon will need a refurbishment, so both should be factored into your financial planning and a war chest of cash or surplus profits should be kept safe and sound.

Salons tend to depreciate the cost of a refit over five or 10 years so it makes sense to use this cash flow saving to build up your refurbishment war chest. This way when your salon is in need of a makeover you will have the money safely tucked away.

If you don’t do this, rent reviews will hurt you and you will have to borrow for refurbishments. Although borrowing is relatively cheap at the moment, I really would advise against getting into severe debt for a refurbishment if you already have a successful business, unless you can answer yes to question two. Exactly how will a refurb increase sales for your already successful business?

Will it draw in new clients? Will it enable you to increase prices? Will it enable you to employ a larger team and generate more sales? If you feel that the answer is yes, then the investment could be worthwhile.

If not, then alternatives could be considered. The two things that will have most impact on a salon are flooring and lighting. Neither is cheap but both have great visual impact. Quality lighting is vital in a modern salon and expert advice should be sought as different colour lighting is required in different zones of your salon. Especially in your colour zone. If in doubt, I would suggest daylight lighting as this tends to be more realistic for clients.

After that I would change chairs and consider looking outside of the big brands. There are many chairs out there from wholesalers and specialist suppliers that look like branded chairs and can last just as long. Then consider changing or refinishing your workstations.

But finally, never underestimate the impact of good old-fashioned paint. Nothing is classier than white or off-white walls. I personally like the palest of greys, but many prefer the warmth of a blonde or barley white. Bright colours can be used to pick out highlights or statement walls can have a massive impact and it is really easy to change them on a regular basis.

There is no right or wrong, but be wary of spending money that you don’t have, especially if it will have very little or even no impact on your sales.

It’s far better to invest in education and improving your client experience.

Ken West is director of business experts 3•6•5 – email him on


Ken West