Veteran franchisee Joe Kissick and his wife, Christine, are in the business of franchising for the long haul. Having owned 11 Great Clips locations for 21 years, the Kissicks are now gearing up to bring their son into the fold.
“At this point, we’re probably going to be doing this for the rest of our lives,” says Kissick, who is looking to eventually own nine more Great Clips locations. “We’re proud to say that our Great Clips business is—and will continue to be—a family business.”
When first looking to start a business in the 1990s, Kissick had a really strong idea of what he wanted, yet wasn’t sure exactly what that would look like. He knew he wanted to build something where he could hire management and then take a step back. And after working in the apparel industry, he knew he wanted to work in a sector that wasn’t subjected to economic fluctuations. After considering purchasing existing businesses, Kissick realized that franchising was the perfect opportunity to gain a level of autonomy without sacrificing the much-needed overarching support.
“That’s when I found Great Clips,” says Kissick. “The more I looked at the brand, the more it made perfect sense. Great Clips was completely unknown in our area at the time, so I was essentially getting in on the ground floor. Now, 21 years later, I still see plenty of room for growth, especially in outlying communities. You have to work to find those spots, but corporate is really helpful.”
As 2016 ends, there are 4,060 plus Great Clips units currently open. The start-up costs of opening a unit costs between $131,600 and $249,600, with a franchise fee of $25,000.
Currently, the Kissicks are most excited about the recent involvement of their son, Joseph, who has spent the past decade travelling all over the world for his job. Joseph’s former work included meeting with and interviewing business leaders and government officials, providing annual reports on emerging markets. Now, the Kissicks have Joseph home, and he’s bringing his business savvy to the table.
“Joseph is adding in different disciplines to the business that we never thought of,” says Kissick. “He’s looking at everything in such a fresh way.”
Even as he takes a step back to make room for his son, Kissick is still dedicated to always checking in on the salons and getting to know employees, which is one of his favorite parts of owning Great Clips locations. To this day, Kissick visits each of his salons at least once every couple of weeks and often takes everyone out for lunch.
Kissick feels he has the good fortune of working with some of the best hairdressers in his market.
“I think employees have really come to understand that their opportunity at Great Clips is so much greater than going to a full-service salon. My business provides stylists with a base guaranteed wage, benefits and customers. Because of this, we attract the best in the business. Once people get past that stigma of not wanting to charge only $14 for a haircut, they understand how that works for them in the long run, that they’ll actually be able to make more money with us,” Kissick said.
Kissick and his family also have great relationships with fellow Great Clips franchisees, who they go to for support and camaraderie.
“To sum it up, I feel like I could have gone so many ways when I was looking for a business opportunity, and I feel absolutely fortunate that I was led to Great Clips as my final decision,” says Kissick. “And I think any current Great Clips franchisees would agree - we all consider ourselves extremely lucky.”