Beauty Call, which provides professional hair and make-up artists for weddings, events and freelance work, is a mobile beauty franchise opportunity at the more affordable end of the franchise market.
The company’s sales and marketing director, Phil Mowat, tells BusinessWings why the business, founded in 2006 and now recruiting franchisees, is ideal for freelance, trained artists looking to build a full-time (but with part-time hours) hair and make-up business that can give them financial stability and flexible hours.
He also explains how franchisees can earn income on a job even when they’re unavailable to provide the service themselves.
BusinessWings: How can franchisees be sure the business model will work when it’s a new franchise?
The franchisee can either do a job themselves – which is where they make most of their money – or if they can’t, they subcontract it out to other trained and vetted artists in the area and make commission on it
Phil Mowat: We’ve actually been running a pilot scheme, involving three franchisees, and it’s been very successful.
Territories are available initially in the south of England, stretching from Norfolk down to Cornwall, but it’s Beauty Call Ltd’s aim to be all over the country by 2012.
BusinessWings: Give us a quick overview of how Beauty Call works then...
PM: Currently we have hair and make-up artists working for us on a freelance basis. They go out to where the job is, whether that’s a wedding in a hotel, a hen party in a house or a massive event, like V Festival.
We take enquiries from customers via our website and head-office phone and pass them on to the franchisee who owns the territory where the job is taking place. The franchisee can either do the job themselves – which is where they make most of their money – or if they can’t, they have access to a list of other trained and vetted artists in the area, who they can subcontract it out to, and then make commission on it.
Franchisees obviously also have the option to generate new leads themselves.
BusinessWings: Why should someone buy a Beauty Call franchise then?
PM: We’re unique as no other company offers their business and brand as a franchise to hair and make-up artists.
It’s great for the franchisee as they get the power from working for a professional, exciting brand. They get national marketing and press done for them and free leads passed from head office.
It’s also a much better service for the customer, because our online lead managment system automatically passes enquiries onto local franchisees. So instead of dealing with a remote head office, they get a personal service from an artist in their local area.
We notify franchisees when they’ve got a new lead by sending them an email and text message alert, so they can deal with it immediately.
There are literally thousands of freelance hair and make-up artists out there, doing it all on their own – but the amount of business and leads they can get via a non-marketed website is minimal. Through us they’ll get plenty because we’re building a brand name and we provide marketing support.
Of course we’ll provide other support as well. We will teach them how every aspect of the business works and what we’ve learnt over the last three years!
BusinessWings: Describe your ideal franchisee…
PM: We’re looking for professionally trained hair and make-up artists who can do most of the jobs themselves. An individual without hair and make-up training is not our ideal candidate, mainly because most money is made by doing jobs themselves, rather than subcontracting everything out.
Typically our franchisees should be artists with experience in TV or film, theatre, fashion, bridal and corporate. They should live in the postcode areas they want to own and have access to a car to reach jobs in remote places.
We appeal to artists of all backgrounds and experience, and of course don’t discriminate against age.
BusinessWings: It’s easy to see why it’s ideal for current freelancers, as they can turn jobs down when they’re unavailable and still earn commission…
PM: We’re thinking of it as a part-time hours business. The majority of jobs are at the weekend and there’s admin work they can do any time during the week.
BusinessWings: Is there no way someone without beauty qualifications could become a franchisee?
PM: I did speak to one woman who asked if we can provide training as part of the franchising fee. We recommended a number of training colleges in her area, so she could find the right one for her. There are numerous possibilities in terms of locations and costs, so it’s best to leave the decision to the potential franchisee.
If a franchisee isn’t trained and doesn’t want to get trained they would have a lot of admin to do to make some money – but everyone is different, so we’re not totally ruling it out.
BusinessWings: How much freedom will franchisees have to run their business how they want?
PM: It’s pretty much their business to run. Our existing franchisees like to use their own products, for example, which is fine.
But we do insist that they follow our procedures in terms of dealing with customers and using our online bookings management system. We set maximum prices centrally, but if they want to cut a deal and go below those prices then that’s fine, as long as they don’t go above the maximum.