Floyd's 99 Barbershop Offers Affordable Style Any Way You Cut It
A good haircut shouldn’t come at a high cost. That was the idea brothers Bill, Paul, and Rob O’Brien had when they founded Floyd’s 99 Barbershop back in 1999. The trio were looking to create a one-of-a-kind barbershop that offered affordable style with a personalized touch – whether customers are first-timers, appointment-setters, regulars or walk-ins.
The brothers cut their teeth in business owning and operating a national concession company in Denver. Whenever they needed a haircut, they would have to drive from fully-booked hair salon to fully-booked hair salon to get a routine cut. The alternative? Pay too much for a haircut at a place you’d have to book out weeks in advance. It was a Eureka moment.
So the brothers launched Floyd’s 99 with the goal of opening a shop where anybody, anytime can feel confident they’ll get great service and an even better haircut. Early on they made it an environment where they actually wanted to be, with good music to listen to and great people to talk to.
Floyd’s 99’s boutique-level service and affordable price set the brand apart from competitors. Every appointment begins with a personal consultation that gets to the root of the customer’s individual style and needs. That’s followed by their signature massage shampoo, hot towel treatment, and expertly-crafted cut, all finished with a relaxing shoulder massage.
At the end of each appointment, the stylists and barbers offer tips on keeping the style fresh, advice on products to use, and their business card in case customers have any follow-up questions.
This client-first approach and proven business model has been a success story and driven the brand to 115 locations nationwide. Over the last 20 years, Floyd’s 99 has cut or styled more than 1 million customers.
Below, Floyd’s 99’s Vice President and Director Rob O’Brien, and Director of Franchise Sales, Scott Nichols, discuss everything from the brand’s culture and expansion plans, to the kind of franchisee the brand looks for and the training and support they offer franchisees.
Kerry Pipes: What’s the culture of the brand?
Rob O’Brien: Our culture can be summed up in two words: embrace individuality. Our shops exude a fun, edgy and genuine vibe, enhanced by the people behind the brand that really make up and embody the culture of our brand.
Our stylists and barbers are as diverse as the music posters you see on the walls, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Embracing individuality and cultivating real relationships with real people doesn’t happen when everyone and everything is always the same. Our shops are meant to be inclusive of all people. And, our people and our communities come first – it’s really that simple. For us, Floyd’s 99 is more than a barbershop. It’s a place where we cultivate relationships inside and outside of the shops so everyone can thrive.
KP: What kind of growth/expansion goals does the brand have?
Scott Nichols: Our goal is to increase our current franchise presence from 32 shops to awarding 350 franchises over the next five years, as we look to open nearly 100 franchise locations within the same period. Our primary focus is to develop with multi-unit franchisees to spur this growth. We will selectively consider single unit franchisees in markets where we currently have corporate locations.
While we’re refreshing our franchise momentum, 2019 is the first year our multi-unit franchisees will surpass us [corporate] in the number of store openings. Collectively, we’re opening nearly 20 new shops in the year ahead – bringing our total location count to over 135 units across 13 states.
Unlike typical concepts that drop corporate growth as franchising begins, we’re committed to continuing our corporate expansion with six locations planned for 2019 and continued development in the years ahead. This is proof of our business strength and revenue growth year-over-year.
KP: What does a successful Floyd’s 99 operator/franchisee look like?
SN: We primarily are looking to partner with multi-unit franchisees who are looking to diversify their portfolio or break into a different space. We’re open to partnering with any existing multi-unit franchisees, but are strongly considering those who have owned or operated a service, retail, or restaurant franchise. Among those who don’t have multi-unit franchise experience, we are seeking candidates from the corporate world who are at minimum a Director or VP-level employee with multiple direct reports and were preferably in a marketing or sales function.
KP: Why the emphasis on growing through franchising at this time?
RO: To date, we have never emphasized a strategic effort toward franchise growth. Everything has been word of mouth – whether personal relationships with my family, existing customers, and simply people walking by who love the vibe.
As we near 20 years of business, we’re looking toward our future and the next 20 years. We know we want to expand our footprint with strong franchise partners that embody the brand and vibe of Floyd’s 99. To help with the expansion, we hired a seasoned franchise executive who understands our brand, the direction we want to go, and how to get us to our next level as a company.
Scott Nichols joins Floyd’s 99 Barbershop with more than 25 years of franchise experience – working for nationally-recognized brands like Dunkin’, Jimmy Johns, and Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores as well as emerging franchise concepts like SPENGA where he grew the brand from one company owned to 62 franchises sold. We’re confident he will effectively renew our franchise efforts and take Floyd’s 99 Barbershop to our targeted expansion goal.
KP: What are the features/benefits of the brand?
RO: One of our greatest franchise benefits is that there is no other concept like us in the mid-tier priced hair grooming space. With nearly 20 years of industry experience, we have cut or styled more than 1 million customers and have an unmatched brand presence compared to others at our price point.
Beyond this, Floyd’s 99 shops are fun to operate, have low overhead and give back to staff and their local communities. It’s a great concept to diversify a franchise portfolio.
While our name may suggest Barbershop, women consistently make up more than 20 percent of the revenue within our shops – an expanding notion for the brand. This is a growing segment for Floyd’s 99 and an area we will double down on for our franchisees as we look to expand revenue and brand growth for the brand in the near future. We expect this core segment to continue to grow in the months ahead.
Every Floyd’s 99 stylist and barber undergoes rigorous training, unique to the Floyd’s 99 brand, to ensure unparalleled service across every Floyd’s 99 location. Their skills range from classic techniques to the latest trends, offering a full-range of services including color services, deep conditioning treatments, facial waxing, blow outs, beard trims, precision detailing, and straight-razor shaves.
KP: What kind of support and training can the brand offer franchisees?
SN: Once a franchisee joins Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, we assist them with selecting the best locations, development of design plans and specifications, construction plans, third-party supply, and vendor introduction and operations support.
Beyond the typical support one would expect when joining a franchise, our franchisees and their team also attend Floyd’s 99 Academy – our team of national and regional educators and color specialists visit new locations prior to opening to train all staff on operational procedures, Floyd’s 99 signature services and a variety of courses on hairstyling, color, and skin services. Floyd’s 99 additionally offers continued education for all barbers and stylists.
This program is unique to Floyd’s 99, going above and beyond traditional hair stylist training to ensure every Floyd’s 99 stylist and barber is held to the highest-possible standard as a member of our team. Classes begin as soon as an employee is hired, and introductory through advanced training for established stylists who wish to develop their skills throughout their career.
A Floyd’s 99 educator is always on call for franchisees, barbers, and stylists to turn to with any questions, and trainers are available to come onsite for continued education.
KP: What territories are you looking to expand in through franchising?
SN: We are primarily focused on building out markets where we do not have a large corporate presence. Ultimately, we have opportunities across the nation, but some of the key markets that are ideal for the brand are Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
KP: Franchisee costs/expected ROI?
SN: The total estimated investment necessary to begin operation of a Floyd’s 99 ranges from $284,000 to $632,000. Our 2019 initial franchise fee (IFF) for the first unit is $45K, with each additional unit reduced to a lower rate of $35K.
KP: Anything else?
RO: You can get a sense of the Floyd’s 99 experience without even walking into one of our shops. Each location is custom designed for the specific building, and many have an added creative touch with glass garage doors or large bi-fold windows that give passerby’s a glimpse into the genuine environment inside our shops. You’ll see traditional barbershop chairs and steel countertops surrounded by our trademarked poster-plastered walls of music favorites that span generations and are localized to the region. Our shops are designed to have a fun, engaging neighborhood hangout vibe with great music, high energy, lively convos, and smiling stylists and barbers who know you by name. When you see a Floyd’s 99, you wouldn’t think it’s a franchise because of these real, personal touches.