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Posted on Jan 06, 2011

How this Barbershop Franchise is Replicating the Nostalgic Neighborhood Feel

Can the old fashion neighborhood barber feel be replicated? More importantly, can this be done while having a viable business model?  This is just what FranchiseHelp intended to find out by interviewing the Director of Franchise Development (and social media rainmaker) at V's Barber Shop Greg George.

V's Barbershop, founded 10 years ago by Jim Valenzuela, has created a turnkey barbershop franchise that is now operating in 12 locations.  V's Barbershop is currently experiencing huge growth and we decided to find out more.   In this interview, Greg George tells us exactly how a potential franchisee can create their own successful "old school" barbershop.

To request more information on V's Barbershop, click here!

For those of you who prefer to read the interview, below is the official transcript…

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Hello everybody. Welcome to I'm Matt Wilson. I'm here with Greg George, franchise development at V's Barbershop. Greg, thanks for coming by.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Yeah, man, great. Good to speak with you.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Hey, no problem. I really want to dive into V's Barbershop has an interesting, interesting concept here. Basically, the whole nostalgia of the barbershop where you get your clean shave, you can get your shoes shined, all that kind of stuff, you can get that in this almost an old school feel of V's Barbershop. Can you explain the concept to the people at home who've never actually been to one?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Absolutely, man. V's is in fact very unique and it's definitely very old school. There are a lot of concepts out there in franchising in particular in the barbershop and beauty business. V's, it's a different concept. It's different because it's a barbershop.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Matt, I know you're a little younger than I am, but back in the day, most guys my age their father took them to a barbershop.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    They had a barber. The place had a certain smell to it. When you walked out of there, you felt good and it was an experience. That's what V's is. It's an experience. Our tagline is "It's a guy thing." What we do at V's is we cut hair. We cut men and boy's hair.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    We trim moustaches and beards. We give facials and facial massages. We give straight edge razor shaves, which are nice sometimes, and also we shine shoes.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Now, wait a second. You said facials. Facials for a man?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Yeah, facial massages for a man.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    We give facials and facial massages. We do straight edge razor shaves, shine shoes, trim moustaches and beards. Our customers are men, boys, and of course mothers of boys.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Exactly, exactly. Yeah, your mom has to bring you into the barbershop, of course. But why wouldn't someone just go out and start their own barbershop? Why buy into the franchise model?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    That question is a great question, Matt. I've had several people ask me that. You know, a lot people can probably go out and start their own barbershop. The problem is, typically, barbers are not businessmen. They're barbers.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    They're not marketers. They're communicators, but they're not necessarily marketers. Most of the people that contact me, they are not barbers. They're businesspeople.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    So, you don't have to be a barber to buy into V's?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Most of our franchisees are not barbers.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    You do not need to know how to cut hair to own and operate a V's Barbershop.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay. But where do you find the barbers? You just put an ad in the newspaper, barbers needed?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    That's a great question, Matt. I'll give you an example. We have recently opened up a store in Houston, Texas.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    When we go into a region or area, we have access to who all the barbers are in that region and area. We have created a marketing piece that we send out several weeks prior to the grand opening of the V's. We send it to all the barbers. We show them what our barbershop looks like. They see pictures of our barbers all dressed alike. They see the plasma screen TVs in front of every barber chair.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    The barber chair that looks like a king should be sitting in it.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    The authentic sports memorabilia on the walls. Let me stop a minute and tell you, V's is different from all the others because it's authentic. This isn't a cookie cutter, you know, there's flags at every stall, they all look alike. It's not cheesy with maybe woman wearing loose clothing cutting hair. It's not a fad kind of thing. It's authentic. It's classy. But most important is the experience that men and boys have. They know that they're going to get a great haircut, shoe shine, shave. Mothers in particular like taking their sons to these because they know the quality of service.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    So you have these big king chairs and they boost you up. Where does the franchisee get the chairs from, the memorabilia on the walls? If you put one in New York, they're not just going to put up any old teams? People are going to want to walk in and see the Yankees and the Giants and the Jets.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Absolutely. That's another great question, Matt. The bottom line is we've got all that figured out for our franchisees.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Because we've gone through it. We've been in business over 11 years now. We've put together a lot of locations. We know what a pain in the rear that can be trying to worry about where do I get my cabinetry, where do I get the memorabilia, the barber chairs, the accessories?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    It's all turn-key with the fees. We don't make any money on that. It's just a service we provide. We find your real estate. We negotiate your lease. We hire our law firm to negotiate your lease.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    In your local area?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Absolutely. We have the cabinet makers that we've got relationships with. We know where to bring in the barber chairs, the plasma screen TV, the whole package. You literally, the trickiest part of it is, once you invest the money in it, we work together to execute setting up the location. We have all the marketing. For ten years, we have been cutting edge on marketing, and today we're still cutting edge. We're also out there in social media with things as well.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    But I can still pick my teams to go on the wall, huh?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Absolutely.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay, okay. So, what makes you guys different? That's what I want to know.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Well, that's another great question. Quite frankly is, I'll first use the old adage, you get what you pay for. With V's, there's nothing cheap about our concept, from the cabinetry to the feel when you walk into the place. I'm not saying it's over the top and it's only for rich people. But the fact of the matter is the people who come to V's are medium to higher income customers.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    The bottom line is, Matt, that what sets us apart from these other places are, it's the barbers. Our business is no regular barbers. People come to V's because we only hire professional barbers. Typically when we go into a region, we get the best barbers because they make the most money with V's. They bring their customer base with them to help get your business started. So we go around and find the best barbers and that's what builds the business. The people want the service. The people want to be able to chat with their barbers, fellow barbers, and fellow customers about sports.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Sure.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    It's about talking and building relationships, and at V's you can do that.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay, that makes sense. All right. Say I'm a barber, right, I want to start cutting people's hair and go out on my own. I could do this for a couple of thousand dollars, get a real nice retail location and start trimming hair. What is the leg up that they're getting with these franchises? I mean barbershops are proven across the country to work. They're pretty much recession proof. People always need their haircuts. I still need to know why would I open up a V's barbershop as opposed as to go out and do something else? Just go out on my own.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Well, that's another great question. First of all, 90% of independent businesses close, 10% of franchise businesses close.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Number two, we've been doing this for over ten years now. Number three, the average barbershop may average 100 something to $200,000 a year in sales. A side note, I'm not making any financial claims here, but there are franchise disclosure documents we share that we've had our stores average close to $600,000 a year in business.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    That's the difference between an independent and a brand.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Is that on your earnings disclaimer?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    It is.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay. That's all available on, your FDD, everything.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Our FDD, Matt, is sent to the prospective franchisee once we speak with them. But the bottom line is I don't want to focus so much on what the numbers are. I want to focus on track record. I want to focus on every V's looks alike as it relates to the barber chairs, the fixtures, the cabinetry, our brand name now that we're expanding. This business started in Arizona where we have seven locations.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Okay.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Now, we've expanded to California, Washington State, Texas, New Jersey, soon to be Missouri, and several other states. Now, it's starting to catch on. People, you know I was just speaking with our founder about this a couple of days ago, people, generally, men, businesspeople that are looking to franchise. I know that women are, but men are who call us about this.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    Sure, the nature of the business. It's a barbershop.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Right. They are going to a barbershop, either the wife's salon or Great Clips. They're seeing how there might be 22 Fantastic Sam's in their town.

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    They're seeing the business opportunity. In some way, they stumble onto V's online it seems. They call us. The type of people who come to our organization, they're not barbers. They're businesspeople that don't want to be at a restaurant making sub sandwiches seven days a week to make $60,000 a year. They want to be in a business where they don't have a whole lot of employees or a whole lot of inventory. They want to be in a business they can be proud of. With V's, let's just say if you're a guy and you like to look good and you're involved in the community and you have contacts and you know how to run a business and manage four or six barbers and market your business to the community in grade school, in middle school, in high school, and college, and professionals, V's is a great concept to look at.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    I like it, Greg. I like it. Well, hey, thank you very much for sharing some of this insight. There are a lot of people out there who want to learn more about V's, more about franchising. If you have one thing that you look for in franchisees when they come to the table, what is that differentiating factor in the actual franchisee themselves that say, you know what, this person is right for V's?

[Greg George, V's Barbershop]:    Well, you just have to measure how they operate from the beginning when you make contact with them through the process, which, by the way, you can't buy a franchise by mistake. With V's, when we start talking to people on the phone, we're not in it to slam them in a franchise, man. It is a process. It takes several months to put a relationship together on both ends. We're in no hurry like all these other franchise companies. My job, as Director of Franchising, is not to sell a franchise. It's to provide prospective franchisees with the information so they can do the due diligence and see if V's is an opportunity they want to pursue. I enjoy doing it. Where another company manages to elaborate, we don't bombard people with phone calls and send them a whole bunch of . . . as a matter of fact we don't send any paper to our prospective franchisees. If people are interested in V's, I will send them a killer 14-page electronic brochure, let them check it out and see if they're interested before we go any further. Then if they are, I put them together with our founder, Jim Valenzuela, myself, and we get to know them. Then the next step is we send them the information about our company. Then the next step is they fly out to Arizona and spend the day with Jim, maybe with multiple franchisees, barbers. They get a haircut. They get a straight edge razor shave. They get to know us. Then we decided if we're a match. If we do, we move forward, and then we go through the process of getting the location up.

[Matt Wilson, FranchiseHelp]:    That's exactly right. I think it's a fantastic process, and that's exactly what we're trying to initiate at FranchiseHelp, is educate the franchisee so that they know what they're getting themselves into. We may not be able to give them that clean shave. But we can still guide them through the process, give them the education, and say, "Hey, we don't want you to just stumble into a franchise. We want you to know that this is for you and that's why we're doing interviews like this." Greg, hey, I appreciate it very much, you coming out from V's Barbershop. Thanks for joining us on Skype today.

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