The Day I Bought a Salon
My name is Kasey. I am 35 years old and I live in Somerset, Kentucky. I am a therapist with a Master’s Degree from Lindsey Wilson College in Professional Counseling & Human Services. I am a wife, a mother of three kids and one dog, a group practice owner, a business consultant, and today, I am a salon owner.
You may be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. I am a lot of things to a lot of people and sometimes it varies depending on the day. I would have never imagined that today I would own a business in an industry I know nothing about. I never thought I’d be purchasing a domain and obtaining a license for anything other than mental health-related business. That’s the fun part about life, the things that fall in your lap sometimes turn out to the most fun!
Would you buy a business you know nothing about?
Apparently, I would.
When I started my group practice in 2015 I leased a small space. I was so terrified of the commitment that I opted for a short-term, six-month lease. I chose a property that in my worst-case scenario, I could pay out my lease and walk away. Within two weeks I had outgrown my space but I stuck it out for six months. Luckily, I had a landlord with other properties so I moved from one space to a larger one. My new space was about five times the square footage and about five times the rent!
I was absolutely terrified walking into a much larger space with a much greater commitment but I knew that I couldn’t scale my practice with a one-room office suite. I needed something bigger. At the time I didn’t even have the funds to paint the interior but I was determined to make it work. I negotiated the paint in my new lease and embarked on a journey that took me for one hell of a ride. Within six months this space was also maxed out. After about two years I began scouting the town for a larger property to fit my growing group practice.
I ran upon something WAY too big for what I needed but it was a blank canvas. It could be customized and it was something that I could grow into. I would no longer have to worry about growing out of my space, hiring movers, changing address, you know the drill. This space was again, five times my previous lease. I went from paying $250 per month originally, to $1450, to $4500 a month in rent. I backed out of the deal multiple times and eventually was pushed into signing a five-year lease on a massive 8,000 square foot property. The amount was set to increase over the course of time and by the end of my lease I would have been paying $8000+ in monthly rent.
This office has 13 therapy rooms on one floor, a large waiting area, bathroom, reception and medical records area, technology room, Telehealth room, and two administrative offices. On another floor are seven administrative offices, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a living area, and a conference room. It is massive. I moved into this space in November of 2017 and had a slight meltdown by December of that year. I was scared to death because although my practice was growing and we were profitable, I didn’t feel 100% confident in my ability to understand my numbers and my current financial standing. This is the time when I discovered Profit First and headed off to the mountains for the weekend to dive into my business’ financials.
Fast forward a couple of years and today my practice still occupies this space and I understand my financials about as best as anyone could. When my lease was first negotiated it was done so on a graduated lease plan. This means big changes the longer I stay in the lease. As much as I didn’t want to think about it, I knew I had some tough decisions to make. I could stay in my lease and pay an ungodly amount of rent OR I could explore the possibility of purchasing the building and keeping my monthly overhead about the same.
The only thing holding me back was fear. I assume most small business owners would know what I’m talking about. Making this large of a purchase with this financial responsibility is daunting. Early on in my business I went through a phase where I “felt” like everything was do or die. If we didn’t answer every single phone call the business was going to fall apart. If we had one client who complained about their therapist that meant we were bound to fail. If one piece of clinical documentation was missing from a chart we were going to get shut down. The therapist in me knows these thoughts are irrational and leading me down a path destined for anxious feelings, BUT the business owner inside of me told me they were all 100% legitimate. It was finding a way to empower myself in my business, build the systems that would allow it to be sustainable and trust that despite all the hiccups that are bound to happen, my business was and is going to be okay.
Once I was able to believe my own reassurance, I started to shift my mindset into a frame of reference that was healthier and more productive. I was able to take action with only healthy amounts of fear. This is when I decided to make the leap, and buy the property!
Big Building; Big Complex; Big Commitment
The property that my office is on is approximately 25,000 square feet of usable space. HUGE, right? The processes for purchasing such a thing was quite extensive.
It started with a good relationship with my local bank.
This took time and lots of effort to establish. My advice to you is don’t get discouraged. They told me NO a lot but I was persistent.
I had to assess my ability to pay the mortgage.
In my situation since there were so many other rental units on the property, owning it only increased my monthly obligation by about $1000 and I was set to generate five times that in profit off the rentals. It was a no brainer that buying was a better option.
I had to go through the inspection and appraisal process.
This was scary because it’s an old building that has not been kept up to my standards. A commercial inspection is much more expensive than a residential one so I had to use quite a bit of my savings to prepare to potentially purchase the property.
I had to figure out what to do with all the space.
In addition to my group practice’s rental, there are four other properties. Most of them are vacant and need some renovation and one is currently occupied as a hair salon. I knew that the vacant spaces could get some quick upgrades and rent fairly easily.
The exterior of the building needs some LOVE! I reached out to some local contractors to help me get an idea of what could be done to make this office come back to life! Before I knew it we had plans for painting the entire exterior, adding a new roof, a large porch spanning the entire width of the office, Hardie board, accent stone, custom shutters, new doors, and much much more!
I had to close, write a hefty check, and sign my life away.
Closing day is scary. Never in a million years did I think I’d own my own office building, let alone one this size. While I know it’s a smart business decision it doesn’t mitigate the fact that it’s frightening. This is an example of one of those times where I refuse to let fear get in the way of my purpose.
The meaning of ‘Closing Day’ goes beyond the transfer of paper.
Closing day means a lot of things; some scarier than others. I’m now the owner of a million-dollar commercial property that in less than four weeks will be absolutely beautiful. It means that I will no longer be paying someone else’s mortgage, I’ll be building equity in my own property. It means that I have endless opportunities to expand my business, or maybe even create a new one.
Oddly enough, one of the things that excites and confuses me the most is that closing day means I’m now the owner of a hair salon. Yes! You heard me correctly. I’m a therapist, group practice owner, business consultant, AND salon owner. The hair salon, formally known as Southern Tease, was occupying a building on the property that is included in my deal so it’s now mine. Never would I have ever imagined this, but I’m going with it. Over the last five years, my tolerance for craziness has increased and I have the ability to accept things that would have once freaked me completely out… like owning a salon!
Do I have any idea what I’m going to do with a salon? Not really, but the first thing I’m going to do is make it pretty. It’ll create a new name and logo to go with the vibe of our property. It’ll get an exterior renovation and a mural out front to showcase our growing city #seemyset. It will go from being somewhat of an eyesore to a beautiful building right at the center of Monticello Street that people are sure to take notice of. It will become an extension of Mindsight where we can promote and encourage wellness and life balance. It will become many things, I’m sure, but the first thing it will become is pretty.
When I think about what this experience means to me, blessed is the word that comes to mind. I’m grateful for the relationship I’ve built with First & Farmers National Bank and my loan officer who tolerates more from me than he has to. I’m ecstatic that I came in contact with a contractor who saw the same vision as me and could turn my dream into a reality. I’m lucky that the painters, roofers, woodworkers, crane operators, parking lot boys and everyone else involved had openings and could commit to completing this project in less than eight weeks. I’m excited about the opportunity to beautify my city and contribute to creating a place that my children will want to grow up in.
Most of all I’m humbled for there to have been a time where I was the one needing help from others, struggling to find myself and my purpose in life, only to now have the clarity for where I’m going and what I plan to accomplish by helping others.
Today is the day I bought a salon and these are the people that are helping make it beautiful.
As our project progresses I’m sure you’re going to hear a lot more from me and my experience being a commercial property (and salon) owner. Stay tuned, it’s sure to be fun!