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Franchise Interview
Interview Date:  10/20/2014
Executive Spotlight Interview with Rob Goggins, COO of Great Clips
Executive Spotlight with Great Clips
Interview with Rob Goggins, COO of Great Clips

At a Glance, Great Clips:

  1. Has been in business for 32 years.
  2. $1 billion business, providing more than 90 million quality haircuts per year.
  3. Franchisees employ 35,000 stylists.
  4. Produced 40 straight quarters of same-store comparable sales growth.
  5. Salons are 100 percent franchisee owned.
  6. Has approximately 1,200 franchisees across 165 markets.
  7. Franchisees have solid business experience and acumen.
  8. Consistently ranked among the top 50 franchise concepts in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500.
  9. Meets with various groups of franchisees at least 10 times per year to discuss future plans and major initiatives.
  10. Provides ongoing support to franchisees, including system-wide recruiting events to drive stylist applications and national relationships with cosmetology schools.


Full Q&A with Rob Goggins

Rob GogginsQ: Tell us a little about your brand.

A: Rob Goggins: Great Clips has been in business for 32 years. We provide more than 90 million quality haircuts per year to men, women and children throughout 165 markets in the U.S. and Canada. We do this through a network of 3,600 salons - all owned by franchisees.

Even though we're the biggest, Great Clips is also the fastest growing hair salon franchise in the world. We are consistently ranked among the top 50 franchise concepts in Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500; selected as a Top 10 franchise by Fortune magazine; and highlighted as a Top 200 franchise organization by Franchise Times (#86). We just completed our 40th straight quarter of same-store comparable sales growth.

Q: What do you look for in a good franchisee prospect for your business? Are there certain characteristics or skillsets your top-performing franchisees seem to have?

A: Rob Goggins: Our franchisees generally have solid business experience and acumen. They are also proficient at managing through others. This is important since the vast majority of our franchisees don't know much about cutting hair - they are business owners overseeing their business.

Our franchisees generally focus on core aspects of the business that they're comfortable with, and delegate the rest to a partner, manager or a trusted vendor. Elements of the business that they might focus on would include the following: staffing, real estate, marketing, financials, operations, salon build-out/maintenance.

Q: What is your biggest competitive advantage?

A: Rob Goggins: Our biggest advantage is that 100 percent of our salons are owned by franchisees. Great Clips, Inc. has no - zip, zippo, not a single one - corporate salons. We have an incredible relationship with our approximately 1,200 franchisees. For example, we meet with various groups of franchisees at least 10 times each year to discuss future plans, major initiatives and how we can mutually grow to serve more customers.

Q: What’s a “day in the life” of one of your franchisees consist of?

A: Rob Goggins: It really depends on which areas of the business a franchisee wants to focus on. They could choose to do any of the following: seek out new real estate sites to grow their organization; work with Great Clips, Inc. and their local marketing vendors to execute marketing plans; visit local cosmetology schools to build relationships with school owners and help recruit future stylists into their salons; meet with their salons' managers (or general manager) to review operational progress towards established goals; or they could work on the organization's financials.

Q: What are the common day-to-day challenges that your franchisees face? What does your brand do to help them overcome those challenges?

A: Rob Goggins: The primary challenge in most businesses that serve customers is staffing - recruiting and retaining the right people. The franchisees we select are experienced in this area and have proven to be excellent managers and leaders. We help franchisees by building national relationships with cosmetology schools, creating and executing system-wide recruiting events to drive stylist applications, building an online application and stylist database, and creating a resource toolbox to help franchisees recruit locally and effectively.

Q: As you look at your brand today, anything you’re particularly proud of in terms of people, service, outreach, etc.?

A: Rob Goggins: We're proud of many things. By providing more than 90 million haircuts each year, we get to see people leave our salons looking like themselves - only a little better. We're also proud of the fact that our franchisees employ approximately 35,000 stylists, who have had opportunities to become managers, general managers and even franchisees. We are also very active in our local communities, giving back to such organizations as Ronald McDonald House and Children's Miracle Network.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned personally that has allowed you to excel in your position?

A: Rob Goggins: In order to work successfully with franchisees you must have empathy and you must listen. Those two things must be in place before you can earn a franchisee's trust.

Q: What’s the one thing a prospective franchisee should take away about your business?

A: Rob Goggins: We provide a service that can't be outsourced or off-shored, and looks to be around for generations. We have incredible technology, terrific operational measures and a system that has produced 40 straight quarters of same-store sales increases. And, we have an enormous local and national marketing budget that creates incredible brand awareness which helps drive customers into our salons. But in terms of the one thing prospective franchisees should take away from our business, I would tell them the same thing I tell my friends and family when they ask about Great Clips. Although we're a $1 billion per year business, it's a very family-friendly culture at all levels. We listen carefully and truly partner with our franchisees in order to grow the business.

Rob Goggins joined Great Clips, Inc. in 2007 as vice president of franchise development, and was promoted to senior vice president of real estate and development in the fall of 2011. On Jan. 1, 2014, Goggins was promoted to chief operations officer. In this COO role he oversees franchise development, real estate, facilities and purchasing/general office as well as the business services group.