Patrick: I’m here with Vetted Biz. Really excited to have co-owner and founder of the ManCave for Men, a luxury barbershop, Emad Aovida is gonna be in just a couple of minutes. We’re gonna have a question and answer time with Emad to ask all your questions related to the men’s grooming space, different opportunities throughout the United States, what the franchise costs, all the different items that you wanna know to see if a barbershop franchise might be a good fit for you.
Not many people know about how profitable barbershops can be. It’s a recurring revenue business where you’re building your book of clients over time, a pretty high-margin business.
And to start the business is a fraction of many food-related franchises. So, in terms of having a franchise that has a physical space, it’s on the lower end. You know, it can start as low as around $150,000 and go on up to around $200,000.
You compare that to a typical restaurant that’s gonna be $300,000, $600,000-plus. And then if you’re looking for full dining, it could be $2 million, $3 million-plus. So, we’re really excited to look in and do a deep dive with Emad Aovida. Again, he’s from the ManCave for Men, a luxury barbershop that started here in South Florida.
At Visa Franchise, some of our…And I’m also the co-founder of Visa Franchise, an advisory firm for helping find and analyze businesses for the E2 Investor Visa. We’ve helped 300-plus clients from all over the world. And some of our most successful clients actually invested in the men’s grooming industry, specifically in barbershops.
So, really excited to have Emad on. I’m gonna add him on in just a couple of minutes, waiting for you all to continue to join on.
Again, Patrick Findaro with Vetted Biz. We’re a platform for finding and analyzing businesses across the United States. We have over 1,700 franchises available on our platform. We’ve reviewed 1.3 million small business administration loans to see which business opportunities across different industries have the highest risk and which ones have, basically, the highest or lowest default rate.
Again, I wanna introduce Emad Aovida and I’m gonna add him on to the live stream here. Emad Aovida is an engineer by trade, originally from Israel. He speaks a few different languages, obviously, English, Hebrew, and then Arabic as well. His specialty over the years since graduating in engineering has been in construction, particularly in the interior build-outs.
So, you can imagine for building a franchise system where the interior design is that important and keeping the cost low, it’s a huge value-add for a system like ManCave for Men. He founded it back in 2011, so 9 years strong. They have nine operating locations, and three under construction, and another three that are in negotiations for the leases.
So, he’ll talk a little bit more later on about the opportunities on the real estate side in terms of negotiating rents, getting decreased rents because of the COVID, and also talk about how they’re positioned during COVID-19 in the pandemic. But first, I just wanted to pass it over to Emad just for a brief introduction, maybe just a minute to introduce yourself, and then I have a few questions for you that we’ve gotten from past Vetted Biz consumers. Thanks, Emad, for being on.
Emad: Hi, Patrick. Thank you for having me. And thank everybody who’s listening. So, my name…as Patrick said, my name is Emad Aovida. I’m the founder and the owner of ManCave for Men. I started this business in…the first store was opened in 2011. And two years later we opened…we were doing really good and we opened a second location.
In 2018, we decided to start franchising. So, right now we have nine operating stores and three under construction. We’re trying to have them open by the end of this year, and also another three that we are in lease negotiation right now.
And also, we just hired a development company that we’re gonna be expanding to most states especially non-registered and we have a few that we’re gonna register to. So, we’re gonna be almost going after, like, 30 states by…this is gonna start November.
Patrick: Really exciting stuff, Emad. So, tell me a little bit, how did you get into the barbershop space? So, you first started in engineering and then entered the civil construction, and interior build-outs. How did you come across barbershops?
Emad: Okay. As you are aware, Patrick, back in 2010 when we have that recession and, you know, the construction really went really bad. So, I started looking for other ideas. And I always liked the idea of beauty, you know, to be in the beauty business. And I’ve seen the lack of having, like, a place for men that he can, you know, go and, you know, just like…you know, women, they have a salon that they can go there, have their manicure, pedicure, haircuts, facials, and everything…
Patrick: A man cave, a place to hang out.
Emad: Exactly. So, when I thought, you know, the man is also the same. It felt like we were lacking there and we needed a place for men. So, the first thing that came to my mind, the ManCave, a place for the men to go and feel comfortable.
And even myself, I used to go to hair salons, and I never felt comfortable being there, you know, especially, you know, with women being next to…women with using a hair blower and very loud and…So, I wanted it to be quieter, somebody can come in, they have sports channels, we have, like, large screen TVs. You come in, you relax, you grab a beer, a wine, and…
Patrick: That’s nice.
Emad: …enjoy, you know, enjoy just that feeling like, you know, you’re in your own man cave.
Patrick: How often do most of your customers come in? Are they coming in once a month, once every two months? What’s, like, the average customer coming in?
Emad: We have customers that come every two weeks, and we have customers that come much more.
Patrick: Oh, wow.
Emad: We have a lot they come every almost two weeks.
Patrick: I imagine especially because beards are becoming more fashionable for the first time in many, many years that they’re gonna be more fashionable than people wanna pay for that.
Emad: That’s true. I mean, if you see now, right now, if you look at them, you know, ’80s, ’90s, and what’s going on now, men now, you see that they really take care of themselves. You see, like, the beard, you see the trimming, you see the manicure. Everybody likes to look more, you know, clean. You don’t see people just with the hair growing or leaving them wild…
Patrick: And probably a key thing, you know, at first maybe you started in big cities like New York, but since then it’s spread all over.
Emad: It did. It did.
Patrick: So, yeah, definitely. I mean, in Miami, you clearly see that.
Patrick: And now we’re starting to see that across the states. So, how do you…One thing that I found that is, kind of, difficult on the men groom in space and just the beauty industry overall is finding and training the employees, the barbers in this case, because at times, they’re kind of like an artist, and they can be kind of difficult to manage if you don’t have the right systems in place.
So, could you tell me a little bit about how you find and train barbers, and support franchisees with those efforts?
Emad: Yeah. I mean, first of all, when we hire a barber, we make sure he brings someone with him so he can take…so we can watch how he does his haircuts to make sure he follows standards.
Patrick: Okay. And are these barbers on…Do they get paid…are they W-2 employees or are they more of a contract or a 1099 contractor? What is their employment status in most states? Because I know it varies by state too.
Emad: Right. Mostly what we use, we use them, you work in 1099, you work in commission.
Emad: Yeah. So, they have…Normally we go with them as, you know, 50/50 commission or, you know, 40/60. It depends.
Patrick: It probably depends on how good they are or how big their book of clients is.
Patrick: That’s great. So, you have…I mean, they’re at the cost of the goods sold. So, if you’re managing a business, you’re only paying them if they’re producing and selling services.
Emad: Exactly. Exactly. And this way also they hustle. If you give them hourly, it’s hard. You have to have somebody all the time over them and watch them and make sure that they’re not wasting time. But when they know they are in commission, you know, they are going outside, even grabbing…you know, going with their cards, talking to people and trying to bring customers.
Emad: Or they’re going on their website…
Patrick: Yeah. You instill in them that they’re an owner in this. They’re making more money the more they hustle, so it seems like a great alignment together with the franchisee and then yourself the franchisor. So, we have some questions coming in from the live stream. I wanted to start with Philippe St-Pierre.
Does the franchisor do market research to see if a location and city that has a potential franchisee will be interested if it’s a good opportunity?
Emad: Yeah, 100%. I always…I get…First of all, if a franchisee finds the location and he brings it to me, we do the demographic, we do the whole nine yards to make sure that it’s a fit and the place is gonna be successful. And I wouldn’t take a location if it’s not an A-plus. It has to be a place that 100% gonna work for a ManCave concept.
Emad: Yeah. I mean, our concept, most…I’ll say all our franchisees, none of them cut hair. Their day-to-day would be…We have two different franchisees, a franchisee who wanna be involved day to day in the store, and we have them, the semi-absentee. So, if you’re in the store day to day, you just be, you know, watching, you know, what’s going on, the operation.
But also, you’ll be involved in, you know, making the payroll or ordering the products. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff for them to be doing beside…I mean, if you’re not cutting hair, I mean, this…
Like I said, this concept is not for…I mean, so far, we didn’t have one person as a barber taking this concept. And you can be a manager in the store or you can hire a manager in the store. If you wanna be semi-absentee, you don’t even have to be in the store.
Patrick: So, the folks that are semi-absentee, like, how many hours are they putting in a month? Is it something that you could invest 5 hours of your time, 10 hours of your time and have a full-time manager?
Emad: A week…a month you mean or…?
Patrick: On a monthly basis. Or you could say weekly.
Emad: Yeah. I mean, in a weekly, I would say, you know, a few hours if you have a manager. Also, as you know, we have cameras where you can see them from your phone and…So, you can be watching, you know, your store from anywhere. Even if you’re out of the country, you could be watching your store and seeing exactly, you know, the whole operation.
Patrick: And so how much does the franchise cost?
Emad: Our franchise, if you compare it to our competition or anything in the beauty, we are almost half of the others. It varies from…the cheapest would be $120,000 to $180,000.
Patrick: Okay. And that includes the franchise fee, working capital, and everything?
Patrick: Okay, great. So, yeah, in terms of just any franchise, I mean, there’s obviously some low-cost franchises like property management or things that the customer doesn’t come to you, but in terms of a franchise where you receive the customer and it’s definitely on the low-end.
Emad: Also, what we do, like, when we negotiate a deal with the landlord, we always try to get a TIA, which is a tenant improvement budget. So, we can get money from the landlord, you know, back to the franchisee. So, that helps, you know, with the cost. Most of the locations, and even the one I’m negotiating right now, I’m given between $40,000 to $70,000.
Patrick: That’s significant. So, is that an upfront deduction or is that taken off the rent? How does that usually work for a tenant improvement?
Emad: No. That’s when you finish building your store in a month’s time, 30 days after you open your doors, the landlord will write you a check.
Patrick: That’s great.
Emad: And the reason we’ve been, you know, successful with this, you know, when you’re a franchise…And this is maybe, you know, like, a different when you go as a mom-and-pop and/or you’re a franchise, always landlords willing to work because they know your concept is proven and they know that you’re gonna be there for 10 or 20 years.
And normally we sign a minimum of 5 and we start at 10 years ago and we do operations up to 20 years. So, the landlord feels much comfortable, you know, working with a concept that is proven.
Patrick: They want longevity. They want someone that’s gonna be around for a while, not just open up for a year, see how it is, maybe close.
Patrick: No, it makes total sense. And tell me, it’s October 16th, 2020. We’ve been in this pandemic for months now. I’ve seen, you know, the beauty salons here in Miami Beach where I live and barbershops here started opening up and it seems like they’re pretty busy, some of them. Can you tell me about how men’s grooming is affected by COVID-19 and how ManCave for Men in particular is affected?
Emad: Yeah. I mean, what’s happening with us in the COVID, we were closed for two months.
Emad: As you know, this is an essential business. So, we started…As soon we opened after the two months, we were, like, slammed with people because, I mean, you know, you cannot…That’s one of the things like a barbering. With restaurants, you can eat at home, you can go buy something from us, you know, but you cannot cut your own hair. Everybody was…his hair growing wild and we…
Patrick: I had a Zoom call in, like, early April and I had my wife cut my hair a little bit. I looked like an idiot. So, I should have just waited and kept it growing out.
Patrick: And then we have another question from Philippe. What is the owner benefit that a semi-absentee franchise can expect, and also for a non-absentee? So, for those that don’t know what owner benefit is, it’s basically, how much can you make? How much money are you receiving from the business?
Emad: So, normally in our concept, you make approximate 20% to 30% of your sales. So, the good locations that, you know, they’ve been established an average will be like $500,000. So, 20% of that, you’re talking about like $100,000. That’s on 20% if you are more successful and…And also it depends if you can get people to work at 50% more than [inaudible 00:24:31]. So, that’s more money for the store.
Patrick: And the margin, I mean, I’m sure it varies on a lot of factors in terms of sales and you have your fixed costs. And yeah, you mentioned how your labor costs are split and the commissions with the barbers, but for someone that’s an owner-operator and they’re there every day, I imagine it’s closer to…in the men’s grooming industry, someone owning a business franchise in that sector, it would be closer to 30%. Would that be right?
Patrick: And then a day-to-day manager maybe closer to 20%?
Emad: Yes. That’s correct.
Patrick: All right. So, tell us about your plans. So, you mentioned you have three locations under contract, three locations that you’re…Sorry. Three locations that are under your construction, three more locations that you’re just going back and forth negotiating the leases, helping your franchisees out. What’s in the future, Emad?
Emad: Yeah. The three locations right now that are under construction, one is in Miami, which is in Palmetto Bay…
Emad: … a little bit south in Miami. There’s also the one under construction also in Orlando by FSU. Sorry, by UCF. UCF. University of…
Patrick: Central Florida.
Emad: …Central Florida. Yeah. UCF.
Patrick: That’s a good area. So you got it in one of the plazas there?
Emad: Yeah. That’s a good…Even behind us, that’s a great location. I’m building it but I’m looking for a franchisee for that one. And I see that one is gonna be a very successful store. It’s…
Patrick: So, sometimes you’ll go out and build a location, and if someone…if a franchisee wants to buy it, great, and if not, you keep it. Is that right?
Emad: Yes. Yes. So, this is what I’ve been doing, you know, like, building the stores because, you know, when you’re a new concept, so people believe in you, they wanna see, you know, open a store. So, this is what I’ve been doing. I even…Nobody does this. And I always told…I told my franchisee and I’m willing to sign that if…
Patrick: When you’re going out and opening up a new ManCave for Men location and there’s not yet a franchisee that is interested in a location, are you signing a personal guarantee or corporate guarantee? Does the landlord require that from you?
Emad: Yes. Yes, they do.
Patrick: Okay. So, you have some pretty big skin in the game to make sure that location works.
Emad: I am. I am. And like I said, in that location you’re like, I mean, half a mile from the university where they have like 60,000 students.
Patrick: Yeah. It’s like one of the…I think Michigan State and UCF are like the largest colleges.
Emad: Yes. And behind us, just behind us, and it’s the main entry to a 2 million square feet office space. It’s just behind…That’s their main entrance through the shopping center.
Patrick: That’s great.
Emad: So, that’s like a…I’m really excited about that location. Like I said, I only…I go for really A-plus locations. I’m not willing to…If somebody even comes to me and he said, “This is the money. I wanna buy it and I wanna be in this location,” and I don’t think that he’s gonna be successful, I’m not gonna do it.
Patrick: So, it’s been nine years. The stat is that 50% of businesses within the first 5 years, businesses that have any employees, fail. Over the last nine years, have you had any closures?
Patrick: Okay. That’s great. Congrats.
Emad: Thank you.
Patrick: So, tell me, do you have a couple of franchise locations that you’d be willing to sell right now? You have the one in Orlando. Are there any other existing franchise locations you’d be willing to sell?
Emad: Yes. We have one in East Boca, downtown Boca, Boca Raton.
Emad: Also, we’re looking for a franchisee. That’s in…the area is called Royal Palm by Mizner Park. It’s very high-end. And right now they’re building really high-end hotels and…
Emad: …just a few hundred feet away from the location. And that location is sitting on Federal Highway facing…
Patrick: Yeah, I’m very familiar with Federal Highway. We’ve had a few clients open up franchises in Boca Raton and I’ve been really impressed by just the money that’s there. And you have people that are spending a lot of money on services.
Emad: Yeah. I mean, we are by the Boca resort and they’re building this huge Mandarin Hotel. It’s a high-end…
Patrick: Yeah, definitely. We have one here in Miami Beach. It’s great.
Emad: Yeah. We are like a walking distance, you know, from these, you know, high-end locations.
Patrick: That’s great. Now, we have a question from Christian Benitez. In your opinion, which is the area with the major development to put a franchise? And he’s saying Fort Myers, for example.
Emad: Okay. We just opened Sarasota, a location in Sarasota.
Patrick: Okay. A little over an hour up the coast.
Emad: Yeah. So, Fort Myers just before Sarasota. In Sarasota, I was not…Like I said, all my stores were open first in the East Coast of Florida. And we opened one in St. Pete and one in Sarasota. And I find out that that area, for some reason, it’s better than even the East for some reason.
The guy, my franchisee in Sarasota, he’s already signed another location and he’s looking for a third in Sarasota itself. He opened a month ago and he opened with six chairs, and we have to go squeeze a seventh chair for him because of the demand that he had.
Patrick: So, he can have seven customers at the same time and it’s only been a month in business?
Patrick: That’s great. Fantastic.
Emad: Yeah. He went and he signed another location and he’s looking for a third in Sarasota because he’s doing really well there.
Patrick: That’s great.
Patrick: Yeah. It seems like also, you know, in terms of rent, it’s gonna be a lot less in Sarasota than Miami-Dade County or even Broward County.
Emad: Miami, yes, especially like Coral Gables and…
Patrick: It’s pricey.
Emad: Yeah, and Brickell.
Patrick: We’re right off Lincoln Road. So… these businesses are able to pay their high rent, you know, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 every month.
Emad: Sure. So, the answer for Fort Myers, like I said, I mean, I love the West Coast, but I’m not familiar, to be honest, with Fort Myers downtown or the…
Patrick: And what do you do? Will you go, and then you’re working with a local realtor to look at different commercial spaces? How do you explore a new area?
Emad: Yes. I have a company that I’m working with that they are very…they have offices all over.
Emad: And every time, you know, I tell him, “Find me locations in Fort Myers,” he will go, he will give me the best areas that fit the ManCave and I’ll go and visit it with him to make sure it’s what we’re looking for.
Emad: Yeah, sure. Like even in our…Sorry. In our FDD, which is the franchise document, there’s a name of each franchisee and their contact. So, this is…Let’s say somebody has an interest and we send them a nondisclosure agreement and we send them the FDD. So, from there, he can make his phone calls or, you know, we can give it to…I mean, we can…Like I said, I mean, they’re all on the FDD, but if he needs the information…
Patrick: Help them connect. You can be the bridge to connect them.
Emad: Sure. Sure.
Patrick: Great. And then, tell me, in the franchise disclosure document, do you have an item 19 where you disclose sales and other things financials?
Emad: Yes, we do.
Patrick: Okay. Perfect. And at what time does a prospective franchisee usually review that? Is that after an initial call with yourself? They would review…I imagine they would review the item 19 after having an initial conversation with you, right? Then they would receive the franchise disclosure document?
Patrick: And sometimes they don’t speak English all that well. Do you have support for Spanish speakers as well?
Emad: Yes, we do.
Patrick: Okay. Great. So, in theory, someone that doesn’t speak English all that well could invest in a ManCave and, you know, hire an English speaker?
Emad: Yes. I mean, we have two locations…we have two franchisees, they are French.
Patrick: Oh, great.
Emad: Yeah. And I will say, like, one is now a single mom and a couple they are married. The husband cannot really communicate in English. And she started…When she came in, she was almost like…
Patrick: I’m sure they learn on the job. If they’re an active owner-operator, they’re talking to their bilingual manager, and then they’re interacting with the rest of the staff.
Emad: Sure. And I don’t know, Patrick, if…We didn’t mention the different tools between ManCave and the other, you know, barber and other ones that we are a full service. I mean, we offer…besides haircuts, hot shaves, and coloring, we do manicure, pedicure. We do waxing, you know, body wash…
Patrick: So, I’m sure that drives the average ticket much higher. So, if you’re comparing it to another franchise like Supercuts where maybe they’re just getting $12, you can get $20, $30, $40.
Emad: Exactly. Exactly. Like I said, we have manicure, pedicure, facial, massages. So, all these other services, if you try to grow your tickets, and they are high tickets. That could make a huge difference in…And these people you could hire them as, you know, W-2 or you can just do a commission as 50-50.
Patrick: Yeah. So, besides a barber do you have, like, someone at the front desk that’s a W-2, an actual employee?
Emad: The only person in a W-2 will be the front desk or you’re having a manager.
Patrick: So you have one or two W-2s and then the rest are contractors. And for those that don’t know, you know, contractor, you’re paying them not based on hours worked, it’s based on, essentially, performance in this case.
Patrick: Say the haircut is $30, they get $15, you keep $15. And the idea is to do a lot of those every day.
Patrick: That’s interesting.
Patrick: Okay. All right. Well, everyone, you can browse through the profile. You can request on the franchise request box. You can request and you’ll be able to schedule an introductory call directly with Emad to learn more about the brand, see if it could be a good fit for you. We also have information on SBA loan data related to the ManCave for Men. It is eligible. It’s in the franchise directory at the SBA website. It’s been there since November 13th, 2018. So, a little over a year. That’s positive.
And then you’re able to also look at some of the detailed metrics around ManCave for Men, and we’re gonna have some other comparison tools. So, one closing question with Philippe, and then I just wanted to see if you had any closing words before we wrap this up. Philippe is asking, I guess, how much can a barber do in a year? How much can they make in a year, commission plus tips?
Emad: How much a barber would make a year, commission plus tips? I would say between $50,000 to $70,000.
Patrick: That’s solid. Okay. From what I understand, you know, looking at some other franchise systems, I know that hairstylists or barbers are making sub-$50,000, more like $35,000, $40,000, so that’s significant. That’s great. Emad, anything else that you’d like to share before we wrap this up?
Emad: I’m trying to think if there’s a…No, I think we’re good. Like I said, the location that you asked me before, locations that we have that would be available in May, two in Miami, one in Orlando, one in Gainesville by UF.
Patrick: UF, University of Florida.
Emad: Yes. We are, I mean, just walking distance from the University of Florida in the building called the Hub. It’s like an eight-story building and all of them, they are students, and we are at the first…we are down downstairs in the same building, but the retail area.
Emad: So, like I said, Orlando, Gainesville, Miami, two locations that they will be available, and Wellington.
Patrick: Okay. Wellington, like the polo capital, right, of the U.S… That’s great. Well, Emad, thanks so much for joining this Vetted Biz “Franchise Fridays.” We’re gonna be having more and more of these with some different franchises that we’ve already vetted. And, for example, for this one, we’ve had three different research analysts sign off on it. And we love how Emad has been super transparent.
A lot of the numbers are disclosed in the FDD, the franchise disclosure document. For the numbers that aren’t in there, you can reach out directly to some of the franchisees to better understand some of the financial figures. I made a quick post. I’m gonna just share on the screen. Check out our site, vettedbiz.com, listing ManCave for Men. And there you can get a lot more details that will complement some of the information that we reviewed today.
And then you can reach out directly and put your information if you want a call with Emad and to receive more information. Emad, thanks again for joining.
Emad: Thank you, Patrick. And thanks to everybody who was listening.
Patrick: Appreciate it. Take care, guys. Enjoy the weekend.
Emad: Okay. You too.
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