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Franchisee Dan Friend Proves that Great Clips Has Room To Grow on the East Coast

Great Clips multi-unit franchisee Dan Friend used his background in corporate America to expand his presence throughout the Upstate New York market.

By Taylor Karg1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 5:17PM 12/05/19

It seems as if, no matter where you go, there’s a Great Clips salon nearby—and that’s because Great Clips has established a strong presence across North America. The well-known affordable salon services brand is one of the largest haircare name brands with more than 4,400 salons and over 1,000 franchise owners throughout the United States and Canada. 

The haircare giant was even recognized on Franchise Times’ Top 200+ List for 2019, landing the No. 82 spot

Thanks to the brand’s impressive national footprint and a scalable business model, multi-unit franchisee Dan Friend has been able to expand Great Clips’ East Coast presence, particularly throughout the Upstate New York market. 

Friend recently celebrated the grand opening of his newest Great Clips location in Lockport, New York, which marks his ninth store in the greater Buffalo and Rochester areas. Operating this many locations is common across the Great Clips system, as the Great Clips business model allows owners to grow multiple locations without adding significant complexity. At Great Clips, the average franchise owner operates five to six salons after their first five years. 

However, it hasn’t always been the business of clippers, combs and exceptional customer service for the Buffalo native. “My background is all really with corporate America,” said Friend. “I’ve spent my entire career of almost 30 years in sales and marketing for Fortune 100 businesses.” 

Currently, Friend is the Northeast regional sales manager at Noresco, an international energy services company. It wasn’t until late in his corporate sales career that he began toying with the idea of getting into franchise industry. “I was actually interested in franchising for quite some time, but wasn’t sure which concept I should go with,” he said. So, before making the decision to invest in a franchise, in 2011 he decided to train as a franchise consultant in Syracuse in order to earn the knowledge and expertise that he would eventually need to invest in his own business opportunity—all while helping others do the same.

“I really enjoyed working as a franchise consultant,” Friend said. “I was able to help a lot of franchise candidates become official franchisees. It was exciting to help others get closer to their business goals and dreams.”

During his time as a franchise consultant, Friend expanded his industry acumen and deepened his knowledge of different business concepts and opportunities, including those associated with Great Clips. As he learned more about the Great Clips opportunity, Friend knew that making the transition from a franchise consultant to a franchisee was the right move. 

Friend opened his first Great Clips location in Orchid Park, New York, in 2013. After a successful first few years, he opened his second location in Cheektowaga, thus igniting his spark to continue purchasing Great Clips locations across the area. 

One aspect of the Great Clips business model that Friend found particularly intriguing was its recession-resistant nature. “One of the things I liked about the industry and Great Clips in particular, was that no matter what is happening in the world––good or bad––people will always need a haircut,” said Friend. “It’s a service that you can never sell on the internet. Even as technology keeps advancing, it’s something that will always be needed.”

Additionally, owning a Great Clips franchise benefits both the full-time, hands-on and the manager-run owner, which was another enticing aspect of the business for Friend. He noted that buying a Great Clips franchise has allowed him to maintain a similar lifestyle compared with what he was used to, while still keeping his professional career working for Noresco. “I didn’t want to buy into an 80-hour-a-week business,” he said. “I wanted the business to work for me even when I wasn't there. So, the Great Clips’ business model was a perfect fit for me.”

So just how has Friend’s track record working with Fortune 100 companies positioned him for success with Great Clips?

“In both areas of business, you will have the highest chance of success when you follow rules and guidelines and when you make decisions and work as a team,” Friend said. 

Indeed, Friend emphasized that “following the Great Clips outline gave me the best chance of success—and I could still apply my business principles.” Friend felt “comfortable investing in Great Clips” because, he said, “I had the good fortune of people blazing the trail for me.”

Because Friend lives and works within an hour- to an hour-and-a-half radius of his Great Clips locations, participating in community events has been an important aspect of his business culture. For example, one of his locations completed a “Bald for Bucks” event where volunteer stylists participated on behalf of the company, shaving other participants’ heads for donations to a variety of cancer research foundations. “It’s pretty cool to be involved in things like that where we can give back to the community,” said Friend. 

As he looks to the future, Friend plans to continue focusing on his nine current Great Clips locations, making sure he is running the business as best as he can—that is, a cut above the rest.

The start-up costs to open a Great Clips salon range from $136,900 to $258,250 with a $25,000 franchise fee and 6% royalty. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Great Clips, please visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.