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How a Great Clips Stylist Became a Multi-Unit Franchisee

Michelle Bates shares her remarkable journey with the salon brand.

By Derek Stephens1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 7:07AM 09/15/22

When Michelle Bates joined the Great Clips system as a stylist in 1983, she never expected the job would result in a decades-long career and multi-unit ownership. But as she reflects on a long, successful partnership with the brand, she couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

“I don’t have a college degree — I have a cosmetology license,” Bates said. “But now, I’m a business owner. Where else can you do that? I always tell my employees that they can start as a stylist and work their way up to a general manager or maybe eventually an ownership position. There are so many possibilities with this brand.”

Soon after joining the Great Clips brand, Bates took a salon management position in Orlando, assisting a new franchisee. Over time, she helped the franchisee open over 50 Great Clips salons, and Bates eventually took on an ownership percentage of the business.

In 2020, Bates and her partner franchisee sold their salons, and she decided to pivot to a new phase in her career. Bates bought two of her own Great Clips locations in 2021 as co-owner alongside one of her former employees. Since then, they have opened an additional two salons.

“Transitioning from being a GM to being a full-on owner was a huge change. I was proud to finally own a business, and it became much more important to me that I was associated with a nationally recognized brand.”

“I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until I became a full owner — leasing, build-out of a new salon, setting up payment terminals,” she said. “But it didn’t matter. I always had someone in Great Clips, Inc. that was a phone call away and could answer any questions I had. That is why I believe in franchising. It’s such a smart business move.”

After decades of franchising and expanding nationwide, the brand has developed robust support systems to help franchisees succeed.

“From the beginning, I saw the benefits of the franchise model,” said Bates. “Great Clips offered a strong brand, franchisor support, training and marketing plans. Becoming a franchisee gives you the knowledge and framework to hit the ground running.”

But beyond valuable franchisor support, Bates’ ability to manage her staff has been critical to the success of her business. Despite a stylist shortage in the salon industry, Bates has been able to retain her employees by showing compassion and creating a fun, supportive environment in her salons.

“I focus a lot on salon culture. People like to work for me because I promote a work-life balance and appreciate my employees.”

Moving forward, Bates plans to build on her current locations and prime her employees for growth within the company.

“Great Clips is an amazing brand with amazing growth potential,” she said. “The corporate company wants to see its franchisees and their employees succeed, and it shows.”

The total investment to open a Great Clips salon ranges from $178,400- $376,900. For more information, visit

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