What Does Your Architect Do For You?



Getting your stores built is important and is a necessary path to get to where you really want to be: managing a successful My Salon Suite or Salon Plaza franchise. To help we are doing several new things to make your experience a better one by getting your stores built within the timeframes and budgets you have anticipated.

On this page you will find important information on how the design process works; from the site survey all the way through final completion. You will see what we do as architects, how we go about first understanding, then designing your store, how we create our documents, how we work with cities, and finally, how we can oversee your construction process all the way to the finish line.

Each Franchise Partner has a different level of comfort when it comes to the construction process. We’ve come to realize we can’t just offer a one size fits all service. So, we have created four new levels of service from which you can choose. Each level has cost, timing and quality factors considered. There is an old but true saying that goes like this: “Our service is good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.” It might sound a little cliche, but if you think it through it makes sense.

Here are our four levels of service explained, and to make it visually easier to understand we have added some clever emoji. The cheetah stands for speed, the sack of money for the fee and the trophy for the quality of work you can expect. They are each ranked 1 to 5 and explained here.




🐆                     It’ll be done tomorrow, and it’s always today. 

 🐆🐆                5 weeks 

 🐆🐆🐆            4 weeks

 🐆🐆🐆🐆         3 weeks

 🐆🐆🐆🐆🐆🐆 2 weeks, double the fee. We don’t sell this one much.


 💰                You get (or don’t get) what you pay for

💰💰             Standard Service (site survey additional if requested)

💰💰💰         Enhanced Service

💰💰💰💰     Elite Service

💰💰💰💰💰 Elite Service plus full construction administration


 🏆                 Not offered. We do have our pride. 

 🏆🏆            Standard prototype drawings not fully customized to your                         specific site. Field conditions may result in multiple                                   change orders and additional costs to you. Site survey is                         optional.

 🏆🏆🏆         Minimal change orders and a semi-custom set of                                      drawings with a site survey included to examine existing                         conditions.

 🏆🏆🏆🏆     High quality custom drawings with only minor                                           discrepancies. Site survey and due dilligence are both                             included. 

 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 Only offered with full construction administration package



1️⃣ Just get me a permit 🐆🐆🐆🐆▪️💰💰▪️ 🏆🏆

A simple site adapt of the standard prototype, this is for the seasoned client working with a seasoned contractor who has built one or more My Salon Suite or Salon Plaza stores. This package is the most affordable option and we can turn your drawings around quickly. Drawings will be assembled quickly and may contain discrepancies. This service will not be suitable for the less experienced Franchise Partner. Selecting this package means you are not relying on the quality of the drawings to get your store built, but rather on the experience and cooperation of your team. We provide basic drawings and a permit, then you take over from there. You won’t need us anymore. Site survey is optional and is an additional service. 

2️⃣ Sweat equity 🐆🐆🐆▪️💰💰💰▪️🏆🏆🏆

You are a little experienced in the construction field but on a budget. You need more attention but want to learn and perform certain tasks on your own. Drawings will take a bit longer as you begin build on your learning curve. Fees are reasonable and drawings are fairly accurate. You’ll get a workout with this option. This service strikes a very good balance of speed, fees and quality. A site survey is included.

3️⃣ I’m really new at this 🐆🐆▪️💰💰💰💰▪️🏆🏆🏆🏆

Let us hold your hand. You are a true newbie to construction, franchising and My Salon Suite. We will help guide you through the process. It will take you longer and the fees are higher but we take extra care to make sure the problems are solved now and keep you from paying more in change orders along the way. Our best value. You may also like this service if you are a hands off type of Franchise Partner. Site survey and due dilligence are both included.

4️⃣ The whole enchilada 🐆🐆🐆🐆▪️💰💰💰💰💰▪️🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

Full service design services. From initial meeting all the way through final completion we will be there. Working directly with a principal of the firm, we work with your landlord prior to signing the lease, oversee bidding and construction, approve contractor payments and much more. Our most exclusive service reserved for those who demand the very best or want help all the way through. Hands off approach and peace of mind comes with this package deal.



Why do I need an architect?

Nearly all jurisdictions require an architect to design and permit plans for commercial projects. This assures the city, you, and those who will use your facility, that it has been properly designed for the health, safety and welfare of the public that will use it.

What does the architect do?

In an all inclusive service, the architect will conduct a site survey, work with you and the MSS team to finalize your space plan, work with the engineers to complete your construction documents for contractor bidding and permit, and assist the contractor with construction questions.  We would be with you start to finish. 

What don’t they do?

They don't do things perfect every time.   No one is perfect.  Things can be, and are, missed occasionally.  Not on every job, but some.  They can't provide you with final costs, those will come from your contractor.  They aren't involved in the bid process - that is handled by your MSS project manager.

Do I need to hire separate engineers?

No - we have a team of engineers that have proven to us they can handle these projects and know what to expect. We have been down the road with several engineering groups and finally found a great fit for these projects. The price you get from us includes all mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. 

 Do I need a structural engineer?  If so, why?

Sometimes.  Are you adding windows or additional mechanical units on the roof?  If so, the answer is most likely yes.  We have a structural engineering team in place that can provide us with the needed structural plans to get your permit.

What do I look for in a site?

This is a big question!  MSS will help you find the best site based on square footage cost and location.  But we're here to help make sure the bones of your location will make your space function properly.  Meaning do you have the right amount of power to your space?  Is the water line sufficient?  Where is the sewer located?  What type of existing HVAC is available and will it be sufficient?  These are all items we will look at during your site survey.  We can help you work with your LL to make sure the right utilities are in place and if not, how we can get them there!

What happens in a site survey and why do I need one?

Ideally a site survey is needed for every project.  It is a very small price to pay to confirm the existing building conditions, dimensions, ceiling heights, structural components, and all engineering related items that are needed to complete the construction documents.  There are things that  can be drawn on a set of drawings to convey this information but nothing compares to us being intimately familiar with the space.  We come and measure, take pictures, and get a 'feel' for the space.  This is very helpful since often we get drawings that aren't completely accurate.  Being in the space and taking pictures for reference during the drawing process is invaluable.

What is Due Dilligence and how is it different from the Site Survey?

When we conduct a Site Survey we tell you what you have; a 1" water line, 200 amps of power and so forth. What we don't tell you is what to do about that, because you really need a 2" water line and 600 amps of power. With Due Dilligence we look into solving those issue for you so you know going into your lease what additional costs you will be looking at to make your space "Salon Suite ready".

What are additional services and why would I need them?

Anything outside of what is stated in your contract with us is considered additional services   If you just want a set of drawings you can permit, having us handle permitting is an additional service.  Construction is not easy for a newcomer.  We know this.  That is why we offer a wide range of services so you can really think about the level of involvement you want.  You pick and choose.  You customize your experience so that in the end it is pleasant for you.  The goal is to get built and get full.  If you leave us with the 'get built' part and you concentrate on the 'get full' we work as a team and you are in commerce quicker!

How does an architect get a permit?

We submit the required paperwork / forms along with the required number of signed and sealed drawings to the city or county.  In time we receive comments back from the reviewer that we address and resubmit to the county or city.  We do this as many times as needed until we get your permit.  Clearly it behooves us to get things as right as possible with the first submission as we don't charge extra to resubmit over and over.  Our main goal is to get you a permit so you can start building! 

How does an architect help with construction?

There will be questions.  Sometimes lots of them depending on the contractor you choose.  If you go with the local guy who isn't familiar with MSS, they will have more questions than the seasoned pro who is on his third location.  We are there to help!  Being a small boutique firm with a lot of experience building MSS stores, we can answer the questions FASTER!  For instance in the all-inclusive package, we can help you with reviewing the pay applications so you aren't paying for more work than has been built.  We can also stay in constant communication with the contractor to make sure there is no lost time.  We like the team approach where we collectively solve problems so when they arise we look at the best possible solutions and not just the first one that pops up.

Why does it take so long to create my plans?

A lot goes into creating the drawings for your project.  Yes we use a software commonly called 'cad' however it still does take time to produce drawings as if we were drawing with a pencil, only the mouse is our pencil.  Most drawing packages are around 40-45 sheets including the engineers drawings. Although there are many 'standard' drawings that go into each project, there are many, many details, especially in the engineering set, that are specific to your site.  Details take time to think and to draw. 

Why does it take so long to get a permit from the city?

ALL cities are different.  Some are super fast with their review and some want to make sure we dot our I's and cross our T's.  Sometimes it is dependent on the reviewer.  Some communicate what they need effectively and some are less responsive.

What happens if something is left out of my plans?

We always do our best to make sure everything is included but accidental omissions happen.  If there is something left out we will issue a revised drawing to the contractor to incorporate the change into the work.

What are change orders and why do I have one?

The MSS mantra is NO change orders - but sometimes they happen.  Even though we do our very best to avoid them sometimes they happen. It is reality.

Change Orders are actually to cover 'unforeseen' conditions.  Meaning we couldn't see them coming. They are issues that arise that we have no knowledge of  - i.e. we have building drawings that the building landlord provided that tell us your space has a 2" water line yet the contractor tells us it is really a 1-12" and will need to be up-sized.  Extra money you didn't anticipate.  So what can you do about this so it isn't a stress you don't need? Factor in some money to cover them! It is ALWAYS best to factor in a contingency - money you have already in the job to cover these issues that may arise.  If nothing comes up, GREAT! It becomes extra money you can allocate to decorating your new My Salon Suite.

Who pays for change orders?

If there are things left out of the drawings the contractor will issue a change order to you to cover the cost of the work.   Even though it wasn't in the original drawings, the omitted work is still needed.  These items are part of the project and therefore would have been in the price had it not been left out accidentally.  With all that said, you would be responsible for the added costs.  

What are reimbursable expenses?

Travel, car rental and airfare (and sometimes a hotel room) if we are coming to the site. Printing plans and shipping for permit. Meals if you have asked us to travel to the site.  Permit fees, (however typically we ask that you pay these directly).

What are as-built drawings?

These are drawings of your space sometimes required by the building department at the end or close to the end of construction.  These drawings would show how your space was actually building vs what is shown on the construction documents.  Sometimes changes have to be made in the field based on unforeseen conditions or product availability.  If you or the city requires these drawings, this would be an additional service item.