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Booth Rental: Is it Right for You?

**Such an important topic – moving to the top of the posts!

Renting booths vs. hiring employees is one of the most controversial and divisive issues in salon management today. Many people are going into booth rental without a clear understanding of its consequences. As a result, the lives and standard of living of everyone working in the beauty profession is now affected. Division between salon owners who hire employees and salon owners who rent booths is making it difficult to address the many deep-rooted challenges facing all of us. Many of the special interest groups will not address this topic,it is much easier to stay in the middle so no one is offended. I know this article may offend some people, this article is meant to unite all of us as professionals,if honesty and a code of ethics is wrong then I plead guilty. My main goal is to help all hairdressers raise the standard of living and improve the quality of their lives for themselves and their families.

Having been a salon owner for over 41 years, speaking to thousands of hairdresser’s and salon owner;s I feel I am in a unique position to take a step back and examine the pros and cons of this hot topic. The information presented in this article is based both on my personal experiences and on the opinions of the thousands of hairdressers and salon owners throughout the U.S. and Canada that I have had the privilege of meeting as a popular speaker in our industry.

Which is the best salon management model for you? Only you can decide. Do your research, approach information – including this article – with an open mind, get advice from trusted and knowledgeable advisors, and then make your decision based on what will best fit your needs, goals, and vision.

Booth Rental: The Salon Owners’ Perspective

When you follow the booth rental business model you are in effect just a landlord. Of course, many salon owners perceive it as a positive that they do not need to:

  • Pay workers compensation or federal and state employment taxes
  • Offer training and education.
  • Provide liability insurance.
  • Advertise for new customers.
  • Manage employees.

The negative side of this business model is that, well, you are in effect just a landlord. Which means that as the salon owner you must deal with:

  • Minimal or non-existent business growth, as you are dependent on rental income and working long hours behind the chair yourself.
  • High staff turnover caused by staff pirating from other owners that offer lower rents and other perks. Because no business can continue to grow with a constant merry-go- round of staff turnover, this in turn leads to business instability.
  • The inability to manage and educate staff, and create and promote a well-managed business with a professional and positive atmosphere.
  • A lack of quality control standards – and the damage that this can cause your salon’s reputation.
  • In-fighting and a lack of teamwork as your salon’s stylists compete against each other for customers.
  • Exposure to audits by state and federal taxing agencies, which are currently targeting our profession. Most owners unknowingly misclassify their workers. tip compliance is another danger area. This puts you at risk for audits, which can be triggered by anything from a labor law issue to a staff member filing for disability or unemployment. In fact, the EDD and IRS are targeting the beauty industry for misclassifying workers and tip compliance.
  • The inability to sell other salon services or products.
  • A temptation for not reporting income by some hairdressers.

A recent government report showed that 95% of all business failures are due to a lack of management skills. By choosing to be a “landlord” rather than a “business manager” you are putting the success or failure of your salon in the hands of your tenants. However, because each of your independent contractor tenants views themselves as business owners, too, their decisions will be motivated by their own needs and goals, not yours.

The “Employee Model”: The Salon Owner’s Perspective

Okay, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of the “employee model” of salon ownership? Among the many benefits are:

  • Control of your own destiny. You manage your business, its growth, and its profitability.
  • Unlimited income and profit potential – provided you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to run a successful salon.
  • The ability to create a staff development program, mentor new stylists, make staff changes when necessary, create and enforce quality standards, and provide leadership for your employees.
  • The opportunity to market and promote your salon, set prices (including raising prices to combat rising costs), and create client retention programs.
  • Dramatically reduced chances of losing an audit, losing your business, or running into problems with labor law.

In short, with this management model you manage your business rather than letting your business manage you. Plus, a well-run salon often has a competitive edge over other salons in the area.

Of course, no business model is all peaches and cream. Some of the drawbacks of running your salon on the “employee” model are:

  • A high vulnerability to turnover, as competitive salon owners will try to pirate your top staff members by offering higher commissions or lucrative-looking booth rental arrangements.
  • The risk of spending time and money on training and advertising, only to lose the stylist to a booth rental salon.
  • The need to spend time training and managing people. If your organized and develop strong business management skills, this will not be a problem.
  • An unequal playing field – you pay your taxes, workers comp, and liability insurance, while many booth rental salons do not.

Booth Rental: The Stylist’s Perspective

For a stylist, renting a booth can be very attractive. As an independent contractor you can:

  • Set you own schedule.
  • Manage you own business.
  • Keep all of your earnings (less the booth rental fee).
  • Choose your own product line.
  • Possibly make more money.

On the negative side, though, renting a booth means you must:

  • Cope with a lack of job security.
  • Compete with other hairdressers in the same salon.
  • Make less money during slow seasons .
  • Advertising for new customers is costly and time consuming
  • Pay for your own education.
  • Do your own bookwork, including filing and paying quarterly income taxes.
  • Pay the “employer’s” half of your social security taxes. Your retirement from social security will be affected.
  • Sometimes work in a negative and unprofessional salon environment.
  • Pay an ever-increasing booth rental fee.
  • Purchase your own supplies and equipment.
  • you receive no mentoring or educational guidance
  • many salons are black balling hairdressers who have a history of booth rental

Plus, as an independent contractor you will not qualify for full disability or unemployment payments if times get tough.

The “Employee Model”: The Stylist’s Perspective

Being an employee in a well-managed salon can have many advantages vs. booth rental. These include:

  • Mentoring, guidance, support, education, and training provided by an experienced salon owner.
  • Job security.
  • A nice flow of customers based on performance and productivity
  • The opportunity to benefit from the salon’s reputation and marketing efforts.
  • A positive and professional salon environment.
  • A team atmosphere where stylists learn from each other.
  • Growth opportunities and incentives and in some cases a benefits package
  • Book work and taxes handled for you.


In my opinion, booth rental is creating a temptation for dishonesty and an underground economy  in our profession, an unequal playing field, and division among salon owners. I am alarmed by the way that constant turnover is stunting the growth of our profession, and concerned by the business and career instability that I see throughout the United States.

Price wars, commission wars, staff turnover, and staff pirating are especially alarming in today’s difficult economy. Whether you want to rent stations or hire employees, I urge you to think clearly about the long-term ramifications of your decision. Be sure to get legal advice from an attorney who specializes in labor law and independent contractor issues (an excellent web site for independent contractors is It is not my intention to further divide us as salon owners. My goal is to make sure everyone understands the consequences of their decisions based on facts, not hearsay. We must all strive for honesty and a strong code of ethics.

157 Responses to Booth Rental: Is it Right for You?

  1. Georgieos Hair Design July 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I purchased a salon that had both employees abd boot rental. It was a diseaster. You have no control over the booth renters, none whatsoever.
    After several months the booth renters left to start their own salon within one half mile of our salon. They also talked one of the salons employee to follow them. The gal that followed spent weeks collecting client information when others were not watching. End result was that after their move they contacted our clients to lure them to their salon. It took us about six months to recover. Looking back, I would never purchase a salon with booth renters. In every shop i have ever been in, the booth renters were mostly un-professional and could care less about the professionalism of the salon they are leasing space from.

  2. Jon Gonzales July 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    I want to thank you for sharing this information , it is sad that so many salon owners are struggling with these obstacles in a tough economy . Only until we unify as professionals will we be able to address this and many more challenges salon owners face daily . I will be making an announcement soon about addressing your concerns .

    Jon Gonzales

  3. George Savovic August 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    I’ve always thought that Booth renters have always had much bigger portion the revenue and leave the salon owner trying to make ends meet.
    they pay only a small portion back in rent in relation to there weekly sales. I know they pay for there own supplies, and what ever else is needed but they still get the lions share.
    plus you have no control. renters are self serving and could care less of the success of your salon it’s a very unlevel playing field if you ask me, to much down side for salon owners /managers my advise, what ever you do DON’T RENT!!

    • Jon August 10, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks George for sharing your views , this is a very controversial topic everyone is afraid to address , please read my report on booth rental , all we are asking is an equal playing field . If there is anything I can do to help , let me know .

      Jon Gonzales

  4. Chantelle August 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    Salon owners or anyone else in the industry who have a negative view on booth renters is ridiculous.

    Each to their own!

    yes some booth renters are only in it for the dollars and yes some may not have respect for the salon they rent at.

    This is not the case for all. Why shouldnt stylists be able to advertise and get referrals and make their career the way they want it? they took a risk booth renting in the first place,it isnt exactly the easiest option to take! it is a big risk and so what if it isnt an even playing field? Isnt a little, or alot of competition healthy?
    people become complacent when there is an even playing field.

    No one is forcing you to be a salon owner!
    nor are they forcing you to be an employee or a booth renter.

    If you cant handle the competition from booth renters and only want an even playing field, then dont have a salon.
    why dont people just mind their OWN business and worry about what THEY are doing not what everyone else is?

    Stylists working for themselves is a way of the future and its not going to go away, only get bigger once employees realise that working for yourself and reaping the rewards is in some cases alot more rewarding than working for a salon .

  5. George Savovic August 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    I don’t get it let’s say you havs a high
    level performing stylist ($2,500 – $3000 per week in service sales) and they rent for about $250 – 300 a week. all I’m asking who’s making the lions share of the money? make me understand how a salon owner can work on this type of deal and take all the nonsense that comes with it? if you want to call yourself a landlord that’s fine but leave the idea that your a salon / business owner out of it. I think renting is a complete cop out for salon owners that can’t manage staff so they let them do there own thing with no regard in branding the business as a whole.

  6. George Savovic October 3, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Let’s see if any salon owners have this problem… You have a couple of high level performers on your staff that feel that they don’t need or should participate in salon promotions. I have (2) that feel that any promotion will cut into there commission base. question is how do you promote/ market your salon when you don’t have your complete staff behind present and future promotions this sucks!!

    • Jon October 20, 2009 at 10:09 am #

      Hello George, in regard to your comment about two of your staff members refusing to share your marketing efforts ,I suggest you carefully explain in an articulate manner the benefits they will also gain in your efforts to gain more clients for the salon and your staff. As owner of your business you must keep in mind you are the boss,you have to make the hard decisions to take your salon and your staff to higher levels of excellence, everyone should contribute to your team,which begins with teamwork. If your two reluctant team members are unwilling to adapt to your vision and goals for your salon you may either give them a raise by raising prices once they create a high demand for their services or sit down with them and try to find a solution that everyone can agree on. These are difficult times, we as salon owners and staff must unite and share the same vision or we will fail. We should all be thankful we have jobs and the opportunity to keep getting better . We must bridge the gap between staff and management if we are to grow as a team as as a profession. With better training and education we probably would not have these staff misunderstandings. please read my article Bridging the Gap between Staff and Management a found at my web site under articles of interest, share this information with your staff as well. good luck.

  7. Luv October 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Being a stylist for six years and working for three different owners ill tell you why: Either you have staff that is not passionate about their industry, and could care less if they were cutting hair or working at a paper factory…it’s nine to five and that’s IT> or you are not emotionally or financially meeting the needs of your stylist…if i felt that i did not want to participate in a promotion, it would only be due to built up resentment toward my boss for taking advantage of me or not meeting my needs. Just another thought…maybe those stylist are booked out weeks ahead and haven’t gotten a raise, but you want them to offer promotions to build up someone who is new on board making the same commission as them?

  8. cheryl October 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I have been on both sides of this issue… I was on commision for 4yrs.Its been a year since I started renting and I have never looked back… Just like with anything, there will always be positives and negatives to every situation. I can’t imagine if I was still on commission during our crumbling state of economy. I wouldn’t be able to feed myself or my family.. I still run the same promotions the commission stylists run, and have gotten quite a few new clients… This is only a band aid to the effect that our industry is cosidered a luxury,not a necessity to most clients. Therefore, regardless if you are a commission stylist or booth renter, times are still tough and will probably get worse before it gets better… As far as comments made about renters running free, dishonest etc… There are always bad apples that stand out… I have more pride and confidence in my work knowing that I do run my own business vs. only feeling you’re worth 1/2 as much. To each your own.. Whatever is right for you in your situation, don’t let negativity affect how you think your career should be. Only you can decide for yourself whether it be commission or booth renter!!! We are all here for the same reason..(hopefully!!) Which is: We love to make people beautiful!!!

  9. Jason Miles November 9, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Hello Jon and all,
    First of all, thank you for sharing your valuable experience and information with us. That is something hard to come by in this industry.
    My wife and I are opening our first salon in the next few weeks and this decision really has our minds going.
    From the information that we’ve gathered, it seems that for the vision that we have, which is to operate multiple salons, set the atmosphere, draw in a particular clientele, etc., commission is the way to go.
    Our dilemma is, in our area, most salons offer booth rent. We want to attract stylists and retain them.But how do we do this when all the prospective stylists has in front of them is $$$ v. commission, and not growth, atmosphere, premier location, etc.?
    If you have any advice or suggestions on how we could make commission attractive and benefitting to our team, we would greatly appreciate it.

    • Jon November 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

      Hello Jason, commission salary is the right way to go, it will be difficult, but long term it is the right way to go.If you need any support just call represent the new professional salon owner who will lead the way


  10. Debbie DeHoyos November 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    I have owned my salon for 10 years and have just had a 2 year stylist approach me about booth rental.. She has been offered a chair at a competitors salon. She is a talented stylist and an asset to the salon. I am unsure how renting a chair will effect the team atmosphere of the salon. I also have a seperate room for waxing and wonder if additional charges should be made for use of this space. Any advice or suggestions?

  11. Jon Gonzales December 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Hello Debbie,if you go the booth rental option, you lose control of your business. Your other staff will also want to rent stations,in effect you will be a landlord with tenants with no say on how to run your business. There are plenty of talented hairdressers available,don,t allow yourself to be held hostage , refer to my web site and download the pros and cons of booth rental before you decide what model is right for you. As for your extra space, why not add acouple of more stations or develop a small retail and boutique section. Hope this helps,please follow me on my facebook business fan page for business tips etc.good luck.

  12. Rhonda January 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    I have a salon with 13 chairs. We do booth rental ! I have made a contract up that tells the rules of my shop If they sign the contract that means they agree with those rules ! They however can come and go BUT when they aren’t there they don’t make any money And the others there doesn’t have to make them appt ! We take turns as far as walk-ins go ! And Whoever is up next gets the next walk-in You never know if it will be a chemical ! We have had as much as 1500 walk-ins in a months time not counting appt. I feel that If the Stylist wants to make money They will be there and PUT an effort to get along with everyone and Work the hours that the shop needs them to work !If we don’t have people coming in then they can’t make money and if they aren’t here they can’t make money So they agree to be here the hours that are needed . I have been at the same shop for 14 yrs and have owned it with My Daughter for 4 . So far everything has gone good We have had a few that didn’t like the rules But they are not here anymore ! I won’t allow them to drag my Business and the other stylist business down ! Over half the ladies working in My shop have been here at least 6 yrs !
    Thanks Rhonda

  13. Stephanie James January 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I have worked in my town for almost 8 years, and at a few different salons and I have always worked for someone else. So standing long hours on my feet and only getting half of that, because of commission.
    I really like the current salon I am working in, but there is major lack there of leadership. We don’t have staff meetings, we don’t do education, we are constantly running out of color, perms, foils, developer, and the list goes on. The salon has not been up graded for 15 years either, not to mention I have had (and fellow co-workers as well)bounced checks, we are also running out of retail to sell to clients.
    4 of us have decided on renting our chairs. It is very over whelming at first,but we are all very excited with this new adventure.
    None of us have done this, but with out the 4 of us the salon would probably have to close doors seeing that there are 7 employees all together and out of the four of us renting three are full time. What do we need to get ourselves ready?

  14. Wendy January 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I have done both. Why would I work my rear off for a fat salon owner to become wealthy off MY talnet? The more I work..the more they make. I can not stand for a owner to dictate my prices or my products. Booth rent is by far better than commission. I highly recommend trying it. I’m opening my own booth rent salon on March 1st. Myself and several of my talented friends wanted a nice salon to work together in without all of the backstabbing that goes hand in hand with commission salons.

  15. Natisha January 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    I have worked at booth rental salons since I started doing hair. In 2004 I moved to another city and the salon was commissioned. I love them both. I like the atmosphere of a commission salon, the pay checks, the security. Once I factored in that I didn’t have to buy products and struggle to pay taxes at the end of the year I thought it was great. I do however feel that the management makes a difference in your happiness there. On the other hand I love the freedom of booth rental. Being my own woman and just paying you your money and at the end of the day I bounce. Like Jon said there are pros and cons to them both. We shouldn’t put down either, to each its own. Find what works for you and don’t try to put one or the other on anyone else.

  16. Clifton Shaw January 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Both sides can be great. The key is for Salon ownwers to unite through a joint optimal process in the cities and towns across America. Salon owners from both sides can harmonize by ensuring Salon Owners Associations are created locally. There should always be a choice. Let’s work together.

  17. kelly January 22, 2010 at 12:14 am #

    Hi Jon,i have been a hairdresser for about 40 yrs.i have had 3 hair salons.I know only rent a station for 3 days. I have a lot of experience and knowledge in colors,perms,etc.I also worked as a educator tech for a large hair product company.I also am a Realtor. My question is,im working at this salon for 5 years, but i will be relocating to another salon soon. I would like to offer my help of expertise to the owners of the salon i’ll be moving to.They use to own the salon that i am moving from. I would like to help them by mentoring their commision hairstylist,and teaching them what i have learned. And also be able to helped the owners as well to manage their staff. I would just like to know what percentage or salary i should ask for? I dont think they have thought of this idea,but i would like to suggest it to them. Because i feel that it would be a great oppotunity for them and also for their staff,and their business. I would relly appreciate your advice. thank you.

  18. Karen January 24, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    I have been a salon owner for 20 years and for most of the time had rentals. After reading the reply’s I realized I have undercut myself. No wonder my renters have stuck with me so long. They knew what a great deal they were getting. I am ready to sell my business, how do you figure the price. I have heard different ideas. Can you sell people? Do you go by the income you receive from your renters for 1 year, 2years, etc? Can anyone help me please?

  19. Joy January 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    I’m currently contemplating starting a salon business but unsure if I should go to booth rental or commission route. I am not a stylist but my business partner is a stylist. As an owner I want some level of control but know that I would not be able to be at the salon on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, I’m uncertain if the booth rental option would generate enough income. The salon would offer hair care services, eyebrow waxing/threading, and eyelash extension services.

    I would greatly appreciate your advice.

  20. Karen January 26, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Joy, My experience with booth rental has been somewhat successful. The income generated from rentals has paid all my over head, so what I do behind the chair is extra. Figuring out whats fair to your renters and still seeing a decent profit is the trick. At time my renter profit more than I do. But I am afraid if I raise the rent too much they may leave and go elsewhere. A contract is important. If you make the rent desirable make sure they know they have to take care of all their own expenses, washing towels, making their own appointments, help with providing paper good for bathroom,etc. Is your salon big enough to generate enough income from rentals to make a profit? 2 or 3 booths may not be profitable. Good luck

  21. usolovely February 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    I don’t know what to do, i am wondering if commission with a two year contract or booth rental is the way to go. I am so confused, can someone please help

    • Jon February 8, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      This is a very controversial topic,I will offer an opinion. When you rent stations you are then merely a landlord and they are your tenants.You have no say in how to run your business. Read my article about the pros and cons of booth rental found at my web site http://www.hcds4you. Also visit for legal ramifications. I commend you for evaluating the pros and cons of booth rental,I personally favor salary commission,at least I control my own destiny. Good luck

  22. OMG February 17, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    Booth rental salons as a business can’t possibly survive without idoitic salons who are willing to put the work into training and building a staff’s clientel in the first place. It’s hard to imagine someone coming right out of school and booth renting, having much success. If the formula to individual success is first to take advantage of these dumb salons who’ll guide and train then cut them out then move to a booth rental when there’s a clientel then who loses. Oh right, the dumb salon who’s actually put in the effort to help the individual succeed. Boy these booth rentals are smart, something for nothing.

  23. S. Ferrari February 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    I believe that any salon owner who is going to run a commission salon should have a very well thought out schedule of mentoring and review process. I started out in a commission salon where the owner had some really good concepts and I became a very busy stylist within 3 years time. I was hard working and loved my job. I left the salon to rent a booth due to a lack of communication, the owner had promised to change my schedule as soon as it was possible and he did not deliver, the schedule change was very important to me and lack of knowledge there cost him a lot in the end. I felt as though his agenda was more important to him and he undervalued my years of hard work and hours of dedication.

    I now have owned two salons of my own. I am in CA and I have a family so booth rental design works best for me. I do set forth rules and I have standards that stylists must meet or they would not be working within my establishment. I do believe the booth rental era has taken much away from the salon industry, but it has firmly become a strong threat to any commission salon in CA. So, if you are a salon owner of either format you should clearly understand the differences. A commission salon requires an extreme dedication to education, motivation, team building and most of all a good understanding of each and every employees goals and dreams in order to keep them satisfied with an employee relationship. If you do not want to CLOSELY manage your staff and put in countless hours to earn your cut of the commission then the booth format may be for you. I encourage all salon owners to uphold professionalism, clean well dressed appearance of staff, excellent customer service and by all means set some standards for booth renters. If you are positive and provide an environment they and their customers will enjoy than why not be confident that they need you too. Far too many salon owners just want warm bodies to pay the bills. Shame on you if that is the case. It is the booth rental salons like those that really bring down our industry.

    I do wish that booth rent prices would have been set much high back when the first person began the switch. Without a doubt the rent prices should be greater so the salon owners could do more to keep the industry stronger. With that said, salon owner’s should unite on demanding a certain level of quality to our industry from ANY stylist. My salon is completely full and the energy within it is GREAT! I interviewed each and every stylist and found ones that wanted the salon environment I have created. I screened for those who were a fit and who would be a compliment to our team. With that attitude and mindset I have created a very health salon where clients often comment how much they love it.

    Salon owners be stronger and figure out what your ideal hairdresser is and then bring in those, don’t deal with the one’s who don’t fit your model. Trust me it really pays off when you have a team going in the same direction. If commission is for you be sure to educate yourself and stay plugged in to good information and leadership, you will be sure to need it.

    Thank you Jon for all I learned from you in my early years.

  24. Scott March 17, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    This is silly. The problem is NOT commission vs. rental. Either one can work as a business model. I run 3 profitable booth rental salons in a major market and we are consistently voted best salon by the readers of almost every major local publication.

    The problem is the people.

    Most hair stylists are high school dropouts and/or have received NO formal business training. Just read some of these comments. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are atrocious.

    Hair schools are like factory farms. They generally offer nothing to prepare a stylist to manage their career. The result is that most stylists often make business decisions on pure emotion rather than reason and logic. They end up with mediocre clienteles and low income (which only encourages more poor decisions). Salon owners, most of whom have scant more business sense than the stylists, are then held hostage to this irrational behavior. Then, ill prepared to get to the root cause of the problem, owners often make the situation worse with an inadequate reaction.

    My point is simple. If you don’t understand the reality of your situation, you can never make the most of it. It does not matter which business model you choose if you don’t know what it takes to run a business. Booth rental is my preference for simplicity but I could make either model work.

    Think this is all a bunch of nonsense?

    Read some of the comments again:

    After several months the booth renters left to start their own salon within one half mile of our salon. They also talked one of the salons employee to follow them. The gal that followed spent weeks collecting client information when others were not watching. End result was that after their move they contacted our clients to lure them to their salon.


    all we are asking is an equal playing field


    I have (2) that feel that any promotion will cut into there commission base. question is how do you promote/ market your salon when you don’t have your complete staff behind present and future promotions this sucks!!


    My wife and I are opening our first salon in the next few weeks and this decision really has our minds going.


    Your other staff will also want to rent stations,in effect you will be a landlord with tenants with no say on how to run your business


    I really like the current salon I am working in, but there is major lack there of leadership. We don’t have staff meetings, we don’t do education, we are constantly running out of color, perms, foils, developer, and the list goes on. The salon has not been up graded for 15 years either, not to mention I have had (and fellow co-workers as well)bounced checks, we are also running out of retail to sell to clients. 4 of us have decided on renting our chairs


    I don’t know what to do, i am wondering if commission with a two year contract or booth rental is the way to go.


  25. DAN THE MAN March 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Scott what you wrote speaks volumes sir. I’m a Barber and I have been a barber for 20yrs. I could not have said it better. The barbershop I worked in for about 12 years the owner often said similar things and constantly asked us to elevate our thinking and not think like a person standing behind a chair just making money. Business first should always be your first thought. He allowed us to tell others that this was our shop because, if we acted like it was our we would treat it like it was our. I do agree with you it’s the people including the owner. Success of any organization always depends on it’s leadership. To all the owners take charge or let someone else take over!!!!!

  26. Kym April 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I have been running a booth rental salon for three years now. After two years I moved the salon to a larger building and heavier traffic area. I now have seven stylist and myself. I hold monthly meetings and we show excellent teamwork on community projects. Even though we are independents, we are a whole. I respect each stylist in their entirety. And I believe this is what helps it to work so well. I look forward to the years to come with my team.

  27. Tammy April 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    Im really shocked at how disrespectfull some of the obvious “Booth Renter’s” comments. This is exactly why salon owner’s should not choose Booth Renters…they have no respect for salon owners! They think they are getting ripped off by the owner when in reality the owners are getting screwed! Most owners who chose to have booth rental had no idea what they were getting into…it sounds like a good idea but in the end most booth renters lose their work ethic!!! Salon owners have to “clean-up” the mess that booth renters leave behind and by this I mean several things…they lose their customer service skills, they leave early, come in late, they dont clean, they dont follow rules because as a salon owner you cant make them? there are no consequences for the booth renters! but yet they expect everything from the salon owner which is wrong! They blame the salon owners for their failure! Take a good look at the owner…you have no idea how much goes into running a business! The long hours all week long, working weekends after hours & on holidays! Just because you dont always see the “behind” the scenes doesnt mean they are “Fat” “Manison-owning” jerks!!! ya know what if they are making sooooo much money then why dont you grow some “balls” and open a salon and be in their “millionaire” shoes for a day!! I bet you last less than a week! Its so much more than you think! Most salon owners are not “rolling” in the money….they have taxes, medicare, disability, property tax, school taxes, advertisement, heating/elec, water bill, laundry…making sure the landscaping looks good, plowing is done, sidewalks shoveled and so much more including stress!!! & not to mention time lost with family because of there “wonderful” career,ect. if you saw the bills you would not be saying the things you have said! Booth renting is wrong and eventually it will bite you in the ass! Your right there is nothing wrong with making more money….fairly!! Why do you think the economy is soooo bad!!!! Booth renting has increase in the last several years..duh all you “so called smart people” are screwing the government!!! and us dumb salon owners are getting are taxes raised because your not paying yours!!?? All the salon owners in local areas are supporting their local & state governments look what your doing? You need to step back and look at the big picture cause honestly you have NO idea what your talking about! It frustates me to no end that this world revolves around greed! Money is the route to all evil….

  28. Zee Mathews April 28, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    I would choose booth rentals because I prefer to work on my own and love the challenge it offers.


    Zee Mathews
    The Salon Mangers Academy

  29. Sandy May 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Tammy you took the words right out of my mouth. You couldn’t have explain it better. Thank you Tammy. People just don’t get it!

  30. Amy June 13, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    I’ve worked at commission salons for 5 years now and am soon switching to booth rental. In the 5 years I’ve worked at 3 different commission salons. The 1st salon had a crack head (seriously) owner that would fly back and forth from Jamaica; who if it weren’t for his addiction would have a fantastic salon and would be a great inspirational owner. The 2nd salon was brand new and run by a non-hairdresser owner and was initially partnered with her sister-in-law that backed out right before the salon opened (I should have seen the red flag right there- her own family didn’t even want to work with her. Including her son that worked and quit at another store she owned). And then the 3rd salon where I’ve worked for 3 1/2 years with one owner who lives in St. John for 8 months out of the year (for the past 2 yrs- she’s the accountant) who bought another salon without telling our other owner (who is too worried about being her employees enemy and doesn’t like confrontation).

  31. Amy June 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    (oops, hit wrong key) Adding onto last post:

    I’m very eager to be an independent contractor. I’m extremely tired of paying someone else to work. All the “benefits” of working at a commission salon can quickly be taken away. Where is my money going?! I’m tired of being treated like $ signs. One guy can take 20 days off work for a freelance offer yet I can’t go to my husband’s grandma’s funeral for 1 days because the numbers are down and I affect the numbers? WHAT?! I already take care of ordering, cleaning, booking my appointments (since the front desk can’t handle it and is too busy primping themselves), and not to mention paying for my own education (because they can’t afford to). All the cons to booth rental really doesn’t seem that bad. There are many inspired professional booth renters out there. Just like there are commission. We all just need to use our pretty little heads and lay off the juice. Lets get back to what we do best and stop fighting like 5 year olds on which one is better than the other. It’s your decision, do what works best for you!

  32. Kelly A September 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    This blog has turned into a circus of those Salon owners that are opposed to the “Rent concept” and those that prefer this business model. Salon owners are opposed because they have many additional expenses and as a result must charge higher prices to the consumer! Of course they appear to be upset. The bottom line is that this is a free enterprise, so please respect others and their decision to not operate as you would like!!! I have rented a spot very profitably for 5 years and would not do it any other way. My higher priced competitiors are quite upset…too bad, this a business my friends!

  33. Whit September 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    I am opening my commission salon in two weeks. I am opening it for myself and two other stylists i have worked with for two years. I am doing it for them as much as for myself. They are hardworking dedicated professionals who never call in sick and are only being compensated 40% by the franchisee. My plan is to give them both a raise and put any profit the business makes back into the business so i can do things like paid vacations, paid family leave, paid holidays, christmas bonuses. All relationships in life have to be 50 50 or they don’t work. Whether you do booth rental or comission. Make sure it’s 50 50.

  34. Moley September 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Have read all the post…I have a salon and stylist come and go they build thier clients of they go to booth rent cause they will make more money more money….Do salon owners that booth rent do they make money that is the question or you just make enough to pay the bills for somebody elese business…and for the booth renter salon owner I find it hard to believe you have 1500 a month walkins in if you have that much traffic you don’t need to booth rent…

  35. Mel October 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    I am buying a salon in the next couple of weeks. It is an established salon, and the girls who work there have been in booth rental for 6 years. I have looked at both models. I am not in the hair industry–I am completely business. I wanted to see if I can help grow this salon. I prefer a commission based salon, but will not change it for at least a couple of years. That is a stupid move. My question is, what are other ways to bring in profit at a booth rental salon?

    • Jon October 20, 2010 at 9:42 am #

      In answer to your question adding more booth renters is probably one of the best ways to improve salon profits,retail is also a possibility.
      Keep in mind you are a landlord and your renters are tenants. If you want more information about this very controversial topic, I will be glad to add to offer more information. wish you success in your new venture

  36. Devon October 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I am one of those scurvy-dog booth renters, hahaha. Although I must point out that I graduated in the 98% of my class in cosmetology, and indeed did graduate high school, thank you very much.

    I need to know if a salon owner has any legal right to tell me what products I can use on my own clients.


  37. Samantha October 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    So… I am a hair stylist who rents space for myself. I have been in business for myself for two years and have contemplated the idea of renting out extra chairs. I don’t know where to go for more information about how to get started hiring employees as renters/commission/whatever I end up wanting to do. I want to scope out all perspectives before I jump into anything. Are there laws I should know about.. about renting to someone? Do I need a more specific license to have booth renters or employees? How do I go about moving my salon up another level with employees? I just want more advice! I would like to build up a staff that can profit for themselves as well as make it a tad more profitable for me in the long run! I mean I am doing just fine with the business I have now, but I’m thinking it’d be nice when I am ready to start a family to be able to still make a little income when I’m not working full time and still be able to work when I want to. I’d like to manage the rest of the girls, help keep them on track, guide them into profits, and not worry about having a wrecked salon at the end of the day.

    In conclusion, if anyone has any advice on the next step of considering to have employees and the regulations and guidelines that I need to follow to make my dream and dream salon happen… Let me know 🙂

  38. Juanita October 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    I have booth rented, worked commission, & now own a salon that has commission based employees. Buying the salon was the biggest mistake I could have ever made. Within the 1st month 3 of the 7 employees were fired, either because they didn’t show up to work, stole, or were disrespectful. I now have 2 of the original 7 employees left & they are wearing me out. Their attitude is horrible. We recently moved our location & they refuse to help clean the salon or do anything extra. They say because I am the owner that is my job. I now have the salon up for sale so that I can booth rent somewhere & start making money again. I’m tired of being poor because my employees are making more than me. My husband & I are also looking at renting out our extra stations. I have worked hard to build up my business only to have employees leave & take clients with them. I would never have employees if I didn’t inheriet them with the salon that I purchased.

  39. Nicole November 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    I plan to open my salon next year and am considering doing both (half booth rental/half commissioned). My educational background is in Business Management, professional background in Customer Service, AND I am a licensed Cosmetologist…so I believe that I have a good start on being successful. In addition, I am naturally a “no-nonsense” type of person, so I don’t think I’d have an issue with my renters. My question to you all is what would be the pros and cons, if any, to having both renters and commissioned employees in the same salon? Thanks in advance.

    • Jon November 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

      Be careful about booth rental,you are a landlord and your renters are your tenants. using this format will not allow you to manage your business and your staff. Read my special report on the pros and cons of booth rental on my web site home page.Our taxing agencies are targeting our profession for mis classifying workers as independent contractors. I urge you to seek advice from a competent attorney who specializes in contract law. An excellent web site is After you do a little research then do what you feel is right for you.

  40. Alaina November 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I am so thankful for this information and these comments. It has been incredibly helpful. I’d especially like Scott as I agree with him completely. After beauty school, in 1992, i worked at a commission salon for 2 weeks and knew it was not for me. So i went to a rental salon where the owner charged me only half the rent for the first 6 months until I built a clientele. I stayed for 3 years and after he sold the place to an incompetent person who did not know the business, most of us left and went to another place where we remained for 5 years until the owner began to fail the stylists by hiring the wrong front reception staff and letting the image of the salon fall. She closed and became a booth herself. Ever since, I have been at a salon studio suite. But when I am not there, or on vacation, there is no money coming in. I am now in the process of opening a rental salon. We are in the build out stage and I have stylist waiting excitedly for it to open. I have known these stylists for a long time. And they are all very successful and have a wonderful clientele base. Having worked with them before, I know their needs, I know their work style, their habits (good and bad), I also know their clients. I think people need to know two simple differences when it comes to rental ownership vs commission ownership.
    When you are the owner of a commission salon, you pay people to perform a service. They work for you.
    When you are the owner or a rental salon, people pay you to provide a service. You work for them!
    The people who owned the first salon were amazing. They got it. I pay them rent and they maintained a beautiful, professional, fun, clean salon. They knew how to screen stylists and only rented to people they thought were good and professional and took the business seriously. We all got along unbelievably well. Three of them will be renting with me now.
    I have friends at commission salons and they are so happy and will never leave.
    Everyone is different with different needs. Some people can work for others and some decide to own their own businesses. It’s they way the country runs! I am happy as a renter and I know I will be happy as a rental owner.
    Good luck to all. 🙂

  41. Missy November 16, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    I Have been an in home hairstylist for 2 years while I try to build up my business plan and website. So now I have finally found a place to rent within the same building of another establishment. My question is how do I go about paying taxes for my buisness? I document everything I make and all my clients information through a computer program that computes my earnings vs. Profit and loss and what I have used to buy supplies and pay bills. And although I am just booth rent (per say) I have applied for a business license just the same as if I were in my own salon. So I am trying to be as legitimate as possible. But I just don’t want to be shut down for ignorance. And not paying taxes and thinking you can run a business is just that. Can someone help?

  42. barbara November 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    there are women doing booth rental at 150 a week not having any correct documentation and not paying taxes at all not registered and bad additutes which is really not fair for us that work for the company and get paid little of our daily clients and clean and responsible for the salon as a whole any advise

  43. Sev Cabrera November 26, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    There are many online renters insurance website where you get various quotes from various insurance companies. However, the best place to get inexpensive renters insurance is at online insurance comparison website. You will get quotes from different companies by filling out a questionnaire with information about your residence and the amount of insurance you want. This even allows you to talk with professionals online and get answers to your questions.

  44. Samantha November 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Missy— I use TurboTax and it works fantastic to do my taxes. I also pay my estimated taxes quarterly though I think you can pay your total estimated taxes for the year at the beginning of the year so you don’t have to hassle with paying every few months for both State and Federal taxes. Are you planning on hiring anyone? Have you read anything about laws about having employees? Just wondering because I feel like we are in similar stages of business.

  45. Kim G December 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    I have read this blog and I think all have good points. I am starting a Salon Suite business. I am not in the beauty/cosmetology industry at all. Would there be an advantage of renting a suite versus a chair/booth? As a cosmetologist what would you want to see in a suite business if you were interested in renting a suite (other than more professional renters)?

  46. jennifer December 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    to Nicole about half rent half commission. I’ve owned my salon 3 years as booth rental and after working 6 days a week pouring myself into this business – the renters are doing GREAT – I have to work a second job because their rent just covers the expenses – no profit for me, the owner. So I decided to try replacing renters who left with commission – based. All the renters will accuse you of giving all the walk-ins to the ones splitting with you because they know you will make more $. It will either be a mutiny where all the renters leave or I’m just going to have to fire them all and start with all splits.

  47. joe December 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    As a barber I feel little choice but to simply charge booth rent. (which can fluctuate based on income) With the low prices we get for our services (men in my area are extremly price consious) I could not possibly afford to match their social security etc..) I insist on maintaining some control over my business. I want my shop to maintain a certain look of professionalism. I explain to a new barber that I am renting this chair between these certain hours.(If they don’t like those hours they need to go elsewhere) I rent the chair, the smock, and the chair cloth all together. (I want a consistent appearence among the chairs. They are usually given a key after I know them awhile, so I don’t have to sit and wait if they have customers waiting at closing time and I’m ready to go. I advertise for my whole shop because I still consider it to be my business no matter what financial arraingement we agree on. I don’t know much about cosmetology but as far as barbershops go, If I was a customer and went into a barbershop and got charged different amounts just because I chose to sit in a different barbers chair, I’d be a pretty unhappy camper and would never return. Customers normaly expect the chairs to be “manned” according to the hours posted on the door,and the prices on the wall. Not all the barbers comming and going as they please. This is the height of unprofesionalism. But again we can’t get enough for our service for me to be able to afford employees.
    Actually, your cosmo industry is partly responsible for my problem. With your cookie cutter unisex chain stores doing haircut specials for $4.99. And sport chains (you know who they are)specificaly targeting men (my market) They don’t even want women clients! Then you got the real low lifes in your industry using the sex angle to titilate men while in their chairs. There’s no way to compete with that. Thats just plain dirty pool.
    And its all from the cosmo industry not barbers!

  48. anita January 5, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    I have been a hairstylist for 33years a salon owner for 20 years I live in a small community a salon on every corner some are booth rent and some are com. to keep everyone happy if they have there own business built up they can booth rent at 25 dollars a day or 100 a week. the new kids just out of bauty school are on com. at 60% for them and 40% for me,all of them come and go as they please the renters want holidays free rent someone to clean and phone calls paid for towels provided shampoo and cond. perm rollers, rollers,tissues someone to take ther appointments for them and they set there own prices lower then mine is some of this out of control? what is the best way? I need help!

  49. Jake January 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I believe what it all comes down to is how you word your contract with your booth renters. Make sure all your I’s are dotted and T’s crossed and they have the choice to come aboard. My wife has run a commissioned base salon for 6 years and is going no where….and yes some of that has been contributed to lack of management skills (my wife makes a better technician than businessmanager) and several have walked out to start thier own business right when we had that economic downturn. Since, we have been running on auto-pilot. We have decided to looking into a hybrid solution of both rentalcommission. We have tried a several different consultants to help us build our salon (one of the consultants is well known in the industry too). Lets just say they do not have the client in their best interest. But, anyhow, we are at a cross road and have decided to incorporate booth rental into our commissioned based salon…we only have 4 stylist at this time and will continue to advertise for more stylist and give them the option.

    • Jon January 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      This is a question that can only be answered by a labor attorney who specializes in contract law. If you are audited and lose, you will pay substantial penalties from the State Employment Department and the I.R.S Most salon owners are misclassifying their workers,this is a very gray area of the law. You can also get a letter ruling from the I.R.S. keep in mind, you are a landlord and your contractors are tenants. You really have no say on how to run and operate a successful and profitable business. Make sure you contact a labor law attorney to assess whether or not you are in compliance and not misclassifying your workers. A good web site for more info is http://www.worker Good luck.

  50. barber Toronto January 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m so glad i came across your article.You have good points and great views. Those are useful guidelines specially for people like me who’s planning to start up a salon. I think I’ll go for booth rental tough. Looking forward to read more of your blogs!

  51. JC January 20, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    What is your opinion on the rising popularity of the Salon Studio concept?

    ie; small individual studios under one roof.

    Thank you,


  52. Chris Marshall Salon February 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    I know it’s not an answer everyone can use, but I was fortunate to lease out the next storefront over to a nail salon, and I hope to have a massage therapist come in and set up shop once and awhile.

  53. peg February 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    I have been a hairdresser for 25 years. I was a paid employee for 10 years, a salon owner With rental chairs for 8 years and an independant contractor for the last 7 years. First you are nuts if you think you can rent a chair before at least 10 years experience, You need to surround yourself with good management, soak up the knowledge from seasoned professionals around you before you move on. You will know when your ready to rent a chair of your own. When you understand your value at a salon. As a salon owner, with renters, that worked great for me as well. They coverd all the expenses, I provided a great work environment, I did my clients and did not have to worry about what my renters were doing because they were as good, hard working and respectful too. Leaving salon ownership behind just means now I dont have to worry about leaky pipes, property tax increases, or who accidentally splashed color on the floor. Its all about work ethic, some people expect something for nothing. If you are a hairdresser in the business for more than 10 years and do not have a strong clientel, Only YOU are to blame. In all my career, The only person I have relied on to further my career and make me more money is me. P.S. clients are free agents, they are owned by no one. What are you going to do to keep them in your chair?

  54. Jen March 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    I’ve worked in the industry for 10 years and for all of that time I worked in an employee salon. I’m currently thinking of going to chair rental. The reasons for this is we have to pay product cost, our retail commission went from 20% to a sliding scan were you can have it reduced to 10% and any discounts or cupons come out of my pocket not the salons. Sometimes we don’t even have products on the shelf to sell or color to use on clients. It sucks not haveing any control over these issuse because you have poor management. I feer this will be more and more popular with salon owners as the economy stays in it’s poor state. It’s like our checks keep getting chip away at!

    • Jon March 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      Dear Jen, nobody ever said salon ownership would be easy. I do hope you can read a few of my blog articles especially the pros and cons of booth rental. I invite other salon owners to add their opinions so we can help our fellow colleagues meet and overcome the challenges of salon ownership.

  55. Colleen March 18, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I have been a salon owner for over 10 years and have had both commission and chair rental.. I made a decision 3 years ago, that as each rental stylist left – I would replace with commission.. I have been full commission for the past 2 years and find the management is far more effective when all stylists are on the same program.
    I am wondering if there is a ‘standard’ for establishing chair rental… I can’t seem to find any information on this topic..
    Thanks for discussing this very interesting topic!

  56. Sonya March 21, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Im sick of people saying booth renters are not team player and only care about their self. I have rented for almost 7 years now and i always try to help the other girls in the salon, if i cann’t fit a client in when they need to be seen i give them to another stylist/nail tech in the salon….. i worked hard for the business i have and im not going to give 40-50% of my earnings to someone who swipes and cleans the bath rooms once a week. If someone opens a booth rental salon they know how much money they need to bring in based on what they will be spending for rent and utilities therefore they should be making money. Why should anyone give that much money to a “salon owner”. If you have any kind of client following you have to be crazy to give a large percntage of your profits to someone eles. I started out as a booth renter right out of school and some weeks i paid more then i made that week, i had to pay rent for the 6 weeks i was on maternity leave and it is all worth it becase i am my own boss and a darn good one!

  57. Nikki May 2, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I am looking for help about whether or not to leave commission base salon to booth rental. Can anyone guide me to a book or some other information to help make a decision.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  58. R.Murphy May 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I have owned a salon now for over 15 years and today actually I had yet another stylist leave my salon to go rent a booth. It’s the last straw. I can’t deal with all at once with no say I lose over 5 grand a month. I cannot compete with booth rental salons anymore. They are taking over the industry and I am not going to go down with the ship just trying to maintain the integrity of the hairdressing industry. What I hear is that they love us and the salon but they just want to have their own “thing.” The new people I hire who have no clients get frustrated because they think we aren’t doing enough to bring in clients for them. No matter what we do it’s not enough. Everybody who doesn’t own a salon thinks it is so easy and those of us who do know how hard it is to keep the staff motivated and educated and work full time behind the chair.
    So with that said I am reinventing my salon and we are going booth rental. The fact is the industry is changing and I’m changing with it. I don’t have the energy to try to hang on to an ideal all for the sake of hairdressing. I have a mortgage to pay. For me this feels like I am finally taking control of my situation. It may not be easy at first but it’s not now either. So here we go.

  59. Claire June 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Having read this entire blog and all of the comments I think it is very obvisious what is good for some people isn’t good for others. I have been a stylist for 11 yrs, and am very successful at what I do. I work at a commision salon and have stayed mainly because of my comfort zone and I adore every single person I work with. That being said, I have been considering going to go booth rent for a number of reasons. It is not so much about making more money as it is having time with my family. Life is to short. I work a million hours a week and let’s face it, we are all the most underpaid therapists around. Our job is way more mentally draining than anyone realizes. I want my own hours. It’s that easy. I do not need a bigger clientle, I just want more freedom. I love our industry, I can imagine the frustration it would bring a salon owner who does commision to loss a stylist to a booth rental place but life happens. OF COURSE a salon owner will make 2x as much on a commision salon and obvisiously have more say.. if your starting your own salon than that would benefit you more I would imagine.

    But shouldn’t we all be able to make a decision based on what is best for us?? There are going to be people who screw you over in either a commision or booth rental salon. Best of luck to everyone who has given their opinion, we all want success and to make people feel beautiful, and with great success comes sacrifice and struggle. BOOTH RENT or COMMISION… different strokes for different folks!!!

  60. MShairdesigner June 23, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    I have been in the field for 14 years. For the first half of my career I worked in a commision based salon, though I learned a lot, my drive and passion exceeded what was offered to me. I felt held down and was not growing as a stylist. I took a chance and moved to a salon where it was all booth rental. The owner there also worked as a stylist and was Very strict with rules and dress code. It was very much like working for a commision salon. I now work in a salon that has both rental and commision employees. I am included (as a renter) in all meetings, education and salon events. I believe that if the salon owner is committed to making something out of the salon they will invest in all the people who are working with in. In turn I appreciate the salon owner and my co-workers. They promote me and I promote them. We work as a team regardless of what position we have. That is how it should be and I am grateful for my work environment.

  61. Lkh July 9, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I am fresh out of school and newly licensed. I possibly have a job at a small salon outside of the salon owner’s house. The salon owner and one more stylist work there now. I live in a small town and this is the only salon in the town that has young stylists. She has given me the CHOICE to rent a booth for $75 a week and supply my own products OR commision. (60% 40%) I am calling her back with my decision and to talk about it with her. I’m new to this, have a very small clientele, and need to learn from someone besides my instructor in school. So I think that the commision would be the best road to take. But I also don’t want to be the main one working (the other girl is in nursing school and the salon owner has 2 children) and be taken advantage of. I need advice! And fast! The other posts are mostly about seasoned stylists and salon owners but the posts have been helpful. I would love someone to help me in this particular situation though. Thanks!

  62. Amie July 15, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    You know I say to each their own. I only read a few comments, but if a styliat is brimging in $3000 a week in services he/she is obviously working their butt off. They deserve that money more so than being paid $8 an hour and being bossed around by someone getting the bigger end of thoae sales for not doing anything. I say whoever is so stromgly against it either failed at it or had a bad experience and gave up. Dont cut youself short.. This is a field that youre able to make more money in so make it!

  63. New Growth Hair Salon July 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

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    Because you are a mature, career focused professional; we will provide you access to a quality styling chair, styling cabinet, styling mirror, styling dryers, hair washing booths when you join our team.

    New Growth Salon will be as committed to your success as you are. We understand that your success is our success.

    New Growth Needs You To Grow With Us! “Come Grow With Us Like Wild Hair!” Call 770-798-6011 to inquire about your position on our team

  64. Faith, WINDHOEK NAMIBIA July 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Am overwhelmed by all of your comments am taking over a salon and will go on commission based

  65. Tom Kaiser August 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I appreciate your view and understand your concerns. I agree with some things while disagreeing with other issues. I own two large booth rental salons in las vegas. This is my 8th year. They are and have been very successful. Considering the number of hair stylists we have, about 75+, are turnover has been minimal. Most sylists stay with us for 2 years and some have been with us for 8 years. My wife and I participate 100% in management and day to day issues. We support our stylists with continued education which we believe is very important. We supply insurance for them as well. I agree that it is possible to have less control of your stylists, however, if you let them know what you expect from day one the majority will comply. They understand we run a tight ship and let them know. For the most part they appreciate this as it gives them some sense of pride in their Salon. It has worked well for us but we immerse ourselves in it and are always tentative to the stylists needs. We also provide marketing in order to drive more clients to the stylists. The Salon business is changing and now we are seeing more and more salons wherein the owner participates less and less, such as Sola Salons, which are nation wide. This is quite a different concept and it seems to be working but it is not for everyone. We have had stylists leave and then come back. We have had to make adjustments along the way and adapt to the Salon environment around us. The key is to provide the best for both stylists and customers and always improve where and whenever you can. Thanks

  66. Jessica August 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Wow, everyone saying commission based salon owners make tons of money….that is so not the case. I pay 53% commisson and I pay for all backbar (colors, perms shampoo bowl supplies), paper products for the shop, insurance, rent, electric, gas,advertising, Credit card machine fees, cleaning supplies, towel service and most of all….15% payroll taxes, and you stylists say WE as a salon owner are making tons of money…..Well add all that up and there is no profit in owning a hair salon, and just when you can finally have a month where you can pay all the bills you have a stylist walks out with all their clientele to go booth rental somewhere else. Im a single mother and work 4 days behind the chair 10 hours each day and have to keep the shop supplied and bills paid and keep up with my website for the salon and facebook……IM FREAKEN tired!!!!!! Im really thinking going booth rental too in my salon. I have owned my salon for 17 years and used to make descent money 5 years ago but since our lovely economy has gone to hell in a hand bag I am struggling everyday! It is frustrating!

  67. Piky August 24, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    I wanted to know if it’s possible to start a hair salon business without an education? Please contact me at please and thank you (anyone who is a hair salon owner and has time, can you email me?)

  68. Susan August 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I actually have a question about booth renting.What is the salon owner entitled to supply for her?Like does the owner have to supply a shampoo person and have the salon assitance clean up after her and sweep the hair around her station or does the renter have to get her own shampoo person and clean up after herself?

  69. Sherri August 26, 2011 at 1:48 am #


    I have been in the Industry for 18 years and have been on both sides of the track. Writer stresses you’ll lose control if you booth rent, however I beg to differ. I have owned and operated 3 Salons all of which were booth rentals. You can maintain your control if you lay down the rules without crossing the threshold of being an employer. I’m a business woman with an MBA and I totally had control over my Salon and I had respect for the booth renters as they for me. You’ll have some that just don’t fit into your vision and they’ll move on or you’ll have to push them along. Offer incentives to your renters during the year, don’t be selfish or greedy because you think they’re making a bundle and only paying you a set dollar amount. You should know what you’re getting into before you offer booth rent. I can honestly say that I enjoyed renting booths and I had renters to stay with me until I sold all of the salons, which was an easy task because they were sold to booth renters that rented in the salon. I tried Commission but it was more of a hazel for me, definitely more than I wanted to do at the time. It is more money in hiring people to work commission but is difficult to do both booth rent and commission. Don’t think for one second that you won’t have the good, bad and ugly with commission. You still will have issue’s with control in the Salon, if it doesn’t work out let them go and that goes for booth renter as well. You’re going to have competition in recruiting on the commission side and booth renters side. You just have to figure out what and how much you want to deal with as a Salon Owner and work off that. Please don’t let the writers comments sway you one way or the other, decide for yourself and put the hard work into it and you’ll do fine either way. I personally prefer booth rental and I had control over what went on in my Salon regardless of what the writer says and it worked out fine. You’ll have issues that arise just like on any JOB but you handle them and move on. There are some good loyal renters out there who take pride in their businesses and will also take pride in taking care of yours.

  70. Sherri August 26, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    correction more of a hassel for me operating on commission

  71. Texas September 2, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Jon, I have a few questions that I desperately need answered, asap, so that I may make a decision. A friend owns her own salon, but it has failed and she is the only stylist left, because, she has no Management experience, at all. Her forte is doing hair and hair alone. She needs out from under the business, completely, so that she can just focus on hair. She has asked me to take it over from her, because, she really hates to see the doors close, because, she has been there a long time. My expertise is Accounting and Business Management, as I have a degree in both and I am very good at Managing and tending to day to day operations. I should also let you know that the Salon is very small, only 5 chairs and the only one filled at this time, is hers. It is definitely a Ma & Pa Salon in a small town. I tend to change it’s growth size and potential if I can make a go of this and get everything in order, correctly, to my satisfaction, to ensure that I KNOW the Salon can make money and I wont lose money. Before I decide to step in and take over the Salon for her, to try and salvage it, I need a few questions answered, to ensure that I would be able to take this on successfully. Unfortunately, due to her lease expiring in a few days and her needing to clean the shop completely out, unless someone can take over, I only have three days to get that done. With that being said, please, help me with these questions, so that I can decide if I will do it or not:

    1. I am not a licensed Cosmetologist, my Degrees are Accounting and Business Management, although, my Staff will be licensed, no doubt. Can I run and take over a Salon as a Business Owner and Manager only, without having a Cosmetology License. Oh, I am in Texas, if you would need that information.

    2. Commissions. I was told that there is a “cap” in the commission percentages that I can offer to my staff, that I dont have to pay taxes to them. I was told to stay safe on that, I need to stay 55/45 and above and 50% and below would require me to pay taxes for them. Can I offer a 55/45+ commission base and stay safe from that? What is the cap? I dont want to pay taxes for my staff. I need the best route to avoid that.

    3. The monthly operating expenses are around $1,800 a month — that includes the following, ONLY:
    Rent, Electric, Phone/Internet, CC Machine & Fee’s, Water, Trash
    Any other expenses incurred, will be above the $1,800. However, I also plan to implement a process that the Stylist is responsible for thier own products, based on the commissions package that I offer, so that will eliminate the product cost from my expenses. The only other expenses I should have are cleaning, laundry, shampoo/conditioner, refreshments and wax in the event that I decided to introduce waxing eyebrows and such into our services.
    With that being said, keep in mind, I need to make the above expenses, but currently only have one operator at this time, which is the current owner. I have done my research of her statements to see how much the Salon makes to see if it will produce any type of return. Her average monthly sales with tip is $2,200. That is just straight hair services. There are no products offered. Also, I have done my research and the “going” rate for Salons in my area for booth rental are $145-$175. Apparently, at that rate and one operator, will not be that much to cover the operating cost I have listed. With that being said, which method should I use? Booth or Commissions? I have done the math and commission would mean more money for the salon. Granted, that I can get her to agree to either one.

    I am in the process of looking for people to fill the chairs before I commit. But, with only a few days to decide, If I dont act, I miss out on an opportunity, that I will never come across again in a lifetime at her asking price for the entire salon and its contents. I am also confused as to what package to offer a new girl that comes on board. Yes, I have done the math, both ways, but I need to be able to cover operating expenses and not come out of my pocket. Unfortunately, I am not having any luck finding anyone to commit to work and I am concerned and scared that if I dont come up with a legit offer, I will shoot myself out of the saddle and they will want to go elsewhere.

    Please let me know of the license issue and owning a salon and the commission percentages, in which I will be safe of paying thier tax. And, the 3rd one. Time is of the essence, at this point

  72. Joy September 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    This is a great article. I have been a self employed stylist working alone in my salon for years. I am looking into hiring employees to help expand the business. This answered many of my questions. Thanks a bunch!

  73. Joy September 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    This is a great article. I have been a self employed stylist working alone in my salon for years. I am looking into hiring employees to help expand the business. This answered many of my questions. Thanks a bunch!

  74. cammile September 10, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    hello every i a certified cosmetologist u work as a room attendant for over six years now during which time i have been also doing hair ‘nails etc on appointments after work but of late i am feeling like starting a full time salon and spa and leave my job as a room attendant but seeing i will be renting a building i am going to have booth rentals my salon will consist of 2 nail techs 1 being my self 1 stylist and a massage therapist/facialist… i will be having 4 stations available and renting out 3 of them keeping one for my self doing nails manicures and pedicure…….what do you all think of my ideas

  75. kal September 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Why shouldn’t the license cosmetologist who invested in their career of choice have the option of booth rental. Some salon owners cannot afford to pay for continuing education in our field which is vital to our growth as stylist. What is so wrong with the cosmetologist being able to make a really good living? What’s so wrong with that?

  76. kal September 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Could someone please explain to me why some salon owners are TAKING 40-60 percent of the hairstylist money and on top of that charging the hairstylist for use of products per service. How does the salon owner expect for use to live and take care of our families?

  77. Jess September 21, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    I live in MA in the Foxboro area. I have recently decided to move to a new salon and I am wondering how to find out what the going rate for a booth rental in my area is.

  78. Maryann September 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    At my salon the rate is $185.00 per week. We are a salon of 16 and everyone professional and motivated to work. Would totally recommend Booth Renting to anyone wanting to go ahead – Why do Salon owners think they have sole rights to going ahead in life.

  79. Denise September 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    What is a fair rental % increase annually for a booth rental? The salon I work at just was bought by a new owner and the new contract states we will get an increase of 7% annually. The old owner increase was @ 3%

    We are all freaking out. What is fair?

  80. Chris October 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    BOOTH RENT! Being an INDEPENDENT COSMETOLOGIST is the way it is meant to be. I started off at an AVEDA concept salon and worked there for over 6 years. I hated the structure/owner/staff meetings and bottom line I was the one doing the work yet the salon took half my money. I had to be sneaky to get my people out of this horrific situation but I did it smartly, I slipped my phone number to clients, my email and used my I phone to take pics of my daily appointment sheets and color cards. IT PAID OFF. Three years later I pay 250. a week sell my own retail and pay my taxes. No more for the team/salon owner crap. You should shop around and find a salon that cliques you and your clients personality.

  81. AJ October 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Not mentioned in the downside for stylists who go the base pay + commission route is the absolutely stagnant wages. My girlfriend has been working in salons for the last 3 years and has finally had enough. She is moving to booth rental. I’m skeptical, but at least she won’t have to depend on the entire salon staff to generate growth. From my point of view the salon industry is mostly a joke.

  82. Jade October 26, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    This is awesome place. Reminds me of JJ Hair Club too.Get the great service of Gloria, have these contact details in mind:

    JJ Hair CLub 211 Yonge St 1G Toronto, ON M5B 1M4

  83. Jena Keller November 10, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    I have been in our amazing industry for 29 years. I have worked in chair rental salons for 24 years. I moved from Ohio to Michigan and couldn’t find a salon that was a fit for me. I opened a chair rental salon without clients and co-workers. I started with 1,000 square ft and expanded to 3,000 sq ft within 2 years. Salon 130 is a full service day spa and salon….chair rental. We promote the salon and are involved in the community. We have excellent customer service, a dress code, and mutual respect for each other. Having a successfull salon begins with good leadership. A chair rental salon run properly is a force to be reconed with. Maybe you need a better perpective before you group all chair rental salons together. You never know maybe you could learn from me.

    • Jon November 11, 2011 at 12:01 am #

      First of all I was able to retire financially independent five years ago. I do congratulate you on your experience, hard work,and success. My purpose in giving up my time is to help my colleagues especially the new generation of young talent raise their standard of living and raise our profession to a higher level. If we are to raise our standard of living,we must raise our standard of educational excellence.I want to share my 43 years of experience with committed professionals. I have not replied to this discussion group because I want to show other owners how divided we are among salon owners. I feel I must reply to your comments. In no way have I criticized people who have chosen to run their business as a chair rental, in fact many are sorry they did. If your happy with your salon’s growth and profitability that’s all that matters. As a seminar leader speaking to thousands of salon owners throughout the U.S. and in Canada I hear the sad stories of far too many booth rental salon owners who are struggling or have have lost audits due to lack of information and mis-classifying their workers. Basically you are a land lord . Our taxing agencies are targeting booth rental salons for audits. Read the comment above your comment by a salon owner who recently lost an audit. All I have ever wanted was an equal playing field for everyone. As we fight over the pros and cons of booth rental,the low priced franchises are growing, I do not want to see any hard working salon owner whether it be booth rental or commission to fail, it is up to you what model you want to choose. As owners we are divided and have no unity to combat the many challenges we face daily in our salons. If honesty and a code of ethics is wrong,I am guilty. I want to keep an open mind and learn from everyone. Only time will tell who survives and prospers. Jena, I wish you and your team all the success and happiness.Perhaps you may want to share your success with other salon owners. People who know me knows where my heart is with my colleagues. I will continue to try to find solutions to the many challenges hairdressers and salon owners face daily in their salons. We must raise the standard of living of hairdressers and salon owners. We represent the heart and soul of the beauty profession. Our success benefits everyone. Well managed salons will prosper in these tough economic times. Thanks again for your comments.


  84. Marie November 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Great comments. I have been in the industry over 25 years. I hired a CPA firm to help me set up my business and found years later that I had been set up incorrectly. The CPA did not tell me that I had to have rental contracts for technicians; instead I was paying a commission to my staff without taking out taxes. I would issue checks at 65% of the total they brought in. I ended up with an IRS “random” audit and it totally changed my life. It was a total nightmare and the government came after me personally for federal and state for back taxes. No matter what you choose to do, MAKE SURE that you do it correctly. I have learned that just because they are a CPA or accountant does not mean they totally understand the law in regards to commissioned-based as opposed to booth rental situations. This is a VERY VERY important decision when setting up your business. It could mean thousands in back taxes and penalties. This is one more thing that they should be teaching us in school. It was the worst two years of my life 🙁

  85. Kristian Pangos November 12, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    HELP ME!!! I have just barely taken over an AVEDA salon in salt lake city utah! It has a crazy amount of rent due on the building every month.
    I have tried to cut back on every thing that the salon possibly can without making a huge change. I just lost 2 full time stylist renters at $175 week and i also lost 2 part time renters at $105 a week and also 2 nail techs at $405 a month! i dont know what to do to get more girls into my salon. I have lowered all booth rent and i dont know how to promote it. I really need to get some help on how to get the word out on the street of hairstylists and also i need to know what to do to get 5 hair booths filled so i can pay the monthly morgage of the building. ANY ADVISE PLEASE? I have done everything that i can financially to post ksl adds and facebook.. free advertising sights. . but still… no hits no calls. I dont want to give up i just want to get the salon running again the way a salon should. I need desprate help.

  86. Mary November 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I have known your name for years through being a member of the NCA. however I have never been able to make one of your classes.
    I have read all the comments and it is sad to see those who fully don’t understand the difference. I was an educator and taught many classes and one was for Booth Rent/Commission/Chain Salons and have a good idea of their differences.
    I have been in the industry for over 26 yrs.and 18 yrs ago my husband took a job, in his field, in a new state so I had to start over from scratch and that has not been an easy task in this day and age. I have loved working for people for the most part and maybe I am lucky that I worked for people who respected me as an employee and even would comment on how different I was in my dress and work ethics.
    Many think that they can make more money booth renting and that might not be necessarily true as, in the class I proved my 1st year as a Booth Renter, you can make less. You have to really consider everything that it takes to run your business. Many miss out on a lot of key issues. It depends on the quality of products you use,if you advertise, have insurance, liability ect.
    I have a book from Ken Lange and have had my 1st experience with a renter this year as I moved and now have a 2 chair salon. I went on my own in my 1 person salon for 8yrs after 1 1/2 years of renting from someone. That was a disaster as the owner wanted to be buddies w/ 1 of 3 renters. I had my own room which I had to provide the station, chair and everything normal renters would have to provide. I enjoyed the room, but was finding people coming in using my product and devouring candy in my candy dish and never replacing things Funny thing, was I was the bad person for being upset about it.
    I came on this blog, as I myself being a owner and having a renter now, needing help with, what my books tell me, is for the “good of the salon” I have a contract, which has been required by the IRS since 1995 and also I need to fill in form SS-8 that is a private letter ruling for booth rental. I have come to some bridges that I need to cross about policies like food in the salon, those not receiving services must be seated in the waiting area because of safety issues with chemicals ect, magazine & music standards, providing everything they need for their business down to trash bags, Kleenex and coffee ect for their own personal clients. Even to emptying their trash nightly as the smell remains in the salon if not taken out regularly and to the fact that they refuse to sweep the floor after each haircut before they move on to anything else like the blow drying.
    I realize that I can get rid of a renter based on this “This means you, as the salon owner, cannot set rules, regulations, standard of their performance, business hours, prices, or even dress codes that would pertain to their business. You would be in violation if you provided any tools, products, or exercised any control over the lessee except in the matters of sanitation, cleanliness, safety, for the good of the salon and clients and behavior (drugs, drinking ect.). ”
    I am going to look back at the web sites you listed and learn from you now. I believe you have a website that I will be checking out also. Thanks for your time!

  87. marissa December 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    I have worked at many “high end” salons for 17 years and quite frankly have always been “stiffed” no pay, no new clients etc,. When you are doing someone’s hair for $400 – 500 dollars per service and getting the job done and doing it well, you get sick of it. I have an associate’s degree in business and rent a chair. I am sorry to say I dont mean to offend anyone but quite frankly salon professionals are either on drugs, drunk or really dont have a clue about the business. I will not let a salon owner ruin my business that has taken me 17 years to build and quite frankly get new clients word of mouth, I dont advertise ever. So the question lies before me I know I am good – I have the look – dress professionly, answer my phone, and do a great job. Unfortunately there are people in our industry that I work with some of them that havent got a clue as to what they want to be and people like me suffer. I am not a loser or a drug addict. I actually know what i am doing and my client retention is at a 98%. So yes working for you – yes you’d want me to or booth rental – I’d rather do it my way than your’s and honestly speaking I will own my own salon one day Im 35 years old and will most likely rent chairs to cover the rent because I could’nt be bothered with dealing with stylists!

  88. Mike Kaehny December 11, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I’d like to know how many booth renters pay their share of taxes on the actual amount of money they take in. Do they carry proper insurance? Do they pay in to Social Security or their State’s disabilty programs? Being in an all cash business and using a paper tablet to track their business gives a booth renter plenty of chances to hide funds generated. I’m not saying all do but I’m sure the majority only report a portion of what they actually generate. Is this fair?
    I run our salon completely above board. All revenue is reported and all taxes are paid. This is how a legal company runs. Because you rent a chair inside a building, are you really a “business”. Don’t we all expect businesses to be run legitimately? And if we do, why does this industry run so differently?
    I look forward to your comments.

    • Jon December 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

      I commend you for your excellent comment. If everyone would play by the same rules we all would benefit,including our staff. How can we continue to raise job stability, with a constant threat of turnover? Well managed salons have a great competitive edge,and will always stand out. If we all played by the same rules and not try to get ahead at the expense of others by providing stability and growth to our salons then we can find ways to show our gratitude to our staff and create a benefits package with incentives, rewards, and sensitivity to their needs. Great comment.If you read all these different comments you will see all the division within our profession. Honesty and a code of ethics will always will always be the only way to build a hairdressing career and a successful business.

  89. Melissa January 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I am currently in an Aveda Lifestyle salon we carry all their hair products and all our color is by them. I receive commission and that’s it. We have no benefits, the owner will not even pay for continuing education which is a requirement in our state. Even strongly advised me to go to an expensive class that was not honored by the state for continuing education. So I learned but did not receive my CE hours. I have three children, wasting my money on a class that was not worth CE hours and then having to take another class is a huge hardship especially since I live hours away from any classes given. so my point is… booth rental looks appealing to me but after reading your article should I just suck it up and stay where I am at?

    • Jon January 6, 2012 at 12:29 am #

      Sadly our profession is dominated by the special interest groups and a bureaucracy that is outdated. Keep in mind you control your own destiny. No one is going to stop you from learning how to develop your skills and learning how to promote and build a great clientele. As for education, seek out quality education, be careful how you spend your hard earned money. I suggest you go to you tube, go to search, type in hair cutting, color, barbering,etc. Great educational videos and its free.
      As for your salon owners, they too are trying to at least give you a job and an opportunity to be the best you could be. Perhaps you may want to voice your concerns, I know they will respect and appreciate your honesty. Dare be different,lead by example and remember referrals and repeat customers will be your score card.
      Don’t give up on yourself. I wanted to quit many times during my 43 years as a hairdresser and salon owner. I too had a family, my motivation to succeed was my family. People go many years to college and usually end up in debt before they even get their first job. A hairdressing career offers a short cut to financial security once you gain experience and create a demand for your services.
      As for renting a station,I would avoid for many reasons,not to mention our taxing agencies are targeting our profession for audits. I commend you in your efforts to build a career for yourself and your family.
      I formed my educational company to help professionals like yourself who want to reach higher levels of excellence personally, professionally and financially. Make sure you join my business fan page and visit web site for a wealth of information and educational resources. If you have any concerns feel free to call me on my toll free number.

      If you want glitter and hype, then I cannot help you,but if you want education, join our movement. I normally do not respond on this forum hoping others will share their opinions,hang in there, the door to education is never closed. With hard work,great determination,and on going education you will succeed. Feel free to call me anytime, you are the future professional that our profession needs. You must form a balance between work and family. I respect you very much.

  90. Linda January 8, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    was just reading through the forum talk on booth rental vs. commission and saw your post.
    Although I am very experienced in business, not this industry as our business the past 37 years has been in construction (ugh right?)….
    Our daughter is extremely talented as a professional makeup artist and hair stylist. We started on a shoestring a year ago October with a commercial space that we couldn’t lease to put our daughter (the stylist) in there to see how she did and, to our delight she has tripled the revenue in this 2nd year (2011). I am now deciding to get more involved and put more, very hard to find, cash into the place to make space for booth renters. Can you please share with me anything that you have learned? My husband and I were in a builder club for 11+ years through the Nat’l Association of Home Builder’s and it was an invaluable education as we met with 15 other builders from around the country twice a year, hundreds of e-mails, phone call, etc. in between the meetings. We learned, shared and talked about everything which is the good, bad and ugly and there is SO MUCH ugly as a small business owner that we need to stick together!
    I sure wish I could find something similar for the Hair Industry………

    Thank you so much,


  91. Linda January 8, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Regarding the above post:
    I believed this to be going to Mary’s e-mail (sorry) new to this forum. I’m having terrible carpal tunnel and my fingers are numb making typing very difficult/painful so I’m hurrying…..
    Of course, I will appreciate any insight from any experienced owner in regard to my prior post.
    Thanks in advance…


  92. Jenny January 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Contract. I have booth renters and they are under contract to clean, attend meetings, use salon price list for new clients, etc. I also have it in my contract for immediate dimisal and he or she cannot open or work in a salon x mile radis of mine for 2 yrs. Or a fine will be enforced. I provide classes and they have to attend a yearly hair show. All of this is in writing and they have signed it. So where is the problem?

  93. Brett January 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Those who are asking why a salon owner should keep half of the revenue generated by their stylists are really clueless when it comes to the business aspect of owning a salon. Do you all think these salon owners just snap their fingers and a salon magically appears, free of charge? Many salon owners take out personal loans to fund the cost of not only purchasing equipment, but paying for the exterior sign that goes overhead, paying for the build-out of a salon and paying for all other loose ends that go into the actual opening of the business. Then, they are locked into a lease, usually at a 3 year minimum. At roughly $2000/month rent, that equates to $72,000 they are locked into paying. For most salon owners, they are locked into $100,000 in debt before the front door of their salon is even open. And you have the audacity to ask why they should keep half of what you make?! Get a clue.

  94. Lucy January 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I was quite impressed with this article at first. It seemed a touch biased, but was giving all the facts none the less, until the paragraph outlining commission sales from the stylists perspective. Having only pros and no cons in this paragraph makes the rest of this well written and informative article void. It leaves the question, are the pros so lackluster that you must leave off the cons to make them seem better or is there a con so inexcusable that in renders the pros null and void?

    • Jon January 25, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Everyone will have their own opinion on this very controversial topic. If you read all the comments by your colleagues, you”ll see how divisive we are as hairdressers and salon owners.I have spent my whole career whole career helping both hairdressers and salon owners raise their standard of living. If you have read all my blogs and information ,you will see that these blogs are designed to help you succeed.I have donated a great amount of time and effort writing these blogs in an effort to help you make informed decisions about your growth and development.
      As you can see I do not allow any product companies on my site so I can be objective and focused on your educational and business needs.
      Many of our hairdressers and salon owners are struggling in this tough economy,I want to help them meet and overcome these challenges they face everyday.You choose the model that’s right for you.Yes I do have an opinion on this topic, but this is your site to voice your opinions not mine.
      I do hope everyone reads these blogs with an open mind and with a positive attitude. These blogs encourage everyone to voice their concerns and opinions.
      The end result you make the final decision that benefits you.Thank you for your comment.

  95. Karie Taylor February 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Our Government is our own worst enemy. Lobbyist for big bussiness are running our country. The problems in our industry and many others was compounded by the term “INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR”.I feel its a loop whole for big,and sometimes small bussiness, to cut expenses,and not have to pay taxes for employees,bennefits ect. I understand this blog. and its purpose.Now,lets get the IRS to go after the small bussiness owners shut them down with audits and regulations because big expensive chains can not compete with small friendly shops that keep their cost down and provide excellent service at an affordable price. I worked at a chair rental shop for 23 yrs,loved my job,loved my coworkers,it was a well running machine. Once the term “INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR” become our new title,the owner,being a smart bussiness woman,removed all the socalled guidelines,we fought over who was buying the trash bags for pete sake.Total fail!I have seen the work of many chain salons,BIG BUSSINESS, they dont pay their help enough to earn a decent salary,(WALMART)thus they attract,inexperienced,employees who move on as soon as they get it. Desperation signs and bussiness tactics.Now,those places give our industry a bad name. I dont think any have booth renters.I tell my clients who go south for the winter,find a shop where the sylist rents her chair,and you’ll get a good job at a fair price because she wants your bussiness. She is not worried about how much commission she will make by talking you into anything your willing to buy,yet another thing ruining our profession,and many others,lies and greed.LIVE BY THE GOLDEN RULE AND BE BLESSED IN ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE!GOD BLESS US ONE AND ALL!

  96. Amii February 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I have worked for salon owner for six years and have watched growth from 12000 monthly to 60000 monthly he has taken every bonus from us no time off pd no bonus when we meet his goal Nothing seniority means nothing he has went out and bought many new salons with our profits they are not doing well i feel very used and mistreated do to greed to build his empire he does not do hair and i am seriously thinking booth rental never want to be taken forgranted again ever but i do need to work

  97. senior travel insurance February 21, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    I am now deciding to get more involved and put more, very hard to find, cash into the place to make space for booth renters. Can you please share with me anything that you have learned? My husband and I were in a builder club for 11+ years throughemployees who move on as soon as they get it. Desperation signs and bussiness tactics.Now,those places give our industry a bad name. I dont think any have booth renters.

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  99. Jess snider February 24, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Hi all, we have a interesting situation here in PA. I work at a salon and pay 50/50 to the salon owner. The thing is, is that in PA you can’t rent a both but I am responsible for all my own taxes. I am technically self employed according to the state and pay taxes that way but the salon owner gets 50% of what I bring in. I feel like she treats me as an employee in some ways but a both renter in others whatever benefits her the most with no regard to my well being…

  100. helenandreou February 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    i cant even find a barber for my busy shop and when i do they see the success in my real hard work then go off to rent chairs ..touting my customers in return !!!!

  101. manuela March 5, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Hello, I am living in UK, Kent since 2007.I came here from Romania to live with my then partner now husband(englishman).In my country I was a hairdresser, a very good one. I went to college to achieve my nvq2 in hairdressing hoping that will make me more employable. I am reliable, loyal and my hairdressing customer services are delivered at very high standards, always.Unfortunately I couldn’t find any work in the salon :(( Now I am working as a catering assistant at a private hospital to pay the bills and to support my daughter. I have booked my Master colour class at Ask Academy London in May, paid from my own pocket.I am very frustrated sometimes and even my relation with my husband seems to deteriorate.I am born in 1971. People from salons asked me how old I am , and somebody -a salon owner told me that I am too old. I came out from that salon with tears in my eyes. The salons I’ve been here , so far, they paid me very little, and otherwere unprofesssional towards me and to customers. Any suggestions ? What to do? I still have tears in my eyes. I still want to feel the vibes at the salon, to work within a team…

  102. william March 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    It is pretty simple. I have been a salon owner for quite a few years and realize most stylists only ever truely think about themselves. I totally understand and agree with Brett’s blog on Jan. 22nd. Yes I agree they come in to your salon with not one client and you feed them customers and promote them from nothing. The minute they finally see hey I’m actually making money, they decide this is unfair. It takes guts and hard work to lay everything on the line and open a salon with zero clientelle. Yes a stylist works hard for five or six years to help the salon build up the clientelle, but basically is spineless to act like I’m so great I should own my own salon. Start with absolutely nothing and all the risk to start from scratch, then ask for respect.

  103. Chase April 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    hello, I wanted to comment on Jeff Snider’s situation. Currently, I am working as a commission hair stylists and have a 50/50 agreement as well. After recently doing my taxes however, I felt schisted. I’m still considered self employed even though i split all my profits. I have a consistent schedule and have managed to build up a large clientele, most of which have been word of mouth from current clients. I feel that I am already experiencing the drawbacks of booth rental without experiencing the perks. I give the salon almost three times what they charge for booth rental and frankly, I feel taken advantage of. I work my tail off and I love my salon but working as a commission hair stylist is holding me back from progressing. Once you get to a certain point in your career, working commission can be like swimming upstream.

  104. william April 27, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    To all stylists. If you want to own your own salon or booth rent, have the guts to do it on your own, and don’t use a salon as your stepping stone. Here is the deal, if you work at a salon and they build you from scratch, don’t they get any credit. Even if you start to build by word of mouth, is it not still your job to do as many people as possible for the salon owner that risked everthing to carry you until you built up? With stylists it is always the same me, me, me. No ethics or loyalty.

  105. Chiavari Chair Rental Toronto May 11, 2012 at 2:29 am #

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  106. Jeannie June 23, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    I’ve been a booth renter (skin care) for many years and own all of my equipment, chairs, etc. Salon is now under new ownership and the new owner has greatly insisted rent and wants a percentage of all sales. Is it legal to do that?

  107. Jeannie June 23, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    By Jeannie on Jun 23, 2012 | Reply
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I’ve been a booth renter (skin care) for many years and own all of my equipment, chairs, etc. Salon is now under new ownership and the new owner has greatly increased rent and wants a percentage of all sales. Is it legal to do that? I thought it had to be one way or the other.

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  109. dene July 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Great observation…. I have worked in both booth rental and for a BIG company… I’ve been in the hair industry for 13 years… I can honestly say I would NEVER go back to being an employee!!! I love being my own boss and in control of MY money…if I’m doing ALL of the work, why should I give a company ANY part of it??? I buy my own products and I love it!!! And I have been renting a booth out of the same salon for 9 years now… best move I ever made was leaving the company and going out on my own… glad I did!

  110. Monica August 14, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    Omg, what a topic! First i’d like to say to the owners of salons that believe they made there stylist and think they deserve recognition your so wrong and because of your lack of competence your “creation” is creating your competition. I am currently a hair stylist for a commission base corporation. I started off new and within 5 years “I” created a clientele base that grosses $2,000 – $2,500 per week (last years counts which goes up each year) to this corporation. Commission at first was ok until they decided to change it all and put me hourly with a max of 40 hours per week, plus take a lunch from me I don’t receive. NO WARNING, NO NEW CONTRACT! Hum…who sounds like a greedy one now. Then considering hair stylists cant time everything perfect (WHEN YOUr PUSHED TO PRODUCE MORE AND ADD ON SERVICES) just like a dentist or any other licensed service provider, I now have to squeeze my people in or turn them away because im over booked, with no lunch, and when I run over I’m punched out by my manager and have to finish my services to my clients off the clock and making nothing at all while the salon makes more profit and they don’t allow me overtime. I complained until I was blue in the face and yes, my manager told me the same thing, that she made me…But, no one makes talent and the only thing she did was sign my paycheck. What we do is a art and nothing less I love my job and care for my clients enough to finish my services for free so the rich can make more and im suppose to smile and ring them up. No one makes me and no one made any other good stylist, otherwise id like to know what the heck happened to all the other stylist that come and go….you couldn’t “make them”? I will be booth renting soon and I couldn’t be happier, I will profit and will be any commission base owners competition any day and because of your big heads and consistent push to abuse our talent as your reason to profit. Good luck and to my current salon cant wait to see the struggle of filling my seat and income! But, why worry they can “make “ another stylist.
    Master Stylist and color specialist!
    Soon to be Moe $ Monica lol

  111. Tammy September 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I loved your blog….it is soooo true! I own a salon in a strip mall and it has been open for 25 years…we are a full service salon but I only have my nails license. I have been contracting out my hairstylist and giving them 70% of their services and they pay for their product and I pay for everything else. Now they are complaining and want to pay less. Really! I can’t afford less! It is my money that opened that salon and built the reputation. They have no idea what owning n managing a salon is all about! They are actually a lot of drama and stress. I think they should open their own salon and I will work for them and pay them little to nothing. I am sure they would have a different view. The booth renters I have are selfish, disrespectful, don’t care a about the hours of the salon are only their for themselves and get mad when I make them sign a contract with rules…..I can not run my salon successfully and be profitable this way….I must make them employees! If they don’t like it they can quit….their are other fish in the sea.

  112. Sarah September 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I owned 5 salons in metropolitan Ft. Lauderdale for 20 years. All of my people were booth rental…nearly 100 of them. I rarely had anyone leave my salons for other places. We as a group, had people come in to help keep us up to date on our talents and products. We sold many lines of products. We controlled our own hours etc. The salons were open from 7 in the morning until 10 at night 6 days a week. Everyone made money…average 1500 per week.
    I as the salon owner realized customers come to a stylist not a salon, something most chains seem to forget. Not only that, but they seem to think the money I paid to attend school was for them to profit not for myself to support a family and yes as a “landlord” as you would have it I made money renting the booths and working behind the chair. I would not have it any other way. Why would I want to be some corporate bigwig taking advantage of professional stylists.
    I have in fact been thinking about creating a styilist registry where a stylist can go to publish the phone number, name and address of a new salon when they change salons since corporate salons will not tell your customers where you went. Hmmm think I will start working on that now!

  113. Cindy September 26, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I’ve been a hairstylist for 33 years. I have been on commission, I’ve been a manager in large chain salon, a booth renter and last a salon owner. I am in the process of selling my salon but staying as a booth renter. I can honestly say that booth rental for me had been the best time in my career for me. I love doing hair and have spent alot of money on my own education. I have owned for the last 10 yrs. Young stylist now dont know how to work hard to build their own business and expect everything from the owner. That is why I am selling, I’m tired of tired if trying to please everyone. I currently do have a good group of stylists, but it took a lot of hard work and long hrs but the hrs I was used to from being a renter. From some articles I’ve read rentals work great for the owner who treats their renters like team players and has certain guidelines set for them. As I renter myself I like to feel I’m part of a team and I will be there my set hrs, help with cleaning ect. Same as an employee but I have more control for myself. Costs to run a salon have been always increasing but we are in a small community and are a higher end salon and pretty much at the top of what we can charge. Commissioned stylists dont realize all the cost going in to keeping a salon running. But to each their own just saying what makes me happiest!

  114. Shannon September 27, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    I am in the process of purchasing/taking over a barbershop. This has been a one man shop for many years with very low prices. The clientele is already established and the shop stays busy with absolutely no advertising, or phone number for that matter. Of course I will be changing that, The hours have been limited and I would like to extend them but would need to hire on another barber. Especially since I will be advertising. With room for only two chairs and the fact that it is a true barbershop, with men’s cuts only, and keeping prices low I’m not sure which route to take for hiring. Would I be better off with a booth renter or an employee?

  115. George Petty October 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Hey! I am thinking about opening my own barber and beauty shop…..i need advise on should I do booth rentals or do booth rentals plus 10%….I need advise!!!!!

  116. Lauren October 16, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    I am a owner a salon (real estate business) in the Detroit area and we have been in business since 1991 always operating as booth rental with 8 stations. For many years we were profitable (never big $) and always at capacity, however, in recent years stylists have left and we have found it difficult to find good stylists with adequate clientele even when we run specials of $30 per day rentals. The salon is newly updated, however, we do no marketing as I feel that is the responsibility of each stylist. I am now really trying to revitalize the business both so that I can increase rent once client flow is better and increase product sales. Does anyone have any innovative, incentivized ways to get new renters and also new clients. I have tried all the usual ads online and newspapers as well as tearooms but I now need to try something different! Any suggestions would be great?!

  117. dee November 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I have been a hairdresser for 21 years. I have owned a commission salon for 10. My only wish ever was to build up my commission stylist. They more money they make, the more money I have for education and improving decor and equipment in the salon,advertising, and more incentive perks for selling retail or achieving a goal. I pay their taxes, liability insurance, state board fees, local business fees, postage, and buy all their product. And after building a clientelle on my reputation, half my stylist want to go rental. Really?!? If I was an owner who let the salon get run down while I go on vacation, I can see how they would turn, but they cant even give me the respect of taking responsibility of their own actions like *not calling their own clients back who cant get in when they want because the stylist has cut their hours due to having kids(because they are the ONLY person in the hairdressing world who has ever had kids), or chooses to read magazines instead of calling clients back, *not cleaning up after themselves, leaving others to pick up the slack and then bitching about it, *leaving early when the last color client doesnt show, not even trying to call them to reschedule and then have the nerve to say “this week sucks”. I wish renting was NEVER an option. It leaves salon owners like me wondering where work ethic has gone to. How am I suppossed to pay high lease payments for the building if every stylist feels entitled to only paying booth rental? Do the math: a 6 chair salon with all renters paying $100 a week brings in $2400 a month. Lease is $3000. And I have to buy shampoo and pay utilities???? Im pretty sure I wont be in business in a year! And looking around at local “booth rental” salons in our neighborhood, I can now see why they look run down and old. Thats what clients will have to put up with since the owners cant afford to fix or update anything because stylist feel “entitled”. Our industry will be taking a downward spiral, pushing our clients into chain salons if we continue to allow renters.

    • Jon November 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

      I normally do not respond, this blog was designed to help all of you view the different comments. We have created an industry that fosters dishonesty,getting ahead at the expense of others is just wrong, soon I will be coming out with a white paper on this topic which is ruining our profession, you are right, if this continues I see the low price franchises taking over our profession and livlihoods,
      Not enough owners are speaking out about this controversial topis, I do have a plan to combat this which I will add to the topic of discussion during our salon owners 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. All we ask is a fair and equal playing field where everyone benefits.I would love to speak with you,just call my toll free number,sorry about all your difficulties, I can assure you that you are not alone.


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  119. Maria C April 10, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    @ DEE………OMG WOW!!!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself I’m currently a solon myself and I have found it extremely difficult to keep stylists in my chairs working on comission because they all one booth rental. Everything you said is true……and some, I feel your pain.

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  123. lori hammer June 13, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Im a licensed hairdresser since 1998. I have worked the last 4 years as a self employeed booth renter paying $100 a week. I was recently fired after returing from my vacation. Their reason for firing me was missing time, and because I went to another salon seeking to rent a booth their part time. I was forced to charge $7 for haircuts, we had to use her credit card machine, I was forced to stay till 515 everyday and be there no later than 9 in the morning. She also shut the salon down for holiday weekends and wouldn’t let me work. We was require to follow her price guide and had to shave mens necks with the strait razor. Is there anything I can do to seek justice? Please help. I lost a $ 1000 being off that week and now I have to try in get in touch with my customers, re advertise, print new business cards and ive had several customers tell me they are trying to get my customers to stay there and aint telling them where I went to work at. Do I have a lawsuit against the salon owner? Please help me

  124. Nathaniel June 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Hey Lori, If you’re in a booth renting salon and it sounds like you were it’s a landlord and tenant relationship. I’m not an expert, but from the reading I’ve done you have to evict tenants. This requires paperwork with the city and a clear breech of contract. At the very least I would try and sue for you client list and now missed time/revenue. I wish you the best in recovering your losses.

  125. Dhurarta June 28, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Hi I’m dhurata in looking to open rent salon but I’m not sure .i users to work as a stylist for about 6months now I want to open my salon for moment I’m working partime in another bissness I wold like any information how to open my my Salon .in salon I would like to work but all plasces when I ask they ask for younger girls or they ask for rent a chair which I only will spend money not earn because in salon will pay rent plus 20percent of your sevice

  126. Kimmie July 5, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    My husband was booth renting at a barbershop. However, because the shop owner showed no interest in growth of the shop, negative environment, complained about by clients, he decided to leave. He was a renter that paid booth rent weekly. The shop owner is now saying that although he is not there, he still has to pay booth rent. We are confused on how he think this is right. So when he rents that chair back out, he would be getting double the weekly rent for that chair/

  127. larry August 15, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    My probheir rent lem is I am a rental salon of over 30 stylist and it very hard to tell them what to do because in their mind they are their own boss. I am also affraid to raise their rent as

  128. Ginger Bryant September 1, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    I have been a salon owner for 33 years and a booth rental salon for 15. I do not know where the concept came from that being a booth rental salon gives the owner of the salon no control over the stylists. In my salon there is a standard of workmanship and professionalism that I require as owner. I know as a stylists of so many years there are times in all working stylists that one has to choose how much or how many hours one can put in in a day. I personally do not want my income based on these circumstances.I require everyone to work as a team and to work in a professional way. They all understand that even though they pay rent, they can lose their space at any time. We have one of the most successful salons and well thought of salons in our area. We work together on philanthropy projects as a team.In my view a good salon owner can make any situation work .

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  130. Latisha October 3, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I am still in school, and I have only 7 months left currently, so right now I am weighing my options regarding how I want to support myself, on commission, or on booth rental. I have worked in sales for over 15 years, so I understand the difference. So at this point I want to know what is the best way to go about this once I am done with school?

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  132. Marie November 21, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    I have had a successful rental salon for 23 years now. I started out with a mixed salon of commission stylists and renters. Over my first 3-4 years, I slowly converted to all rental as I realized that it was much more important to me to have professional, talented, responsible stylists who take care of business than the potential financial gain associated with having commission or salary stylists. I retained my original salon standards and rules through the transition and have a cohesive, professional, team-oriented group of amazing stylists who are a pleasure to work with. There are 30 of them and I have very little turnover. I respect them and provide them with an attractive, well-run salon. In return, I expect them to operate their businesses in a manner befit to the salon. Because they are rental, I don’t have to advertise for them, train them (although we do have frequent optional classes in the salon) or be responsible for their success – financially or otherwise. In addition, less time is required of me so I have been able to raise my 3 beautiful children in the manner I wished to.
    In my opinion, the bottom line is this: There is a need for many differents kinds of salons – all with their own unique cultures – because there are a myriad of different, unique stylists who require different needs and environments that enable them to thrive. Likewise, there are many differents kinds of salon owners who need to run their salons in a manner that fits with their tastes and lifestyles. To imply that rental owners are not passionately invested in their salons is ridiculous.

  133. Denise Bradley January 6, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    I am looking to open a Salon in the upcoming months, I plan on using the traditional employee model – I find that this model works for my Salon and will bring about the right type of professionals that I am trying to hire. Can I contact you to pick your brain on different issues with running the Salon. I will be a Salon Owner, I am not a stylist – I am hiring a manager, stylists and receptionist. I plan to be present in the Salon as well.

    • Jon January 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      As a business consultant and author of three books on business management with over 43 years experience as a salon owner/hairdresser and now president of my own educational company,your welcome to view my web site at for a wealth of information that will help you make informed decisions about how to build and grow a successful business.
      Jon Gonzales

  134. frank January 29, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Im a booth renter in a barber shop. For the past year, the owner has raised the rent 3 times due to him coming in when ever he wants. He has lost clients that way and they been coming to me. I have keys to the place and I been working monday – saturday. The owner didnt like that I was alwwys working so he changed the lock on me. Can he make my hours if i am on booth rental or do I have the right to make my owm hours? He also said I cant change my cards but I pay for them out of my pocket.

    • Jon February 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      Yes you do have the right to make your own hours, he is just your landlord,check your written agreement,

  135. David June 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. I think that when landlords become more powerful, areas that support the practice of percentage rent on commercial leases may help eliminate muck of the booth rental problem. They won’t be interested in renting to parties that they can’t track the income of. It will cost owners a few bucks, but it will help level the playing field for legitimate business. Meanwhile, we have to deal with the back slide in professionalism we have fought so hard to earn in our industry.


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