Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Booth Rental Discrimination?
Last updated: July 25, 2017

What Would You Do: Booth Rental Discrimination?

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So you found out that you’re paying more for your booth than another stylist in the salon. You might be feeling like you got the short end of the stick—but are your feelings valid? A member of the BTC community was in this situation and reached out to all of you to see if things are all good.


I’m moving from a commission salon to a booth rental. I just found out that another stylist was quoted a different price for the booth rental—much lower than what I was quoted. I’m going to discuss it with the owner, but until then, what do you think? Is this discrimination? Am I being taken advantage of? The difference is a few hundred dollars! I should mention the other stylist doesn’t even have the amount of clientele I do.


Not A Fair Situation
“A chair is a chair is a chair,” said Cara Berlin on Facebook. “You shouldn’t pay more because you have a larger clientele—that’s called commission. It is not normal. The only caveat is if the other renter is part-time and has limited access to their chair.


Cara’s sentiment was echoed by many of you. “Despite what kind of clientele you have, the rent should be the SAME for all stylists down the board,” said @jessica_salerno_. “That is 1000 percent not right. You have every right to complain.”


Added @pameladoeshair, “If the booth is identical in size to what you are renting, fair is fair. Know your worth and value, and approach it professionally, not aggressively. It could be a miscommunication.”


And @thedspot suggests just getting out of dodge. “Sounds like the owner isn’t very business-savvy. If it starts like this, imagine what kind of hot and cold actions, demands and ideas they will have in the future. Wash your hands and dip.”


It’s Not So Clear-Cut
Many of you said there are various circumstances that could require different booth rental prices. For example, Mary Martinez mentioned on Facebook that when she moved to a new salon, the owner worked with her to make sure her rent was comparable to her previous salon. “Also, the other stylist might work fewer days than you, or she may have to share a booth with someone,” she added.


“I have heard of salons quoting different rates based on a sliding scale, taking your client base into consideration,” said Carrie Weber on Facebook. “As your clientele grows, the rate increases.”


Another thing to consider, according to @hairidothat: “The other booth renter may also be cleaning the salon to compensate for the difference, or you may have signed a much longer-term contract.”


“[That booth] could be the last spot open,” said @laurenfranceshair. “In that case, it’s worth more. Booth rentals are individual agreements. If you feel like you could get a better place for less, then maybe that’s not the salon for you.”


Ideally, you should have negotiated the terms of your contract to make sure your cost suits both you and the owner—and if you’re paying more, make sure you know what that covers. “Does it include product usage, bowls, brushes, backbar supplies, etc.?” asked Carrie Weber. “These are all things that should be laid out in detail. Someone else’s contract may be different.” Debi Gordan added on Facebook, “You could be using more of the stock than others, or even more electricity and water.”


This Is Totally Normal
Some hairdressers believe booth rental costs are always negotiable, and it’s completely normal that someone may be paying less than someone else.


“When I started booth rental, I was paying a lower rate than everyone else, and it was agreed that by a certain date, I would be expected to pay the same as everyone else,” said Allie Wylie on Facebook.


@jennbhairandmakeup is an owner and said she has different rental options and price points. “I do charge higher rent for stylists who work outside of normal business hours and have a lot of clients. This is discussed before the chair is rented,” she added.


It’s definitely important to do your research when you enter into negotiations about booth rental price, but don’t use someone else’s financial situation as a sticking point. “It is great that you investigated and acquired the information about the other stylist’s quote, but it will not be a leveraging point of negotiation,” said Crystal Germain on Facebook. “That business is between that stylist and the owner. Your experience, professionalism, and large clientele will be your leverage to acquire a cheaper rate. If the salon owner is not willing to negotiate with you, then leave. Business is not designed to be fair, it is designed to be profitable.”


Nunya Biznass
Is it even your business anyway? That’s what a lot of people thought about this situation. 


“We never disclosed that information with other renters. I wasn’t allowed to discuss it and if anyone else knew I am positive it would start a ridiculous amount of drama. Maybe there’s a situation that you’re not aware of, and maybe they don’t think anyone else should be aware. I would let it go,” said Allie Wylie.


“Generally speaking, it’s a bit unprofessional to count what’s in another person’s pockets,” added @nikkithemua. “I can’t say you’re being discriminated against unless you know ALL of the details, which, again, you may not—but it also isn’t your business…You would be in the wrong with the owner and also the other stylist for breaching that confidentiality about the details of that business relationship and/or employment. You may find yourself out of the salon seeking somewhere else, which may be the case…because this will certainly be an awkward environment afterward, should you choose to talk about it. It’s no different than corporate America when they say do not discuss pay rates. I wouldn’t be worried about it so much… do you, and if you still feel some kind of way, move on.”


“That is on your negotiation skills,” said @silvanadno. “Perhaps you settled for the first price they threw at you and the other stylist competed for a better price. Either way, respectfully—none of your business.”