What Would You Do: Is Moving To A Salon Suite My Only Option?
What Would You Do: Salon Suite, Commission Salon Or Booth Rental?
Working as a commission stylist and feeling unsatisfied with your income, salon environment and boss? You 👏 are 👏 not 👏 alone 👏 Tbh, when we posted this #btcWhatWouldYouDo on Facebook and Insta, we didn’t realize just how many stylists had been through similar situations. So, it all comes down to this question: where’s your place behind the chair—in a commission salon, salon suite or booth rental? And will your clients follow you if you leave? Here’s what the BTC community had to say.
Here’s our anonymous hairdresser’s situation:
Is going to a salon suite my only option? I am a commissioned stylist, making 43% which is the maximum at my salon. I’ve only been licensed and doing hair for 4 years, but I am consistently 90% booked, and recently raised my prices. We don’t have a receptionist or any assistants, and being back to back booked all day long makes this a huge problem. We also aren’t allowed to book time for lunch or a break during our shift. I would love to rent a suite, but closest to me is 30 minutes away and I’m afraid my clients won’t follow? And I’m not very “business minded” … isn’t it like pretty much running your own salon??? I’m tired of not having what I need (low backbar and color all of the time) and I wonder if I could do it by myself?! What would you do?
Be Your Own Boss & Move To A Salon Suite!
“If you’re 90% booked then you’re ready for a salon suite. You’ll be surprised how much more money you’ll make with complete flexibility, sell the products you want, decorate how you want. I should’ve done it so much sooner. Best of luck.” – Niki Germaine
“I rent a studio. Best choice I ever made. I’m 90-100% booked. I don’t have to double book anymore to make money. Most of my clients drive 20 mins and I feel really lucky and appreciate each and every one of them. I even have a few who come from out of state and when they are home for the holidays. If you keep up the good work and value your relationships you will do great! Do it!!” – Haley HK Ludwig
“Get that suite and keep what you work hard for! I used to work for a salon and the owner took 60% AND made us buy everything ourselves, YUP everything. Needless to say we all left her and so did everyone else after us. She technically took more than 60% considering we bought everything. Be careful who you work for and make the best decision for yourself. Good luck!” – @manesbymaine
“Find a suite. Don’t try opening up a place or renting with others until you have more salon business experience. If you’re consistently rebooking and busy 90% of the time, your clients will follow. You’ll probably lose 10% even if you move just across the street…but you’ll earn a lot more than 43%, especially if you’re paying product charge also. Remember, they are coming to see you, not the salon. Once you get all the kinks worked out and your expenses under control, you should be bringing home 60-70% of your totals, no matter your location. Not very ‘business minded’…ppfft! If you’re working without an assistant, front desk or lunch breaks… You already got this!” – Christy Ousley Ross
“Go for it!!!!! I just moved my business ONE HOUR away and 50% of my clients are following and I’m not (nor was I ever) a commission stylist. Take the leap. It’s worth it to keep 100% of your earnings :)” – @hair_by_samn
“I just started six months ago. Super easy. Get an iPad. Use a booking software app. It has an appointment book and sends out text reminders and you can swipe credit cards with it. Don’t be afraid. Go for it. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.” – @monicapicc07
“I’m a suite renter! Just weekly rent and my supplies. No manager. No boss. I can book and work as much or as little as I choose to. I’ll NEVER go back commission or booth rent! I’ve been a stylist 27 years and I rented my first suite in February. I’ll never go back and would like to own my own suites salon someday.” – @chaostree13
“It’s pretty tough in the suite life, but can also be pretty fun at the same time. Just depends on what you want out of your career. You’re not usually gonna get any kind of receptionist with a suite either. [Or] check out your nearest Ulta Beauty salon. It’s an amazing corporate salon, especially if you’re already 90% booked.” – @dominiquedoeshair
Have You Considered Booth Rental? Maybe You Should…
“Booth rent is the way to go!!! Best career decision I’ve made and my clients are happier too!! You can make your own schedule and use the products/color line you want to use. I would never do hair again at a commission salon!” – Jess Croteau
“I rent a station for a monthly fee. I run it as my own business and it works perfectly for me. I’m too social to be in my own suite. I’ve been at my salon four years and I’ve loved every minute of it. I learn so much from the experienced stylists of 20+ years, and they aren’t afraid or too aloof to pick my brain either (a decade for me). We all get along wonderfully and love to work together. A lot of great memories have been made in that salon. Great inside jokes in that backroom. There are a lot of great web tools for online booking. Receptionist work is the simplest part of my job. Now If I could only live in a town without so much competition! There is a salon every two blocks here!” – Caitlyn O’Sullivan
“See if there’s a salon in your area that rents out stations, before looking into a suite. You can take salon business/empowerment classes on your day off. You can have a lunch break, and book yourself accordingly. That salon you’re currently at is going to wear you out!” – Megan Cioffi
“LEAVE that salon! That’s ridiculous to have ZERO freedom…and only make 43%!! Suites are EXPENSIVE and a total different experience for clients. Great for some, not for others. Find another salon near you that BOOTH RENTS!! You pay for your chair, keep 100% of your sales, run your own schedule, without the ‘salon business’ over your head ♥️” – Alex Jones
“Find a salon where you rent a chair. That way you still have a salon feel but are doing what you want. Not being able to take a lunch or break is crazy. You need that time to eat or just take a breather, because if you don’t you will work yourself to death and burn out.” – Sara Huddleston Carter
“Rent girl! You can do it! Trust me! Promote yourself a lot on social media. All the clients you take, give them a card with all your info (Instagram page, phone number, Facebook page) and once you move announce it the faithful ones will follow!” – Karina Ramos
“I was really scared to lease after working on commission for 6 years. I’ve leased for 7 years now and I would never go back. I moved to a salon 30 minutes away from my old salon too, and I had a good portion of my clientele follow and it took me no time to fill in for those who didn’t. It’s not that hard to do the business end of it. You get nothing if you risk nothing. 🤷🏻♀️” – @lisa_j_schott
“Clients will 100% follow you and the ones that don’t, you will make up for in no time. Renting is the only way to go in my opinion. I moved an hour away and have clients that drive that far to see me every 4-6 weeks.” – @reaganrutland
“You 100% CAN do it on your own and if you’re that booked, your clients will have no problem following you 30 mins away and the ones that do will be replaced by new clients closer to you. I switched from commission to booth rent after only 1 and 1/2 years of doing hair and I’m making much better money than I ever did with someone taking over half of my earnings.” – @erikamorganstyles
“I would recommend doing booth rent before a suite. It seems to be the next step up. Sometimes you can still make an extra 10% on product sales via the salon you are at. It’s the beauty of having your own small business without all the overhead. Some salons that booth rent give you the opportunity to log onto their booking system for walk ins. You can always go back to commission. Starting a suite takes money to furnish and booth is already furnished. If you start working and gathering your clients’ info first then maybe once you’ve completed that you can see what else is out there. You can either try another commission salon or booth rent to see what it would cost. Do the numbers. Meaning find out what you make approx. per week and then per month. Then find out how much booth rent will cost per month (most pay weekly). That’s a good start. Most likely you will make more money. Just don’t burn any bridges when you leave. :)” – @brigittecastelnau
Don’t Worry. There Are Better Commission Salons Out There!
“Find another salon. My story. I worked in my first salon for 3-4 years and moved from 40%-42%. Trying as hard as I could. I finally decided to transfer to a different location. A DIFFERENT LOCATION 2 miles down the road with the same salon. It’s been 6 months. I came over at 42% and just got another commission raise to 48%. The difference? An encouraging, strong, caring manager. Someone who wants to see me succeed. My confidence has grown leaps and bounds. Sometimes you have to change to reach your goal.” – Judy Geiszler
“There are lots of salons that will give you more than 43%. I’m not a ‘run your own business’ type either but other places will definitely treat you better, especially with a book like that.” – Liz Mattern
“[The SALON by InStyle inside] JCPenney offers commissions that increase from 50 percent to 70 percent. You will also have the opportunity for continued education, benefits, retirement and vacation. Check out the location near you and see if it’s a good fit.” – Jennifer Fortier Cologna
“Being independent is not for everyone and I don’t understand why people think it is. Not everyone is best with extra responsibility, no structure, paying their own taxes, promoting themselves, managing their inventory, getting themselves education, etc. Find a great salon where you can double book if you like, take breaks, have bonuses, with the right support and education. When/if you are ready to be self employed you will know.” – Angela Andersen
Will Your Clients Follow? Consider This.
“If you open it ‘they will come’ is what my daughter told me. I never thought I was business minded myself but found out how great it is to be on my own. I love love love being on my own. Wish I would have done it years ago.” – Ellen Ambrose
“Before you discuss this with anyone at all, make sure you have contact information for every single client. If you are 90% booked, your clients already love you. They will absolutely love the personalized service that you will now be able to offer! You will never work for anyone else ever again! 30 minutes is nothing! I wish you great success!” – Kathleen Crosby Owens
“I would take this risk. Yeah you might lose some of your clients but you will gain more. You have to be happy where you’re at otherwise it will eventually start showing in your work. Do what’s best for YOU!” – @hairbycrystalrose207
“Trust that if you move salons, your clients will follow. The ones that don’t will be replaced by other new clients. You have to take care of yourself and 43% doesn’t give you much income to do that. Having more freedom and breaks is really important.” – Katie Matthews
“I moved to a salon suite that’s 30 minutes from me & most if not all followed me! The clients who love you & your work will follow you no matter what. It’s so scary at first but so worth it in the long run!” – Darian Steele
“I moved into my own studio 25 miles from my last commission salon and had no problems ❤️ Loyal clients will commute and new clients are always to be made with no ties to old pricing.” – @audrabrownhairart