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Hair salon salary and wages for stylists

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Hair salon salary and wages for stylists

Salary for stylists:  In the salon commission. chair or booth rental

Before we look at the topic One has to consider that the wage bill is without a doubt one of the largest costs to any salon and business the dreaded wage bill. However in an industry that for the most part pays salary based productivity that cost is off set by what the stylist produces and bring into the the salon. Their client base and the services they offer. There are still unforeseen cost of employing staff insurance pension tax and so on. Running a business is costly and challenging of course it has it rewards and a hair salon potentially can be very profitable. The right staff play a key role in this success. The other key contributor to a successful business is knowing your market remaining in touch with inflation.Reviewing on an annual running cost and prices charged. Yes price increases to keep up with inflation. This of course also keeps wages in line with inflation for commission paid staff .


Hair salon salary and wages:

I have read many topic’s and discussion recently on the topic’s of stylist’s leaving salon taking their clients with them.The panic this can cause with owners. The cases of Stylists dictating terms of employment and pay structure that I think it worthy of some discussion.


First and foremost every one has the right to negotiate salary pay structure and work condition hours terms. This is a given and accepted practice . Having said this a line should be drawn with the bully tactic’s of dictating terms .What should be expected reasonable practice  of open and fair negotiation in an atmosphere of mutual respect and professionalism. The first question to raise is who’s client are they? The salon’s? The stylist’s? The answers is ‘NEITHER’ At the end of the day none of us own or have rights to our clients they always have choice. Our job. Our role is to offer. The service. The experience.The value for money that keeps them coming back.

It’s one visit at a time so treat each one like it’s there first.

Salary and Pay structure commission all equates to one thing in the end turn over! Number of services carried out. Commission or reward paid for shared portion of the fee’s taken. This level can, will, does vary considerable. There is and will always be an equation that works when trying to find a rate that works for both parties. It is always worth remembering that what we do is not an assemble line. Over booking. Taking short cuts. Short changing clients on.  Service. Standards and quality of work will in the end cost both stylist and salon dearly. I’m not suggesting this is common practice but it does happen.sadly more than some might think! So worth airing and addressing.


Lets not be greedy on either side communicate discuss what is fair. Salon owners it’s a natural progression for stylist’s to move on. Be it for what looks like a better deal or to branch out doing their own new venture. Plan for this with ongoing in salon training one person leaving is an opportunity for the next new bright talent to bloom.

Stylist’s be aware of the costs of running a salon a business. Owners don’t penny pinch on products deductions and charges. Working and opening hours be consistent. Work together and share the rewards. Bonus and incentives for client retention and service. keep records of returning clients and recommendation.Work together for the same goals. A great working environment. offering the highest standard of service and skilled work. By motivated professional committed TEAM.

All of this leads to one thing commitment from all parties to grow together sharing in the success of the salon . For how long no one knows ! For as long as it works for all concerned like so much of life it’s a journey. Full of up’s and downs. Challenges. We all make decisions we should all live with the consequences. Owners and Stylist’s alike should treat each other with the respect each deserves and communicate on a regular bases in a open and honest manner.


Put Ego and self importance to one side always consider the big picture.

Over the past weeks i have taken part in open sharing of views and thoughts on a few Industry related topic namely Booth and or chair rental. Staffing issues and hours. Ways to attract new clients. Salon owners attitude and disappointment when staff move on or want a new pay deal or structure. Here are some thoughts and views that have come to mind as I have read and digested some of the views thoughts and  advise posted. These are my views only not intended to offend any one just thoughts on topic’s being addressed and discussed.

Maybe I’m out of touch but I like to think not! The world is constantly changing so do the challenges of being in business our industry also has to change and adapt. To do this so does our thinking. The way we train young stylist. Their expectation their qualification. The opportunities. Their wants need and goal! How can we find  ways forward collaboration shared vision innovative thinking. We cannot assume that stylist will stay with us working on commission making us money forever! We did not we moved on we grew we opened salons  we sought our new challenging roles ? right? The natural progression growth maturity is to want more. Be it earning to have more. Responsibility Control. Greater earning potential. This leads to questioning managers and owners. It leads to wage structure discussion taking/stylist turnover against earning. It can and does lead to a parting of the ways! Again all natural.


What has changed over the past years? Stylist can now both rent. Chair rent be freelance be mobile. It’s all choice make no mistake our industry has allowed this. We are all guilty of being part of it. Lets look at it and hey it’s not so bad really. Firstly training the old way. Apprenticeships that contract between Salon /Salon owen. To train in exchange for low salary and work. Over an agreed period [3 years] this system is now being re introduced in the Uk! to late i think. Now we have Colleges, Academy’s, In some cases charging but what they offer is quick training with a promise of high return the sky is the limit. Reality in many cases poorly trained expect to much huge Ego little skill and talent.

Out come:

Salon has to work with these young stylist to improve both hair dressings skills but also people and service skills sadly lacking in many cases not all but many! So invest in young stylist for a future return. Having paid for training these young stylist’s want to be earning want to be busy and booked from day one.Very high over inflated expectations. They expect to be provide with endless supply of clients totally unrealistic expectation.




As a salon owner one cannot afford to carry staff for to long. Yes there is an equations very basic that relates to what any given stylist is worth. Simple. Takings turn over.Productivity. Sales. Client retention. Against expected salary. Be that paid salary Commission based/incentive.



Stylists have to embrace sales, retail recommendation . retails sales are an important part of any salon staff need to be made aware that selling is not a choice its part of the job descriptionIts part of the service delivered.


There is a cut off point where it does not matter how busy a stylist is as to how much commission can be paid. This is off set against running cost . From reception to bills to stock to assistance so on. In my book working stylist in a salon on the books 50% commission. After this point a really busy stylist should be paid offered bonus incentive based on turn over client retention commitment to the salon. Maybe profit share or share issue. If you wish to keep them!


Or the other option:

Chair and booth rental we encouraged this in the industry when disgruntled stylist want to leave to earn more.  An option was keep them in the salon how to do this  when the traffic they bring in keeps the salon busy. How about letting them be independent but still getting an income!!!!! Hum I will rent them a chair for £800.00 I still get a lump sum they get to run there own little show! Hum does this work? Sounds good but in reality regular monthly income direct to salon without strings! It still creates issues. Control of hours. Attitude. Appearance. Stock. Assistance. Reception. who pays for these much needed added expenses? Not to mention who decides on charge fee’s for service?


A great deal to consider it’s not clean cut . It’s up to the salon owner and stylist to sit down and discuss what may or may not work for both parties communication is the key. Honesty about expectations from both parties. Certainly not easy big decision for the salon owner but also for a stylist who may never have had to deal with all the issues of being what will be self employed.



For the stylist what are these issues?

Keeping books records, Paying tax. Business registration. Unpaid holidays. No sick day cover. Stock.Training. appointments .Time keeping. Assistance. Self promotion. Client retention. professional body membership .Certification registration. Insurance liability. From a Salon point of view some really important things to consider in the salon whether you have commissioned staff or renters is the following. Atmosphere. Appearance. Attitude. All these must be kept positive. The salon should be offering the experience from the reception and the time the client walks in to the full on service.


One can never change the relationship  between stylist to client but the experience is worth a great deal and does get talked about. Remember the client is the key! Concentrate on the business we have .The clients who come to the salon they will grow your business with you and for you .It’s not all about finding an endless stream of new to clients to constantly fill seats.Remember this over 25% of new clients to salon never return ! How much  business is that lost over a year and Why?


Times are changing : The economy  is challenging we have to adapt  we have to embrace these changes . Owners and stylist alike  need to collaborate communicate share a vision.

The ‘Three R’s’ 
”Reputation. Recommendation. Retention”. 
It’s not built on that constant looking for new clients it’s looking after what you have! It’s investing in your self and your business and those around you.


This journey, this career, is wonderful – challenging, inspiring, and yes, hard work.


Our industry is in constant change and is sometimes criticised. For lacking vision in some areas. However there is an ever growing body of professionals. That have a firm commitment to our industry, they have a passion for change, to raise standards through education and sharing. Leadership, education and team incentives.Will over time and with commitment give any individual that ability to do exceptional work and to be more creative. Leadership and management help create an amazing work environment for all concerned. So key for success for all concerned.
This journey. This career, is wonderful – Challenging. Inspiring and yes can and will be hard work. but the rewards are worth all the effort.
Thank you all for letting me share some thoughts with you today.These are inspirational, passionate, industry professionals.They have a vision. These are the people I want on my bus to learn from, share with, take a journey with. Get inspired. Connect with driven motivated industry professional. challenge your self. invest in ones /your self 

Are you driver or passenger !

 There are no guarantees in life and ones career and career choice is no different thing happen and its how we deal with them that defines us. Jobs change relationships come and go the one thing that remains after training is our skill both hands on creative and the ones we learn about people and communication about caring about being a team player. Constantly developing new skills staying current is so very important.

There are no guarantees in life and ones career and career choice is no different thing happen and its how we deal with them that defines us. Jobs change relationships come and go the one thing that remains after training is our skill both hands on creative and the ones we learn about people and communication about caring about being a team player. Constantly developing new skills staying current is so very important.

I also think that we need to always look at the Why. Ask the question Why are we in business whats it for? OrWhy do we want to go into to business what is success? Why do I suggest this I think by asking and exploring the why we get to the motive behind why we want to be in business what is true success. Why the will also help us to understand our true values this in turn helps us to follow the path to the success we want  and desire. It will help us to surround ourselves with the right team those who share our values and vision.


Remember. Salon success. Stylist success. Business success are all linked together it’s Team success. Its never about any destination only ever about a journey taking the right people on that journey makes it enjoyable maybe even fun!

The salon and the S word now available in book and e book format for links to purchase and reviews Click here or on the image. 


 The Salon & the ‘S’ Word

 Written by Mike Vallance

Essential for success: commitment, focus, drive, a willingness to make change keeping an open mind. planning. taking responsibility for ones choices making and taking hard decisions. Honesty and staying creatively challenged.

My web site is Back2myroots: B2MR feel free to check in

You can also find me here on LinkedIn on Twitter MikeB2MR and Facebook Back2myroots B2MR


2 Responses to “Hair salon salary and wages for stylists”

  1. Test says:

    Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

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