Launching a salon is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot involved, from determining the brand direction, location, desired clientele, lease agreements, and more. Much of this decision-making comes down to your vision for your salon.
One significant component is determining whether stylists will be employees or independent stylists who will rent chairs in the salon. If the latter, it is also essential to clarify if stylists will be required to maintain specific standards, product types, and style approaches, or if they are entirely “on their own.”.
For most new salon owners, starting with the independent stylist model versus the employee model is easier logistically and financially.
Moving in this direction comes with certain caveats and pros and cons. Below, we explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of salon booth rentals for your salon business.
Let's start with the good. After all, it is always better to be positive first, right?
By renting out salon chairs, you avoid having to front salary costs, employment tax, and employment benefits which can quickly eat away at your profits. Additionally, if stylists arrive with ample experience, there is no need for paid training.
When stylists are employees that arrive without clientele, ensuring the salon’s marketing game is on point is extremely important to ensure regular and repeat clientele. However, when your business model incorporates booth rentals, there are guaranteed monthly income irrespective of the number of clients that come into the salon.
Now, onto the bad. Much of the bad has to do with you, as the salon owner, not having as much control over how stylists operate.
Lack of Control
Ensuring an open line of communication with stylists from the outset can prevent any ambiguity around brand guidelines and expectations.
If you want to stipulate certain expectations, i.e., that stylists only use a particular product and follow specific style guidelines, that would have to be outlined within a working agreement with them.
By renting out salon chairs to stylists, you bring in independent business owners to operate within your overall operation.
Going back to the control issue, stylists may come in and out whenever they want to leave some chairs empty on some days and open on others, which can create a less than optimal environment for clients.
Additionally, stylists may bring in clients who are not your ideal clients and refrain from communicating with you about their own business goals.
The ugly, of course, involves worse possible outcomes, including unwanted contention and even legal issues.
Stuck with Difficult Renters
If your rental agreement is completely binding with few or ambiguous clauses, you may be stuck with a problematic stylist. Unlike having an employee, you have less control over your stylist's behavior.
As long as they pay rent on time and maintain their end of the agreement, a bad attitude or toxic behavior is not grounds for eviction.
It is crucial to ensure that the people working with you or alongside you are unified in your vision. Otherwise, you may find your salon purely a space for stylists to rent, without any desire to unify with other stylists or you as the owner.
Establishing protocols, expectations, and mutual goals before signing any rental contracts is the surest way to avoid future chaos.
Your Vision Will Determine the Outcome of Your Salon Business
Whether you decide to bring in part-time and full-time employees or operate with independent stylists has everything to do with your vision for your salon. Do you want to create a welcoming, supportive environment for stylists who desire to grow their businesses?
You may want to build a brand much like Salon Republic, which prides itself on empowering stylists with a sophisticated space to grow and support their clientele. Or perhaps your vision is more in line with DryBar, and you want to build a scalable enterprise that works with part-time and full-time employees with precise brand standards. These approaches are not mutually exclusive, and you can find a balance as long as your legal is in place.
It will be essential to ensure that whether you go the independent stylist route and rent out your chairs or employees, your vision for the salon and your people is compelling and unique. You can further support that vision by getting the most state-of-the-art salon equipment from Keller International, in business for over 20 years. Learn more about our salon chairs here.