Hello! I am currently a commission stylist in a great salon, where I have been for almost three years when I first got my license. The only problem is, it is a 30-45 minute commute & not only is it costly (gas), but I am finding that I am really struggling to build my clientele even having been in the salon for almost three years (on the floor full time for about one). Some days, I am making this commute to not even make a single penny, & spending 50-70 bucks on gas a week. Recently I came across an opening at a salon in the town that I live in, BUT I would be converting to BOOTH RENT. Sometimes I think that it would probably be easier for me to build in the same city that I live, because I could hand out my cards when I go to the grocery store, to the waitress when I go to a restaurant, etc.. But the responsibilities that come along with booth rent are REALLY scary. Any advice?? =)

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We are TWINS! I was in the exact same spot 1.5 years ago.

I love booth renting! Here is why.

Say your total sales for one week was $1,000. 
If you were at a 50/50 commission salon, you would take home $500.

Now....if you were a booth renter...
and if your rental fee was $100 a week, your take home would turn into $900!

A myth with booth renting is that you need a huge clientele starting out. FALSE weather you switch to another commission salon or to a booth renting salon, you are still starting from scratch either way!
not to mention all the perks!- make your own hours, own prices, using the color lines YOU choose. The ONLY downside to booth renting is buying your own product (which really doesn't take that much money and MOST commission salons charge you a fee for backbar and color anyway! not to mention when you are self employed, everything you buy for your business is tax deductible) And the only other thing is having to pay in taxes. Find a good accountant and that doesn't serve much of an issue either! 

Answer my post?

Thanks, Shannon!! Reading your response makes me feel a GREAT sense of relief. I've been stressing about it all day. 

I love the salon that I am currently working in, but between the time I spend each week driving to & from work & the money that it takes to do so, I am just getting worn down, especially on the slowest days where it is COSTING me more than I am actually MAKING to get to work!

Now my next question for you is, when you got into the booth rental position, what did you find to be the most helpful in building your clientele?

Socializing EVERYWHERE. Always being out and about at town events, sports, music trivia, that kind of stuff. Facebook all of your work and make it look professional...no clutter in the background ext. Perception is a powerful thing, even if you aren't busy, if people think you are they will make more of an effort to get into you. Vouchers for a complimentary eyebrow wax when new clients prebook their next app. Keep your facebook friend count high so you are reaching more people with your posts. I found that referral programs have not worked at all for me, and handing out business cards has not worked for me either. (maybe its just my small town) The best strategies i have found happen to be free! (nice!) Word of mouth is always the best. You could even say "If you tag me in your status that you came to me to get your hair done, I will give you a complimentary conditioning treatment at your next app" NEVER under-price yourself just because you are slow. You don't want to build a clientele based on your cheap prices because that wont draw in the kind of crown you are looking to retain. But offering something to do complimentary (don't say free!) will still make them seem like they are getting a deal! Even though a wax costs us about $2 and 10 minutes to do! anything else? =]

Thanks Shannon!! That all sounds doable to me! :)

Booth rental is awesome Kristen, but I think Shannon oversimplified it so I want to make you aware of some issues that you need to consider.  

1. You DO need clientele when you start booth renting, because if you don't, you will still have days you make nothing, but your rent is still due.

2.  Out of that $900 take home pay Shannon mentions, 40% of it at least has to be set aside for taxes, and at least another 10% for supplies.  As a self-employed person, you pay 100% of your own employment and social security taxes. Plus, you will have to pay self-employment taxes in some states. Did you know that as an employed person, your tax contribution is met by your employer? A lot of people don't. 

3. You have to work harder to market yourself and you can't be afraid to stand your ground or say no. People will try shady things with booth renters that I never experienced in a salon. For example, the girls who come in and book a color for the base price then you see they have waist-length hair.  You have to be strong enough to set the tone of how you run your chair. 

3. Good bookkeeping. I cannot stress this enough.  Keep your purchases and expenses straight, keep your credit card receipts, and see an accountant quarterly. This is a MUST. And accept credit cards as a customer service issue. Some people don't want to pay the fees, but remember it costs you less for a credit card fee then it does your client to go to the nearest ATM. People use plastic a lot these days, accommodate them. 

4. On top of setting your own hours and prices, you have to have the discipline to stand by them. If you say you're there Tuesdays at 10AM, BE THERE, even if you never, ever, ever have a client at that time. Remember that as consumers we expect our service providers to follow through with their promises. As a service provider, you have to keep your promises. 

It's hard work to booth rent. But I love it. It's the best thing I ever did for myself. I love walking out at the end of the day with cash in my pocket and not having to punch a time sheet. I love that I can leave if I need to (but don't make a habit of it), and I love taking holidays off! It takes at least a year to build a full business, so don't be discouraged if you are slow at first. Facebook is your friend, but so are your neighboring businesses, your current clients, family and friends. Business-to-business marketing is as important as social networking, so don't forget that REAL connections matter more then a Facebook post.  Good luck to you! 

Those were a few ENORMOUS points that I didn't know about/hadn't considered, Melissa. What advice could you give me in regards to the situation I explained? & if I do decide to make the leap to booth rent, what are some important things I need to do once I make the switch? (as far as establishing my business, advertising myself, building my clientele, etc.)

Thanks so much!

Hmm, that is my advice! LOL.  Facebook is great. Set up a fan page, post specials to local groups, and direct them to your page to "like" it.  Have a contest giving away hair product at x number of likes so people ill press like and subscribe to your feed.  

Don't discount your services, or you set yourself up to only be valuable to people looking for deals. If people want a deal, offer them a free add on that costs you nothing, so a free iron style with a haircut & blowdry, or a free conditioning treatment.  

Cosmoprof always has sample sizes if you buy supplies at the beginning of the month. I save them up and give them away to clients. Sometimes I put them in goody bags with my card and a personal price menu and go out and intorduce myself to local businesses. This has been a good one for me. 

In the end, as a booth renter you are a self-employed, business-owning person, and you get to all the responsibilities to go with it, so you have to have the discipline to follow through. And if you want to build a good clientele, you have to be reliable and be good.No one wants a service person they have to work around. As a service person, you work around your clients, and you set the tone for that. How your chair works, when you work, what product you use. Also check that the salon you go to work in doesn't treat you like an employee. If they book appointments for you and dictate your product and hours, you both can wind up with IRS trouble.  There is no compromise between being an employee and being a renter, so don't fall for the trap that you have to do things the salon's way if you are paying money to be there. It's one way or the other, end of story. 

Thanks Melissa you pointed out many great marketing tools and some great advice!
Hey Melissa just reading through the dissuasion and you made a Huge point that has been bugging me in my salon for a good 3 months now and wondering if you have any advise!?

A little background... I have been at my salon now for a year, it was amazing, awesome and we all worked together as a team so well, but things have changed. We have recently switched from commission 50/50 to booth rent. The owners have never been a booth rent salon since they have opened 15 years ago so all of this is new to them and a good handful of us stylist. We have been renting for maybe 8 months now and things have completely took a 180. The Owners are never there nor care... They say because we are booth renters now "we don't have to be a team," which is ridiculous all on its own but my main point I'm getting to is NOW there hiring 5 new people to our salon that we never knew about and these people I guess will be on commission!?!? My question is they say we're not a team but then punish us when we go to block ourselves out or we can't advertise/promote with out them ok-ing it first. I guess I am just at a loss of words and in a bundle because this is my third salon I have moved too and been in the industry for 6 years, I have an amazing clientele here that I basically was handed (another long story) but I just can't afford to move again... You sound like you have a pretty good system working for you so if you have any suggestions for me or ideas on what you would do as maybe team building or is that not even the answer and I'm just basically screwed? Lol ..if you have time! Thanks
I answered on your thread Jamie! Good luck to you!
Hello! What are typical booth rental fees? I've spoken to 3 women who have done booth rental and was given some insight. One woman said it mostly worked for her because she kept a lot of unreported cash. Another said she no longer had a receptionist so that made clients unhappy because they were having a hard time reaching her and booking ASAP. And what about cleaning, assistants, etc...perks that come with working for a salon? Does anyone have a book to recommend? I did the numbers with a busy hairstylist a while back and the benefit was not that great unless of course she " hid" cash. Thanks in advance or the help!

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