Having experienced the highs and lows of working at salons, spas, and clinics, I thought I would give a few tips to help educate you on what worked best for me, and what I think could help you climb the ladder to be a very successful salon professional!
Now, I know not every professional will agree with this, but I find that booth rent situations are BY FAR the best, if you would like to manage yourself and your time, work hours that you dictate, and handle your own appointment making. I have worked in spas (where I earned a commission for each service), a chiropractic clinic (where my skill set was not fully utilized given the nature of the business), and salons (where I rented a booth.)
I have had a great deal of success while renting a booth, and have had the chance to experience the difference in procedure, rules and regulations, and day-to-day happenings with several salons and owners. Let’s dive in and discover the ways to succeed while booth renting!
**As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn a commission, at no extra cost to you, on qualifying purchases.
#1. Ask Questions and Take Your Time!
Before choosing a space in which to rent a booth, you will definitely want to do your due diligence. Simply meeting with the owner of a business and doing a quick walk-through is not enough. I have made this mistake and learned the hard way!
Find out exactly where your space will be. Take a good look at the space and envision yourself working there every day. Do you have enough room for your supplies? Is there a quick route to a restroom for your clients? Is there natural lighting, or too much light? Do you have a bit of privacy or are you too isolated for your taste? Does the space look clean and presentable (there is not gunk and color and a hairball on the floor that could pass for a furry pet)?
These are all things to keep in mind as you are touring the space. You will be working here on a regular basis, and it’s important to be satisfied.
Also, be aware that, although this may SEEM like an interview to you, you are actually also interviewing the owner of the business. I had a hard time grasping that at first, but remember that you are paying this person rent, and so you will want to be sure that they are offering you a space that you will be proud to service your clients at. Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions and walk through the whole space several times to get a good feel for it.
#2. Provided Supplies VS. You Buy Supplies
I can’t tell you how IMPORTANT this is if you are just new to the industry and just getting your name out there. Depending on what service(s) you are planning to perform, equipment and products can break the bank!
Looking back, I really should have tackled one area of expertise at a time in order to avoid spending so much money at once. I did facials, hair, makeup, massage, mild chemical peels, and exfoliating services, to name a few! If you are planning to do many things in your space, you have got to calculate the cost of all the supplies needed, and then decide if it would benefit you more in the long run to buy them yourself, or to find a space where some of them are provided for you.
Now, it’s been my experience that most places that are willing to rent you a booth and set you loose are going to do exactly that. There are a lot of business owners who may not want to provide any sort of supplies or equipment. They are simply involved in a business transaction with you. There might be a salon chair, and a shampoo station available, but other than that you could be on your own. Be sure to be in absolute understanding of what is and isn’t provided.
If you find a place that does offer to supply some items (shampoo, facial steaming machine, manicure desk, etc), make sure that you inquire as to what the rules are. If you sell a product does the cost come off of your booth rent? Do you have access to these products without having to replace them? How many other professionals will you be sharing space/products/equipment with? All very important things to consider.
#3. Find Out What Is Required Of You
If you are a hairdresser, you’re using towels, and if you’re a hairdresser like me…you’re probably also making a mess! If you are a massage therapist or esthetician, you are probably using sheets and towels. Same goes for nail technician, and makeup artist…etc.
It will be very important to find out exactly which duties you will need to perform. Now, taking care of your station and/or room is common courtesy, and a given. But what about towel and laundry service?
I once worked in a setting that had 1. No laundry service, and 2. No washer and dryer. Please don’t do that, haha. It was such a pain, having to load up my sheets and towels after I was finished each day, take them home, wash them, fold, load them into my car, and bring them back. What a headache. This is something you should ask the owner of the space very soon after touring.
Also, find out if any cleaning needs to be done in, say the break room, or the lobby. Does a cleaning service cover that, or is this something that is a shared responsibility among booth renters?
Selling merchandise is also a possible duty. Many salons have retail items that clients can purchase, and there might be instances in which you will have to assist them. Find out if this is relevant in the space that you are looking at.
This is by far one of the most important aspect of booth renting. Without clients, we are just a person standing at a hair chair with high hopes.
I would definitely strongly recommend having at list a partially filled schedule when you decide to jump into the world of booth renting. Not to say that it cannot be done right after graduating from school, but it is very difficult, and very scary.
My very first venture as a massage therapist was booth renting in a tiny, two person salon in a small town. I failed miserably. I was not prepared, had no experience with clients, and ultimately had to count my losses and apply at an establishment that was already a well-known name in the massage world.
If your clients don’t show up, you don’t get paid. There is no guarantee that everyone on your books will follow through. The first several months that you are booth renting, it might be necessary to take extra clients, run short-lived specials and offers (though I don’t recommend doing this after you are established, as I don’t believe you should discount experienced work), and market your services to anyone and everyone.
In regular booth rent situations, you do make 100% of money earned, but remember that the client retention is absolutely necessary to be successful.
#5. Be Prepared To Handle Your Business!
One of the things that I found most difficult once I began to strictly booth rent, was that I really had no one to ask questions to. At a salon in which everyone is working for a wage or commission, there is sometimes more of a “team” atmosphere, and everyone works together, helping each other out if there is a question or concern.
When you are booth renting, if you can’t decide whether this client would be better off with a 9N all over or with a few subtle highlights to frame the face, you might not have a more experienced stylist to go to for advice. Every situation and atmosphere is different, but I like to prepare for every instance.
Similarly, if you run out of a color, or shampoo, or massage oil…you might have to schedule a quick trip to the store, as you very well could be in charge of storing your own supplies. Always take stock of the next day the night before so that you don’t get into a bind.
#6. Secretary, Service Provider, Cashier
When you booth rent, all of the above titles are YOU. It is sometimes a bit difficult to keep everything straight, so stay organize from the very beginning. Invest in a good, detailed appointment book. Be sure to write all of your clients’ names and numbers down just in case you have to move or cancel an appointment. Send out reminder texts the night before to everyone you will be seeing the next day.
It would be a good idea to keep a good record of every service that you provide to a client, and what the results were. Did she like her color this time? What did you discuss doing the next time she comes in?
When your client is finished with their visit and is ready to pay, be sure to offer as many forms of payment as possible. It is very inconvenient in this day and age for a client to have to run to the ATM because you forgot to mention that you only accept cash. Many people would like to just whip out a credit card and not have to go to the hassle of searching for a different form of payment after they have just completed a relaxing service.
Equally important in being your own cashier….keep a detailed record of transactions and be ready to file your taxes. This is the biggest downside to booth renting, in my opinion. You have to make sure that you have saved money to pay in, as there is typically no money being taken out of your pay through the year, because you receive direct payment from clients.
Don’t let the tax thing deter you, though! Booth renting was one of the best decisions that made in my career. I had so much success, and was filling my appointment book every week. As long as you treat each client as if they are very important, work hard to make a good name for yourself, and put your all into it, you can succeed as well!
Thanks for stopping by!
If you have any questions or comments, just leave them below. I’d love to hear from you!
Have a blessed and beautiful day!