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Your Ultimate Guide To Salon Booth Rental (How To Make Money Renting The Chair)

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Many beauty and grooming professionals are drawn to the salon booth rental for a number of good reasons.

If you’re a hairdresser or barber, renting a booth can give you more freedom compared to working full-time at a traditional salon.

Meanwhile, if you’re an owner or manager, you could enjoy increased stability and potentially lower costs.

A booth rental salon business can be attractive and rewarding, but it also comes with challenges.

Like with most business ventures and careers, you need to determine if it’s a good fit for your style, goals, and personality. And if you decide to go down the booth rental route, it’s important to figure out the best strategies to grow your business or career.

And that’s exactly what we’ll tackle in this post.

Below, we’ll dive into the world of salon booth rental. We’ll look at the pros and cons of this business model and offer best practices for success.

This article has sections for both owners/managers and renters. So whether you’re someone who’s running the booth rental salon or you’re renting a chair, you’ll find some useful information below

What is a salon booth rental?

Salon booth rental is a business model in which the salon or barbershop earns revenue by renting out chairs in the location. Unlike traditional salons or barbershops, a booth rental business doesn’t employ the stylists. Instead, they’re treated as renters.

How to run a booth rental salon [for owners/managers]

Pros and cons of owning or running booth rental-based salon

Owning or running a booth rental salon comes with some advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to be aware of these pros and cons so you can figure out if salon booth rental is the best path for you.

Pro: You have a more hands-off approach to HR 

When you’re renting out chairs, you essentially have a landlord-tenant relationship versus an employer-staff relationship with the people working at your location. As such, you don’t have to actively manage them or their work.

There’s no need to monitor attendance, fill out employee tax forms, or do any heavy HR tasks, so you’ll have more time and resources that you can use in other areas of your business.

Pro: Reduced costs in certain areas of the business 

You could also potentially lower your costs, at least when it comes to manpower. Unlike salons that pay full-time employees, you don’t have salary costs and there’s no need to pay for employee benefits.

Those who rent booths at salons and barbershops typically use their own products and supplies, so you may find cost savings there as well.

Pro: Relatively more stability income 

When you’re running a commission-based salon, your income may vary widely depending on how many clients you get. With a booth rental establishment, your income is relatively stable because you’re able to collect a fixed amount of rent regardless of how many clients have walked through your doors.  

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Con: Less control over people and how the salon is run 

Renters at salons and barbershops aren’t your employees, so you have limited control over how they perform their work. You don’t have a say on what products they decide to use or how they choose to administer their services.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you like the hands-off approach. But if you prefer being in control of the day-to-day activities of your salon, then booth rental may not be right for you.

Con: The team may not be as unified as those who work full-time

Commission-based salons that employ stylists or barbers can initiate team-building efforts, plus the people working there are around each other on a consistent basis. This leads to stronger employee relationships.

Achieving that level of unity is more difficult for booth rental salons.

People who rent chairs are running their own independent operations, so they’re looking out for their businesses first. And since they keep their own schedules, they may not be around as much. All that leads to a less unified team.

Con: Lack of brand consistency

Since your chairs are being rented by independent stylists, each individual has their own style and ways of doing things. This can lead to a lack of consistency when it comes to your salon’s brand experience.

This isn’t much of an issue if you simply want to collect rent and you’re not interested in building a brand. But if you do want to create a name for your salon, then a booth rental set up isn’t the best choice.

Best practices when running a booth rental salon

Now that you have an idea of the pros and cons that comes with running a booth rental salon, let’s look at the ways on how to do it effectively.

Know your rent numbers and keep expenses under control

Unless you own the building or space, you’re likely paying rent on your location. If you want to stay profitable, you need to keep your rental expenses under control. According to Randi Rose, co-founder at Thrive Business Services, if you’re running a booth rental salon, “you want your rent to be no more than 25% of your expenses.”

So, run the numbers in your business. Calculate your rent against your other bills and make sure it’s not taking up over a quarter of your expenses. If you discover that you’re spending too much on rent, then you can find ways to either lower your expenses or cook up ideas to bring in more revenue.

Craft a solid renters agreement

Come up with a solid contract for your salon booth rental. The specifics of this will vary, depending on your location and type of salon but generally, the following components should be outlined in your agreement:

If possible, have a legal professional go over your contract before handing it off to renters. The goal is to create a fair agreement between the two parties.

Build good relationships with your renters

Earlier, we discussed that one of the drawbacks of having a booth rental salon is the lack of unity among stylists. While it’s true that you can’t impose employment rules on your renters, you can still promote a sense of unity by building healthy relationships with them.

This starts with choosing renters who are a good fit for your salon. Interview different stylists and get a feel of how they’ll fit in with your personality and with other barbers or hairdressers in the space. You want people to get along, even if they’re working independently.

And once you have people renting, make an effort to get to know them and strive to foster a work environment that encourages people to collaborate or at least be friendly with each other.

Here’s an example from LePosh Hair Studio that seems to have mastered it as evident from the image below:

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Doing so improves the atmosphere in your salon and promotes unity, ultimately benefiting everyone including the customers who walk through your doors.

Give them a hand

While you’re not strictly required to do so, consider assisting stylists with marketing or running their business. Make things easier by providing backup equipment or products in case they run out. You could also provide mentorship opportunities to improve their craft.

If your business has an Instagram page, consider promoting the various stylists renting at your salon or barbershop.

You could also help them with managing their calendar. One way to do this is to set them up with salon scheduling software so their clients can easily book appointments. You can give them a link to their portal that they can easily share.

Why go through all the trouble? Simple: showing stylists that you have their back builds loyalty. They’ll stay with you longer and be better tenants overall — and that’s great for your business.

Remember: when your tenants succeed, YOU succeed with them.

How to succeed as a salon booth renter [for freelance/independent stylists]

Pros and cons of renting a chair

If you’re a stylist considering salon booth rental, here are some of the top pros and cons to factor in.

Pro: More time flexibility 

The biggest draw of salon booth rental for stylists is the schedule flexibility that it affords. If you’re a salon booth renter, you have control over your hours and vacation days. You won’t have a boss looking over your shoulder and there’s no need to clock in and out of work. All that can be incredibly attractive, particularly if you prefer to have a flexible lifestyle.

Pro: You keep more of what you earn 

Traditional salons that employ stylists typically offer commissions on top of their salaries. Commission structures vary from one salon to another, but they usually range from 35% to 60%.

If you’re an independent stylist, you don’t have to worry about commissions. Instead, you earn gross revenue from the services that you provide. This can potentially lead to higher income.

Pro: More freedom with how you serve clients

When you’re an employee, you need to play by the salon’s rules. You have to use the products they sell and you may feel limited in terms of the types of services you can provide.

If you’re a renter though, you have a lot more freedom with your work. You’re able to use your favorite products and your own supplies. Plus, you can build your personal brand as opposed to marketing the salon as a whole.

Con: It takes more work to be a booth renter

When you rent a booth, you’re in charge of your own business — and that comes with more work than being an employee at a salon. As an independent stylist, you file your business taxes (which are a lot more complicated than employment tax filing) and you have to worry about health benefits, marketing, supplies, etc.

If you’re up for all of that, then great. But if the thought of going through all the admin work doesn’t appeal to you, then the rental route probably isn’t the best fit.

Con: Your income can fluctuate 

One of the biggest advantages of being an employee is that you’re subject to a guaranteed wage every month. While your commissions may vary, your employer is required to pay you minimum wage at the very least. That provides some financial cushion regardless of how many clients you serve.

This isn’t the case if you’re renting a chair. The amount of income you earn is directly proportional to the number of customers who sit on your chair. That’s all well and good if you have a steady stream of clients. But if your business goes through a slump, your income will take a hit.

And remember, rent is still due every month, so you should always have financial reserves in the event that your monthly income can’t cover your expenses.

Con: You must purchase all the tools and products you use

The salon where you rent isn’t required to provide you with products or supplies beyond the actual chair or booth. You’re in charge of purchasing styling products and maintaining your equipment, so you have to budget accordingly.

Be aware that while you are keeping more of what you earn, you also have more expenses.

Best practices for stylists renting a chair or booth

If you decide to pursue the booth rental route, here are some tips on how to successfully manage your independent business.

Select the right location

There are many factors that come into play when evaluating the right salon. Let’s start with the biggest one: location. When deciding where to set up shop, you need to think about:

Your clientele. What types of customers are you after? Where do they live and work? For obvious reasons, you need to select a salon that’s located in areas that your customers frequent, so iron out your client personas before signing a rental agreement.

Your budget. Salon booth rental prices can be as low as $250, but can also go up to $1,200 a month. It’s a wide range, to say the least. The amount you’ll pay will largely depend on the location. Salons or barbershops that are in high-end, high-traffic areas can command higher salon booth rental prices than those in less-than-ideal locations.

Make sure the salon is a good fit for your style

Choosing the right salon isn’t just about location or rent. You should also consider the atmosphere, people, and overall feel of the place. Is the salon’s environment and design appealing to you and your clients?

Vier Hair Loft, for example, offers a space that works well for stylists who need a creative edge.

What about the other people in it? While it’s true that your landlord isn’t your boss and other renters aren’t technically your co-workers, you’ll still spend a considerable amount of time in the location. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable.

Keep your business ducks in a row

Being an independent stylist or barber comes with more paperwork and responsibilities, so be sure to stay on top of your business.

Review your rental agreement and make sure everything is in order. Be organized and meticulous with your paperwork and other records. This is particularly important since you’ll be filing taxes for your business. If possible, get yourself a good accounting or bookkeeping app to keep everything in check.

Arm yourself with the right tools and solutions

When you work at a salon, your employer will provide you with the tools you need to do your job. This may include styling products, equipment, even software like payment processing and appointment scheduling.

When you’re renting a chair, all that becomes your responsibility. So, it’s important to select the best products and solutions for your biz. As a barber or hairdresser, you probably have favorite hair styling brands, which is great, but what about the tools you need to manage your business?

Appointment scheduling software, for example, is critical. Select a booking app that allows your clients to conveniently book your services.

Consider Booksy, which is loved by numerous independent stylists because it offers all the features you need to stay on top of your appointments. In addition to having a booking link that you can add to your website and share with clients, Booksy lets you take bookings directly from Google, Instagram, and Facebook.

Booksy also integrates with payment processors like Stripe and Square, so you can collect deposits and accept multiple payment types including cash and credit cards.

And remember when we talked about staying on top of your records? Booksy helps you do just that with insights. The software sheds light on your appointment history as well as a performance dashboard so you know which clients and services are bringing you the most revenue.

Continuously market your biz

One of the benefits of being a salon employee is that the company takes care of marketing the brand and bringing in clients. This isn’t always the case when you’re a salon booth renter. While your salon may help with marketing, the bulk of the work rests on your shoulders.

We talked about salon marketing in-depth on the blog, so here are some quick tips with links if you want to go deeper:

Salon booth rental: is it right for you?

Salon booth rental can be a flexible and lucrative path. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the working style and personality for it, you’ll find it to be incredibly rewarding. We hope the insights above gave you some clarity on whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

And if you are looking for a tech partner who can help you navigate salon booth rental with ease, get more bookings, and make your business grow, try Booksy for free. With tons of features, we’ll help you stay on top of your business growth, without spending hours managing it. 

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