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A Guide to Salon Booth Rentals for Stylists and Owners

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There is a lot that happens behind the scenes when operating a successful hair salon. People may not realize all that goes into recruiting and retaining high-performing stylists, while also allowing owners to benefit from their investment. This guide focuses specifically on salon booth rental for stylists: how it works and how renters and owners can maximize their agreements.

What is a salon booth rental?

A booth rental salon is a type of salon in which stylists rent out individual “chairs” or salon stations from a salon owner. The establishment may or may not be stocked with supplies—this varies by salon. But a hairstylist can expect at least a salon chair, a mirror, a hair-washing sink with running water, and basic workplace requirements (e.g., Wi-Fi, heat, and air conditioning).

A newer variation of booth rental salons is the salon suite. Stylists rent a fully stocked suite and run independent businesses alongside other renters.

Managing a booth rental salon is one of many options. Some business owners manage employee-based establishments offering commission, salary, or hourly wages. With a commission model, stylists earn a commission percentage of the business they bring to the salon. Some salons have both renters and employees working side by side.

Salon booth rentals for stylists

With employee- and commission-based salons, stylists don’t have to cover the costs of their workspace, as they would in a rental system. However, they may have less authority over certain salon-wide decisions such as branding, interior design, or marketing strategies. This guide will cover the pros and cons of renting a salon chair, plus common questions and tips.

Pros of renting a salon chair

Cons of renting a salon chair

Expenses associated with running a salon booth

Which expenses stylists cover depends on the salon. When considering a salon booth rental vs commission system, ask the owner which supplies are provided for renters and which the renter has to bring. Does the rental include styling tools? Do stylists bring their own products? How about towels? Does the salon let renters use office supplies: Wi-Fi, a phone, and a printer? All of these can become significant expenses for the renter.

Also ask if renters are responsible for marketing their booths — a small financial expense, but one that’s costly in time. Does the salon support their efforts or offer salon marketing tools? Does the salon require renters to participate in their salon marketing efforts?

How to find the right salon booth rental

Finding a good-fit salon can take time but the right space, location, and community is worth the effort. Some considerations are common to all workplaces: How far is the commute? What are the benefits? But a stylist should ask several salon-specific questions when considering a booth rental. As a starting point, make sure you understand or observe:

How to set up your salon booth rental

Renting a new booth is exciting — and exhausting. To help, we created an entire set of supplies needed to set up a salon booth rental for hairstylists. This list does not include the supplies that the owner typically provides, such as display shelves, waiting area seating, lighting fixtures, and washing sinks.

Salon booth rentals for owners

Operating a rental salon specifically will require the owner to invest significant time and energy or to hire a strong operator to manage the business. Owning a salon can be a good business opportunity, especially for those with industry experience and/or a desire to mentor future stylists. But the disadvantages, elaborated below, can be frustrating.

Pros of running a booth rental salon

Cons of running a booth rental salon

How to set up and stock salon booth rentals

Potential owners might wonder, “What does a salon booth rental include?” There is no right answer, but a salon owner might start with informal interviews with stylists in their network. Try asking:

Supplies and perks are added expenses, of course, but these thoughtful touches can help a salon attract seasoned stylists in a crowded market. Also, consider whether you will supply styling tools and products. At hair salons, stylists typically have personal preferences and bring their own.

As an owner, keep in mind that some basic supplies are effectively required. For hair salons, this list includes salon chairs, mirrors, hair-washing sinks, and utilities, at minimum. Providing towels and laundry service is helpful. Other attractive investments include appointment scheduling software as well as a regular cleaning service for the bathrooms, waiting area, windows, and overall space.

Legal considerations for salon owners and booth renters

Renting a salon chair or booth is a business partnership with legal implications defined below. Of course, stylists and salon owners should consult their legal advisors for specific, personalized advice.

What is a salon booth rental agreement?

Salon owners and booth renters are in a tenant/landlord relationship, which is governed by state laws. The Behind the Chair blog notes that a salon booth rental agreement could be either a written lease agreement or a rental contract. A written lease gives the stylist independent tax status, sets a start and end date, and states the rental fee and included amenities.

A rental contract tends to be fuller and may:

What are salon booth rental rules?

Booth renters must abide by the “rules” laid out by the salon owner, usually in the salon booth rental agreement. These stipulations could be about maintaining the space, such as sweeping up hair and washing out foot baths. They could also cover technical matters, such as requiring renters to keep their own books.

What is salon booth rental insurance?

Stylists that rent space in a salon should hold salon booth rental insurance. Their lease or rental agreement may even require it. Booth insurance is typically an add-on to liability insurance, which protects hairdressers, cosmetologists, and barbers against lawsuits or claims about services provided. Booth insurance isn’t a luxury, according to the National Association of Barbers. The policy ensures a stylist is covered when unpredictable accidents happen, because the salon’s policy may not cover them.

Commonly asked questions about booth rentals

Do employees bring their own devices?

Stylists: Check the salon booth rental agreement, which likely notes whether or not you are responsible for your own tools.

Salon owners: You get to decide whether your salon provides renters with devices such as heat styling tools and hairbrushes. Stylists, especially seasoned ones, likely already have preferred tools and will bring them. But providing them can be a perk that attracts booth renters, especially for new stylists.

Who brings the supplies in a salon booth rental?

Operating a hair salon booth requires much more than devices. The stylist also needs scissors, combs, brushes, rollers, foil, hair treatment chemicals, and more. The stylist and owner together should consider not only who brings the supplies but also who re-stocks them and who covers the costs. Knowing these details ahead of time can reduce tension later.

Where can a salon owner find stylists for hire?

Salon owners can find talented stylists in their communities in several ways:

Social media and online platforms for beauty professionals can also match stylists with salon owners.

There’s a single tool that can minimize your risks and maximize the rewards.

Salon booth rentals can be profitable, even enjoyable, for both owners and stylists — but only when managed well. Investing in appointment scheduling software can smooth out operations and refine the business. Try out DaySmart’s solution free for 14 days, or get in touch with our sales team today.

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