There is no crystal ball when it comes to hiring stylists for your salon. Many salon owners go through the ringer when it comes to finally landing a top notch stylist with a good book of business. How you keep them working for you once you find one is also a challenge.

Many salon owners shared their insight with me on what works and what doesn’t in attracting and keeping top talent. Most top stylists want to be free to come and go if they please. Not good for you the salon owner where they are employed, but for them, the ability to pick up and go if they want to may be a reason they took the job in your salon in the first place.

How to Keep Top Stylists: Sign on the Dotted Line?

Salons need brilliant and creative minds in their salons to be successful and compete in the market, but top talent wants to be mobile and the war around us with competition is fierce. The paradox of salon ownership these days is that salon owners have great expectation from all employees from workers at all levels but in the back of their minds looms the day that the infamous walkout is inevitable.

Here’s the ultimate catch for salon owners. Guarding these top notch talented recruits by making them sign a non-compete agreement paired with a robust non-disclosure agreement. This basically forces the potential new hire, in advance, to sign over all customers old and new, salon secrets they make pick up while working for you, color solutions, and or other customers that the salon services from other employees. Basically they can’t touch, take or move any of the salon trades secrets and customers if they should go to a competitor around the corner or open their own salon.

In many cases having new employees sign these agreements is counterproductive. The lack of trust from day one is not a great way for an employee, employer to start their working relationship. Many salon owners feel safe about the signing of the agreement, but we have found that the new employee loses their motivation and excitement about starting a new job.

In some cases these new employees who sign these agreements perform the services worse than the stylists who are free to leave and compete in the field if they should choose to. The trust issue takes a much longer time to build and new hire starts off with a terrible working attitude.

The question is do you or don’t you have your new star quarterback or should I say stylist sign a non-compete agreement. If there that good they will have outside offers from neighboring salons. These top notch stylist that could benefit your salon the most are the ones that could hurt your business if the suddenly leave. It’s great to have the new revenue stream they may bring in buy if they suddenly leave will you be able to withstand the loss?

If the employee understands that by leaving without notice and trying to take away your customers they will end up in court because of the agreement they signed, it may deter the process of a quick walk out with your clients in tow.

Ideally the best thing you can do is make an agreement the best suits both parties, if you can discuss and put verbiage in the agreement that best suits you and your new hire. This verbiage must state that if and when either party should part ways they have an understanding of what actions need to take place that will not hurt either allowing them to go separate ways and get on with their lives.

Keep in mind the star stylists with a good following will still leave the salon despite any agreement they have signed. The attempt of instilling fear initially may have worked by having them sign an agreement, but in the end it’s all about the money and if they can make more somewhere else or open their own salon when the time comes they will. 

Shop Modern Salon - Jeff Grissler


Amazon Best Selling Author, Consultant, Educator Jeff Grissler has been published in many beauty trade magazines. A gifted businessman and consultant, Jeff prides himself on his networking ability to bring people together to share new ideas and explore partnerships and marketing techniques.

E-mail: [email protected]


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