Booth renters, also referred to as "independent contractors," lease space from a large salon or a suite of small salons. If you choose to go this route, you won't be an employee; rather, you'll be your own boss and pay a landlord either a flat rate or a percentage or your business.
One common work environment for the "indie" is a small mall of salon suites, rented separately and housing one or two stylists. Included in the rent are utilities, furniture, cleaning services and sometimes reception services. Indies with a clientele rent the space, come and go as they please and run their own businesses. Some of those with double suites hire assistants or sublease the second suite.
In some cases, every independent contractor has a key; in others, the mall posts working hours and hires people to open and close. Another difference involves the extent of perks that come with the lease. You may have access to health insurance, continuing education and other benefits that are more affordable through a group purchase than an individual one.
When you lease your space, it's important to make sure that your contract complies with very strictâ€”and monitoredâ€”rules set by the IRS. You must really be running your business. You should be responsible for buying your supplies, managing your books, keeping track of your inventory, pay your own business taxes and advertise and market your business.
Keeping the distinction between indie and employee protects working stylists, because no one can take advantage of them. A salon owner cannot have it both ways. For example, the owner cannot operate as a regular salon businessâ€”setting hours, having a dress code, requiring attendance at staff meetings and so forthâ€”and then claim that it's a booth rental salon and fail to pay workmen's compensation and business taxes for each stylist.
The biggest hurdle to become a booth renter is building a book. You have to recruit all of your own clients. A walk-in isn't unheard of for any business with the word "beauty" or "salon" on its sign, but you're still not going to attract a huge walk-in clientele when you're an independent contractor. Other disadvantages include:
But there are advantages as well, most resulting from the flexibility that comes with the tremendous freedom you have as an independent contractor.