Salon Staff – to employ or not to employ

This is a BIG topic, and one hotly debated when salon owners get together.

It can be a minefield if you haven’t thought through the options thoroughly and even if you think you have thought of everything, there is sure to be one item you didn’t think of.

Where do you start?
If you are a salon owner in need of nail tech’s beauty therapists, or thinking about opening a salon with staff then there are a few options:

1.Employ your staff 

Plain and simple, contract your staff to as many hours as you require and pay them a salary. You provide everything, they simply turn up to work and provide the services booked in for them. You are then responsible for their insurance, and CPD/upskilling, as well as their National Insurance and Tax contributions, depending on their salary you could also be required to contribute to their pension under the governments new pension scheme.

2.Do a split

There are a couple of ways you can do this too:

  • Provide everything the Nail Tech needs, products, desk, tools, brushes, access to the tea and coffee facilities included.
  •  The Nail Tech provides all of his/her own products, tools.
  • Whether the split is based on takings (everything the client paid) or profit (after expenses such as products used to carry out the service)

If you are providing all of the products, tools etc then you will want to take more of the money. All money taken is split, a good starting point is 60% or 70% to you and the remainder to the nail tech. The incentive to the Tech is to good a good job and the client keeps coming back and books the same Nail Tech as they are looked after and do a great job.

If the Nail Tech is providing all of the products, then he/she would take the larger percentage.

Its important to remember that the actual percentage agreed come down to negotiation between you and the Tech, you should consider how much it costs to open the salon, lighting, heating, water, electricity, rent and rates etc… There are some other considerations that can get forgotten or not solidified in the excitement of the new venture and ultimately i have seen these details break a partnership in less than a month when the realisation kicks in…

  • Who books clients in? especially if the Nail Tech is receiving the bigger split, the Nail Tech sometimes assumes the receptionist will book people in her them, but this extra service the salon owner pays for (paying the receptionists wages, and the telephone bill etc) needs to be taken into account when deciding the % split.
  • Who is responsible for advertising / Marketing your services? If it is decided the Nail Tech is responsible for all of this then MAKE SURE you both know how this advertising is to be done, again – I have had Tech’s asking for my advice when they have assumed they can put up posters by their nail desk or priceless in the window and the salon owner has said no. After you have moved into your new salon space its too late and hard to dispute if you thought one thing and they thought another.
  • Are there other Nail Tech’s in the salon? Its heart wrenching when you turn up to work one day to see another nail tech doing YOUR clients nails – she will then take the split of that money herself and possibly lose the client if they have a good rapor and the client likes the nails. What is the policy on Tech’s doing other Tech’s clients, whilst on holiday for example?
  • Pricing – Does the salon already offer nail services and what then is expected of the Nail Tech coming in?
  • Opening Times – If the Nail Tech is on a split it is wise to agree the working hours before agreeing to go ahead in the partnership. If you as the salon owner are expecting the Nail Tech to be in when the salon is open, working on gaining new clients, being there for any walk in’s but the Nail Tech has ideas to only come in when there is a client booked in – then things are going to start on a rocky foot.
  • Are all Tech’s required to use the same products? If all Tech’s are self-employed working on a split then it is likely the Tech will have a preferred brand of product they have trained in and currently use, so make sure this is discussed to avoid conflict later on.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the venture ahead, and this is where the above details (not an exhaustive list) can get lost.

My advice would be to list as many things as you can think of, starting with the lists above and use it as a meeting agenda when talking through the details, because this, at the end of the day is BUSINESS! and should be treated as such.

3.A third way to work together is to rent a space in the salon. 

This takes most of the onus off the salon owner, so its then dow to agreeing upon the details already discussed above – what is included i.e. electricity, coffee facilities, receptionist etc, a mention in the salons advertising?…. and what is not included and put a weekly price on the rent charged to the Nail Tech.

When it has all been hashed out – have a written agreement with an end date on it, agreed and signed. The end date could be any length of time, with a clause for either party to end the agreement after 6 or 12 months to protect both of you. There are agreement templates available online if you do a search.

As an additional note its great to work together on sales in the salon too, as the add-on sales can amount to a a handsome some at the end of the month, a commission scheme could work well for both parties, so it is a great idea to come to a mutually beneficial agreement and you both increase your own earnings, happy days.

Going into these agreements can be daunting, but don’t let it stop you, if more Nail Tech’s and salon owners teamed up to offer combined services with a business agreement in mind rather than the assumptions and ‘i thought it would work like…’ attitudes then there are a lot of clients looking for other services in one place, so you could be reaping the rewards.

If you’d like to hash out any details, run ideas past an experienced ear or need some inspiration on what will work best for you whether you are a salon owner looking for Tech’s or a Tech looking for a place to offer your services, I’m here to lend a hand. Get in touch and we will get you on the right business path for you.

Rebecca X


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