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  • Kara Brooks

Making Money Moves

I often get asked by other stylists if I rent my booth or if I am a commission stylist. When I respond that I am commission based the common response is, “Why don’t you want to work for yourself?” There are many benefits to both sides, but here’s why I choose to be an employee of a high end salon rather than renting my own station/ suite:


1. Taxes

Let’s just state the biggest burden of HONEST independent work. Since I am an employee, I am on a payroll and my earned income is taxed accordingly. I only need to track cash tips because debit gratuity is tracked on my payroll check making it easy during tax time.

2. Clientele

Not to brag, but my salon has an average of 150+ new guests per month. This has helped me build a busy book. And fast. The salon basically hands you clients... it’s your job to keep them in your chair. Retain each guest and your paychecks will start doubling.

how much does a commission stylist make

3. Front Desk/Support

I can’t begin to explain how helpful it is to have a front desk support. They do so much for us stylists. They keep our appointment books organized by pre booking our guests, looking for scheduling errors, and confirming guest requests. Front desk also helps with retail sales, which results in more sales for you! Also imagine needing to call into work that day.. you don’t have the headache of rescheduling your day or inconveniencing your guests. And did I mention they help with laundry!

commission hair salon

4. Personal Development

I have monthly meetings with the salon owner and in-salon educators in regards to my goals, career growth and customer service. This helps me organize my thoughts and provide the support and guidance needed for me to succeed. It’s nice to have someone else to believe in you and appreciate you. It makes you work harder and holds you accountable.

5. Level System

The business structure the salon has mapped out has proven to help build a successful career. Our salon has three levels; Associate, Interim, Commission. Each level has goals to advance you to the next level. This may frustrate some stylist as they want to go 0-100. Each level is to teach you a lesson. Planning is the key to consistency. You can’t go into commission without learning to plan your paychecks. You could potentially earn $300 one pay period and $1500 the next. That stresses me out. I’d like to have a closer idea for my checks and learn how to grow it steadily.

6. Commission Levels

Oh baby! It’s a crazy feeling seeing the potential you have to grow and what your earnings could be. Each level gives a higher percentage of commission. Statistically, as an independent stylist you make 51% after all expenses paid; back bar, taxes, rent, education and more. Plus higher commission levels provide paid vacation and sick days. Definitely a HUGE perk.

7. Back Bar

I legitimately have access to whatever products I would need. This includes every chemical for services and products for retail. Retail is the key to styling. Each guest must be taking home what you’re using after showing them how to use it. It wouldn’t be as convenient to sell these products to ensure my work if I had to do the dirty work of ordering the products. This includes foil and gloves! It’s all provided!

commission hair salon

8. Education

Monthly education is provided and outside education is encouraged. All commission levels give you education funds and it increases as you jump levels. The more you know, the more you’re worth. I don’t have to look far to continue my education either, because my salon presents us with many opportunities through our product representatives and more!

9. Team Work

Makes the dream work! It’s refreshing to have a group of other talented stylists willing to help you with anything and everything. Whether you need help because you’re falling behind on time, new color formulation ideas, or to clean between guests when you’ve been too busy, someone is always there for you! It is so nice to know your team is made of great stylists who your clients trust to help them when you can’t (and vise versa). We also help build each others businesses! We all have our talents and services we love to do, that others do not. So we feel comfortable referring our guests to another teammate that could service them better!

commission hair salon

10. Marketing

My salon markets for me. They share my work on social media that result in business and referrals. The salon organizes and hosts multiple events a year that encourage me to engage with my clients outside of my chair. These events also give me direct contact with other industry vendors and help create healthy business relationships.


These 10 reasons don't come close to explaining how content I am being a commission stylist. I thoroughly enjoy being an employee. The support and perks of a well managed salon can really make your dream come true. Who says hairdressers can’t make 6 figures?!... #dontbelievemejustwatch!

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