How beauty professionals get paid?
How to tip properly?
Do stylists get a vacation pay or sick days?
Today, we are going to feed some of your curiosities and explain the ins and outs of the salon industry.
We all have ethics on our minds these days, from bringing our own tote bags to shopping trips to making sure our clothing is made by people getting a fair wage. Unfortunately there is no standard pay method for our industry. This is why we’d like to be transparent with how we pay, while educationing how other salons might pay at. It’s no secret that service providers in our cities are sometimes undervalued or mistreated. So, to help shed light on what goes on behind the scenes, we are going to breakdown some of the ways stylist can get paid and how we do things in our salon.
These are the most common ways a stylist can be paid:
- Hourly + Commission (usually a lower %)
- Hourly or Commission (whichever is higher, usually a higher %)
- Commission after a sales threshold
- Commission only (regardless of hours worked)
- Part Check/Part Cash
Here at Unlistd we have just recently made the switch from Hourly + Commission to Hourly OR commission, whichever is higher. We pride ourself on our previous pay format however, it was no longer working for us as our team grew.
The switch to hourly or commission means that no stylist will ever make below minimum wage. Cancellations or large gaps between clients is a fact of life, unfortunately on those days with our old pay system we as a salon were losing money. This is a part of the business and we cannot pretend those days don’t happen. With our new switch we are each affected equally but now we are secure as the stylist will never go below the living wage.
For the big name salons with long held reputation, stylists may receive commission after a certain threshold is met. For example, after one of those stylists has brought in $1200 in sales, they can then make 50% +/- of sales.
A sad fact is, an alarming amount of salons pay commission only. This means if you “worked” 8 hours but did 3 hair cuts you might only make about $75 plus tips if your prices are high enough. For most stylists, ideally they would only come in for clients and not need to be there the full shift. However, this isn’t always the case as some business owners like someone to be available if a walk in comes or calls. We have never been comfortable with this system. Commission is fine, but legally a person cannot work unpaid hours nor should be asked to. Unlistd’s owner, Apple had previously worked this way in other salons and promised herself she would never make her team do the same.
Salons that pay cash only or part cash, part cheque do not sit right with us. We are all for making money but we also believe in working legally as we literally would not sleep well at night if it were any other way.
Legally every employee has a 4%-6% vacation pay based on years worked and 2 paid sick days per year. This is on top of national holiday pay days as well. We are proud to follow the rules and plan on going further in the next year. We are looking into affordable healthcare insurance and other options as we strongly believe we should have the same benefits as a 9-5 office employee. Hair IS a career, we must treat it as so.
Let’s move on to the age old question, “What’s the deal with tipping?”
Tipping can be a tricky area to navigate, doesn’t matter if you are the tipper or tippee, it’s always a little awkward. We get that your hair can be a splurge and sometimes adding a tip on top of that can be overwhelming. There is no one size fits all approach to how to tip, and no matter what your decision is on how much, rest assured we are still making a fair wage. We appreciate your continued support no matter what. If you can’t tip very much on one visit, no worries! We still want to see you and your hair again in a few months.
Question to ask yourself before tipping:
- Will this tip gravely affect my living budget (groceries, rent, utilities)
- Am I Tipping out of fear or appreciation?
If you cannot tip because it will actually affect your ability to provide fundamental needs for yourself then please do not be shy to say so. There are other ways you can support the salon and your favourite stylists. For example, you can post about us and your experience on social media, refer friends, write a nice review for our salon and commit to being a loyal customer!
If you are comfortable with tipping you might be wondering “what do people usually tip?”. The answer varies and depends on a few different factors. The most important thing is for you to stay true to yourself! Some clients tip $10 no matter the total and others tip based on percentage or tip a little more or less based on the service. Do what works best for you!
Another question often asked is “Is it normal to tip the owner?”
Yes, Yes it is. Here’s the thing, most owners only pay them self as if they were an employee. So it’s not custom that the entire service amount is heading into their pocket. On the contrary, often the owner sacrifices a portion of her/his pay to cover bills and other expenses. The decision is yours, but it is best to treat the owner as if they were an employee.
We truly hope this has helped you and has answered any burning questions you had about our industry! If you have more comment below!