Published: 10 June 2024

Chair Rental vs Commission

The path you choose now could determine your journey through the vibrant world of hair styling. Should you rent a chair and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, or opt for the security of working on commission?

hair to beauty

Let’s unravel this conundrum with the wisdom of industry experts and a sprinkle of creative flair.

1. The Financial Tango: Freedom vs Security Imagine you’re a dancer. Renting a chair is like performing a solo – exhilarating, but every misstep costs you. You pay a fixed rent for your space, usually weekly or monthly. This means you keep every penny from your services and product sales. However, you’re also responsible for expenses like rent, products, and marketing. It’s a high-risk, high-reward scenario.

On the flip side, working on commission is akin to being part of a dance troupe. The salon provides the stage (chair), the costumes (products), and even the audience (clients). In return, you share a percentage of your earnings, typically 40-60%. It’s a safety net, but it also means a chunk of your hard work goes to the house.

2. Building Your Fan Base: Ready-made vs DIY Commission work is like joining a popular band with an established fan base. You step into a salon with a steady stream of clients. It’s a golden opportunity to showcase your skills and build relationships. However, these clients primarily belong to the salon, not you.

Chair renters, however, are solo artists building their fan base from scratch. You’ll need to leverage social media, network like a pro, and deliver top-notch service to attract and retain clients. It’s challenging, but the loyal clientele you build is all yours, even if you decide to move salons.

3. Time Management: Your Show, Your Rules As a chair renter, you’re the director of your own show. Set your hours, choose your products, and design your service menu. This flexibility is a boon for work-life balance and accommodating personal commitments. But remember, empty slots in your calendar mean no income.

Commission workers often have less control. You might need to work less desirable shifts or use products you’re not fond of. However, this structure can be comforting for those who prefer a more predictable routine.

4. Career Growth: Learning Curves and Ladders Studies suggest that many successful hairdressers start on commission to learn the ropes. It’s like an apprenticeship – you learn salon operations, observe seasoned stylists, and build confidence. Once you’ve mastered the craft and understand the business, transitioning to chair rental can be a natural progression.

However, this isn’t a universal rule. Some bold souls dive straight into chair rental and learn through trial and error. It’s a steeper learning curve, but the lessons are unforgettable.

5. The Email Etiquette Interlude Now, you might wonder, “What does email response time have to do with hairdressing?” Well, it’s all about perception and professionalism. Studies in customer service show that while instant responses are appreciated, a short, intentional delay (say, 5 minutes) can actually boost your image. It suggests you’ve taken time to consider the message, rather than firing off a hasty reply. In the hairdressing world, this translates to thoughtful client communication, whether you’re a chair renter or on commission.

Absolutely! Let’s dive into the real-world figures of chair rental costs and potential earnings for self-employed hairdressers in London and the North of England. This comparison will give you a tangible sense of the financial landscape in different regions.

6. The Costs and Earnings!

London: The High-Stakes Hairdo Hub In the bustling metropolis of London, where style meets ambition, chair rental costs can make your eyes water more than the strongest perm solution.

  1. Chair Rental Costs:
    • In prime locations like Mayfair or Chelsea, you could be looking at a whopping £250-£500 per week.
    • More modest areas like Ealing or Croydon might charge £150-£300 weekly.
    • Some salons offer daily rates, ranging from £50-£100, ideal for part-timers.
  2. Potential Earnings (Self-employed):
    • In high-end salons, a cut and colour could fetch £150-£300+.
    • Even in less posh areas, expect £50-£100 for a cut, £80-£200 for colour.
    • A fully booked week (say, 30 clients) could see you pocketing £2,000-£5,000 or more.

Real-life Scenario: Imagine Sophie, renting a chair in Shoreditch for £200 a week. She charges £80 for a cut, £120 for full-colour. With 25 clients a week, she grosses £2,500. After chair rent and expenses (products, tools), she could net £1,800-£2,000. That’s a tidy sum, but remember the high London living costs!

Northern England: The Hearty Haircut Haven Up north, in cities like Manchester, Leeds, or Newcastle, the financial clippers are set a bit looser.

  1. Chair Rental Costs:
    • In city centres, expect to pay £80-£150 per week.
    • Smaller towns or suburbs might charge as little as £50-£100 weekly.
    • Some salons offer commission-to-rent schemes, starting with a low base rent plus commission, increasing to full rent as you build clientele.
  2. Potential Earnings (Self-employed):
    • In upscale salons in Manchester’s Spinningfields or Leeds’ Victoria Quarter, a cut and colour might go for £100-£200.
    • In most areas, a cut could be £30-£60, with colour around £60-£120.
    • A busy week (25-30 clients) could see takings of £1,000-£2,500.

Real-life Scenario: Consider Jack in Newcastle. He pays £100 a week for his chair. He charges £40 for a cut, £90 for full-colour. With 28 clients weekly, he grosses about £1,680. After rent and expenses, he pockets £1,200-£1,400. Less than Sophie in London, but with a lower cost of living, Jack’s just as chuffed!

The Maths Behind the Mirrors Let’s break it down with some hairdresser-friendly maths:

  1. London (Sophie):
    • Weekly Income: £2,500
    • Weekly Costs: £200 (rent) + £300 (estimated expenses)
    • Weekly Profit: £2,000
    • Monthly Profit: £8,000 (assuming 4 weeks)
  2. Newcastle (Jack):
    • Weekly Income: £1,680
    • Weekly Costs: £100 (rent) + £180 (estimated expenses)
    • Weekly Profit: £1,400
    • Monthly Profit: £5,600

The Bottom-Line Blowout While London’s figures might make your eyes sparkle more than a glitter hairspray, remember the context:

  • London’s living costs (rent, travel, avocado toast!) are sky-high.
  • Competition is fiercer, making client acquisition tougher.
  • Up north, your money stretches further, and community vibes can mean loyal clients.

In both cases, your skills, reputation, and business savvy are your most valuable assets. A mediocre stylist will struggle even with low rent, while a scissor superstar can thrive anywhere.

So, whether you’re trimming tresses by the Thames or colouring coiffures in the Cotswolds, success is about balancing costs with quality. Choose your location based on your lifestyle, clientele, and where your heart (and hairdryer) feels at home. After all, in the salon of life, it’s not just about the money you make, but the satisfaction of creating hair-raising transformations every day!

7. The Verdict: It’s Personal So, chair rental or commission? The answer lies in your mirror. Are you a bold, self-driven stylist ready to handle the business side? Chair rental might be your stage. Are you keen to focus solely on honing your craft in a supportive environment? Commission work could be your training ground.

Remember, neither path is a dead-end. Many hairdressers transition between the two as their goals and circumstances change. The key is to start somewhere and never stop learning.

In conclusion, whether you’re renting a chair or working on commission, your success hinges on your passion, skill, and connection with clients. Both paths can lead to a fulfilling, lucrative career. So, pick up those shears, unleash your creativity, and step confidently onto whichever path feels right. After all, in the grand salon of life, you’re the artist crafting your own masterpiece.

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