Published: 15 May 2023

Exploring Different Ways of Working in the UK Hair Salon Industry

The hairdressing industry in the UK offers a myriad of career opportunities, each with its unique benefits and challenges. From traditional employment models to more flexible, entrepreneurial options, there’s a working style to suit every hairdresser. This article will explore various ways you can make your mark in the industry, whether that’s as an employee, a self-employed stylist, a freelancer, or even a ‘chair renter’.

freelance hairdressing

Traditional Employment: A Solid Foundation

Being employed in a hair salon is a common starting point for many stylists. As an employee, you will typically receive a basic salary, which could be complemented by a commission-based incentive. This commission is often a percentage of the revenue generated from the services you provide or the products you sell.

Employment offers a degree of financial security and stability, as well as access to benefits such as holiday pay, sick pay, and potentially a pension scheme. Moreover, working as an employee can provide valuable learning experiences, especially if you’re new to the industry. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues and build your confidence and skills in a supportive environment.

Self-Employed: Flexibility and Autonomy

If you crave more control over your work, becoming a self-employed hairdresser could be the route for you. As a self-employed stylist, you’re essentially running your own business. You set your hours, choose your clients, and dictate your service prices.

Payment structures for self-employed stylists vary, but a common model is earning a percentage commission on each service provided. It’s important to remember that self-employment also means you’re responsible for your taxes and national insurance contributions.

Freelance Hairdressing: Freedom and Mobility

Freelance hairdressing takes the flexibility of self-employment a step further. As a freelancer, you’re not tied to a particular salon or location. You could provide services in clients’ homes, at events, or even in corporate environments.

Freelancers typically charge clients directly for their services, allowing you to set your own rates. However, you’ll need to be proactive in marketing your services and building a client base. Freelancing can be a great option if you enjoy variety in your work and thrive on independence.

Chair Renting: A Foot in the Door

Renting a chair in a salon can be an attractive option for stylists looking to establish their own client base while enjoying the benefits of a salon environment. With this arrangement, you pay a set fee (usually weekly or monthly) to the salon owner for use of a chair and facilities.

Chair renting offers a balance between autonomy and support. You’ll run your own business, but you’ll also have access to the salon’s resources and clientele. However, it’s crucial to have a clear agreement with the salon owner about terms and conditions, including what your rent includes and any responsibilities or restrictions.

Collaborative Models: Creating a Collective

A more innovative approach to working in the hairdressing industry is forming or joining a stylist collective. This model involves a group of stylists collaborating and sharing resources while maintaining their individual businesses. It can offer the camaraderie of a traditional salon environment, the flexibility of self-employment, and the shared overhead costs of chair renting.

The UK hair salon industry offers a wealth of opportunities for stylists looking to carve out their unique career paths. Whether you prefer the security of traditional employment, the flexibility and independence of self-employment or freelancing, or the entrepreneurial spirit of chair renting or forming a collective, there’s a working model to suit your professional goals and personal lifestyle. The key is to evaluate each option carefully

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