Salon Business – What’s Happening To Our Industry?



   Haven’t many of us worked so hard to make our industry more professional, higher status and a profession to be proud of? Listening to a salon owner this week talking of his experiences in a interviewing potential new team member, it makes you wonder where we are going wrong.

With a great “Ideal Stylist” description an ad was placed for a position as stylist in a great salon. The whole team are technically extremely competent, have a great image, give wonderful customer service and are constantly attending educational sessions to ensure that they are always on top of what’s going on in their industry and their business. So to hear the owner speaking out about his experiences was quite shocking, to say the least.  Is this happening to you?

  • No professional resume, no portfolio, no references.
  • For those who did rate an interview, showing up for the appointment late.
  • Showing up for the appointment poorly dressed.
  • Showing up for the interview with bad hair and no make up.
  • Having no conversational skills.
  • Being unable to answer simple questions about goals and direction for their career.
  • No license or proof of qualifications.

Worse still, are some of the stories the stylists tell of the pay scales and methods of payment that they are receiving.

Salons who pay commission only, with no guarantee. This is strictly illegal.  There were stories of stylists who were in the salon all week, only did 2 haircuts and earned about $50 for the week. Others who were paid in cash with no paperwork and no deductions. Several salons paid only a minimum amount on a check – ensuring that this amount was just under the level that deductions would begin and paid the rest in cash. In other words, many salons, flying well under the radar of the government.

Knowing that these salons are out there, and they are usually the ones advertising $10 haircuts, makes it really difficult for the legitimate salons who are doing everything legally, paying their taxes, paying their employees correctly, making accurate deductions and remitting on time and all of those time consuming, labor intensive and highly expensive things that should be done, to make a profit and be successful.

What would you do if you were being told about these illegal and unfair practices?

Bravo to our salon owner who I talked to. As all of these interviewees were happy to give him the name of the salons where they were previously “employed”. He is now going to report them to the appropriate revenue agency. As business owners who uphold the labor and taxation laws, any time you find out about salons who are not being honest with their employees or the government, please report them, it’s the only way that we will weed out those who are making our industry look unprofessional and put everyone on a level playing field.

  Marion Shaw is a salon business coach and consultant with  Salon Biz Essentials and owner of Busy Bus Publications. Also check her out on Facebook and you can read more of her blogs at

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