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Full Version: Is this fair pay for Nail Technicians?
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I am opening a nail salon providing natural manicure and gel/shellac etc, everything BUT acrylic.

I am located in the midwest USA (Indiana)

I am expecting to hire 20 nail technicians, along with a manager, assistant manager and 2 salon attendees. The attendees will handle clean up, sterlizing tools in autoclave, renewing supplies like cotton, towels etc for each technician etc... managers will handle salon booking, advertising etc.

I am planning on paying the nail technicians $10 an hour plus %15 commission. But they also will be provided with medical benefit for themselves. Not for family but for individual. Medical, Dental and Vision.

I want to know if this sounds more fair than $8 an hour plus %25 commission?

What is fair to the technician?

We are providing all the tools and supplies, which are very high end.

I want to let customers know that we do not accept tips to make it less stressful on the customer, is that a good idea?

I expect everyone to be a full time employee... Because of my connection to PR and social media, I believe I would be able to bring in 150-200 customers daily. It's in one of the busiest strip mall alongside a popular restaurant, a gym and starbucks, plus a kids dance academy etc... over 64K cars pass by daily.

Any opinion is greatly appreciated.

What price range will your services be?
Yes...we need to know average prices in order to determine fairly. If u r going for the typical "walk-in" salon...where prices are cheaper then i think the first one is a great deal...... if u r a modest to upscale spa ...not so much.
You have to make it fair to both sides too...but to even offer medical ins is awesome. I havent ever worked somewhr that ive been offered insurance. So thats a plus as well.
So we will wait until u post some prices so we have a better idea on what you are dealing with..Smile
Hey..are u ever going to get back with us about your prices?? Oh and i wanted to add that i would NOT recommend no tipping. I have a feeling that by what you stated thus far that your prices are going to be high end....ex: pedicures $60-75?? Mani $30-40 etc.....if this is the case then you know it isnt fair. Nail techs are a dime a dozen...but GOOD nail techs are hard to find. If u r fair in your payscale you will attrack hardworking ppl.....
I worked for a multi million dollar Spa here in Bath ohio owned by a doctor. I dont even know why i did..but thats besides the point. He paid all his techs minimum wage plus 15% commission and the services were was a complete ripoff and they have a huge turnaround there even now....and they dont have a very good reputation. When you cant keep your employees...clients notice and dont like it.
So what im getting at is..just be fair. I think w what ive said..and u know ur prices...u know if the $10 hourly is fair or not. But...i say again...dont implement a no tipping policy because then you wont get anyone to work for u. Thats all i really had to look forward to at that hope this helps...wld really like some feedback from u. I see that u r come join the conversation..thats what we r here for!!!!! Smile
That's a pretty sweeping condemnation of a no tipping policy, when it really does depend on the com structure and base hourly wage... I can't see someone looking at my pay structure and saying, oh, I know that I would be getting paid well and being respected for my education and dedication level... But I would rather earn less and get tips...
Well...i just know its not "the norm"...and i know i wldnt work for $10/8 and hour plus a percentage without tips. Because if you wld break it down on lets say 2 services...
Shellac manicure at $40 and Pedicure at $60. If u wld do the first scenario u wld make $8 for that hour plus $10 %. #2 wld be $10 for the hour and $6%. So thats $18 & $16. We can make that anywhere doing a straight 50% commision...and then you always..always depend on your tips.
You are a business owner candice and its diff when u r getting the whole pi e. When u only get a piece of the pie....its different. Thisbis a tipping industry for the majority...and quite frankly..if there is no incentive to work for tips.that means some lazy tech who does mediocre work and doesnt care can make the same amount as wonderwoman
Sorry..lost my typing space..
ya so if u r a superhero nail tech bustin her butt to do everytg she can to please the clients....u both will make the same amount of money. Considering that the original poster hasnt responded yet makes me wonder if i am right
..that they are charging high prices. I dunno.
If u wld do straight comm on those 2 services it wld be $20&$35.....a much better pay...
All i know is what i know candice. Its not a personal attack on you or salins/ppl that have a no tipping policy....its just diff when u r the owner....i wldnt mind having a policy like that if i was a renter/owner myself...but as an way. Lets be realistic too...what nail salon that charges upscale prices pay their techs high commission?? Ive never encountered one. They want to pay hourly plus a small comm. Thats what ive worked for before where a pedi was $75!!!! The owner wld Never of split that commission with us....but i relied on the high end tips i was making... ih welll....we all are entitled to our opinions and honestly i was only trying to help my fellow techies to be to get treated fairly and honestly. But still the orignal poster remains silent. I want to see her prices and then the real facts will speak for themselves...u know??
I really have to laugh at the idea that the owner of a salon gets the whole pie... I wish it were so Smile. There are always going to be business owners who underpay and undervalue their workers, but I can assure you that when I worked up my employee com structure, a tech would have easily earned MORE than I take as a draw within a very short period of time if they applied themselves. I genuinely hope that there are other salon owners out their who also pay fairly.

That said, I do believe that the com structure can't be the same for a non-tipping salon. When I calculated my employee pay structure with the tech getting tips I figured out that the top end would be 52% + tips depending on service volume, with retail com on top of that. All taxes, supplies, equipment, advertising.... Everything would be paid by the salon.

Obviously with a no tipping policy in place the tech needs to be paid more by the salon. I haven't sat down to calculate the new rates i would be willing to pay because I have given up (for the time being) on finding someone to work with me. But I know that using the terms outlined by the original poster, with my price structure those would likely not be fair amounts. $8/hr + 25% for a gel mani & express pedi in my shop would be booked 2.25 hrs and cost $78 - that would be $18 (hourly rate) plus $19.50 (25% com), for a total of 37.50, which comes out to 48% of the service revenue and equal $16.67/hour to the tech. $10/hr + 15% would be $22.50 + $11.70 would be 43.8% and $15.20/hr.

Those numbers actually don't look to bad, but they are still lower than what I was willing to offer a tech who was working 30 hours a week... And getting tips. Again, i don't know what i would set it at with the no tipping policy, but it certainly wouldnt be any less than the previous 52% that i had calculated. So hopefully the OP is still reading this and gets the feedback, even if they have been intimidated at this point from replying.
Ya, you are right...but most owner...MOST..not all...dont really care as long as they are pocketing most of it.
I had 13 years exp... went to a new salon after my 2 year break...brought them a first class nail tech with a high skill level...showed them how to save money, how to do their services better and more many old clients to come back and increased their revenue from the start.... they paid me a lousy 45% !!!! I was getting ready to ask for a raise a couple of months ago after being there over a year and a half-- and was confiding quietly with one of my friends and the other girl was there and I guess told my boss all that I was saying. Which wasnt anything bad mind u...all i was saying is how i deserve more money and i had only made $3000 from Jan till June and I was over it... well the owner got mad and went off on me . I cant help but think she was a little embarassed because thats all i made and I shared it? But I quit there bcuz I dont need that drama. let them have thier cos girls that could care less about the work they do and all the clients complain about them not doing as good as a job as me... I dont care. Thats how owners are. You are always replaceable and nobody values you have to get what you can get!!!!
And that would be nice to get paid a higher comm if you have a no tip policy...but whos gona do that? Best wishes to your new venture Candice and I hope you find someone to work with you. Im told all the time by my new clients that "good" nail techs are hard to find... I believe it. Smile Smile
Someone actually came in today and I'm considering asking if she'd be interested in an employee position (she's a booth renter now)- how funny is that? Sooo.... I ran the numbers and it looks like a no-tipping commission structure would be $9.04/hr (WA state minimum wage) plus a sliding scale of 35-60% of any service dollars over the doubled minimum wage. The scale movement depends on service speed, how many hours worked and what percentage of those hours are booked with appointments. If someone worked at the same leisurely pace that I do and was 85% booked for full time that would be about $20/hour plus retail commission. Yeah, that's a huge difference from the OP pay scale, and maybe only something you would do if it's more about the nail techs/customers and less about the bottom line.
We pay $10 plus a structured service commission, plus 20% retail commission AND tips. And I get to pay taxes on all of it.
Smile Don't you just love paying SS taxes, insurance and cc fees on tips? Ouch. And I don't know about CA, but in WA tips don't count toward the minimum wage requirement.
Do you guys know how that works if I get a 1099 at the end of the it like Im my own business... or what?? Thats what my boss is doing and she includes all the check and cc tips in my pay at the end of the week. I dont know how this is going to affect me because Im a single mother, and I still get EIC credit... anyone?? And, ya Candice...I will paying taxes on my tips and it royally stinks...
When I rented a booth, I gave my salon owner a 1099 for the rent paid; as an employer, I give my employees W2s and pay their taxes throughout the year . . . here's info from the IRS specific to our industry:
If she's giving you a 1099, then yes, she is treating you as a self employed entity. This means that you will be paying double social security/medicare taxes (15.3% instead of the usual 7.65%) and that you need to file a business profit or loss schedule with your taxes and track all expenses to deduct. The double SS tax is actually what I was referring to earlier, when you are an employee you pay 7.65% and the employer pays the other 7.65% (even on tips that are not income to the business and can't be counted as "pay"). As a self employed worker you get to pay both! This is one reason why it's important to look at your total expenses as a booth renter/1099'd worker so closely and keep it in mind when determining fair commission splits.

This will only affect your EIC if you earn enough income (net) to no longer qualify. I believe that is paid on a sliding scale?
What comm split do u think is fair? She started me out at 50% but i told her i wanted 60% if everyrg worked out. She buys all supplies for me too....whatcha think??
How the salon owner treats you, and what's legal may be two different things.

Commission = Employee
Jaime is absolutely right - if you are commission then you are an employee and she should be withholding taxes, paying the employers' half of social security, paying for unemployment and workman's comp. insurance. These things cost the employer about 14% of your pay, including paying it on your tips! If she is not treating you as an employee, then you bear the cost of the 7.65% and don't receive the benefit of the other insurance. You might want to bring it to her attention that if the IRS catches wind of the misclassification of employees she may be liable for penalties, interest, and paying those things in a lump sum going back however many years she's been doing it this way. That seems the kind of thing that could put her out of business altogether.

It's difficult to determine what's fair without knowing what her overhead is, price structure, and what she includes. You may never know what her overhead is, so you'll have to calculate whether it's fair based on what you will be earning and what is provided to you.

If you are to be classified as self employed, then I would say that the fairest thing would be that you pay a set rent. IMO, she needs to calculate the rent to include hospitality/salon basics (beverages, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.), utilities, rent, etc. Basically everything that is used by everyone. From there if she wants unity in product and will be providing them, she should calculate supply costs for services - including product, disposables, wear and tear on equipment/furniture, etc. - and then at the end of the month you pay a per service fee (each service would have it's own fee) on top of rent.

Obviously people continue to operate illegally - i.e. straight commission non-employees, so you would then have to look at service price and what is provided to you. In my opinion, 50% when you have to pay double SS (15.3%) and not having access to workman's comp or unemployment insurance is not a fair split. As an employee a 50% split yields 42.35% after ss, but as a contractor you are only getting 34.7%... and have no safety net.

One caveat, though, if you are in a high end salon where her expenses are higher and she pays for a lot of advertising, then the 50% becomes much more reasonable. Still not legal, though!
Another thought... back to the no-tipping policy. This actually benefits the employee in the long run because unemployment or workman's comp benefits are paid on everything you earn. If you are hurt or become unemployed you will receive higher benefits. Less social security tax paid also equals a lower benefit at retirement. Also, since tips so often don't get claimed, when you apply for any type of loan your income looks lower. A lot of times when you're applying for a home loan they won't even count tips as income - even the tips shown on a W-2! Of course, that varies by the lenders' guidelines. going to have to talk to her bcuz she said that she def didnt want a renter and its not a high end place. Quite the we have been doing groupons and i only make $7.50 for an hour worth of services...but i have been getting alot of returning customers which is good! Ya. I will have to figure something a single mom and i need a "right" job...i got such a good return last year for barely making any money...kk willl keep ya updated. Thanks for all the info!!Wink