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Fair Commission?
#1
So I am asking this on behalf of my girlfriend (not a nail tech myself). Currently she is working in a salon/spa owned by a Vietnamese couple that treat her very well. The shop gets a decent amount of customers. I am quite concerned about how much she is making though. My girlfriend usually does about $120-$170 in services on weekends, and usually $50 or more on weekdays (She has only hit $1000 per two weeks a few times if that helps). She makes strictly commission and tips right now, making 40% commission. She doesn't have an established clientele even after working there since August/September with only a few returning clients as well as family and friends. My biggest gripe about this is that she often works 10 hour days and sometimes 50 hour weeks (as well as going to school 12 Credit Hours) However her employer refuses to compensate if she doesn't even reach minimum wage. This was very common in the winter as they slowed down very much, sometimes where she would make as low as $4/hour (I think with tips). When I confronted her boss on the legality, she assured me that it was fine (even though I'm well aware it's not) and that other salons do it too or else they would go out of business.

I'm worried, because we would like to move out, but can't with her making $400/month in the winter.

It's not all bad, there are perks. For now there is a fairly casual dress code, and they don't mind if she comes in later than scheduled (they don't officially set her hours) They are very nice to her and myself as well. She also hired my girlfriend and taught her quite well when nobody would give her much of a chance.

What do you all think? Should she be looking somewhere else?
She has another co-worker that makes a bit more than her, but doesn't work nearly as often and has a large clientele. Soon she will be telling her boss that she wants a set schedule at 35 hours/week (Otherwise I know they may attempt to get her to work 6-7 days a week in the summer)

Is this at all normal? I would hope not! Is this typical of Asian owned nail places? (not trying to be racist)
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#2
50 percent commission is standard. It doesn't seem like the salon is a standard salon. I think that this is all I know, but I am not sure about her pay.
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#3
Thank you for the reply. Is it standard to not compensate pay to equal minimum wage, or keep track of hours? It is almost as if her boss refuses to keep track of her hours.
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#4
Your gf should be earning an hourly minimum wage against commission. Once her commissions exceed the minimum wage for that day, she earns the commission only. It's one or the other. As for whether this is SOP in Asian owned salons, I say this: though illegal, it happens EVERY DAY in all types of salons, owned by all types of individuals. Whether by design or deliberate, they are shortchanging your gf. They are also supposed to have her on the books, taking out the related taxes, with the owner paying one half of your gf social security. I suspect the owner is doing none of these things.
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#5
(05-06-2015, 12:30 PM)LOZLOSA Wrote: Your gf should be earning an hourly minimum wage against commission. Once her commissions exceed the minimum wage for that day, she earns the commission only. It's one or the other. As for whether this is SOP in Asian owned salons, I say this: though illegal, it happens EVERY DAY in all types of salons, owned by all types of individuals. Whether by design or deliberate, they are shortchanging your gf. They are also supposed to have her on the books, taking out the related taxes, with the owner paying one half of your gf social security. I suspect the owner is doing none of these things.


She does take taxes out of her pay, and she provided tax papers for her this last tax season. I just don't know what she keeps track of. I do know she doesn't keep track of hours though and doesn't give her overtime or benefits. I wasn't sure how common it was, as her boss said it happens in almost all salons or they would not be able to make money. (which I called bs on)
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#6
I also had forgotten to mention that earlier in the year, she gave my girlfriend the option of Straight commission, no compensation for not hitting minimum wage. Or she could have minimum wage but not be allowed to keep her tips. Is it legal to take one's tips like that?
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#7
I believe the tips are hers to keep. Owners do not keep any.
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#8
The Ugly Beauty Business
Get the book
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#9
So I've been working in Vietnamese salons for about a year and a half. I work 4 days a week while keeping my own business on the other 3 days. I would say your friend needs to move on to a place that is busier if she isn't making enough money. Every salon is ran different just like american owned places there are different personalities etc. Currently the salon I'm at now is the second salon I've been working at. I get 55% commission ( I do suspect they pay the asians more) with no hourly compensation. I think if you are an Independent Contractor they are not required to pay minimum wage. My pay checks are around $800 weekly not including the cash tips. I do around 200 services a month. Now the place I worked at before was in a higher income area so the service prices were more and the tips were muchhhh. Also I started at 55% and was making 60% in a few months. It seems like I took a pay cut leaving there to make less commission with less tips and lower service prices but they are much busier. Still I was making at the old place at least $400-700 a week not including cash tips. The reason I left was that the owner was late paying the employees. Of course some days I work all day with no lunch break or bathroom break. You do really get a lot of practice and learn a lot through trail and error when you are so busy. I always make sure to clean my tools, and I refuse to use that purple pumice stone. I never do a set of nails that I wouldn't wear(although you'd be surprised how low some people's standards are). I always file off all the lifted acrylic when I do fills not just cover over it. I know the manager does not like me do do anything extra that takes more time, but they don't harass me about it. What you have to realized is they are selling a service. The money the salon makes is solely based on the work the employees do. The more services that they can do and the less people that get turned away because of the wait the more money they make. The point I'm trying to make is, a lot of salons are desperate for workers and people take advantage of them as far as the flexibility of the hours etc. because they need you to work. This guy that used to work at the salon I'm at now would always come in hours after we'd been open. Do you think they'd fire him when there is a full waiting area? Heck no! Also, they tend not to be very loyal. I couldn't even begin to count the number of people who came and went over at the first salon I worked at. Many are wary to hire Americans but there is no shortage of walk-in salons. It doesn't hurt for your friend to just drop by some places and see if they are hiring. Some advertise on craigslist.
*I do enjoy being able to wear jeans and flip-flops every day.
Ask if you have anymore questions
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#10
I have questions - to be honest - I tried to work at 2 different Asian owned salons - one 1 last 30 days the other 3 days ... I was extremely uncomfortable, felt out of place, was slower, didn't like how they cleaned up, what they used to clean implements (that lighted box -sterilizer - which smelled like feet)- the purple bar being used over and over, no one washes hands, I felt inferior honestly. MY other job is like your higher end salon (Korean owned), super clean, high end products, appointments preferred, barely any walk in, higher service price - lack of clients though - paid hourly but if I ever get enough business I'd get 45%....but I don't see that usually. ..
So - how'd you get past the ways that your not comfortable with - without to much offense.
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#11
Not sure about your market but a 60% commission is standard. Nail techs keep their tips. Depending on demand in your location, some salons give a minimum guarantee per week to keep techs in the slower seasons.
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#12
As far as feeling out of place. I think that is something that is part of my personality that it doesn't really bother me. I have older siblings, but I basically grew up as an only child, so I don't mind being kind of isolated. I know some people can't deal with that not being able to chat with their co-workers. I am there to make money not friends. I may be a little slower than them, but I know it is not because I am slow. The extra time goes into giving a better service, or cleaning. I actually wear nails when my co-workers don't even paint their toes, so I know I do good work. You shouldn't feel inferior. I basically ignore everyone. When the manger tells me to hurry I just keep a pleasant demeanor and keep going on like I was. Like they said before the business makes money off the work you do. They wish I wouldn't spend the extra time perfecting a set, or massaging or cleaning, but I'm not going to get fired. It's not incessant. Mostly I'm left to supervise myself. As far as allowing myself to work at a place that allows those practices, I'm more annoyed by the customers because they accept that. It's not because of ignorance; I know this because of the things they tell me. They just don't care because it's cheap and convenient.
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#13
Wow - good for you! I don't think I'm as "thick skinned" as you. I have a friend - we went to Nail school together - she's killing it in an Asian shop - says the same as you - except I believe she's taking on alot of their practices :-(
Then there's me....still trying to find that "right fit"
Feeling hopeless amd lost - I'm in 2 places part time each- and still just not sure if I'm in the right places.
Interviewing and now afraid to make a move because I am afraid it can be worse but might be better - and feel like a job hop person - but I am at my 1 job almost 1 year and no clientele to speak of - and it's a place that's hourly (which is rare here) but not willing to do anything to help me build - tried on my own- but I'm limited - so it'd not like I haven't put time in to try to build here....but now afraid to leave.
Who knew this would be so difficult to find a good "FIT" - LOL????
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