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TIPS FOR FUTURE SALON OWNER - pay, commissions, benefits, paid vacation, hiring, etc
#1
Hi everyone!

I am opening a salon in my area and would love some feedback from some technicians. I honestly want to have the best salon in the area...my background in marketing, sales, business, etc plus my love of fashion, nails, music etc is what created this venture.

I love to make money lol as I am sure everyone does, and I know without my technicians my salon is absolutely nothing. I would love to know, if you are comfortable with sharing, how much do you make and what are the different scales you operate on...commission only, commission and hourly?, and what's your commission %, average prices of your services, types of services, etc.

I don't want to do booth rental because I feel like hourly plus commission would bring higher quality technicians...or am I wrong??

I also don't want to do a split cause my hair stylist quit her salon because she started making a lot and therefore had to give back a lot, hers was 60% her and 40% for the owner. Thoughts??

I'd provide all equipment and supplies, just so I can keep the quality up across the board...I actually plan on having interns that'll qualify from local beauty schools and college programs for help around the salon, keep supplies in order, etc

And hiring!!! Where to find qualified ones, what would make a qualified and successful technician leave one salon to work with another one?? What would make you stay?

Any && all tips are completely welcomed....I'll happily take the criticism as well!
I'll be sure to reply to questions quickly because I've read too many forums where the original poster never responds lol

OH - what qualities do you want in your owners?!
I also want to pay part of my technicians admission to these nail tech classes with famous nail techs...just keeping them in tune with the industry.
 Reply
#2
Do yourself a favor and read the content on Tina Alberino's blog: http://www.thisuglybeautybusiness.com/

She's compiled a Table of Contents to organize the topics. This article is a good place to start: http://www.thisuglybeautybusiness.com/20...-most.html
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#3
Thank you for the links! I'll definitely read those. I would love some feedback from actual technicians here on the blog! Smile
 Reply
#4
FYI, Tina is licensed.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#5
Ok thanks. Again, I'd love to hear from some of the technicians who contribute to this forum or can help with my questions right here...some personalized feedback. Thanks again!
 Reply
#6
I think you are off to a good start by participating on this forum. I left my former salon due to strenuous, uncomfortable working conditions: bad lighting, uncomfortable table and chairs. It was unsanitary, they hired unlicensed techs and didn't care about education. Management also played favorites obviously. They also paid ridiculously low considering the price point.

I would want an owner who listens to their techs. I've only worked for unlicensed owners who thought they were nail technicians. Do your research. Pay your technicians fairly. I'd definitely want an owner who supports continuing education. Clients are important but respect your techs too. If someone is 30 mins late to a 75 min, do not force the tech to perform the full service.
----
Shirley
Scotch Tape & Rhinestones
NYC Based Nail Artist
 Reply
#7
Thank you so much for your input! I enjoy hearing things straight from the mouth of a technician! Smile I am making sure all supplies & equipment are comfortable for my techs. Continuing education is definitely huge for me.

Thanks again!
 Reply
#8
I prefer hiring new licensees to train, rather than "experienced" techs. Don't employ more people than you can afford; you can always expand staff later to meet increased demand. Don't hire anyone without a license because everyone needs to have income-producing potential.

I pay hourly plus commission and tips; my most experienced employee made $50K last year.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#9
(04-05-2014, 07:25 PM)FutureSalonOwner757 Wrote: Hi everyone!

I am opening a salon in my area and would love some feedback from some technicians. I honestly want to have the best salon in the area...my background in marketing, sales, business, etc plus my love of fashion, nails, music etc is what created this venture.

I love to make money lol as I am sure everyone does, and I know without my technicians my salon is absolutely nothing. I would love to know, if you are comfortable with sharing, how much do you make and what are the different scales you operate on...commission only, commission and hourly?, and what's your commission %, average prices of your services, types of services, etc.

I don't want to do booth rental because I feel like hourly plus commission would bring higher quality technicians...or am I wrong??

I also don't want to do a split cause my hair stylist quit her salon because she started making a lot and therefore had to give back a lot, hers was 60% her and 40% for the owner. Thoughts??

I'd provide all equipment and supplies, just so I can keep the quality up across the board...I actually plan on having interns that'll qualify from local beauty schools and college programs for help around the salon, keep supplies in order, etc

And hiring!!! Where to find qualified ones, what would make a qualified and successful technician leave one salon to work with another one?? What would make you stay?

Any && all tips are completely welcomed....I'll happily take the criticism as well!
I'll be sure to reply to questions quickly because I've read too many forums where the original poster never responds lol

OH - what qualities do you want in your owners?!
I also want to pay part of my technicians admission to these nail tech classes with famous nail techs...just keeping them in tune with the industry.



Too bad,your not in my area!.. Smile
 Reply
#10
So just an update Smile

My business license has been purchased, plan done, location chosen, market research completed, vendors, investors etc...is all done. I meet with the Women's Business office Downtown later this week. Needless to say, I'm excited! I think I'm most looking forward to starting my technician search. I know it may be the most challenging aspect, but I'm looking forward to meeting people with crazy and/or untapped skill...(thanks PrecisionNails for suggesting new licensees!)...I was a psych major so I love that sort of thing lol

Question - do your salon owners frown upon self-advertising? A gf of mine said at the salon she works at, they don't approve of techs taking photos of their work, in fear of them being used to make money on the side, outside of the salon. But I think photos are a great idea...if I'm treating them and paying them well, above local standards, then they'll want to build a clientele through self-advertising thus marketing the salon overall. I want this to be a team effort across the board as far as starting something like this so I would love to find techs that are in it for the long haul lol
 Reply
#11
It's still salon advertising; it's the tech's work but your clients, product, etc. You may want to establish a policy whereby photos will be taken only with "salon" camera, you as salon owner own the photos and clients sign a release giving permission to use their photos. You can always acknowledge the individual tech in your postings.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#12
Jaime,

I'm so glad you brought up this issue as I recently ran into it. I understand the idea of a salon camera and those photos belonging to the salon. In that case, does the salon "own" the work and is able to not credit/acknowledge the technician who originally created it?
----
Shirley
Scotch Tape & Rhinestones
NYC Based Nail Artist
 Reply
#13
I'm no lawyer, but my thinking is that there's no obligation to recognize any one individual because one could argue that all work performed within the salon "belongs" to the owner.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#14
Artist can always do the work outside of the salon (poster, videos......) unless they are contract to only do work within the salon.

Personally I believe awesome arts should be share..... Techs should be allow to take picture of their work.
J Pham
No boundaries, just possibility.

http://www.facebook.com/jphamfb
 Reply
#15
What is the hourly rate and commission that you would offer?

Just curious- I always want to be sure my Tech's are well compensated and I didn't consider hourly +commission.

Thanks
 Reply
#16
I was offered anywhere from $8 to $10 per hour or 65% commission was highest offered....
Been offered both cash only & on the books
No n
Benny's or perks like PD time off thus far!


 Reply
#17
$10/ hour plus commission and tips; commission on a step-based scale
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#18
Thanks Jamie.

We you raise the commission do you lower the hourly?
 Reply
#19
All salon owners should read this!
 Reply
#20
No, the hourly is fixed, thus guaranteed.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
http://www.precisionnails.com
http://shop.precisionnails.com
 Reply
#21
(04-19-2014, 09:47 AM)PrecisionNails Wrote: $10/ hour plus commission and tips; commission on a step-based scale


Could you kindly elaborate on your pay structure? What's your step-based scale and do you offer any benefits? The issue I've heard is that all the Asian salons offer the technicians a portion of "cash" from of their 60% commission. This is "standard" and any salons wanting to attract talents have to comply to this else no one will want to work for the salon. The owners seem to be locked in this because the technicians demand it. I DO NOT want to adhere to this standard. How do I pay technicians fairly, attract talents and remain in business? I would like an hourly+commission+tip. I want to provide a wonderful working environment where the technicians are treated fairly. I want to attract technicians who love their job and want to provide quality services. No "cash" and by the books. I would like to offer benefits that may include sick leave and regular hours for technicians. Any help would be appreciated!
 Reply
#22
Can you share your scale
 Reply
#23
One more advice is to integrate some kind of online scheduling service in order to allow customers make appointments online. We use Tap2Visit, which is fine. You can check it here: tap2visit.com. This kind of apps really make work easier, and this one is jack of all trades in my opinion.
 Reply
#24
(04-05-2014, 07:25 PM)FutureSalonOwner757 Wrote: Hi everyone!

I am opening a salon in my area and would love some feedback from some technicians. I honestly want to have the best salon in the area...my background in marketing, sales, business, etc plus my love of fashion, nails, music etc is what created this venture.

I love to make money lol as I am sure everyone does, and I know without my technicians my salon is absolutely nothing. I would love to know, if you are comfortable with sharing, how much do you make and what are the different scales you operate on...commission only, commission and hourly?, and what's your commission %, average prices of your services, types of services, etc.

I don't want to do booth rental because I feel like hourly plus commission would bring higher quality technicians...or am I wrong??

I also don't want to do a split cause my hair stylist quit her salon because she started making a lot and therefore had to give back a lot, hers was 60% her and 40% for the owner. Thoughts??

I'd provide all equipment and supplies, just so I can keep the quality up across the board...I actually plan on having interns that'll qualify from local beauty schools and college programs for help around the salon, keep supplies in order, etc

And hiring!!! Where to find qualified ones, what would make a qualified and successful technician leave one salon to work with another one?? What would make you stay?

Any && all tips are completely welcomed....I'll happily take the criticism as well!
I'll be sure to reply to questions quickly because I've read too many forums where the original poster never responds lol

OH - what qualities do you want in your owners?!
I also want to pay part of my technicians admission to these nail tech classes with famous nail techs...just keeping them in tune with the industry.

As a nail tech who worked for many owners and for herself, the biggest asset I found was quality supplies and comfortable chairs (for both tech and customer). It's a good idea to ask the tech how long the service would take for her to do and honor it - the stress of working under shortened time causes conflict with potential client retention, and education is a great thing.
If you want a tech to follow your lead and needs, it is best to pay commission. I found those who rent chairs are more removed and more likely to do their own thing. Quality technicians are bred. Do your homework and be a compassionate director.
 Reply
#25
So I am not a salon owner but I had a few experiences with different salons - so I wanted to give my feedback. (This is actually my first post! YAY!)

I live in Maryland, and I started doing nails 5 and a half years ago. I was in my first year of college, and kind of became obsessed with nails overnight. I did a little research, and found out that there was a small, kinda low quality nail program in my area. It would only cost me 2.5K and only take 4 months of night school to get it done. It was very doable with school schedule at the time, very close to my home, and it was winter so I didn't mind being tied up most weekend nights.

Towards finishing nail school, I began to get REALLY nervous. Nothing had ever given me more anxiety than thinking about having "REAL" clients, and having the responsibility of being a good nail tech. You NEED to be able to promise great nails - or what's the point?

Homebase salon:

At the time, I was going to this large salon and spa for my hair. It was the rated as the top salon in my area. Employed by 70 people (hair, spa, nails, med spa, make up, EVERYTHING). Their reputation has a 20 year history, and the owner was the mother of a guy I grew up with. I knew that the salon was HUGE on education - even sending stylists to NY and CA to learn new techniques. I reached out to the salon, and asked if I could *pretty please* "intern"... I would clean pedispas and do laundry for free - if I could just sit and observe real salon life. This was the best offer I ever made - not only did they take me up on it, but I got myself a job after just a month. AND it was May! The BEST time to get into nails.

I worked there for the next 3 years while completing my degree, and it was the perfect thing for me. My boss was very fair about my schedule with school. It was a fantastic thing for me. I was paid 50% commission, and got to keep all of my tips. Which were ALWAYS cash by the way, the salon did not take tips on the card because of the percentage charged on them. The salon had an ATM inside so clients could get cash out if needed. The 50% commission was AWESOME! They provided everything except implements. They charged $20 for manis, $38 for gel manis, $65 for full sets, $38 for fills, $45 for pedis, $50 for spa pedicures. Pedis were my favorite, because you'd make $22.50 plus tip an hour. And tip was usually $5-10 because the clientele are more wealthy.

D.C. New salon:

During my last couple of years of school - I transferred to a university close to D.C. I was only trucking over to my salon on the weekends because of the long drive. I started thinking - can I work more and make more money in D.C.? I applied and interviewed for a salon that hadn't even opened yet. My interview was in a gutted space, but it was full of potential. The new business owners were a mother and daughter. They had never done any nails before, but they had a vision for a business model just like some of the Blowdry Bar chains. They wanted to be a VERY classy, designer nail salon. With the Chanel nail polish, and leather chairs, and bright white walls, and chandeliers etc. I loved the vision because I had a similar one. During the interview I became a little nervous about a few key things

1) The mother did not want to have "wet" pedicures because she was very germaphobic. She said her ideal nail salon did not have basins for pedicures, and that there was no soaking. The nails were going to have to use warm, wet towels to complete a pedicure.
- I hated this idea, as someone who looks forward to a good pedi soak. I also am fairly confident that I am in the majority who think that. Also - I was used to the benefits of soaking. Everything from having a short break while your client soaked so you could finish up your last client, or be able to clean up your station, or have a snack to softening the skin and giving a better pedicure for the foot.

2) They were going to be using a line of artisan products (lotions, scrubs, etc) made by someone they new. To be fair, I hadn't used these products so I can't say for sure they were not as good. But after being in the industry for a little while - it is hard to give up on your favorite products (like CND sticky base coat, and Qtiqa sloughing lotion). They also had this tool that they were going to have me use that was supposed to take the cuticle off the nail without ever using nippers. I didn't see it working as well.

3)  During the interview they were gobbling up everything I was telling them and said that they NEEDED me to give them the run down on everything. I kinda felt a little nervous about that because I worried that their plan wasn't very well thought out, and if they didn't know some of the basic things I was telling them - was this going to work out?

I still wanted the job though - during the interview they committed to wanting to hire me and told me they were going to be making an offer in a few days. They told me that they could see me becoming an integral part of their business, and that in a year from now - we would have 15 salons and I would be managing a lot of responsibilities. I liked that idea of being part of a start up business as well as a nail salon (after all - I was pursuing my degree).

A few days later - they offered me $11 an hour no commission. I was extremely disappointed. This was substantially less that what I was making at my home base salon. I also felt that I was slighted, I had gotten the impression during the interview that my knowledge was worth more than $11/hr. Also - they were probing me for ideas in this industry - I would be a consultant for them! I did not take the job.

I gave up on D.C. at that point, because I also realized that the D.C. licensure would be a long process.

Baltimore salon:

Then, I heard about a natural nail salon in Baltimore that was very hip, and classy. I interviewed there, but they offered me 30% plus commission. Again - this was paying less than the 50% at my home base salon - so I didn't take it.

Towson salon:

Fast forward to YAY I am graduating college. I loved doing nails BUT I now had a very expensive piece of paper that I didn't know what to do with. I figured - I better go get a job with health insurance, and income stability. I ended up leaving nails, and working a "regular" 9-5, and I moved to the Towson area. There is a very reputable chain of about 5 salons. They are classy/pricing and local celebs and such only go there. A woman I worked with at my "regular" job, had a daughter who could get me a part time job there if I wanted extra cash and it was about 7 minutes away from where I lived.

I really wanted the extra cash. They offered to me EITHER 10/hr OR 40% commission depending on which was higher (during a pay period, not a shift). I know 10/hr is even less than the D.C salon, but I already had a "regular" salary from my full time job, so I was feeling differently about things and just wanted to do nails for fun at this point.

I only lasted one month at this salon because they played seniority while booking appointments so being the newest - I was last to get clients. Sitting doing nothing for 10/hr was not fun, and I was trying to do this for fun. So I left very quickly.

Homebase salon:

Fast forward to today - it has been a year and a half of me working in the corporate world. I am in a job I HATE! I am now making the transition back to nails at the first salon.
At my corporate job - I make 38K (or a little more than 18/hr). So far, I have done 2 Sundays back at the salon - and I have made 27/hr on both days. Right now - I am just waiting for May 5th which is the day I am giving my notice to my corp job. Then at the end of May - my homebase salon is opening a second salon and I will go full time there! I couldn't be MORE excited! This is the salon I will stay at and build my business. I wouldn't open my own salon because of the responsibility/time commitment but I am more than happy with 50% while someone else figures out the business portion!

I know that was a lot to write but I figured it never hurts to have as much perspective as you can! Talking to nail techs is the best thing you can do to find out what will keep them happy! Just be a fair boss, and remember that in a sense - your nail techs have their OWN business within your business. They control things like retention, retail, etc. Treat them fair and everyone wins! The better they are treated, the more money they will make for you and themselves!
 Reply

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