To rent or not to rent?
The freelance hairdressing industry has increased significantly in recent years as people are attracted to the idea of being their own boss.
If you are one of the thousands of self-employed hairdressers interested in renting a chair in a salon then you should take time to consider what salon chair rental involves, the costs and legalities of it.
This method is the most commonly used in Northern Ireland and it involves agreeing to a fixed amount that you will pay the salon each week for renting a chair. This can work in your favour if you succeed in getting lots of clients as the cost that you pay each week won’t increase as your earnings do. This method is also the simplest for both salon owners and freelancers as the agreed amount ensures the salon knows what they will receive each month while the hairdresser knows how much they will need to earn before making any profit.
Percentage of takings
Another method is agreeing with the salon owner that you will pay them a percentage of your takings instead of charging an up-front rental on a chair. This way isn’t as popular with salon owners as they aren’t keen on losing out on their income if you cut less hair or can’t work due to illness. This choice can be good for both parties if your freelancer business is consistently thriving.
A blend of both methods
On some occasions, you can agree that you will pay a lower fixed rent as well as a percentage of the takings. While this can work well for salon owners, it may cause confusion and upset for freelancers due to the potential of an unstable income.
Before you make your decision on renting out one of your salon chairs, one of the first things you need to agree on with your salon is a service contract (N.B this isn’t the same as a contract of employment).
Understanding the legalities of salon chair rental will protect the rights of you as a freelancer and the salon owner. It will also ensure a smooth process in case you decide to move your business elsewhere later down the line.
Some of the arrangements you should consider when writing out your service contract include:
It’s recommended you get a legal professional to review your contract before getting it signed as this will ensure you haven’t missed any important terms and it’s fair for both parties.
The average cost to rent a chair in a hair salon can vary between salon locations, so it is worth doing your homework to assess the average charges in your local area.
Salon chair rental can be a fairly low-cost option for both parties. Salon owners don’t have the costs associated with permanent staff such as wage, holiday pay, sick pay and National Insurance and for freelancers, it is a fairly straightforward way of managing outgoings and saving on business expenses.
There is less risk and commitment required for both the salon owner and hairdresser. You can enter into an agreement and if it doesn’t work out then you can terminate the arrangement and move on.
In theory, you can choose what hours you work which can help you maximise earning opportunities by working evenings and weekends. This also benefits the salon depending on the arrangement as a busy freelancer means increased earnings for both themselves and the salon they’re renting the chair from.
4. Working in a Salon Environment
Renting a chair in a busy salon can bring many benefits to the customer and freelancer. Customers love the social aspect of mixing in a salon environment which can make you more appealing as a hairdresser. Freelancers can also have the opportunity to learn and share skills and techniques.
If you are renting a chair, then you will need to work on a self-employed basis which means you will need to register for self-assessment and stay on top of submitting your income annually.
It is also unlikely that you will receive any employee benefits such as paid holiday, maternity leave, pension and healthcare.