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Independent Stylist or Employee

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

About the author:

LeeAnn Miley is a salon owner based in Hastings, Nebraska, and the President and Executive Director of The Sovereign Stylist. Her personal experiences led her to advocate and educate stylists on proper worker classification. LeeAnn’s blogs are typically focused on tax compliance, worker classification, and general business practices. LeeAnn believes that laws and business are powerful entities when one has knowledge of them and has dedicated herself to spreading such knowledge to the industry she loves.

According to the IRS, workers can either be an independent contractor or and employee. Each classification has its own rights and responsibilities and it is important to know where you fall. This article will break down these two classifications according to the beauty industry.


Who determines when you work?

Employees work a schedule set by the owner.

Independent make their own schedules.


• Who purchases supplies?

Employees use supplies purchased by the owner & do not dictate brands used.

Independent purchase all of their own supplies in brands of their choice.


Who determines the prices charged to customers?

Employees charge according to owner’s pricing.

Independent set their own pricing.


Who collects the clients payment?

Employees (or receptionist) collect payments in a centralized location.

Independent collect payment (usually at their station) & use their own credit card processor that is linked to their own bank account.


Who is responsible for expenses, such as insurance, advertising, etc.?

Employees do not acquire business related expenses. Salon owners cover expenses because they are the ones who get to write-off on taxes. Owners also are responsible for advertising for the salon.

Independent responsible for obtaining their own professional liability insurance. They also are responsible for their own advertising & should do so under their business name, not the salon’s.


Who realizes a profit or inquires a loss?

Employees are not directly affected by the salons profit or loss.

Independent directly affected by their business profit & loss and are solely responsible for it.


Where is client information stored?

Employee clients belong to the salon and their information is stored in a central location.

Independent clients belong to them. All the clients information is kept with the BR & salon owners do not have access to their information.


Who decides how the end result will be achieved?

Employees can be given direction by the salon owner/manager.

Independent in complete control over how end results are achieved interference from owner.


•If a mistake is made, who is responsible?

Employees who make mistakes can not be charged for a “redo.”

Independent responsible for fixing & covering the costs of mistakes.


Required to attend/participate in salon education/training?

Employees are required to attend /participate in education/training.

Independent not required because they are only responsible for the attainment of a result. They are not to be told specifically how to attain that result.


Ability to hire & train assistants?

Employees generally do not have any say in the hiring or training of their assistant.

Independent interview, hire, train & pay their own assistants & do not need the approval of salon owner.

Can go work at another salon?

Employees usually sign a non-compete agreement saying they will not go work at another salon while employed at the one they are currently at.

Independent retain their independence, which includes the freedom work wherever they please and offer their services to anyone willing to pay (including competing businesses).

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