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.
"When I first started coaching salon owners I always asked, “What is your biggest hurdle?” Every-single-time the answer has to do with finding & keeping a quality stylist. Here’s a little statistic for you; the turn over rate for hairstylists in the salon is 40%. That means every year you are refilling your stations twice."
The key to finding boothies who will stay with you for the long haul is to get potential applicants to fall in love with your salon before they even apply. Make sure your salon website is current, update social media platforms by showcasing work by all the stylists in the salon. Make sure you have claimed & undated your salon’s Google listing, don’t forget to upload pictures.
Here some different reasons stylists chose a particular salon over another:
24/7 Access With Key
Discounted First Month Rent
Distance From Current Salon
Rent Due Weekly Versus Monthly
Station Size & Available Storage
Sell Own Retail
Owner Is A Stylist
Owner Sets Boundaries, But Openly Communicates
Receptionist For Fee
Refreshments For Clients
Listing On Salon Webpage
A newer trend going on in the booth rent world are the perks that salons are offering stylists to sign a lease with them. Here’s what various salon owners offer:
Two Weeks Free Rent Upon Signing One Year Lease
$400 Free Product
Free Hot Tools
On Site Continuing Education
Right To Walk-Ins For Small, One Time Fee
It is important to create eye catching, descriptive job advertisements showcasing your salons uniqueness. Put your salon brand to work for you & set a tone for your business. You’ve got to hook ‘em with the first line:
•All Alone, Together- come join our tribe of independent stylist
•Life’s short. Work somewhere awesome like LaLa’s Full Service Salon
•Help others buy happiness at The Beehive Salon
•Where the cool kids hang out
• Remember when you used to mean it when you told clients you loved your job?
When it comes to finding booth renters, you want to check your wording. Stay away from saying “now hiring.” Booth renters do not get “hired,” employees get “hired.” Independence is very important to booth renters, don’t turn them off by sounding like a boss or make them feel like an employee.
Now that you have their attention, tell your salon’s story, people relate to stories. This isn’t a grocery list of your wants & needs in a stylist. Start with identifying yourself, or the storyteller. Offer a different point of view, have a current stylist describe what it is like at your salon.
Here are some examples:
“Want to be the highlight of someone’s day? (Pun intended)”
“Styles Unlimited, a staple in downtown Hastings, is looking for trained, positive, independent stylists to join our team of booth renters.”
“LeeAnn is the landlord you’ve always wanted. She allows you to be your own business without interference, but also offers business coaching.” -Laurie, salon vet
“Two weeks free rent, continued ed opportunities, & storage beyond belief. This is why I love Styles Unlimited.” -Andie, 3rd year tenant
“Stop on down to the corner of Hastings Ave & First St, we’ll show you around & answer your questions”
“What if one opportunity could change the rest of your life?
What if you could finally be treated as an independent business owner & not an employee?
What if you could have 24/7 access to a salon without a mortgage?
What if you were given $400 in free retail just for paying your rent on time?
What if I told you that The Beehive Beauty Parlor has even more to offer you?
Find us on the web & send a message when you’re ready to make your next big move.”
Now, canvas the area with your ad. Here are suggestions for getting your ad into the right hands:
• Word of mouth – ask your team to spread the word, consider offering a “finder’s fee” equivalent to one or two weeks rent once the new stylist completes 90 days– it will pay off in the long run.
• Post Sign In Salon Window & Station Mirrors
•Supply Store Reps
•Bulletin Boards At Supply Stores
• Career Fairs & Local Hiring Events
•Chamber of Commerce- often send out monthly newsletters, post jobs on their website
•Local Business Association (Downtown Association, Clock Tower Shopping Center Council)
• Area Hair Schools- create a relationship with the students by offering to teach a quick class on styling. Also ask if the school has a webpage or FB group for alumni. (Find your cosmetology colleges in your area here.)
•FaceBook-schedule to post a couple days a week to your salon page, post in personal newsfeed, offer free deep condition treatment for clients who share to their own pages, local/state hairstylist groups, buy/sell/trade groups, FaceBook Jobs
•Host a Local Stylist Competition- whether its color,cuts, or updos, have are stylist submit entries with their contact information
•Snail Mail- Request a list of licensed cosmetologist from your state board, send out postcards
•Head Hunt- Search Instagram & FaceBook for local stylist, if you think their work is good, reach out to them. Especially if they happen to be a corporate salon.
• Online job sites – some are free or low cost. You can use filter questions to save time on shortlisting later but you may still get lots of unsuitable applications.(GlassDoor, Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Learn4Good, SpaStaff, HairAndBeautyJobs.com, BeautyCareer, ShearShare) • Via your website • Local newspapers
•The Department of Labor- in most states, have websites you can post free ads on
Set a cut off date, usually 2 weeks, to run your ad & accept applicants. If you feel that after your initial period of time you haven’t received many applicants, revamp your ad, & try again. Consistency is key.
As stylists reach out to you, have them either send you a resumé or stop in to fill out an application. Then, once you’ve reached your cut off date for applicants, sit down & read each resumé or application. Make notes or highlight things that stand out to you, both negative & positive. Here are some tips to speed up this process:
•To avoid subconsciously becoming biased, skip over name & personal contact information.
•Divide applicants into 3 categories: move on, look again, & trash.
•Watch for gaps in employment. Don’t think of this as something negative, instead ask for more detail in the interview.
•Look for multiple references so you can find consistency in the applicant's character.
Once you’ve made it through the stack, write down the names in the “trash” pile and a quick sentence reminding you why they aren’t a fit for your salon. Keep the list filed away for future reference when you have to take applications again.
Skim the applicants in the “look again” pile to see if you come across a diamond in the rough. Finally, double check the “move on” pile to confirm your picks and then start scheduling interviews.
Before you run to Google to search for hairstylist interview questions, remember you are looking for a tenant, not an employee. You do not need to know the same information you would if you were looking for employees. Here is a list of perfectly acceptable questions to ask a potential booth renter:
•How many years of booth rent experience do you have •What is your understanding of being a booth renter •What are some ways you advertise your business •What kind of sales promotions have you ran in the past, what worked & didn’t work •Do you have liability insurance
•Do you currently rent, if so where •Why are you looking for a new place to rent •What date are you wanting to move in •How far in advance are you usually booked out •Do you think the owner of your most recent salon will give you a favorable reference •Does the owner of your current salon know you are thinking of moving •What is your policy regarding customer complaints •What services will you be offering •Have you ever been evicted or asked to leave a booth rent position •How long have you been licensed •Do you already have all proper licensing & permits
Interview questions should be open ended, get them talking so you can get a better look into their personality. Take notes just like you did while looking over applications.
It is important to understand that you are not the only one interviewing, stylists should be also interviewing YOU. Be prepared to answer their questions. Here are some examples of what you might be asked:
•Do you have a lease?
•How long is the lease?
•Is there a security deposit, what are the terms?
•Will I receive a key/pass code?
•What kind of access is available, are there salon business hours?
•What does rent include?
•How do walk/call ins work?
•Who collects the fee from the client?
•What kind of retail agreement is there?
•What kind of storage is provided?
The interview is also a good time to present the potential tenant with a copy of your lease agreement. Make sure to include one of your business cards, so that if they have any questions once they get home & read it over they can reach out to you.
Be prepared to negotiate various aspects of the lease agreement. It is completely understandable that some clauses are not up for discussion, but if a potential tenant would like to negotiate the lease term, or particular things included in the rent price, it will most likely work out for you in the end.
After you’ve completed interviews, narrow your choices down to two or three finalists, then invite them to come into your salon to essentially “hang out” for an hour or two. This is an important step that a lot of salon owners do not do. It is important that both you & the candidate get a feel for each other before entering into a contractual agreement.
After they leave, ask your booth mates for their opinion, but do not take much stock in it. It is important that everyone can interact with each other, like adults, but remember...these are all independent business owners not coworkers.
The next step is to schedule yourself enough time to sit down & re-evaluate the candidates. Look over their application again, and read over your notes from the interview. Once you have made your decision, offer the stylist to sign a lease with you.
To conclude, empty booths in your salon cost you money, that is why it is important to appeal to quality stylists. It is important to have a plan put into place when it comes to filling stations, it is also expensive to just jump into bringing any stylist off the street.