How long have you been open?
When a salon has been in business for a longer period of time they have established a presence in the community. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I highly suggest doing your own research about the salon to see what kind of reputation it has. Read online reviews, ask neighboring businesses & reach out to your friends/family to get an idea of what people are saying. The longer a salon has been in business is a sign that the salon owner knows what they are doing otherwise it wouldn’t still be open. However, just because a salon has been open for 20 years does not mean it is the type of environment your clients are looking to spend their money. Look at the general salon environment and decor, is it up to date?
New salons can be appealing because they are more likely to be up to date with current trends which can be exciting for your clients. However, it is hard to gauge the owner’s ability to operate a successful business unless they have multiple locations. Remember, the overall reputation of the salon will greatly hinge on your own business reputation.
What are the salon’s business hours?
Salon’s have the right to establish regular business hours, it is within those hours that you then set your own business hours in which you will be taking appointments. A salon owner can say that the salon is open Monday through Saturday during set hours, but that does not mean you have to be there during those hours.
LeeAnn Tip: If you are still building your business, it is recommended that you be at the salon during all hours they are open so that you can catch walk-ins.
How many days do you have access to the booth?
This question mostly pertains to part-time booth renters. Essentially, booths are real estate, if there is no one occupying the booth, the salon owner is losing out on money. Part-time boothies generally have access to the booth on certain days during certain times and when their time is up for the day, they clear the booth to make room for another stylist.
Do you have a lease?
This is a very important factor when it comes to booth renting. This legally binding contract protects both the stylist and the salon owner. It is the document the IRS uses as proof that the stylists are independent and not employees. The booth rental agreement outlines the obligations the salon owner and stylists have to each other.
Please reference this link for what a booth rent lease agreement should include.
(Link to “what a booth rent lease agreement should include”)
How long is the lease agreement for?
Basically, this is the amount of time you are responsible for paying booth rent whether you are still continuing to operate your business at said location or not. If you sign a 12 month lease, you are legally obligated to pay rent for those 12 months, unless the lease has a clause allowing an early exit. Remember, lease agreements are negotiable. If you are not comfortable with signing on for 12 months right from the start, because what if the location doesn’t work out for you for whatever reason, negotiate with the owner and see if you can commit to a shorter length of time.
When and how are rent payments to be made?
It is important to know when your rent payment is due, also get clarification on if you are paying ahead or for time you have already used. Also, clarify what is to happen if said date falls on a holiday or day the salon is closed. Make sure to get some sort of receipt for your payment because you will need it in order to deduct the rent payments from your taxes.
What is included in rent?
It is common to provide use of one station, water, electricity, and salon equipment. Some salon’s also include “perks” such as use of salon receptionist, towel service, use of salon landline phones, shared advertising, and/or additional spaces such as pedicure chairs, manicure tables & facial/wax rooms. If the salon offers backbar as part of their rent make sure you are able to use your preferred products.
Will you receive a key/passcode?
Salon owners are no longer required to provide stylists with a key. However, booth renters have the right to set their own hours and have access to the area they lease during regular salon business hours. Salon business hours should be explained in a clause of the lease.
How do walk/call ins work?
Salon owners do not have to provide booth renters access to walk/call in clients. Some salons will charge a one time “finder's” fee in order for the stylists to take the client, but it can not be required that you take the client.
Who collects the fee from the client?
Booth Renters are responsible for collecting their own payments from their clients There should not be a centralized collection of client payments.
Are you able to sell your own retail?
Booth renters have the right to sell their own retail, collect payment and obtain documents required to collect sales tax and pay into the state government. However, because of competition, salon owners do not have to allow booth renters the opportunity to sell retail, but they can not require booth renters to sell salon retail. Be leery of salons that offer to pay commission for selling their retail. This is considered murky waters when it comes to the IRS’s classification of an employee. There are ways around this, so don’t consider it a deal breaker.