The popular practice of renting a chair in a salon has benefits to both stylists and salon owners – so long as the terms agreed are good for everyone involved. Also, in this time of Covid adversity, renting a chair could be a good way of running your freelance hair, beauty or holistic therapy business, giving you company and a bit of support in a time when we could all do with a little bit of extra help.
In fact, this is the preferred method of working for many self-employed hairdressers, therapists and barbers. If you are a salon owner, it can be a great way to bring on board new talent from therapists or creative stylists without all the hassles of employment and also to gain some regular income.
To ensure things run smoothly, here are some of the things that you need to consider if you decide to rent a chair:
Types of chair rental agreement terms:
In general there are two main types of rental terms:
- Set monthly rental fee (not affected by level of business)
- A percentage of takings – perhaps with a minimum or maximum charge in place
What to include in your working agreement:
Even if you are working with a friend or colleague, it’s important to have a formal agreement in place. A signed, written agreement will clarify the arrangement and prevent confusion or misunderstandings at a later time, or if things are not going well for either party.
Things to consider and to clearly set out in writing would include the following:
- The basis for payment – either a set fee (daily, weekly, monthly) or a percentage of income.
- Time period – This agreement should also be for an initial set period of time, maybe 3-6 months if this is the first time you have ventured into this type of working method. This would give you the option to adjust this when you renew after having worked together for an initial period and experienced the highs and lows.
- Notice period – for both parties, should either of you not wish to continue.
- Ownership of clients – standard practice is that your clients will be your own to take with you if you move out but it should be made clear in the contract.
- Keys and access – You may be limited to the salon opening hours, restrictions set by local government or shopping centre management as you would need to adhere to these rules.
- Insurance cover – you would need your own freelance or mobile hair and beauty insurance policy as you will be self employed.
- Shared services such as laundry, kitchen facilities, toilets and reception should be an integral part of your agreement, ensuring that you are both on the same page about how the cost of these services is handled and what is included or excluded within your rental fee.
- PPE and refreshments for you and your customers – are you responsible for these, or will the salon owner help you with providing these (at a cost?)
- Cleaning requirements – also in this time of Covid, are you responsible for keeping your area thoroughly clean or will the salon include your area in their cleaning regime – whose responsibility will this be?
- Lockdown Clause – If the salon was forced to close due to a local or national lockdown, would rent be waived for that period?
These are some of the things to think about but there could be many more considerations, depending on your specific situation and location.
Flexible working – so long as the salon is open – you can choose your days and hours. And maybe have the salon to yourself out of hours if the salon owner is happy with that arrangement.
Reduced costs – if you change from being mobile to renting a chair – you could save on travel time and travel costs.
Company – working on your own can be depressing at times, especially when your business is a bit quiet, but to be part of a salon could give you companionship and maybe send more business your way.
Increased opportunity – by seeing if there are services that you specialise in that maybe the salon does not already offer, you could benefit from extra business from the salon’s own clientele.
Joint marketing and promotional opportunities – If the salon is running an event or promotion you could have the benefit of joining in with this and sharing social media postings could make more people aware of your services.
PPE and cleaning – sharing the responsibility of these currently vital aspects of your business, could give you some support and maybe better pricing for PPE required products if your landlord salon is buying in larger quantities and could supply to you at cost. Another thing less to worry about if you can obtain these items via the salon.
Self-Employment – You will not be an employee with holiday and sick pay benefits so you’ll have to produce your own accounts and pay your National Insurance and Income Tax. You will also need to put aside funds to cover your living expenses in times of holiday or illness.
Rental Fees – Having to pay rent at times when you may not have much business can be an additional cost that you don’t need but this will depend on the basis of your written agreement.
Creative freedom – you will just have your own space, not surroundings that you can change to reflect your style and personality. Your area will conform to the salon owners existing décor – which may not be to your taste!
Restricted working times – Are you able to work just during salon hours, or would the owner provide you a key to enter when they are closed if you wish to work then?
Leaving behind clients? – If you leave the salon to return to being solo or if you decide to start your own salon are your clients still yours? Although usually your clients belong to you, some of your clients may be retained by the salon, especially if they originated from the salon’s client database. Or, they may just prefer to continue to use the salon because it happens to be close to their work or home. This is something that you would need to consider and have clearly stated in your rental agreement.
The main thing to consider is to choose carefully who you decide to work with in the first instance. If your salon owner has a similar outlook and style to you, then this can be a wonderful creative union of business and an enjoyable venture for all. And if not, well it’s not forever, so at the end of your first fixed period agreement, you can part ways and move onto new pastures!