Is Salon Booth Rental to Commission going backwards in your career?

Is Salon Booth Rental to Commission going backwards in your career?

In 2023, Salonspa Connection has taken notice of a new trend. In this tight economy,  Salon Booth Rental to Commission is happening now more than ever.

The booth rental mindset

When we get to a place of renting we have “arrived”. Many salon professionals feel renting is an indicator of success and a level of achievement.

Everyone wins with booth rental, right? Independents can do as they please, buying whatever products they want. 

The allure of making your own schedule to not having to follow anyone’s rules but your own is attractive to well over 80% of the salon workforce population. For salon owners, owning a booth rental salon can mean you are no longer responsible for the things that tend to bog us down as owners.

Taxes, management, large supply orders and employee issues can be a hassle for independent salon owners with employees.

Salons that have gone from commission to booth rental breathe a collective sigh of relief, unburdening each other with the ties that bind in formal salon employment structure.

Is booth rental a smart move?

Owners who transition salon booth rental to commission tend to take on more responsibility. Most of us know, a booth rental salon has a ceiling for how much an owner can make.

Booth rental salons allow stylists to be free to live their lives. Salon pros love the independence of a booth rental salon, so why are so many moving to a commission salon?

Which type of salon is best for you? Discover your Archetype. 

Salon employment trends 2023

In the late 90’s and up until 2021, we saw salons go from commission to rental. Booth rental salons far outnumbered hourly, commission and hybrids combined.

Rental salons offer the freedom and some have awesome perks to entice new renters and stand out from the other booth rental salons.

So, why are more booth rental salons going hybrid and adding employment to their offerings?

In short, financial security, mentorship and support for newer salon professionals. Salon consulting groups like Destroy The Hairdresser are leading the way for a more progressive approach to employee based, salon ownership.

The lack of opportunity for ambitious cosmetology students in 2023 is astounding. The allure of booth rental is a direct result of social media glorification for salon suite rental and not enough good salon jobs for stylists.

What happens to booth rental salons and stylists over time?

Some rental salons and stylists skyrocket to extreme success. A chosen few are admired all around the country for their achievements and sustainability.

“Independence” and “freedom” certainly suit some owners and licensed professionals who were previously “stifled” in a commission environment.

The problems with long term booth rental can be plentiful. Problems such as limited income potential, no financial support for illnesses or injury, no pursuit of continuing salon education and overall complacency plague booth renters.

Successful Salon Owners and Hairstylists have a strong brand, click here to find out how you can develop your personal brand.


MOST independent salons and licensed professionals experience a rush of happiness, fear and success in those first transitional years of renting.  2/3 of those who rent or offer rental options experience client attrition, become complacent, slow down, sometimes stop attending industry classes.

We ultimately lose clientele because we are no longer willing to accommodate evenings or weekends. Many booth rental salons are not a creative, stimulating environment.

Unfortunately, many booth rental salon owners just don’t care to improve or grow. This wears on rental salons over time, making the salon less relevant as the years pass by.

This is not to say commission or hourly salons are the answer. The individual salon owner is what makes or breaks a salon.

Read our blog to understand the differences in commission vs booth rental to make the right choice for you.

Life Changes as a Salon Professional

As hair stylists and other licensed salon, spa and barber professionals flow through life, things change. We become parents, have to care for elderly family members, get divorces and our priorities shift.

As our lives change, so does the need for additional income change over time. For some of us, rebuilding a client base or running our own business may be too much.

For others, getting the freedom to work a schedule designed around our lives is important. The ability to control your schedule is not limited to a booth rental salon.

Many salon owners are adopting a work when you want, how you want type of policy in employee based salons. 

Not happy where you work? Explore salons that support your dreams on our salon jobs page.

Having children as a hair stylist

A flexible schedule is attractive as children often take precedent over the evening or weekend clients. There are few careers where parents can take a step back, have more control over their schedule and make relatively the same money by rearranging the flow of appointments.

Understanding the need to prioritize family over work creates a fiercely loyal salon staff. Stylist often leave salons when they feel they cannot accommodate the demands of a salon’s policies to tend to young children.

Experiencing ups and downs in your salon career? Read this inspiring Cosmetology story.

Salon career parenting balance

The addition of parenting into our professional lives is a wonderful thing, and ever changing as our children grow. Those who have children and have taken a step back to concentrate on parenting often find themselves lost in the abyss of rental after the demands of parenting change.

Our thriving careers of yesteryear can seem unreachable and unrealistic, especially as an independent renter. Often, we are faced with revving our careers back up or settling into mediocracy.

The difference in salon career commission environments

Stylists and other licensed salon professionals who remain in commission, hourly or team-based pay salons do not tend to experience the same challenges as booth renters. The right salon supports your life changes and progressions throughout time.

Education, income, accountability, and expectations remain constant throughout careers as a salon employee. Finding an employer who respects your time and supports you can be challenging.

Consider tools like Enlightened Hire that give you insight into both booth rental and commission salon owners.

Feeling burned out? Read this inspiring story from a seasoned hairstylist.

Perks of employee based salons

When you are sick or unable to get to work, you have support in a commission salon. Maternity leave, vacation or family leaves tend to be more relaxing and full of quality time when you are not dealing with the stress of ongoing client relations and aspects of running a small business.

Benefits like insurance, 401k and consistent client marketing remain intact throughout the span of a career commission or hourly stylist.

Click here to find your perfect salon job.

Which salon business model works best for you?

With the modern day commission salon’s improvements, their ability to offer competitive perks are standing out.  Benefits like stability, flexibility and departure from a regular work week, are welcoming former suite renters in droves.

Former booth renters who crave a consistent paycheck and less stress don’t feel they are going backwards in their salon career. Renters who are tired of being a full time stylist and business owner crave a balance. 

This is true in both a personal life and a professional career. Booth renters everywhere are reconsidering what freedom actually means.

Freedom of salon career choice

Freedom or perceived freedom comes in many forms. Some salon professionals yearn to be free of ordering supplies, fielding client phone calls and dealing with self employed business demands.

Freedom can mean leaving work behind when you leave the salon. Freedom is a perception and commission salons are often overlooked as the path to freedom and success.

If you have a good business acumen and want to be on your own, booth rental may be the best choice. If running a business is not something that you are good at, consider an employee based salon.

Salonspa Connection Supports You

Whether you are an owner, or a salon professional or just thinking about getting into the industry, we support the freedom to choose what works best. We do not feel one salon career path is better than another.

Going from Salon Booth Rental to Commission? Search our salon jobs to find a salon owner who supports you.

Making informed decisions about your salon career is of the utmost importance. We are here to support you at any stage in your career!

Visit our homepage to explore our salon career resources, today!

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