How does an aspiring hairstylist determine their income? Can a price be put on the lifestyle benefits of being a hairstylist? Answers to those questions depend on so many factors. Let’s take a deeper look into what those factors may be.
When deciding on the cosmetology industry, making an informed decision that will impact your life, long term, requires digging deeper in research. In addition to the internet, speaking to stylists and salon owners that work in full service salons and specialty salons is a great place to start! Also, many hairstylists branch off into many other salon industry careers when they no longer decide to work behind the chair. Those can include careers in salon ownership, franchising (this is especially attractive due to proven success and an “in house” support system) marketing, the movie sets, becoming a sales representative or trainer for a hair care product company, school educators and even school directors!
Forbes ranked hairstylists careers as the “Top 10 Least Stressful Jobs”. This appears to be fantastic to an aspiring stylist researching career options! This same article also states that a hairstylist’s median income is $22,800 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This may not look to enticing though. But, there’s great news that a career in the cosmetology industry can be much more lucrative than what Forbes reported!
Money talks so let’s take a look at numbers first, then we’ll take a look at placing a value on lifestyle benefits. A hairstylist’s annual salary can depend on:
- The number of hours and which hours you choose to work
- Will you work in a specialty hair salon? A full service salon? Select service salon?
- Your productivity per hour
- Marketing – what and how is marketing done to bring in new customers? Is your goal to build a customer base for the entire salon team? Is your goal to build a clientele?
- Location, demographics – this determines service prices which ultimately determines your income
When a stylist works more “peak shifts”, meaning the busy times in a salon, they will generally have greater income than a stylist who works a Monday through Friday- 9-5 schedule. Higher earning stylists work more evening and weekend hours to meet the demands of paying customers. Makes sense, right?
Do you want to specialize in haircutting only? Or, do you want to offer haircuts, hair color, and perm services? How do the prices reflect how much time you will spend for each service, on each customer? Which brings us to…Productivity.
Productivity is key! A haircut service can be performed in 45 minutes or 15 minutes. Generally speaking, the time spent with a shear and comb is about 15 minutes regardless of a full service or select service hair salon. Consultations and communication are a must! The price should reflect the amount of time spent with the person in the chair, on average. Let’s compare this to restaurants. A restaurant that “turns over tables” at a quicker rate will offer more conveniently prepared food options that have a friendlier price attached to it while the opposite is also to be considered.
Do you want to build a customer base and work “with and through a team” or build a dedicated clientele? This is something to consider because of a very important word – marketing! Marketing is expensive! This can include advertising through television or radio. It can also include print such as your community magazine mailer. In addition to word of mouth, (also very important), how much and the type of marketing a privately owned salon verses a nation chain can be radically different. National chains have greater strength and budget in marketing, therefore, a hairstylist can expect to have greater opportunities in what their paycheck reflects, much earlier in their career.
What we’ve talked about so far has so much to do with the location and demographics of the salon. Great Clips, for example, is the largest single brand salon chain in the world, with 3700 salons owned and operated by individual franchisees. Specializing primarily in haircuts, individual salons can service 500+ customers per week. It’s also worth mentioning that many Great Clips stylists, because Great Clips Inc. is a franchisor, have decided on salon ownership and become franchisees! Many stylists steered their careers into education, business services, marketing, recruiting and retention, and communications.
Now, let’s talk something that only YOU can put a price on! This is the value you place on the lifestyle benefits. The cosmetology industry provides many benefits conducive to goals that can be very personal to you such as:
- Schedule flexibility – you may want to work fewer than 40 hours per week with the potential of maximizing your hourly productivity and income.
- Family goals and/or circumstances – is primary focus to have children and raise a family? Do you have a loved one who requires long term care? Attending college and earning a degree in another profession? A career as a hairstylist offers the opportunity of creating your own schedule around your personal, primary focus, whatever that may be!
- Maybe the 9-5 isn’t appealing and while working evenings and/or weekends, with flexibility. You might have many reasons for this.
In other words, only you, as a professional stylist, determines your income through the choices that you make, based on what your goals are! How much can a stylist earn? Perhaps the greatest thing about the cosmetology industry is that YOU have complete control!
If you’re considering this great industry, let us know what your goals are!
Written By Nicole Masci, Recruiting Specialist with Great Clips, Inc.