You’re independent. You’re entrepreneurial. And you’re ready to take your business into your own hands. Does that mean it’s time to rent your own booth at a salon?

Here’s the scoop: Going the booth rental route means your earnings are your earnings, and instead of reporting to a boss, think of it more as a landlord/tenant relationship. 

That’s a huge draw for a lot of estheticians, stylists, and barbers out there. (And it does sound great, doesn’t it? No boss over your shoulder, no commissions to worry about…)

Of course, deciding to invest part of your budget into renting a booth depends on so many factors. To help you mull over the details, we put together an overview of how booth rentals really work, the pros and cons, potential costs, and how to go about deciding whether renting a salon booth or chair fits with your business goals.

In this article:

How Do Booth Rentals Work Anyhow?

With the booth or chair rental model, you own your business by renting out a space (either a booth, a chair, or a suite) to run your own show — without any of the risks and upfront costs that come along with opening your own salon from scratch.

So instead of a boss overseeing your operation, it’s a landlord/tenant relationship, where you keep your independence and have free rein of your business.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have an online scheduling app, taking ahold of your own career is the perfect time to get that rolling. Schedulicity is completely free to sign up, and if you’re still unsure about which scheduling app is a good fit for you, we have a handy breakdown on some of the best scheduling apps out there.

Along with the freedom of managing and setting your own schedule, you’ll be in charge of your own marketing, finances, and products/materials, while the landlord handles the responsibilities of items like building maintenance or property taxes.

Give Me Those Pros and Cons

Pros

Handle Your Own Business

You are your own boss. Your earnings are your earnings, and how you run your business is totally up to you. If you’re already using an online scheduling app, such as Schedulicity, you’ll have full control of your payment processor, your clients, and any scheduling settings.

Pro tip: If you’re curious how other stylists are keeping their client lists and payments separate from other stylists, be sure to check out Schedulicity’s Linked Accounts feature. It’s great for independent contractors who want full control of their own online scheduling account, while also providing a way to link up to the other booth or suite renters in a shared salon.

Serve Your Clients Your Way

As a booth or suite renter, you’re no longer an employee. So if you have a favorite product line you’d love to use on your clients but haven’t been able to, now’s the chance! (Think about that new seaweed shampoo you’ve been wanting to use or that funky cilantro conditioner you’d love for your clients to try!)

And here’s another big piece: No more playing to a whole salon’s brand — your brand is your brand! This allows your own style to shine for your clients. Plus, you can set your own schedule and work whenever you want!

Cons

Manage Your Books

Going the booth rental route means you’re in charge of your own books, including filing and paying taxes. Any advertising/marketing expenses would also fall on your lap. And then there’s products/materials, equipment, and health insurance to think about as well.

Your Booth, Your Hustle

It’s true, it can be more work as a booth renter. And that’s because you’re in charge of everything — from stocking your own products to drawing in clients. You’ll also need to think about health benefits, vacation time, and equipment costs.

Okay, So What’s This Gonna Cost Me?

Booth rental pricing can vary dramatically by location, so most averages are based on word-of-mouth. Some industry sites say the range is $250-$1250 per month. Others suggest $150-$250 per week. (Almost everyone agrees Manhattan costs much, much more than that.)

We prefer The Thriving Stylist who suggests that you instead focus on the percentage of your total budget (she recommends 15%) in order to figure out a ballpark figure before starting your search.

How to Rent a Chair in a Salon

With booth and suite rental setups on the boom these days, there are plenty of avenues to explore.

Businesses like Salon Republic are popping up all over, and it seems more hairstylists are being drawn to their model. 

Here’s the biggest draw, in Salon Republic’s own words: “Being a part of Salon Republic is an opportunity for you to not just be the boss, but also to be a trendsetter. Free from many of the daily concerns of a small business owner, you can focus on growing your talent, expanding your client list and building your personal brand.”.

There are also some great barber associations and salon organizations out there for tracking down booth rental job leads and networking.

Plus, a lot of sites nowadays allow you to search salon or barber jobs by filtering the list for booth, suite, and studio rentals. Try one of these:

So… Is Booth Rental a Good Move?

It’s likely! But ultimately, the answer depends on you. The most annoying answer, I know… But if you’re on the fence about it, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you dream about setting your own rules and pace for your business? 
  • Are you booked up consistently with a loyal group of clients who will follow you if you relocate? 
  • Do you dream of owning your own salon someday?


If so, renting a booth or a chair in a salon may just be your next move!