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Pros and Cons: Independent Stylist V.S. Salon Employment

Independent Stylist


  1. Autonomy and Freedom: You have the liberty to make decisions and not abide by the salon's rules.

  2. Flexible Scheduling: Work schedules can be tailored to your preferences.

  3. Revenue Retention: A higher percentage of the revenue goes directly to you.


1. Clientele Building:

  • Initially, attracting clients can be slow, especially without adequate investment in marketing like website SEO, advertising, and social media promotion.

  • You will have to build your own clientele, even if you worked at a salon first. The clients are salon’s clients and not your clients. Almost all Salons require signing non-compete and non-solicitation agreements before employment starts. That means you won’t be able to take any of the clients from the Salon, otherwise you face legal consequences.

2. Financial Stability and Overhead Costs:

  • Unstable Income: Earnings can fluctuate, especially during the initial phase or slow periods.

  • Overhead Management: You'll need to cover all business-related expenses such as rent (which could range between $2000-3000 monthly for a good location), utilities, insurance, and manage them effectively.

3. Tax Implications:

  • Filing business taxes in addition to personal taxes can get complicated, potentially requiring a CPA, thus incurring additional costs.

  • FICA Tax: Self-employment requires a 15.3% payment of total income as FICA tax, unlike the 7.65% when employed.

4. Risk Exposure:

  • Situations like pandemics or economic downturns can drastically affect client visits, yet fixed expenses like rent continue.

Working at a Salon


1. Financial Stability:

  • Steady income, lower risks, and no management overhead contribute to better financial stability.

2. Work-Life Balance:

  • Fixed working hours allow for better work-life balance, unlike the post-business hours management chores faced by independent stylists. Trust me, when you do your own business, there is less work life balance. Being an independent Stylist You will usually need to take clients during normal business hours eg. 10AM-6PM. Then you will need to handle business management overheads, customer service, booking and all other chores after hours. Social media managing, photo and video editing and many more. What’s worse is that, as you all know it’s a fast paced era, when you are at work and not able to reply to customers when they inquire, they will very likely go contact other businesses and become their clients.

3. Efficiency and Support:

  • Salons handle customer service, bookings, and other administrative tasks, allowing you to focus on styling and serving more clients.

  • Working in high-end salons like Clement Lash exposes you to clients who values service quality and overall experience more than other factors. This often leads to more appreciation of the work you do and a more enjoyable working environment.

4. Career Advancement Opportunities:

  • Possibilities of ascending to managerial or instructor positions as the salon expands to a national franchise. Clement Lash's philosophy is to promote people who have been working with us for long and trustworthy to manage those additional stores. You could become a regional manager, instructor and many more to leverage your experience much better. There is a great potential that you could earn a much higher income going that route instead of becoming an independent stylist.


1. Less Freedom and Flexibility:

  • Bound by salon rules and schedules.

  • A lower percentage of revenue retention

2. Potential Toxic Work Environment:

  • When you work at a Salon where the owners or investors don't understand about the industry and don't know the technique, there could be lots of conflicts. This won't happen at Clement Lash because the owner and founder is an experience lash artist herself, so she understands and appreciates your work. We promote stylists to management which guarantees that management understands that too.

  • Sometimes working environment can get toxic if there is a lot of drama going on among stylists. At Clement Lash we have a zero tolerance policy against drama, which ensures this won't happen either. At Clement Lash, we only work with people who are passionate, kind, nice and share the same goals and philosophy.

Reflective Questions Before Making a Choice:

1. Work-life Balance vs. Flexible Schedule:

  • Which is more crucial to you?

2. Revenue Sharing Perception:

  • Understanding the salon’s share in the revenue you generate and recognizing the support provided in client acquisition, reputation building, and overhead management. When you have this idea in mind: Why does the Salon take that portion of revenue I’m generating? That’s unfair. Ask yourself these questions: Would I be generating the same amount of revenue without the Salon? The answer is most likely “no”, clients pay for reputation, quality control, environment, overall experience, after-sales customer service and many more. Plus all of the business overhead I mentioned above.

3. Financial and Emotional Resilience:

  • Assessing your readiness for financial and emotional challenges during unforeseen situations like personal emergencies, pandemics, or economic downturns. Would I be able to take those risks financially and emotionally without destroying my life?

4. Income Potential Assessment:

  • Evaluating the realistic income potential and career growth opportunities in both scenarios, taking into consideration all the associated costs and risks. Can I really earn that much more like I imagined? Did I take all those additional costs into consideration? Or there are a lot of factors that I didn’t realize. How much margin am I gaining and is it worth the risk?

If your answer to those questions is: Yes, I’m willing to take more risks to gain the margin, and I’m willing to sacrifice work-life balance in order to trade for potentially higher income and when bad situations happen, I’m strong enough financially and emotionally to handle all those myself. Then you are made for being an independent stylist. If your goal is just to chase higher income potential, working with us is probably a better bet. Because we have various ways to leverage your knowledge and experience other than just doing lashes.

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