Salon Suites, Commission Salons, and Booth Rentals

The Good, The Bad, The Need-to-Know​


There are like 1 billion different ways out there for a badass beauty pro like yourself to make a name in the industry—you can rent a salon, you can do in-home visits, you can own your own shop, you can drive a converted van around town. The structure of running your beauty biz is, essentially, limitless—especially if you love to get creative.

But that doesn’t mean that certain ways of doing it won’t have their benefits and their drawbacks, either.

If you’re desperately seeking out the ideal way to run your own beauty biz setup that makes sense for you and you alone (because, let’s face it, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this biz), then you’ve come to the right place. We’re lining up three of the most common structures up side-by-side-by-side to give you the pros, the cons, and the need-to-know details.

The whole point here? To help you determine in a succinct way the exact type of setup that’s going to work best for you!

So, let’s dive in.

(PRO TIP: Remember, these are just 3 of the ways that you can set up your beauty business—there are endless options out there. We’re just looking at some popular, common setups to help you determine what could work best for you. We’re never trying to stifle your creativity!)


Renting Your Own Salon Suite

The Good

  • You’re (basically) your own boss. We say basically because there’s always going to be someone to answer to when you’re renting (AKA your landlord, right?). But when it comes to running your business, it’s basically up to you—you can set prices, you can wrangle promos, you can hire who you want, etc.
  • You get a say in the building, the décor, and some of the bigger details. If you’re renting a space, then again, you’ll have to answer to your landlord for lots of stuff, but for the most part, you can create the salon vibe you’ve always wanted to! Plus, you can be picky about the salon you select to rent.
  • Can you say flexibility? As your own boss running your own suite, you can set the hours. You’re not going to be chained to a salon’s hours where you rent a booth anymore. If you want Wednesday off, then heck, take Wednesdays off.
  • There’s a better chance that you can do what you want, when you want it, the way you want it. This isn’t always a good thing (because a little check and balance can be super smart when it comes to running a business), but for the most part, it’s really positive for people who are ready to run their own business. You can do things your way without fear of backlash from your boss.

The Bad

  • You’re on the hook for legal stuff, taxes, books, finances, and more. Need we say more? If you’re not used to this, then this might be a little overwhelming at first.
  • Upkeep is on you! Your landlord might be responsible for some aspects of this, but for the most part, you’ll have to deal with all the upkeep—spraying for bugs, landscape, cleaning, maintenance, etc.
  • Marketing is your gig now. You’re not falling under the umbrella of a salon, you’re your own entity. That means if you don’t market (or hire someone to market for you) it’s not going to get done. And you know what a lack of marketing means, right? A lack of clients. (check out our marketing 101 guide here to get a jump start on your own marketing strategies).
  • Employees and contractors will rely on you for everything.


The Booth Life

The Go​​​​od

  • Your schedule is totally up to you. As a booth renter, you can work the hours that make the most sense for you and for your lifestyle. You can schedule clients out for the days you want to come in, and then work from home on your marketing, your business strategies, etc.   
  • Branding is yours and yours alone. You don’t have to fall under the umbrella of a salon’s aesthetic or brand—you can still do your own thing! Sure, you don’t rent the whole salon, but how you market yourself and your booth is totally up to you!
  • Your money is your money. (Except, of course, for the money you’re paying to rent your booth). There’s no fee (other than your rent) like there might be at a commission salon. Essentially, you get to keep what you earn!

The Bad

  • You don’t have any stake in the actual salon. You get to select which salon to rent your booth in, sure, but when it comes down to it, you don’t really have a say in the salon where you’re renting your booth.
  • You can’t reap the marketing, clientele, or supplies benefits. When you run your own booth, you’re not reaping the benefits of a commission salon—so, no marketing, no client base to pull from, and no supplies to use, either. All of that falls on your shoulders, now.
  • It’s hard to build a solid reputation as a renter. This isn’t always the case, but it can be difficult to build up a reputation when you’re not working in a larger salon or running your own. That’s not to say it’s impossible (especially if your work is on-point), but it’s certainly challenging to compete with big-name salons from a booth.
  • It can be pricey. Renting a booth isn’t always cheap. There are usually more expenses than there would be at a commission salon (your marketing expenses, your tools, your supplies, etc.) You will have a lot more to keep track of and you’ll be in charge of your taxes, revenue reports, finances each and every month.

Commission Salon Structure

The Good

  • Your workday is over once you exit the salon. That means that once you’re done for the day and not physically in the salon anymore, you’re absolutely done working. You don’t have to go home and come up with marketing strategies or keep your books up to date, they’re doing all of that for you.
  • Your paycheck is going to come. There is always going to be a paycheck. That kind of stability isn’t always guaranteed when you’re renting a booth or running your own salon. But when you work for someone else, you’re signing on for a guaranteed paycheck.
  • Marketing and upkeep are taken care of for you.  You don’t have to stress about marketing yourself—as part of a big salon, they’ll do that for you.
  • Working with a team is pretty much guaranteed. Some people absolutely love working with a team, and at a commission salon, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have a crew to work with, interact with, and bond with.

The ​​​​Bad

  • You could end up working with a salon you just don’t mesh with. It’s possible, you guys. There are salons out there that seem great and end up not being a great fit. Do your research ahead of time, of course, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll totally love the salon you end up signing on with.
  • It’s likely you can’t run things the way you want to. At the end of the day, this isn’t your salon, and you’re not just renting a booth there—you’re a part of a business, and how they run the business is up to them. You’re not as flexible (you’ll probably have assigned hours you have to come in), you’ll have less freedom, and you might not be allowed to decorate your station with your personal touch.
  • Your earnings might not just belong to you. You’ll probably share your earnings. Commission rates can range dramatically, but it’s likely for salon owners to deduct the cost of products from your paycheck (which can really lower that commission range).

Did you love our outlined take on the pros and cons of these structures? We hope so! 

If you have any benefits or disadvantages for any of these setups that we might have missed, let us know—we’ve got a comment section for a reason, people. Share your thoughts with us!

If it’s more insight, advice, and beauty biz tips you’re looking for, check back in regularly with our frequently updated blog right here on EBS!