Danielle Spaar
4 min readMar 19, 2023

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Are You Agreeable To Tipping Your Hairstylist, Even If They Are The Salon Owner?

As a former salon and day spa owner, I’d be out with my girlfriends and after a couple of glasses of wine, the questions would start. What do you like doing better cutting or coloring? Have you ever really messed up a persons hair? Are we suppose to tip the salon owner if they are the ones doing our hair? (It was always: “just asking for a friend, kind of questions”) I would good-naturedly answer all their questions but the last one I would turn it around and ask them; Why do you tip people? Not just at salons but anywhere?

I would get all kinds of answers. Some being~

  • I feel I have to because that’s just what you do, isn’t it?
  • I want to show the stylist I love what they did.
  • It’s customary.
  • My mother told me to.

My Opinion As A Salon Owner

The right answer, in my lowly opinion, would be to show appreciation for a skill that not everyone has. Most people cannot cut or color their own hair (and it look good, that is). Especially, during the pandemic we saw how all of us love our stylist. People were trying to bribe them to work out of their home or “just this once, do my hair in your garage, PLEASEEEEEE!” Most declined this request since it’s illegal for licensed hair stylists to work from home. (Unless they have a licensed salon there.)

So, there was an equalizing of those that got their hair colored at a top-notch salon and those who never stepped foot in a salon for color. We saw a lot of gray sprouting and some “skunk” looks that frankly, were frightening.

During that time, many realized how important their stylist was to them. So back to the topic at hand, tipping. Do you tip the salon owner if they do your service?

Facts of Owning a Salon

Let me give you a peek behind the curtain of business ownership. If you have employees you have to pay taxes for those employees quarterly. Now on top of that is their pay and any other benefits you provide to show you care about your staff. Next, the overhead of owning a salon/day spa is not for the faint of heart. The average salon rent is between $10-$30 per square foot. This largely depends on the area you live in. That price is yearly. When you break it down per month, you’re looking at anywhere from $1250-$4000 a month. And those numbers could be much higher in cosmopolitan areas.

Back in 2011 I paid $900 a month for a 1500 square foot space. On top of that, I had utilities, insurance, build out costs (because nothing is ever the way you want it), garbage, products, supplies, advertising and more. Then you pay employees their payroll and then payroll taxes, your own taxes, license fees and I haven’t even gone into any memberships like to the Chamber of Commerce and so on.

And we haven’t even touched on the stress it is to not only be a hairstylist but to be a Salon Owner Hairstylist. There is waaaaaaaayyyyy more pressure on you to do above and beyond excellence with your skill. And you are also in charge of helping however many employees you have grow their clientele. Many nights I would be up worrying about so and so and if she was happy at the salon. Or whether or not the two coworkers that were in a tiff resolved their issue. There’s no amount of xanax for that kind of stress.

What Your Saying Is

When all is said and done, there is little money left over as profit and little left of your nerves too. And any owner of a small business will tell you that it’s not a 9–5 job. You are always on call. (Even on vacations)

It’s like feeding a beast. You keep feeding it so that it doesn’t eat you. Owning a salon can give you the same kind of feeling at times. You need to be one step ahead of all the bills to make it. That’s why statistics say over 50% of new businesses fail in the first 5 years. It’s hard!

My Final Say As An Owner

Okay, Okay, I will not beat a dead horse. You get the picture. So back to tipping. With all that we have gone over, what do you think? I know owning a salon looks glamorous and you may think that every owner is ballin. But many are just making it paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us schmucks.

You are tipping on a service you received. If you have the owner do your hair, you are still getting a service. In my humble opinion, YES you do tip. How much is up to you. If we can tip a barista for making a cup of coffee that will be gone in a matter of minutes, we can tip for getting our hair done (Coffee lasts a mere 10 minutes, your hair lasts a lifetime).

When you get your hair colored and cut you can expect that style to stay looking fresh for at least 4 weeks. And if you are the type of person that keeps up with their regular hair appointment, you can have great hair all the time. When you put it in that perspective, isn’t a few dollars more worth it? I’m just sayin’

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Danielle Spaar

Aveda Trained Hairstylist now copywriter of all things: hairstylists, hair salons and day spa’s. With over 25 years of experience in the hair industry.