June 2012

LeAnne Velona

Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona


Is Booth Renting Right for Me?

Booth renting is an age-old business model that is still widely used in salons and the beauty industry today.

In recent years, booth renting has earned an unfavorable reputation due to its lack of structure and support, under reporting of income, and misclassification of employees. On the other side, there are advantages of booth renting including the opportunity to manage your own business.

Booth renting is ultimately a personal choice that should be made based on where you are in your career path, keeping in mind your short and long-term goals. Following are a few questions to ask yourself before you consider booth renting:

Can I afford this? First and foremost, make sure you are able to pay the monthly booth rental, on top of your personal living expenses, and then take into consideration other expenses associated with booth renting.

Cosmetology, business, tax identification and professional liability licenses aside, booth renters are also responsible for purchasing all of their own products and tools. This includes, but is not limited to, shampoos, conditioners, styling capes, scissors, blow dryers, curling irons, business cards, and marketing materials.

As a booth renter you must also cover your own medical and dental insurance, file your own taxes with the IRS, and most importantly, be responsible for bookkeeping and tracking your own finances. Being organized and business savvy will go a long way as a booth renter.

While there are a lot of up-front expenses as a booth renter, keep in mind that most of the things you purchase for your business can be used as a tax write off. For example, subscriptions to professional and trade magazines, tools and styling supplies, appointment books, pens, travel to and from hair shows, meals and expenses while traveling, mileage, and the list goes on.

Do I feel properly and professionally trained? Starting a career in beauty after graduation from beauty school is as exciting as it is challenging. While in-salon training as a beauty school student, or student salon training under the supervision of a licensed instructor, may offer new stylists some real-world, hands-on experience there is no substitution for on-the-job learning from a seasoned stylist.

If you haven't already, I recommend finding a mentor who has built a successful career to not only teach you new techniques and help perfect your existing technical skills but also guide you in client relations and the business of booth renting. Booth renters are responsible for continued training, and beauty schools do not necessarily prepare students with real-world business experience.

Be sure to take advantage of a salon management course! Salon management courses often go beyond the basic level and technical training to address the ins and outs of operating a salon – from bookkeeping and insurance to salon policies and procedures.

Do I have the experience to be self-employed? For a new stylist and recent beauty school graduate, booth renting comes with its risks. Essentially self-employed stylists, booth renters must balance the service AND business end of working in the beauty industry. This means providing a client with a flawless cut, color and style in addition to understanding cash flow, accounting and scheduling.

Think of booth renting as operating a "business within a business." In addition to promoting your own services, as a booth renter you are responsible for building your own clientele. Building relationships is essential for the growth and success of your career as a stylist. A steady stream of clients means a steady paycheck and greater profits for you.

Am I motivated to be a booth renter? Booth renting can be a lucrative approach to a career in beauty if you are willing to network, promote yourself and your services, and dedicate time to the business side of the beauty industry. Additionally, if owning your own salon is one of your long-term goals, booth renting can be a great step in this direction.

With booth renting comes the freedom and flexibility to manage your own schedule, and the sky is the limit when it comes to the income potential! The most successful booth renters are those who are business savvy, willing to learn, and those who are committed to professionalism, mastering the craft, smart about finances and passionate about the beauty industry.

Like I mentioned earlier, only you can decide if booth renting is right for you. Be sure to do your research, take into consideration all the information you find and then make an educated and informed decision based on what will best fit with your professional goals and career path.

LeAnne Velona, director of esthetics and massage therapy education for Marinello Schools of Beauty, has been a certified licensed esthetician for over 18 years and is also a licensed holistic health practitioner. Marinello Schools of Beauty offer cosmetology and esthetics programs at campuses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah. For more information, visit www.marinello.com.