How do you pay your staff - fixed salary or flexible??


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Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2012
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Just looking for a bit of feedback really and your thoughts - how many of you employ staff in your salon and if so, how do you pay them - as in, are they on a percentage basis or a fixed hourly rate basis?

The reason being, I have had my salon open 11 weeks now and as expected, it's really slow in taking off (I knew this would be the case, so while it's a real struggle, it's not unexpected with a new business) and we are not full every day yet (we open four days a week). I employ one girl who is great and while she was completing her NVQ Level 3, she was happy to just get a bit of experience on a Friday and Saturday and I gave her a bit of cash in hand here and there as a thank you. However, now she has finished her college course and is obviously needing something more permanant. She is happy with the working days as she has a little girl, so suits her being part time anyway, but I am wondering how I should pay her now. If I pay her minimum wage for two full days at 8 hours a day, that may sometimes be more than we take in that day (as like I say, we're a new salon and by no way up to client capacity yet), so I was thinking of paying her 25% of the days takings - that way, it's an incentive for her to help get more people through our door too.

What are your thoughts on this? Does anyone do this and does it work? Yes, I know I need to think about the tax etc etc - I'll do all that properly, I just need some advice and thoughts on how to pay her first - I can't work out which is going to be better for me and the business.

Thanks, xx
You could only get away with paying her 25% if she is self employed !
What about reducing the hours just to cover busy times in day and fit everyone in with her around that? And you open and close by yourself ? I could not afford to pay a wage when I started so it was just me and a free placement trainee from college ! Good luck x
If you employ someone the wage must meet the minimum wage how ever you do it.

I pay £6.10 per hour on 16 hour contracts and then a bonus of £1 per hour, broken down into 15 mins for 25p bonus. An eyebrow wax is worth an extra 25p file and polish 50p lux facial £1. I also give a 5% commission on retail sales. I am also going to do a 5% commission on microdermabrasion courses booked aswell. Each week if need I ask who can work extra hours. I am keeping on the right side of the law and also rewarding BT work, retailing with a bonus. We aren't even half full every week but we are getting busier and have just run a really successful groupon deal.

I opened my salon in November.

I am surprised you have not been shot down on here by now about the "cash in hand" comment ;)

Well as you say 11 weeks is early and do you really need someone in that soon on a specific day/hour etc?

I opened my larger salon 13 months ago (seems like yesterday) and took a hit with overestimating how many staff I would need initially. I think unless they are active with clients you need to pay per hour and sometimes more often than not it costs more than you take.

My senior stylist however has been with me since day 1 on percentage share and has stuck with me in the quiet times but days like yesterday she didnt stop from 0930 til fone 8pm last night so she did right to stay and I do right by her in giving her carte blanche of clients (I left at 4pm yesterday yippee and we broke our existing takings record).

I think you just need to grin and bear it and do everything by the book and look after the good ones.

Keep a bank of "casuals" too that you can call on for help if you do get really busy and yes it does happen! Be it shampooists. stylists, saturday girls etc.

Good luck in your new salon, stick at it, I love mine.
I am surprised you have not been shot down on here by now about the "cash in hand" comment ;)

Haha, I know - but it was only when she was still at college and wasn't officially employed by me, she was just doing some work experience, so the "cash in hand" was merely a thank you from me for her hard work.

I wouldn't do that now if she is going to be employed properly - the last thing I need is a visit from the "tax man" :eek:

Thank you for the replies - it's given me food for thought and I am still weighing up what to do. Obviously I will be doing everything above board, as I say above, I don't want to breaking any laws with the tax man, but I also need to think about myself in what I can and cannot afford. It may be that I can't keep her on at the moment (which I feel terrible about, plus she is a good little beautician, so a shame to lose), but with just me and her, we're not busy enough at the moment.

Thanks again, xx

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