Self employed or salon?


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Apr 10, 2021
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Hi everyone, I was wanting some advice.. I have been hairdressing 15 years and absolutely loveee my job.. I am employed get an ok salary (for an employed hairdresser) and I’m fully booked 5 days a week in the salon with a waiting list.. I make the salon £120k a year I most definitely do not get paid that I get around £26-30k.... I have training regularly and without sounding cocky I know I am one of the best stylists in the area.. I have won big hair comps and made a name for myself and I’m super proud.. I do like where I work and like the company I work for however during lock down it’s really made me think what’s next for me.. I’m 32 with no children and feel like I can’t make much more money where I am and money is my biggest motivator.. soo I initially thought I might go self employed in a salon and that way I can make more money for myself... but then I think shall I rent a small salon/studio space and have my own place... being a “salon owner” scares me and also having all the over heads and stress but I’m thinking i could then have a small team with me eventually in my own salon, rather then me being a self employed girl within somebody else’s salon... just wondered if any of you guys had been a similar position and which u decided to go for?


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Mar 9, 2014
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If you are making £120k a year turnover and taking £30k that is good money. Your employer has to pay VAT out of your turnover, so you’re actually generating £100k net income.

in addition to your salary you get pay holiday pay (worth 12.07% of your pay) and employers national insurance and pension contributions paid for you. So your salary package is around £35000.

You could step away and set up elsewhere on a chair rental basis - you may not realise how much of your appeal lies in you working in your current salon. Wherever you move to, it will feel different to your clients. Some may follow you for one or two haircuts, then they may feel that something undefinable has changed and they may not stay. It’s a risk.

Never underestimate the effort, heartache, cost and risk of setting up your own place. It isn’t always a license to print money. I suggest you talk to your boss about a raise. Say how you feel. I expect they’ll point out that they’ve been closed for 8 months out of the last 12 and have earned less than you over the past year.

Maybe you could offer to take on more responsibility and start to learn more about the business. Having your own place means you need to manage staff, promote the business, do the bookkeeping, pay VAT - it’s several hours work at the end of the day of seeing clients. Maybe you could offer to do some of these activities at the end of your working day after seeing all your clients and see how you cope? You may relish the stimulation and challenge, you may create a case for a pay rise.

Not everyone can be Jack of all trades with a good mix of business savvy and hairdressing talent. There is no shame in saying, I am a creative genius, I love speaking to clients, I hate paperwork and admin and I don’t feel that I can make as much money if I spend my time doing these activities as if I focus on my other talents,

Being an employee is your chance to find out what works for you. Taking a massive leap into the unknown without any experience and confidence in all the other aspects of generating your business is a bit foolhardy. When I set up (in beauty) I felt very confident that I could “easily” handle everything and I had lots of experience. I’ve been stretched to my limits and I invest ££££’s every year in improving my skills and expertise. Just this year alone I have spent £3k on business training because my business has taken a massive hit and I am struggling to reach the levels of income that you generated last year. Don’t underestimate your boss - learn as much as you can!

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