Management / Staff

The Benefits of Hiring In-House Staff for Salon Owners & Professionals

6 min

The Benefits of Hiring In-House Staff for Salon Owners & Professionals

The salon industry is facing a staffing problem. With the emergence of a shadow economy and an appetite for more flexibility among salon professionals, business owners across the industry are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain high-performing teams.

In an effort to adapt, many salon owners are presented with a difficult decision: whether to open their businesses to allow freelance booth rental or rent a chair. While the self-employed model is an increasingly popular way of operating, is it always the best option for salon businesses? And do its benefits outweigh hiring in-house for owners, staff, and the business as a whole?

Not exactly.

From our 20 years of connection to the industry at Phorest, we believe that the best salons in the world thrive with strong leadership and talented, purpose-driven in-house professionals at their heart.

The Benefits of Hiring In-House Salon Staff

As Phorest researchers  Verna Wall and Rich Cullen explained at the 2024 Salon Owners Summit; “the best salons in the UK and Ireland create a team of high-performing in-house staff”. By hiring a strong in-house team, a good salon owner lays the foundation for a positive company culture. A solid team then helps expand the brand. 

Once you have the talent, the management team must nurture it. Getting the right people onboard is just the beginning. Maintaining a positive salon culture in the long run hinges on leadership. By investing in training, benefits, and ongoing education for your team, you can foster an environment that makes people want to work for you, makes them a part of your mission, and makes them want to stay for the long run.  More on this here.

With a team of dedicated salon professionals, you can make the following a reality…

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: In-house salon staff are often easier to manage than freelancers. With an in-house team, you can set clear customer service expectations and guide them to operate under a singular customer service manifesto. This ensures consistent, positive customer experiences– enticing your clients back to your salon over and over again. 
  • Better Staff Retention: Many premium salons with in-house employees earn a name for themselves as desirable places to work. By implementing inclusive workplace policies and creating a space where the team feels supported and empowered, not only will they want to stay, but word will get around. You’ll keep great stylists and therapists longer, and the next time you need to hire, your reputation will precede you.   
  • Establishing Brand Identity: In the salon industry, brand matters. From the products you use to your team’s interactions with clients, your brand identity can make or break your business. By hiring in-house, you can train your team to deliver services that reflect your salon’s standards and ethos, establishing and strengthening brand identity.

The Benefits of Working In-House for Salon Employees

With the rise of freelancing and salon booth rental, many salon professionals are curious about these working structures. And with good reason, too; on paper, they seem enticing. Flexible working hours? Check. Full control over the clients you service? Check. The promise of more money and career progression? Not exactly. 

One of the main benefits of being a part of an in-house team is that regular wages are guaranteed. Alongside the security, a good stylist can often make more from working in-house, thanks to a larger pool of clients plus more commission and tips, than renting a chair. 

Additionally, self-employed industry professionals must manage each aspect of their business themselves – from booking appointments and calculating taxes to stock management and upskilling. This is a costly responsibility that many freelancers fail to prepare for.

While flexibility can be compelling, using valuable time and money for the other ad-hoc duties of running your own business can be stressful. At Phorest, we’ve seen some of the most talented stylists flourish as part of an in-house salon team. 

Alongside the monetary benefits of working in a salon, consider: 

  • Access to Education: The best education in the industry comes from the salon floor. That’s before you add the many investments premium salons make in their employees’ professional growth. From learning new skills and working with top industry brands to mentorship opportunities, the educational aspect of working in-house in a salon should be central for anyone who wants to focus on their career development.
  • Company Culture: While establishing a healthy company culture is sometimes possible in booth rental arrangements, it often feels more transient and individualistic. Employed team members who are all working toward the same goal, under the umbrella of one business, grow company culture faster and stronger. This generally promotes stronger relationships and can make it easier for you to feel at home in your workplace-something that many industry professionals are seeking out today.
  • Existing Client Pool: Being part of a salon’s in-house team means that you’ll have access to more clients.  Not only can this teach and challenge you as a professional, but it also means increased tips, regular clients, and busier, more engaging days at work.
  • Less Responsibility, More Creativity: Working in-house means spending more time focused on your craft and your clients without the burden of the other aspects of running a small business. Rest assured that you’ll be paid at the end of every pay cycle.

How Can I Hire and Retain a Successful Team of Salon Staff?

In his workshop at the Phorest 2024 Salon Owners Summit, Dennis Van Lierop said that salons are cultural institutions. To hire and retain a team of talented stylists, salon owners should understand what these workers want in a place of employment and how to give it to them.

To create a salon space that naturally attracts and retains a high-performing team, here are some of the basics: 

  • Have a Vision: Part of hiring and retaining talented stylists is creating a unified workforce. You can do this by developing a specific vision for your salon and a mission for your team to follow. Showcase these often, from the hiring process and through continuous upskilling and training, for a team that feels aligned, understood, and purposeful.
  • Embrace Flexibility and Change: As previously mentioned, in-house stylists want flexibility and to feel like they belong. Gone are the days of managing in a manner of “what I say, goes.” The best salons now create company cultures that put the wants and needs of the team front and centre. Hold regular meetings, offer flexibility, encourage autonomy, and consider your team’s suggestions about how the business should operate if you want them to feel heard and stay loyal. 
  • Grow Together: If your team feels like they can progress and grow in your business, then you’re on the right path. As a salon owner or manager, position yourself as a leader and mentor, taking the time to listen to their goals and ambitions and helping them try to achieve them. Investing in education, growth, and mentorship is investing in a healthy future for your business

Pssst: Phorest’s staff app, PhorestGo, offers a range of great staff management features designed to help your team own their professional growth and thrive in the salon! 

What About Booth Rental?

With rising costs, hiring issues, and staff retention difficulties all a reality in today’s salon industry, salon booth rental can seem appealing for both salon owners and professionals. If this is something you’re interested in, we suggest that you should consider the following factors:

  • Legalities and Paperwork: Salon booth rental comes with lots of responsibility–for both salon owners and staff. While this varies from region to region, understanding the legal implications of renting a salon booth or working for yourself is vital to ensure you remain compliant and legally abiding while doing so.
  • Business Reputation Considerations: Given the uncertainty of salon chair rental, freelancers could act in a way that is not conducive to your salon’s values or way of working. While the promise of reduced staffing costs can be tempting, bringing in a freelancer whose way of working doesn’t align with your values could negatively impact the reputation you’ve spent so long curating and could be extremely difficult to build back up.  
  • Possible Brand Dilution: Renting out a booth can be a good way to increase diversity of skills, styles, and clientele. However, this can also affect your salon’s brand identity. For example, if your salon has built a reputation for using eco-friendly products, or for premium customer service, renters may not want to adapt to this, preferring their own approach. This, in turn, can dilute your brand identity as a whole. 
  • Service Quality Uncertainty: Many premium salons prioritise quality, which can be managed and adhered to when staff use specific products, train at the same institution, or work under the same management. This quality of service instils trust and loyalty in your client base, increasing client retention and resulting in better reviews and reputation. However, renting out a booth means that freelancers may not hold themselves to standards in line with your own, causing quality issues. 

Styling Your Salon’s Future

While the grass can sometimes seem greener for salon owners and professionals who are considering going freelance or renting booths, it’s important to consider your options before jumping in on this trend and changing the way you operate. 

When it comes to shaping the future of your salon, or your future as an industry professional, it’s all about finding the perfect fit for you, and being somewhere where you can thrive and grow, hand-in-hand with the people around you. From our experience, we think that often means hiring in-house. However, whatever your team looks like, Phorest is here to support. 

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