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The Rise of Rent-A-Chair

The Rise of Rent-A-Chair

Attract and retain the right clients

In recent years, the rise of the ‘rent-a-chair’ salon has become apparent and salon owners are having to rethink how to educate their team. With the financial appeal of ‘rent-a-chair’ salons becoming more prominent, what can salons do to attract and keep the right stylists?

Karen Bell, Owner, Vincent Bell Hairdressing


This is the question that I currently hear more than any other. HMRC have clearly defined guidelines on their website regarding the control that you can and cannot have over a self-employed stylist. The biggest challenge is that they are failing to enforce these guidelines. They are currently losing a massive amount of revenue from VAT and Income Tax and surely will not allow this to carry on.

Fortunately I am already hearing of salons being inspected and I think 2018 will see this happening more frequently. At 3·6·5 we work with salons that strive to be the best. They want to become leaders in their town and be the brand that is recognised as providing the finest service delivered by the finest team. That is the crucial word. TEAM.

The HMRC guidelines state that a self-employed stylist or chair renter should have total control over their prices, their own hours, which products they use, which services they deliver, when they take their holidays, their own service standards, their own marketing material, their own promotions and even which clients they serve.

There is no way that a group of individuals working like this could ever become a team, let alone a brand. As a provider of business coaching and education, at 3·6·5 we work with salons that employ their teams because a salon cannot provide education to a self-employed stylist. Why would they?

I still believe that what you need to offer people is the opportunity to earn good money by charging the right prices in your salon. You need to provide them with the opportunity to grow and develop, with a working environment that gives them the best place to serve clients and you need to offer branding, marketing and PR to drive new guests into your salon.

I also passionately believe that we have to change the way we train future stylists. The ‘Now’ generation doesn’t want to take three years to train, only to then charge low prices which lead to low earnings. Salons need to train harder and faster. Invest time and money but expect higher standards. None of this is easy. But if it was then everyone would do it. Karen ask yourself this. Why would you work for you instead of being self-employed?

This article originally appeared in Creative Head, where Ken has a monthly clinic.

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Posted in: News, Business Building