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This is my salon:

A friend of mine who was designing that very web page, hooked me up with the owner. We met, and she was very excited about what I do. I felt really good about the deal. She seemed very understanding of the fact that since I wouldn’t be using any of the salon’s supplies I would get a better commission split than the stylists. We discussed my paying 30%-40%. She added my services to her yellow page listing and suggested that I buy my own add, for her shop, in the Tattoo section of the yellow pages. I declined with much resistance, but other than that, everything seemed like it would work. I really believed that I was going to be in a supportive and lucrative environment. She didn’t contract me, and acted like it was a favor to ME. Turns out she just wanted to opt for the 40%. Bet she knew I wouldn’t sign that contract. Imagine my surprise at my first check.

My last attempt at a similar deal was a tattoo shop. Nice guys, great artists, poor business men. Long story short, they ended up going out of business. At least they treated me like an asset…

I didn’t get any sort of training or explanation of how to handle money in the salon. I looked unprofessional trying to manage at the reception desk untill one of the receptionists offered to show me the ropes. I had to point out that I’d been doing small amounts of work for a month and hadn’t seen a paycheck yet. Turns out I had to fill out a tax form. Were they waiting for me to ask? I did a few pieces early on, but didn’t really worry about the lack of steady clients because it was winter -not exactly the best time for henna. The stylists loved my work and made it worth my while to show up from time to time. Keep in mind that at this point I was going in three nights a week for several hours and RARELY doing any work while I was there. Summer will be better…

I bought business cards. I designed and printed brochures. I bought a salon T-shirt and registration for a networking event to a tune of $65. I pounded the payment. I worked hard and all told invested about $220 promoting this salon. AND 3 evenings a week for 4 months. I don’t even have a chair. When I work I set up in the lobby. This is what is provided for 40% of my earnings.

I was reasonably excepting of all this for a while. I suggested that I could set up my festival tent in the parking lot and promote myself and the salon that way. The owner was interested and suggested we offer snacks and such as well. After a while we picked a day. Another week goes by and she tells me that I should call the local night-life free paper and see if I could get them to cover the event. It was also clear that I would need to plan and promote the whole gig. (by the way the free paper covers large events and businesses who buy add space, not hot dogs and henna in the salon parking lot.) Did she think that I was going to buy an add? Now I started to wonder if she was going to look to me to supply the snacks?!?

So what am I getting for 40%? I spend my time money and effort promoting this salon AND pay them! Once again, I don’t even have a chair. That was the last time I went in hoping for walk-ins. Now I just show up when I have an appointment. The receptionists, all of whom are great, take my appointments and call me to tell me when I need to come in. I’d rather just give them the salon’s cut directly. They’re the only one’s who do anything for me. I don’t give out salon cards any more. I went back to using cards with my home number on them. I don’t really encourage clients to meet me at the salon. I suggest I come to their home first. If they hesitate, then I offer the salon. I’m just not going to pay the salon for the privilege of promoting them on my dime any more. We’ll see what happens next…

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