To Rent A Chair, Or Not To Rent A Chair: Everything You Need To Know

Kate RussellBy Kate Russell on March 28th, 2018

Renting chairs to self-employed stylists or hiring your own full-time team is one of the many decisions salon owners face when starting up. Alongside selecting interior décor, professional products and specific services, you’ll have to choose whether you opt for a rent-a-chair business model, take on employed staff or possibly go for a mixture of the two.

As with most business decisions, this one comes with a plethora of complex benefits and downsides that need considering in depth. Once you’ve really taken into account the pros and cons of each business model, you can come to the best conclusion for your business.

Here, we’ll take you through some of the central benefits and then the cons of choosing to move forward with a rent a chair process of hiring.

Pros of teaming with self-employed stylists

There are several benefits to taking on a self-employed stylist, who rents a chair in your salon, paying by the week or month. Here are some essential things to consider.

No salary

With self-employed staff, they are there to earn their own money, paying you the “rent” to use your place of business. Therefore, you don’t have the responsibility to deal with sick pay, National Insurance and holiday pay, to name a few.

Not bound by law

As freelance stylists are not employees with you, you’re not bound by the UK laws and legislation on aspects such as maternity pay, minimum wage and dismissal procedures. This releases you from the restrictions set by law on many of these matters.

Commitment to the job

Although almost all stylists we’ve met are in the business because of their love and passion for hair and beauty, having freelance, self-employed workers could certainly mean an additional push to be the best and give the very best service to each and every client in the chair. Bringing in freelance stylists could also mean increasing your offering into the salon, introducing new and innovative services and products, which only adds to the expert reputation of the business.

Cons of rent-a-chair stylists

Before you think about dropping all your employed stylists and diving into the freelance world, there are some very important potential downsides to running this business model, which need to also be carefully considered too.

Loss of control

This is in regards to your businesses branding. Bringing in stylists who don’t specifically work for you could mean they don’t fall in line with your salon’s branding and reputation and in this modern era, aspects like social media can exacerbate this.

Not bound by law

In the same realm as one of our pros, your freelance stylists don’t work under the same UK laws and legislation as your other staff. This could lead to issues of not turning up, wanting to work their own hours and declining clients, which could harm your reputation, or possibly worse – they could poach both your clients and your staff if they decide to set up themselves.

These can be some of the more serious issues when it comes to renting a chair and the main thing to consider before kicking off; get legal advice and create a service contract. Don’t worry, there’s more on this later.

They’re competition

Finally, when hiring freelance stylists, you need to remember that they are, essentially, your competition. They are much more likely to set up a competing business than your employed staff and so there is always be a worry and risk of poaching clients from your database.

If you opt for a rent a chair model, the first thing to do is to take some real advice to protect both yourself and your business. A legal service contract will provide guidelines and restrictions to ensure that both sides of the agreement are fair and fixed. During this process, you will also need to have proof provided that confirms your stylist is, in fact, registered as self-employed with the HMRC.

Within this contract, you will want to consider aspects such as:

  • Length of contract
  • Dismissal processes
  • Working hours
  • Sick and holiday procedures
  • Freelance insurance
  • Probation period

Whether you’re thinking about having employed staff or freelance, carefully consider the argument from both sides and make sure you make the decision that’s best for you and your business in the long run.


What are your tips to consider when renting a chair to freelance stylists? Would you, or have you, taken the plunge? Share your experiences with us in the comments on Facebook and Twitter.

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