Every week someone asks me, “How are these owners getting away with [insert common violation here]?”

My answer: Because you let them.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of owners do contact me and are horrified to discover that they’ve been violating state and Federal laws. They simply didn’t know any better. Part of the blame can be placed on them for not putting forth the effort to research for themselves, but some of the blame can also be placed on their state governments for not making the information more easily accessible. This is the information age, there is no excuse for not having those resources organized and available online. Most states require continuing education as a requirement for license renewal. How difficult would it be to add about 5 pages or so outlining Federal wage & hour laws, state labor laws, and other applicable legislation as it applies to the salon worker?

Then again, there are owners that do what they do out of greed. A girl emailed me the other day telling me that her owner has her purchase product, takes 50% of her income, 20% of her tips, $30 out monthly, and $5.75 out each paycheck for “advertising” and for the use of the credit card machine. How this salon managed to find a staff is a mystery to me. But this happens all the time. Around the country, salon owners are violating these laws at their employee’s expense because “that’s how it has always been done.”

Many salon employees just listen to what they’re told and falsely believe that their owners “know best” when that’s rarely the case. That needs to stop now. Get informed and inform others. If something doesn’t sound right, don’t just blindly accept it. Question it. It’s time for us to stand up for ourselves. We need to look out for our own interests.

Fight for yourself. Nobody else is.


  1. I’ve read a few of your articles, a lot of the comments, and I appreciate all of the information you’ve taken the time to share. I’m currently a first time booth renter, and I’ve discovered several things I wasn’t aware of. I want to approach the shop owner/landlord about it, I don’t know the best way in doing so. Prior to booth rent I had always been commission and I didn’t do any research on either role. So starting out, I would help clean and assist the owner where I could. (Got supplies, food, or helped pamper a client) They taught me how to better my cutting skills and they also taught me how to use a straight razor.
    They recently expanded their shop and after reading some of your posts, I stopped doing as much of the extra things and started to work my own schedule. I’ve gotten comments about it that aren’t exactly nice even when said playful, the owner doesn’t appear to like me choosing when I work (I have stated that I’m booth rent, I pay for my space and I was told “that’s just a fallacy”)
    I started working a second job two months ago, so I could continue to stay there (which I told the owner) He had told me Saturday was a required shift, and said I would try to do one Saturday a month.
    I went into work last Saturday and my booth was occupied by another barber. It was extremely awkward and I had not been told that someone would be using it. So I didn’t work.
    I leave this week for vacation, Friday the guy who occupied my station before came in and told me he would be working the next day and the following week. I wasn’t informed nor would I have known if the other barber didn’t come in and share that information. So I packed up my tools/supplies and brought them home. I still paid for my full weeks boothrent, even though I couldn’t work Saturday if I wanted, and I am expected to pay for my week gone on vacation. (Which I get why you pay for the space even when you’re gone.) however, should I have to pay when he’s renting it out to someone else? We have no contract, I didn’t know I should have one. I’ve struggled with approaching him because I feel like I owe him for how much he’s taught/helped me grow my barber skills. I do feel like I’m being taken advantage of at this point, but I want to approach it in a respectful manner. What would you do? I’m going to continue to read your blogs and will probably find the answer, but it’s never a bad idea to go ahead and ask for help. Thank you so much for reading this!

    • LOL, “that’s just a fallacy.” I cannot even.

      Although this post was intended for workers who are being misclassified in employment situations, I believe that it will apply to your situation as well, so I recommend reading that. It will tell you how to have that conversation in a respectful way.


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