I like to check the Craigslist Salon/Spa/Fitness job postings for laughs. Often, they don’t disappoint. Salon owners are “hiring booth renters,” posting long rants about what they’re NOT looking for, and advertising “full-time independent contractor” positions–but of course, only if the applicant has “a full clientele.”

It’s amateur hour all day long on Craigslist.

It would be funnier if I thought people weren’t actually considering those so-called “job offers.”

Here are my guidelines for salon and spa owners posting ads on Craigslist:

Professionals should not be made to suffer for your poor business planning. Quit posting ads asking for someone with a clientele. If you want someone to fill your empty ass salon with clients, you damn well better offer them a contract that protects the clientele they built, a competitive compensation package, and a substantial bonus. Even then, how do you plan to verify that those clients actually exist? How do you know they’ll follow your new hire to your location? Are you sure those clients even belong to the employee you’re hiring, or are you stupid/desperate enough to risk a lawsuit from their former employer for a breach of contract that works in your favor? Get real.

Learn how to spell-check. Quality applicants have no interest in working for someone that doesn’t seem literate enough to run a business. “Oppurtunty,” “managment,” and “benifits” are not words. Also, research the proper use of homonyms, pronouns, and possessives. If your ad looks like it was written by your eight-year-old, something is seriously wrong. You have no excuse for not taking the time to run a spell-check, at the very least.

If you don’t know the difference between an employee, booth renter, or independent contractor (freelancer), you should never have opened a business to begin with. Read this and maybe stop advertising that you’re violating tax and labor laws.

If you are offering rental space, you can not dictate what hours tenants work or what products your tenants use. So stop posting things like “Redken Products ONLY” or that “Saturdays and evening hours are required.” You have no right to set those rules.

Independent contractors are not your employees. You can’t put them on a schedule or force them to clean your filthy bathrooms. If you want to dominate their professional lives, man up–pay their taxes and make them employees.

Commission-only isn’t legal unless you’re ensuring prevailing wage compliance, so drop this insane all-or-nothing compensation model. It’s not working for you or anyone else.

The majority of the salons aren’t actually “upscale” so quit posting about your “busy, upscale salon.” Only one of ten of you really are upscale, but all of you are using the word. Now, it’s meaningless. None of the actual upscale salons I have worked at ever advertised themselves as such. You know why? It’s tacky. Stop.

If you have to say that your salon is “drama-free,” it clearly isn’t. No salon is drama-free. As of this posting, there are currently 68 salon and spa listings in Tampa that contain the words “drama free.” Seriously, go to Craigslist, check Salon/Spa job postings, and search for “drama.” You’d be surprised at how many places advertise themselves as being drama-free.

This indicates immature, inexperienced management.

I would never take a job from anyone who a.) believes their business is truly “free” of drama, and b.) feels the need to list that as a job benefit on an ad for a position that lacks legal classification and compensation, let alone actual benefits.

Grow up, salon owners. Please.

This is truly the most outrageously childish thing I have ever seen in my career. We’re not in high school anymore.

Your salons are professional workplaces–start treating them as such.

Identify yourselves. Are you in some kind of salon witness protection program? Why isn’t your business name in the posting? Why isn’t your website linked in the ad? Why are there no names or locations to speak of? What the hell are you hiding?

Give information. Beyond your salon name, you should be listing exactly what qualifications you require, what position you’re hiring for, and what type of schedule you’d like your applicant to work. “Hiring now at Some Random Salon. Call Jill for more information,” is NOT a suitable advertisement. Stop wasting your time and the time of your applicants. Don’t be lazy. Write a proper job listing.

No ranting. Nobody wants to read a long rant about your bad experiences with ex-employees. Again, please grow the hell up.

Save that foolishness for your blog.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

Nail Tech/Esthetician (NW)
looking esthetician for commison or booth rental. Must have equipment and clients. Must have license to work. call for detail. no resume plz just call.

So, you don’t have equipment or clients. Excellent. No resume? Seriously? One question: what is commison?
Rating: Hard pass.

Salon Assistant (Florida)
Assistant wanted for part-time position in Upscale salon. Perfect job for student. Must have experience blowdrying and do not apply if you do not know how to blowdry.

Upscale with a capital U? Sounds legit. No salon name, no contact person. Also, students cannot style hair in the state of Florida, so this owner is also advertising the fact that she violates state board regulations.
Rating: Ugh.

Nail Tech (SW)
Now hiring Licensed pedicure manicure specialist. Newly licensed techs are welcome. Fast growing clientele at our salon brings opportunity for growing steady income . High Pay: 60% commission+100% tips+all supplies and equipments are provided free of charge by salon. Guaranteed busy and fun work environment. Full-time or part-time, flexible employer. Please email resume and portrait picture with contact info. Thank you. PS:Only serious employment seekers need to apply, please. If applying for job to collect unemployment benefits please don’t even bother with us. No-reply, no-shows after contact will be reported to labor agency for review

First of all, if you know anything about this business, you should know you can’t “guarantee” a busy environment. Hm, 60% commission. Nice for the employee, but how are you paying your bills? This looks a whole lot like the compensation structures that sink the salons I do turnaround consulting for.

100% of tips–uh…ok? That’s legally required of you, but thanks for presenting the status quo as if it’s a benefit exclusive to your workers.

All supplies and equipment provided, excellent. Flexible scheduling, good. Portrait picture?! Why exactly do I need to send a picture? Am I applying to do nails or model for you? What kind of establishment is this? As creepy as the picture request is, I think it’s awesome that this guy is ready to shut down unemployment abusers. Way to look out for the American taxpayer, guy! High 5!

Rating: Creep factor 10, plus this salon will likely be out of business by the time I publish this draft.

3 stylist 2 nail tech needed NOW (NE)
High end upscale salon needs FULL staff. NO DRAMA. NO DRUG ADDICTS. NO THIEFS. Must have clientele and work weekends. Rent $160/wk. Must use Redken products and have own equipment. MUST BE EXPERIENCED. Only apply if you want to be part of a team. You can make minimum $4000/mo. if you work. NO CALLS OR EMAILS. Apply in person.

This ad smells like post-walkout desperation, and I’m willing to bet I know why those renters walked. “High end upscale?” I didn’t post the location of this salon, but let’s just say that I know the area well and that claim is total bullshit. She’s not fooling anyone who actually lives there. “Must have clientele and work weekends? Must use Redken? Must have experience? Must be part of a team?” None of this is consistent with rental. “You can make minimum $4000/mo?” Is she setting prices too, or can she tell the future?
Rating: Trainwreck. No thanks.

Salon Manager/Nail Tech (SE)
Requirements: current license, 5 years management experience
Responsibilities: follow procedures, be well groomed, greet clients and perform consultations, sanitation skills, handle booking requests and walk-ins, provide confirmation calls, clean/organize, manage social media, manage employee scheduling, willing to work nights/weekends, provide nail services
Compensation: 50% commission only+tips

First, any career salon manager with 5+ years of experience knows exactly what the job entails, and they know it’s impossible to be both a manager and service provider with any degree of competence. Salon management is a full-time job by itself. Nobody competent will be willing to function as a manager on that compensation system. I start salary negotiations at $65,000, plus bonuses–and I won’t even sit down to talk about it unless there are benefits involved. You know why? I got marketable skills, and I got real-world bills.

If you want someone experienced to run your business for you, you better be willing to pay them for it. We aren’t cheap.

I can get 50% commission and tips from any one of the dozens of poorly managed (or completely unmanaged) salons in any city in any state in the country. What incentive are you giving a manager to do the extra work? None.
Rating: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. ROFL. …no. Just, no.

Alright, so I’ve had my fun for the year. If you find any hilarious job postings for beauty professionals, please send them my way. I’m always looking for a good laugh. I’ll be posting an article next week explaining how to craft an expert job advertisement. For more information on how to weed out bad owners and find valid job opportunities in this industry, read my book.

This silliness needs to stop, and it stops when the pros finally say, “Enough is enough.”

Quit accepting mediocrity from the salon owners in our industry. They can do better, so expect it from them. Job interviews are a two-way street, and if what they’re offering isn’t up to par or in compliance with the laws designed to protect American workers, tell them so right before you take your resume and your skills somewhere better.


This post was originally written on September 9, 2012. Revised and expanded for re-posting 2016.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this. I’m a new-ish stylist (5 years at corporate select-service salons) and I want to make more money. Looking through Craigslist is the only way I know of finding work. I’m open to any and all suggestions. Thank you.

    • Without a doubt! What incentive do professionals with a following have to work for someone who clearly doesn’t know their ass from their elbow? I wrote about this in another post here, but yeah, this is exactly why rental is so popular right now.

  2. My current salon is commission-only and does not ensure prevailing wage compliance (I’ve had weeks where I’ve made $1/hr on commission). I have brought this to the salon owners’ attention, shown them articles you’ve written, and I am currently seeking other employment. I have spent the last eight months between two salons who abused their employees in this fashion; building a clientele in work environments like these is extremely difficult and discouraging, my clientele takes a loss every time I move. All the ads on Craigslist are like this. I provide better service at higher prices than the chain salons, and none of the better salons are hiring. Suite rental seems like the only option and I’ll have to take a second job just to be sure I can afford it. I’m hopeful for the day salon owners get their s*** together.

    • This is why our industry is so fractured, with so many people working independently. Most, like you, actually WANT to be part of a salon that operates properly, but finding one is like finding a unicorn. Self-employment is expensive and a ton of work. It sucks. I’m so sorry you can’t find a good place to work. I’m really hoping more owners will wake up and realize the reason they’re struggling with employee retention and failing to thrive has everything to do with their refusal to take responsibility for their businesses. 🙁

      • Absolutely agree. I would love to find a “unicorn” salon and settle in for the long haul; it seems like everyone wants the title of “owner” while laying the cost of doing business on the team, blaming staff for failure to grow and maintain salon profitability. Despite all that I’ve experienced, I completely respect what it means to be an owner and I consider myself a “unicorn” stylist in that regard. Thank you for being an advocate in the industry. You give unicorns hope; maybe we will survive extinction!

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