Five Reasons Booth Rental Salons are Problematic


I don’t try to hide it. I hate the booth rental salon model. These are many reasons I consider it more problematic than it’s worth and strongly discourage owners from utilizing it. Here are five of them.

1.) It gives the owner absolutely no control. You can’t tell your renters when to work, what to charge, how to work, how to dress, or how to behave.

2.) A lot of renters expect more than they’re owed. Too often, I hear complaints from booth renters who want their landlords to supply backbar, laundry service, a receptionist, advertising, walk-ins, and a booking system. Those things aren’t owed to them. Renters are paying for a space…that’s it.

3.) Clients don’t understand the business model. You know what a client sees when she walks into a booth rental salon? A salon. She doesn’t understand that every person in the salon is running their own separate business.

If your renters are behaving unprofessionally or producing garbage work, the salon itself earns a bad reputation; not the individual stylist-owned business.

As a landlord, you have no control over quality, so you have no choice but to suck it up and deal with it. If a client brings a complaint to you (the person they see as the “owner”), you cannot rectify it because it is not your responsibility to reimburse on behalf of another business owner.

4.) A booth rental salon does not promote a team environment. The salon as a whole suffers with this “survival of the fittest” way of doing business. When your salon is staffed with employees all working towards the same goal of producing quality work, creating a specific atmosphere for the clients, and working for the long-term success of that business, everyone wins.

Employers have the opportunity to control the quality of work, provide continuing education, and keep the staff motivated by taking them to shows or bringing in guest educators; landlords don’t.

5.) The model leaves far too much room for conflict between renters. Unless you have them separated into individual studios (and sometimes even then), there are going to be issues between tenants. An owner of a booth rental establishment has little to no ability to mediate or discipline those negative behaviors, which have serious potential to affect the businesses of other tenants. Theft of product and tools also becomes an issue the owner has no control over.

With that being said, here are several articles I’ve written about booth rental that provide solutions to those issues. These articles address things like contractshow booth renters are to be treated, how to respond to negative reviewswhat a booth renter is actually entitled tohow to “fire” (read: evict) them properly, and how to introduce programs for your renters to make their lives easier without crossing the landlord/employer border.

To help mitigate the two other drawbacks to the booth rental model, I’ve created downloadable business toolkits exclusively for salon landlords and tenants. You can find those linked in the images below.

$29.99Add to cart

$9.99Add to cart

…just because I hate it doesn’t mean I don’t love you enough to provide you with resources. 🙂

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Beauty industry survivalist, salon crisis interventionist, tactical verb-weapon specialist, and the leader of at least a hundred workplace revolutions, Tina Alberino is known as much for her extensive knowledge as for her sarcastic wit and mercilessly straightforward style. She’s the author of the book The Beauty Industry Survival Guide and the blog This Ugly Beauty Business. When she’s not writing, educating, or consulting, she can be found overthinking everything, identifying problems people didn’t know existed, and stubbornly working to change the things she cannot accept.


    • I recommend not following a template or attempting to draft your own contracts. Each business has different needs. Most of us aren’t lawyers and attempting to function as one (or downloading any generic templatre that doesn’t account for your state’s variations in employment/contract law) is a TERRIBLE idea that will likely end in disaster. I can’t tell you how many salon owners have discovered their self-written or template agreements were unenforceable because they were unlawful or improperly written. Pay the money to have them written by a pro. It is WELL worth it.

  1. I am so happy that you share your knowledge and experience of the Beauty Industry as well as the legal information. I tried too pass your information on to a couple of shop managers I booth rented from and they fired me the same day. One of them stated that the information doesn’t apply to this shop or the state of Maryland.

    • LOL, they’re lying. Federal law applies to all 50 states, CERTAINLY Maryland, where more laws protecting worker’s rights are on the books on a state level. You can’t be “fired” if you’re a renter–you have to be evicted since you’re technically a commercial tenant, but these abuses are disgustingly common. Tell that “manager” to go ahead and email me the statutes that contradict my information–the ones that supposedly exempt Maryland from the federal laws and distinguish her salon as a sovereign state. I’ll be waiting for it. If she’s going to tell me I’m wrong, she damn well better be ready to prove she’s right.


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