The Self-Employment Preparedness Checklist for Beauty Professionals

Self-employment isn’t easy and anyone who told you otherwise was either lying or had the tools and knowledge necessary to pave the way for a smooth ride before they ventured out on their own.

What about you? Is your business plan fully developed? Do you know about your legal obligations? Have you worked out your budget?

Are you truly ready?

Before you quit your day job and start filing business registration papers, take a few minutes to evaluate this self-employment preparedness checklist.

Audio Version

Are you familiar with your rights, obligations, and potential liabilities?

  • Do you know what it means to be truly self-employed?
  • Is your business model legal in the state where you plan to operate? (On-location services tend not to be legal and mobile salons are typically heavily regulated.)
  • Will you require any special licenses to do business in your area? (For example, a sales and use tax certificate?)
  • Does your business require a fictitious name registration (DBA) or will you be better off forming an LLC?
  • Do you know how to file your estimated federal self-employment taxes quarterly or will you require the services of a CPA?
  • Do you have professional liability insurance? Will you also require general liability insurance?

Have you done your market research? 

  • Who are your clients?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they need?
  • How do you plan to fulfill that need?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What challenges are you likely to face and how will you overcome them?
  • Does your area truly have a need for your business or will you have to find a more unique and marketable angle?

What do your numbers look like?

  • Do you have enough starting capital?
  • What will your annual operational costs be, including your salary?
  • How much revenue will you need to make to generate a profit?
  • How will your costs affect your service pricing?
  • Can your target demographic afford you, or are your projected prices going to be too high?

Where and how will you do business?

  • Are you going to freelance?
  • Will you rent a booth or studio?
  • Are you opening a home salon or mobile facility?
  • How will you generate additional revenue beyond the beauty services you offer?

Are your branding and marketing materials well-developed and consistent?

  • Have you designed a website?
  • Have you claimed your social profiles?
  • Do you have a high-quality portfolio of your work?
  • Does your logo suit your brand’s tone, personality, and message?
  • How will you internally and externally market your business to ensure it stands out?

Have you finalized your service protocols?

  • What services are you going to offer?
  • What are the steps to each service?
  • How long does each service take?
  • What is the material cost for each service on the menu?

What are your policies?


Stop pulling your prices off your competitor’s brochures—or worse—out of thin air. Get the beauty industry’s most comprehensive and accurate pricing and compensation calculation tool and get profitable today!


A wealth of information and tools for self-employed professionals! If you rent a booth or suite, operate a home facility, or freelance, you can’t afford to go without The Microsalon Owner’s Complete Business Toolkit.


Do you rent space to beauty professionals? The Salon Landlord’s Toolkit contains a comprehensive guide to rental salon ownership, a rent calculator, and a lease component checklist!


Everything a salon owner needs to know about how to attract, recruit, train, and retain top talent—including how to design job descriptions, compelling employment ads, and fair employment agreements.


A 55-page PDF with everything you need to understand why certain policies may be required, who should and shouldn’t implement them, and when and how to introduce them in your salon.


The Salon Employee Suitcase makes income tracking simple, no matter how complicated your employer’s compensation structure is. Learn your rights and ensure every paycheck adds up.


Planning to start a beauty school or host classes? Account for your overhead costs and will automatically calculate your prices! Test different price points to evaluate your profits per term and per year.





13 Responses

  1. Is it legal as an independent contractor for a salon owner to require you to pay your rent in cash in Florida?

    1. Yes. Rent can be paid by any method the landlord prefers. Some don’t want to pay processing fees on credit transactions and don’t want to risk bounced checks, which is understandable. It’s shady, but not against the law. Withdraw the cash in a single transaction on a regular basis (for instance, every Monday morning). On your online banking ledger, notate that the withdrawal is for rent. Don’t forget to provide her with a 1099 at the end of the year so she knows you’re claiming that money as a business deduction, and the IRS will know she earned it (so she better plan on claiming it as income if she doesn’t want them breathing down her neck).

  2. I wanted to make sure this was legal . As an independent contractor I am paid by commission weekly (60%) . Although I purchase some of my supplies because I’d rather not wait when I need it ASAP, I pay an additional 10% for supply orders I need & an additional $30/month to use the salon scheduling app . I bring my own clients in, there are times the owner gives me clients to service & there are times I take walk ins . I am asked to wear a dress code , & I do make my own schedule. There is so contract in place but I did sign a policy contract for the salon . I do my own marketing & Business cards .
    There are times she asks me to add the salons phone number instead of my direct number on my advertising & cards (but I don’t) .

  3. Aloha Tina I’m planning to rent a room from a salon I’m going to check it out maybe tomorrow what are your advice for me when I meet them I’m so nervous and honestly don’t have any knowledge of this process I read things online thankfully I came across your page it’s very useful and I’m so nervous about it but in my heart I want to do something for myself.
    I thank you in advance..

    1. Be careful what you read online. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have verifiable credentials. There’s a lot of bullshit out there.

      I recommend making sure that you’re going to be a tenant and that the salon owner won’t be overstepping their boundaries. Their job is to provide you with a space. That’s it. Anything that indicates they want additional control over your business should be a dealbreaker.

  4. I’m trying to think of a nice very caring way to change hours of my wife’s salon. She works way to much to have time for herself first and for most . She has no time for doing things she has expected herself to do as a mom . She a really good wife but her clients have snowballed once again like before we had kids together . She just doesn’t have the time to put into being a wife . I just really want the clients to understand why , and that each of them are important to her succes and she (we) appreciate them , she has done very well because of them .

    1. I don’t think any reasonable client will take offense to that reasoning. I recommend starting to limit the books now–so clients booking their next appointments will find that she has less availability. Only explain if they should ask, and keep the explanation short and to-the-point (one sentence). For instance, “I’m overworking myself and my family needs me, so my schedule is changing effective immediately.” Neither you nor she owe the clients any more of an explanation than that, and honestly, it’s highly unlikely they’ll even ask for further explanation. I think you’ll both find her clients are more understanding about the demands of a home and family than you would expect. When it comes to communicating things like pricing and schedule changes, we dread those conversations because we assume our clients will react poorly, but in my experience, poor reactions are extremely rare.

  5. Well I have been an employee at 3 different franchises. I have been a renter manager and teacher all on my bucket list. I have 30 plus years and had to move to part time do to aging parents. It’s been 3 years and now have them securely taken care.
    I now need to focus on my business under independent Contracting status.
    The owner and I are the same age and we both have aging parents sickness Alzheimer’s dementia the list goes on and she lost both of her parents last year.

    I was renting before the owner lost lease after 5 years I had to move 4 times in 2 years.
    I finally found a salon I can do all of my business and I do massage therapy and cosmetology. When I was a renter I had a lot of social media Facebook Yelp and Twitter. I dissolve this business name and renamed it something else have been working under this new name for 3 years the owner of the business is telling me I cannot have a business within her business and I cannot promote with a my own menu of service she asked me to take down all pictures on my Yelp page which I no longer have but have been informed by Yelp that any business page is public record I have taken the photographs off I’m very confused.
    I have always done my own advertising and social media work my Facebook page has been under the new name for three years and this is the first time she has said anything confused in Florida.

    1. If you’re a so-called “independent contractor,” you are self-employed, just as you were when you were a renter. That means you have the same exact freedoms you had previously. This owner has no authority over you, as you ARE NOT their employee. They need to understand what “self-employed” means, and if they are trying to control you and your business as if you were employed by them, they’re misclassifying you, which is a violation of federal tax and employment laws.

  6. A hairstylist (independent contractor) I know had given the salon owner a 30 day notice that she was leaving the salon. The salon owner is now telling her she needs to leave by the 15th instead of the end of the month. Can the owner legally force her to leave if she has done nothing wrong other than the owner “doesn’t want it to be awkward”?

    1. That depends on whether the lease allows her to. In these instances, everything comes down to contract law. If the lease said the landlord can evict a tenant at any time for any reason (or for no reason), then they can. If it doesn’t, generally they cannot. The only situation in which they could get away with an early eviction would be if the lease were week-to-week, rather than month-to-month. If the renter is on a week-to-week lease, then the owner typically has to abide by common law lease rules, which only require a week’s notice of eviction.

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