For most hairstylists, tips constitute a significant portion of their total income. Unfortunately, most stylists deserve more tips than they usually get. Through the course of a week, a hairstylist will usually provide services to several customers who either forget to tip, or do not even realize how important tips are to a hairstylist’s survival. This can result in a significant loss of income for a beauty professional.
In many salons, it is not unusual to pay over $100.00 for a cut and color service. According to traditional tipping etiquette, this would require a customer to leave a $15.00 tip. However, many stylists rarely get tipped in excess of ten dollars for a color service. Compare this to dining in a restaurant, where a 15% tip is commonplace. Customers think nothing of leaving a ten dollar tip for a sixty-dollar meal, but they cringe at the thought of leaving a ten dollar tip for a one hundred dollar haircare service.
In the hairstyling world, a tip of less than fifteen percent is unacceptable. After all, a waitress is tipped 15% for doing nothing more than bringing dishes to a table or taking them away. In the course of a meal, the customer comes into contact with a waiter or waitress for a total of perhaps two minutes. While you are eating, the waitress is working other tables, making additional money.
In a salon, however, most stylists will spend 1-3 hours providing you with constant attention. They do not simply sit you in a chair and then move on to the next customer. Keep in mind that a lot of stylists are still paying off student loans for cosmetology school, which in some cases can exceed fifteen or twenty thousand dollars. Further adding to the hairstylist’s worries is the fact that many stylists do not receive an hourly salary. Many stylists earn a commission for services rendered. This can mean a stylist can work an eight hour shift and still not be guaranteed an income. Some salons even charge booth rental, which means that a stylist has to pay rent on his or her styling station within the salon.
Imagine if a waitress had to pay $15,000.00 in tuition to go to table-waiting school, pass a state board examination, pay for a state-issued occupational license, and then had to pay the owner of the restaurant a monthly rent in order to work! If this were the case, restaurant customers would be inclined to tip twice as much just out of sheer pity. Yet this is the same situation many hairstylists face.
Whether or not you choose to tip a stylist is up to you. We view tips as a token of appreciation for our time and expertise, and we do not demand them from our clients. But before you think about skipping out of the salon before tipping your stylist, remember this: when a client does not tip, we write it down on your client card and add it to our files. And when we see that a habitual non-tipper is in our appointment book, we remember who you are…and we are the ones with the scissors and the ability to make the “bad” haircut you will receive look like an accident!