Salon Ownership vs. Booth Rental vs. Commission Stylist: Which Is Right For You?

When starting your career as a hairstylist, one of the biggest decisions you'll make is whether to become a salon owner, rent a booth, or work as a commission stylist. All three options have unique pros and cons, we don’t think there is a “right” choice just what’s right for you!

Here’s an in-depth look at each option:

Salon Ownership


  • Unlimited earning potential through stylist commissions
  • Control over policies, procedures, pricing, vibe
  • Potential for growth and expansion
  • Equity that can be sold in the future


  • High startup costs ($30k - $200k+)
  • Ongoing expenses like rent, payroll, supplies
  • Need for strong business expertise
  • Long hours managing the salon and clients

Booth Rental


  • Lower startup costs (rental fees $300-$1000/month)
  • Flexibility with schedule and time off
  • Independence and earning what you bring in
  • Less risk without large financial investment


    • Unstable income relying on clientele (especially if you are fresh out of school)
    • Limited space restricted by salon capacity
    • Little control over policies, hours, culture
    • Self-promotion required to gain clients

    Commission Stylist


    • Very low startup costs
    • Consistent base pay with commissions on top
    • Focus on doing hair vs. running a business
    • Established processes and operations


    • Less control over schedule, policies, procedures
    • Smaller income percentage kept vs. booth rental
    • Find a salon that fits your culture needs


    There's no universally "right choice" - it depends on your goals, risk tolerance, and experience level. Weigh the unique pros and cons of each option carefully to decide which path is best for you! No matter where you are you can always do anything.

    At the Liquid Hair Institute, our community is here to support you every step of the way on your journey - Join us to access insights and mentorship to turn whatever your beauty dreams are into reality by joining our free community!

    💜 Peace, Love, & Slay,
    Chrystal L. (she/her)
    Founder of Liquid Hair Institute