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What Commission Do Hairdressers Make?

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A certified hair stylist is almost always in demand, but income comes in a variety of forms. It can be an hourly wage, a salary, a commission, or some combination, and some stylists rent space in a salon and work for themselves. A stylist's skill level and experience influence the amount of money he makes, and for those who receive commissions, many factors come into play determining the percentages.

Career Path

The salary or commission a hairdresser makes depends on the place of employment and job position. Hairdressers who decide to enter salons that are part of a large corporate chain usually start in entry-level positions earning a small hourly pay rate. The advantage in doing this is a candidate's ability to gain high quality experience, and the possibility of working up to a better-paying position with a larger wage and commission rate. Another option a hairdresser has is to find a position in a small salon where he may have to pay a booth rental, earn a straight commission, or receive some combination of an hourly pay-rate plus commission.

Salary and Salary-Plus

When on a salary, a hairstylist is not responsible for any of the hair salon equipment or costs. He usually earns a straight per-hour pay-rate, which typically varies anywhere from around $8 to $19.97 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on the salon size, clientele, and location. Some salons offer an incentive commission when an individual meets a certain goal. The commissions are based on number of clients or on the number of hair products a stylist sells, and there is no clear industry standard for the amount of commission paid, something determined individually by each salon or chain.

Straight commission

Some salons pay a hairdresser a straight commission with no salary. The commission varies widely. According to Forbes Magazine, the commissions range from 35 to 60 percent, but larger commissions are often based on a graduated commission rate, meaning a stylist may earn a basic 35 percent commission, but will receive an additional percentage rate for meeting productivity and sales goals.

Booth Rental

Some salons use what they call the booth business model in the industry. Under this model, the salon rents a booth to a hairstylist. Providing he pays a certain monthly amount for booth, plus salon and advertising expenses, he is allowed to keep all of his profits. This gives a stylist control of his own destiny by building his own client base, and managing his own growth and profitability.


Jennifer Moore began writing in 2006, specializing in Web content, blogs and forum postings. She is a graduate from the most prestigious university in Mexico, Universidad de Las Americas, with a B.A. in international relations, later obtaining a U.S. teacher's degree and an additional CompTIA A+ certification in computer technology. Moore has written for My Mexico Living, BoomersAbroad and various other websites.