Being a hairdresser can be a rewarding profession. You get to meet a lot of interesting and colorful people. If you do well, you can take home substantial amounts of money. But it’s not always good. Like every profession, there are good things and bad things that go with it. Before investing a lot of money in training and stylist equipment, you need to do some thorough research. While this article is a good place to start, you should do more research on your own to see if being a hairdresser is right for you.
• Pro: Short Training Program
• Pro: Being Able to Set Your Hours and Prices
• Pro: Entrepreneurship Opportunities
• Pro: Interesting People
• Con: Some People Are Terrible
• Con: Lack of Benefits
• Con: Unknown Income
• Con: Physically Demanding
Pro: Short Training Program
In our world where the cost of college is a concern caused by rising student debt, having a short training program is a major plus. Cosmetology schools focus exclusively on cosmetology rather than requiring a large number of general education courses that don’t have anything to do with your desired career path. This will save you a considerable amount of money compared to a four-year college. Time is also another factor. Most cosmetology programs take about a year if you are a full-time student compared to other programs that require four years of education or longer. Granted, there are some circumstances where a cosmetology certification can take longer than a year, such as only being a part-time student for example.
There is another option: Apprenticeships. It can take longer (about two years) than a cosmetology school but you will be able to gain hands-on experience and make money before taking your licensing exams.
One other major benefit of cosmetology school is that you can enroll when you’re 16. However, parents should help their child do the necessary research, both in careers in cosmetology and when selecting a cosmetology school before they allow their children to sign anything.
Pro: Being Able to Set Your Hours and Prices
Flexibility is one major perk of being a hairdresser. In many other professions, there are horror stories of people being called in at any time to the point that they have no control of their schedules. Often, being called in at the absolute last minute. It can make it impossible to raise kids or have any sort of personal life. Even Sundays and holidays such as Thanksgiving are no longer considered sacred by much of the service industry. Conversely, people can report not being called in to the point of not being able to make any money.
When you’re a hairdresser, you can set your own hours. You can actually have holidays without worrying about being fired. You can set your appointments so you aren’t risking last-minute calls. You can also set up your hours so you can take walk-ins and offer your customers some flexibility. Plus, being your own boss frees you from worrying about whether or not your life is being impacted by a boss who has a grudge against you.
Plus with new scheduling software available on your phone, setting your schedule is easier than ever/
One other major benefit is that you can set your own prices. You can have things like special deals and discounts. You can adjust prices based on your profits and what you need. Working for other people doesn’t give you that sort of flexibility and sometimes you have to watch bad policies and business strategies sink the business.
Pro: Entrepreneurship Opportunities
Being a hairstylist working for yourself does give you entrepreneurship opportunities. You can either rent a booth at a salon or start your own salon. Some have even started salons out of their own homes. A newer trend is the rise of the mobile hairstylist, hairstylists that come to people’s homes and do their hair there. As more people get older or become disabled and have trouble finding a handicapped-accessible salon, you may see some opportunities in this area.
It is also possible if you get a large client base that you can start your own product line. With social media sites like Instagram where you can show off your results, you can start building a reputation, not just in your community but on the Internet. Some hairstylists, like Cliff Vmir, were able to get hair product lines started because people wanted the quality of his work in their bathrooms.
Pro: Interesting People
If you’re a people person, being a hairdresser might be a good opportunity for you. You get to meet people from all walks of life. You might meet a social activist, a community leader, a high-powered businessperson, or a cute child getting his first haircut. Some of those people can even be good networking opportunities to expand your business.
Many hairdressers report that the conversation they get, sometimes including things they’ve never told anyone, is rarely boring.
That said, there are some downsides to being a hairdresser
Con: Some People Are Terrible
Even if you are a people person, dealing with customers can be a tough job. You might get a customer who wants a hairstyle their hair can[‘t support and will throw a fit if they get told they can’t get it. Sometimes, you’ll get a child who does not want a haircut and will throw a tantrum. Then there are adults who will throw a tantrum if they can’t get an expired coupon or other special favor. Another problem can be sexual harassment. Sometimes, customers will get too attached to a hairdresser and want something beyond a standard customer/hairdresser relationship. While this is rare, it does happen and it’s important to set boundaries.
While most customers are reasonably decent, it’s important that you have to be able to assert yourself for your own benefit and the benefit of employees.
How can you talk to your salon clients?
Con: Lack of Benefits
One of the biggest problems with running your own business is the lack of benefits like health insurance. This can be a major problem if you have a family (especially if you have someone with a disability/. While working for someone else has its problems, a big plus is that your employer pays for most of your health insurance. While there are insurance plans for the self-employed, they can be expensive. If you’re under 26, you may be able to get on your parents’ health insurance plan but you should consider that a stopgap measure.
You also won’t have a 401k or pension. You will need to set aside some money each month. This can be hard because you can’t always tell what your income is going to be.
Con: Unknown Income
When working in a conventional salaried job, you always have a reasonable idea of how much money you’ll be making and you’re able to budget accordingly. With hairdressing (or running any small business), you have no way to know. You may make a lot of money one month during prom season, but there may be a month where you don’t make a large amount of money. Either way, you’ll still have to pay your expenses for yourself and your business. So you’ll have to find a way to get a lot of business during the busy season and maintain a steady income during the less busy season.
Con: Physically Demanding
Since most people only see hairdressers for a few minutes at a time, they underestimate how demanding the job can be. Hairdressers are typically on their feet all day, often having to bend and stretch. They also risk repetitive motion injuries and things like carpal tunnel syndrome. Finally, there is the chance of slipping and falling if you aren’t careful.
There are ways to mitigate some of these risks. Sharpen your blades daily so hair is not as hard to cut. This will lower the chance of injury to your wrists. There are videos about proper posture when cutting hair and you’ll learn some in your cosmetology program as well.
Learning to take of yourself on the job will be one of the most important things you learn. Pay close attention to those lessons.
1. What should I look for in a cosmetology school?
For starters, accreditation from the state. Some schools have tried to say they are “state-authorized” or “state-approved.” But these are not the same as accredited. You should also take a tour of the facility first.
2. What are some other ways to avoid injury on the job?
Always keep your workstation clean and clean it between appointments. You should also invest in ergonomic equipment and chairs that you can easily adjust.
Looking to start your own Salon? Get the documents you need to get organized and funded here.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.