Think Before You Accept Your Next Job

Two blonde women shaking hands after discussing a job offer.

7 Factors to Consider Before Accepting that Salon or Spa Job

Congratulations! You’ve graduated from Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology, passed your licensing exams, and are ready for your first job as a professional hair stylist, esthetician, or nail technician. All of your beauty industry dreams will soon come true, right? Not so fast. If you want to ensure you’re taking this momentous step in your career with the right foot, you need to find a salon or spa that’s a good fit. To do so, consider these factors before you accept any job.

1. Job Location

It might be your dream job, but if getting there is a hassle, you’re not going to love it for long. Consider any salon or spa’s location and your transportation options before you accept an offer. How long is the commute? What is the parking situation? If you have car troubles, is public transportation available nearby? Foot traffic is also affected by location. Is the salon or spa in a busy area with a steady stream of walk ins? As a new professional, walk ins are essential as you build your book of clientele.

2. Schedule

Before you accept any job, make sure you have a clear understanding of the hours you’ll be expected to work. Do you have the opportunity to set your own hours or will the salon manager choose your shifts? How well will those hours fit with the rest of your obligations like childcare or eldercare? If you have an illness or emergency, does the salon or spa have systems in place to help you cover or reschedule appointments?

3. Compensation and Expenses

You may have gone to beauty school for a variety of different reasons, but earning a living wage is essential. Before you accept that job, ask for details about the pay structure. Will your compensation be solely based on commission or do employees receive an hourly rate plus their tips? As a new professional who has yet to build a clientele, base pay may offer better financial protection even if you have to start out in an assistant or associate role to get it.

You should also consider any expenses associated with working at a particular salon or spa before accepting the job. Expenses may include chair rental, product and supply purchases, even paying for your own parking. These expenses can eat into your take home pay, so make sure you have a clear picture of them.

4. Continuing Education

You received a top-notch education at Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology, but the best beauty industry professionals will tell you that there’s always more to learn. When weighing a job offer, consider the continuing education opportunities available at that salon or spa. Do they have a mentorship program for new professionals within the salon? Will they pay for additional classes you may want to take locally or at industry events?

5. Culture

You were probably on your best behavior when you interviewed for the job, and the salon or spa owner was as well. Before you accept the offer, you should find out as much as you can about what he/she is really like as well as the day-to-day workplace atmosphere. You can do this by talking to other stylists, estheticians, and nail techs as well as the front desk staff. If possible, ask to shadow another professional for a day or two and make notes on everything you observe. If you don’t like what you see, it’s probably not a good place for you to work.

6. Job Reputation

The reputation of the first salon or spa you choose to work at is important, so check out its customer ratings online. Search Google, Yelp and social media. If the clientele has a lot of negative things to say, employees are probably not being treated well either. On the other hand, even an apprenticeship or assistant position at a salon with glowing reviews can enhance your own reputation when it’s time to move on.

7. The Fine Print

Almost any job these days, whether in the beauty industry or elsewhere, requires an employment agreement. Make sure you ask to read it before you accept the job offer, and if you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. Pay particular attention to any non-compete clauses in the agreement. These generally prevent you from working at any other salon or spa within a certain distance for a specific time period and are best avoided unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t need to leave.

By Angela Rose for Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology