10 Tips for New Independent Contractor Cosmetologists

Updated on May 7, 2020
AHreha profile image

I'm a freelance hairstylist in Oregon. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I want to help you be a successful cosmetologist!

New to the Beauty Industry?

Starting out as an independent contractor can be scary, and it can feel like a long uphill battle to success. Truth be told, there is much about growing a small business in the beauty industry that they don't teach you in cosmetology school.

When I started as an independent contractor cosmetologist, it was in a new city, so I had no clients from beauty school to start my new business with. But I doubled my income every single year and by year three my income was well above average for any industry in my area.

Here's how I did it and how you can too.

1. Work Saturdays

Working Saturdays is crucial when starting out as a new cosmetologist. If you can find a way to work both Saturdays and evenings, that's even better. You will find yourself building a clientele much faster if you are available during these times because most people work 9-5 five days a week. Bank holidays are also a great time to log some extra hours and gain a few new walk-in clients.

2. Take Walk-Ins

While there’s nothing scarier than juggling the expectations of people you don’t know, it's an important step towards creating a sustainable clientele base. Without initial walk in traffic, growing your business can be a long uphill battle. Sometimes that color correction that walks in crying (usually just as you're about to leave for the day) becomes your new best client. People who are dazzled by your incredible generosity in taking them last minute or staying late for them usually tell their friends about you.

3. Answer the Phone

If you work in a salon that doesn't have a receptionist and the calls are taken by available stylists, jump. on. that. phone. Most hairstylists are natural in-person conversationalists, so developing rapport over the phone can be difficult, but it's well worth the effort to brush up on your phone skills and nab those extra clients in your "down time."

4. Do Your Hair and Makeup

You probably wouldn't pay big money to a lawyer who looked like a pawn dealer, so show up to work looking like a master of your craft. If you show up to the salon looking like you just rolled out of bed, you client is likely not going to trust you for a balayage and brow wax. Take pride in your appearance; it's a billboard you take everywhere.

5. Don't Do Your Hair and Makeup at Your Station!

I know that giant mirror in front of you can be tempting, but resist the urge to primp at work at all costs. It's just not classy.

6. Keep Learning

You passed the classes, took the state board exams, and are out in the real world, but that doesn't mean you should stop learning! The nature of the beauty industry is that it's always changing. Trends change by the year and require you to learn new skills in order to execute the newest look. Invest in yourself by putting aside a little of your earnings each month so you can attend shows and classes. This money will come back to you ten-fold!

7. Keep Track of Your Earnings

Keep track of every penny that goes in and out of your hands. Simple mistakes like not tracking cash and tips will cost you in the long run. Rather than unraveling a giant mess at tax time every year, spend a few dollars and buy a cash book to track your tips and earnings. If you are an independent contractor, you also need to record everything you spend on product and mileage.

It's also worth it to have a qualified tax preparer file your taxes for you. While TurboTax might seem like a cheap alternative, it really isn't. A tax preparer will be able to alert you to write offs you may not be aware of, which can save you thousands over the years!

Do you track your earnings?

See results

8. Pay Estimated Quarterly Taxes

Instead of just hoping you have enough spare cash laying around at the end of the year to cover your taxes, fill out the necessary paperwork to pay state taxes quarterly. This will make those steep self-employment taxes less of a blow in the spring.

It's also worth it to set aside 30% of your earnings to cover federal taxes. While that may seem like a lot, it's worth it to have the buffer in case the total you owe adds up to more than you thought. Anything left over from that 30% is like a double tax refund!

9. Rebook Your Clients

This should go without saying, but I've seen many new cosmetologists fail to rebook their clients. Most clients who don't book an appointment while they're in your salon never come back. Repeat business is the at the absolute core of being a successful independent contractor. A client who comes back is one less client you have to find through advertising. Offer your client the opportunity to rebook with you while they're still enamored with the fabulous job you just did! Here is some advice if you're having trouble rebooking.

10. Don't Criticize Your Competition

Tempting as it may be to criticize the esthetician who turned your new client's eyebrows into McDonald's Golden Arches, avoid this mistake at all cost. We all have bad days and your client probably already feels embarrassed and annoyed. Being critical of other stylists may seem like a way to make yourself look good, but in the long term it sullies your reputation and makes you seem less trustworthy. Try to only speak about other cosmetologists the way you would want them to talk about you.

10 simple tips that will help you succeed in your new career from day one!
10 simple tips that will help you succeed in your new career from day one!

What are some rookie mistakes you made as a new cosmetologist?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)