The Truth About Booth Rental — What Your Stylists Should Know


A Letter from Tom Petrillo, Principal of The Salon People, an Exclusive AVEDA Distributor

The lure of this model is strong: they make running your own business look simple. As a distributor and school owner, we see many stylists leave for promises of increased freedom and paychecks.

The reality is, many of them return to the traditional salon after a couple of years because of these hidden factors:

It’s a lot of unpaid work due to responsibilities like taxes, ordering, scheduling, marketing and more.

Tom Petrillo

Tom Petrillo

It’s hard to attract more clients than you lose. Traditional salons offer support here, but with Booth Rental, it’s all on the stylist. There will always be clients who leave; you have to bring in more than you lose.

Enforcing costs is hard, such as raising prices and charging for no-shows. It’s tough to be firm without a company policy to back you up.

Clients suffer—then split. There’s no greeting, no team support when you’re running behind, no cup of tea while they wait. Technique stagnates as education access declines. Many clients who initially followed their stylist revert back, missing the experience of the “full-service” salon.

Please share this with your team. Too many promising stylists are stunting their careers because they are not getting all the facts.

At AVEDA, Neill Corporation and The Salon People we support growth and opportunity for stylists. This is why we believe commissioned and salary salons provide the best environment to work in.


Archived Comments

11 Comments (Comments are closed)

  1. Jenny Zavo says:

    I am a booth renter and would love to be back in a full service salon. I miss the the team, the fun, the education, I miss everything. I would love to open my own full sercive salon, (no funds for that)and the problem here is no one wants to work anymore. My former boss sold the salon and it went booth rent bc of the stylists and lack of work ethic and her own lack of management and discipline skills. Now I work in a friends BR salon and nobody cares what they look like, what products they use, no education. Some of the work I see going out the door embarrasses me and they’re not even my clients. Ugh!

    • Neill-TSP says:

      Hi Jenny,
      We understand how you feel. If you’re looking to make a move, we encourage you to get in touch with Aveda salons in your area, as they tend to have more advanced in-salon education and support systems, and therefore the higher caliber of work that you seem to crave. Aveda makes a point to be very involved in their partner salons, from the salon owners to the stylists, and has a lot of resources for both.
      This link will help you to find the Aveda salons near you.

      Thanks for commenting, and best of luck to you!

  2. I so agree with everything you said. There are so many clients that want the whole salon experience: salon and stylist image, cleanliness, parking convenience, receptionist, etc. On top of that, most booth rent salons could not pass IRS regulations. We keep talking “professionalism” yet booth rent hurts our industry’s image!

  3. I totally agree! The grass always looks greener!! Tom you look marvelous with your weight loss

  4. Lacy Townley says:

    I as a salon owner completely agree, I am going to have my employees read this very realistic and powerful.

  5. I agree100*/* with you. There are so many things that are unseen that make a salon a great experience. Not to mention how you can be nickel and dimed to death. But as a salon owner of wonderful booth renters, I am curious what the percentage is of commission salons vs. booth rentals?
    Great article!
    Jenny Leigh Ryan
    HBI Salon

  6. Lynn Glaze says:

    I am a salon owner (commission) of 30 years. Booth Rental has enticed stylist away from me, but as this article explains, within the two year mark the illusion of grandeur sets in to the reality of difficulty .
    The guests that left have returned and the stylist are trying to keep their head above water. The IRS has our industry in focus !!! I just finished an audit myself. They are coming for the booth renter and it’s not pretty!!
    Salary and or commission is the way to go if you want to do the right thing for your guest.

  7. Geno Levi says:

    Hello Tom:
    Your thoughts on this issue are invaluable!
    My salon is in the business of creating long-term career opportunities for young stylists right out of Cosmetology School through advanced education and hands-on mentoring.
    The success of our industry is in the collaboration of salon professionals. As we build salon “brands” together and encourage teamwork and a heart for service within our salons, both stylists AND clients benefit from the growth and professionalism that’s created.
    I would love to have further conversation with you about this subject! I’ve devoted my life to training and mentoring stylists, and I’m gravely concerned that many stylists are being misled into “booth rental” for the wrong reasons.
    Sincerely, Geno Levi,
    Geno Levi Salon
    ProDry Blow Dry Studio

  8. Thank you Tom and Neil for sharing on this important subject on our industry and I couldn’t agree more !!
    We at Joseph and friends have had our share our staff which left for boot rent salons over the last 3 decades so what have we done about it.
    1-we hire smarter
    2-we teach them the pros and cons of booth renting in our boot camp
    3-we are very strong in letting them know from start of their career that our company is about learning …teaching …mentoring thru partnership
    4-they know that their advancement with our company is job no one .
    5-we also teach them what it takes to open a salon

Need to Attract More Guests? Hire a great team? Opening a Salon?

Want to Get
There Faster?

We Can Help. Wherever you are, we will help you get to where you want to go—faster.

Everything we do, we do to help you grow, and our Salon/Spa Development Partners will help guide and support you every step of the way. Our promise is to make sure you have the best support and service in our industry.

This site was created to answer challenges and share inspiration. You’ll find the stories of some of the most successful salons and spa in the world—their struggles, their breakthroughs, their successes. We hope their stories help you in your own business.

Welcome to


    Neill Corp

    for TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, TN, & AL
    303 South Pine Street
    Hammond, LA 70403
    (800) 333-0100

    Facebook Instagram
    The Salon People

    for Florida
    100 2nd Ave S, Suite 1202-S
    St. Petersburg, FL 33701
    (888) 283-3235

    Facebook Instagram

    for remaining US
    4000 Pheasant Ridge Drive
    Minneapolis, MN 55449

    (877) 622-5917

    Facebook Instagram