February 7, 2009 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Tip the salon owner?

I just had my eyebrows done by the salon owner. I didn't tip as she's the owner. I think that is the rule... but want to make certain as I'd like to have her do them again...

data point: NYC
posted by cestmoi15 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
In my experience it is standard to not tip the owner.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:12 PM on February 7, 2009

Agreed. I've even had salon owners refuse a tip I tried to give them.
posted by ohio at 12:17 PM on February 7, 2009

My wife is a new salon owner (less than a year open), and she has experiences both ways. She had a gentleman ask her that exact question last week, and she answered honestly that some people do tip her and some don't. They had been speaking about the salon being relatively new, so he asked if she was paying herself yet. She admitted no, she didn't take any salary for any of her work yet, trying to keep money in the new business. So he chose to give her a tip. In her experience, it is not expected but she doesn't refuse tips right now.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2009

Thanks for all the help. This is a very established place (her personal assistant came to greet me), so I think I'm ok.
posted by cestmoi15 at 12:57 PM on February 7, 2009

I tip the salon owner where I go, but that was because the first time I went there, I didn't realize he WAS the owner! He's never refused, and once I realized he was the owner, it seemed awkward to stop tipping, especially as I eventually learned that he's trying to raise funds to expand his business. Since he does really good work (seriously: amazing colorist) at prices that are actually a little on the low side for L.A., I figure it's still a bargain for me to throw in a tip. (And I certainly always put in a separate tip for one of his assistants if she washes my hair, etc.)
posted by scody at 12:58 PM on February 7, 2009

My primary reason for always leaving a tip is that I go to a small independent salon in a residential neighbourhood; their prices are on the low side so I feel comfortable leaving a tip every time if it helps keep them around.

I had no idea that it was generally ok to not leave a tip with salon owners- interesting.
posted by variella at 1:45 PM on February 7, 2009

I also tip the owner at my salon. Previously.
posted by contrariwise at 1:52 PM on February 7, 2009

While the rule of thumb is you don't tip the owner, I feel like that etiquette has relaxed over the last decade or so, and now it can go either way. I always tip regardless, but I also don't think it's a faux pas if you don't.
posted by katemcd at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2009

At the salon I used to work at, the owner was also a hairdresser and earned the same wages as the rest of the stylists. It was customary to tip him.
posted by itchie at 2:28 PM on February 7, 2009

I'm even more confused now.

My understanding is that the whole point to tipping at the salon is the stylists basically rent the chair from the owner, who gets a cut of the cost of the cut or whatever service you're paying for, so you tip them a bit, basically to make up for it, I guess. So when you go to the owner, they're getting the full amount you're paying rather than just a percentage.

I think of it as business, rather than etiquette. This is now incorrect?

contrariwise: thanks, I couldn't find that thread, but I thought there'd be one in here somewhere.
posted by cestmoi15 at 2:34 PM on February 7, 2009

How stylists get paid vary from place to place. Some "rent a chair" like you mentioned, which means you pay a certain set monthly fee to work there, and you keep 100% of what you make. Some stylists are commission based; they don't pay a monthly fee but they only make XX% of the service. Occasionally stylists make a flat hourly wage. And there are some in-between systems, but those are the basic setups.

You're not really making up any certain amount the stylist is paying or not getting paid. Just look at it as a gratuity as you pay in a restaurant. If you like the service you received, tip accordingly, especially because this is a person you will likely see again for your next service.

The idea behind not paying the owner is that they theoretically "keep" 100% of the service cost, but that is assuming they pay themselves differently than all the other employees - everyone makes 50% commission, but the boss pays themselves 100%. In reality, many salon owners pay themselves the same or less than employees, but they do have the flexibility to pay themselves more out of the business if they so choose.
posted by shinynewnick at 3:00 PM on February 7, 2009

shinynewnick explains it perfectly; the salon I worked at was commission-based.
posted by itchie at 3:02 PM on February 7, 2009

My hairstylist is the owner of the salon and I've never thought of NOT tipping her -- she's the one doing the work and the tip is like the bonus for doing a good job.
posted by pised at 4:52 PM on February 7, 2009

Why not tip her? She's doing the work, regardless of whether or not she owns the business.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:12 PM on February 7, 2009

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