Tipping Owners of Salons?

Summer_NHMarch 9, 2003

I have read countless times in Dear Abby over the years that you do not tip the owner of the salon if the owner is the one who cuts your hair. For a short time, I went to someone who had own their own in-house salon and did not tip her because she owned the business. When I went back to my regular hairdresser, I told her who I went to temporarily (my hairdresser had surgery so I went to someone else for awhile). I told my regular hairdresser that I didn't much care for the temp hairdresser and somehow in conversation the tip question came up. She told me maybe that's why I didn't get good service. I told her that you aren't supposed to tip owners. But she said it couldn't hurt.

I thought that was a strange remark, and a greedy one at that. Don't owners know they aren't supposed to get tipped? I am currently going to a different hairdresser and have been going to her for a few months now. She also owns her own business. She has an actual salon though, not in her home, but she is the only worker there as it's a small place. So would I not tip her too? Thing is, I wasn't thinking and have been tipping her all along, so don't know how I would stop it now. And don't you think it was rude of her to take my tips all along since she's the owner?

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I don't tip the owner. Normally I think you would tip the other hairdressers because they sometimes have to share a portion of their earnings with the owner. The hair dresser that I see now rents a booth from the salon owner and doesn't have to share any of his earnings with the salon owner. He is self employed. It helps if you know the arrangement the hair dresser has with the owner.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2003 at 11:40AM
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As far as the owner taking your tips all this time, I wouldn't say it's rude so much as maybe dumb to turn you down! I don't know--I just think most people will take it if you're offering. I got my nails done by a lady who did them out of her house (she didn't have a salon/room set up or anything: she did them at her kitchen table!). After my first vist, I tried to give her a tip and she told me that she doesn't take tips as she works for herself, so all the money goes into her pocket. HOWEVER (on the flip side), my mom has started doing artificial nails out of the house. She has a business license, advertises, and has an actual "salon" set up in a separate room, so it's all very business like. I know she's been a little...offended (that's actually almost too strong a word, but I can't think of how else to put it), when she spends two hours putting gel nails on a client (who generally got a discount to start with) and they don't even offer to tip. I think it's definately a tricky situation because you don't want to offend by not tipping (or end up getting crappy service for NOT doing it!). To me, if your tech, owner or otherwise, does NOT say "tips aren't necessary," I think I would at least offer a tip.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2003 at 7:14PM
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I was a hairdresser for twenty years. I've worked commission, had a licensed salon in my home, and leased a booth.

When I was in a salon I got tips all the time, even when I rented a booth. I even got gifts at Christmas and my birthday from many customers.

A hairdresser leasing a station isn't the same as an owner even if it is their business. They don't make money off of other people. In a restraunt for example the owner isn't serving you, and taking care of you. They buy the food and someone else serves it. If an owner of a salon sat in their office, and didn't do hair I wouldn't tip them either.

I don't understand where the "owner" thing comes in. I had a home salon that was licensed. I didn't make any more money than when I leased. In fact, I probably spent more because pampering my customers. I had to purchase gravel for parking, utility bills, I spent money on decor, flowers inside and out, a variety of magazines, warm drinks, ice water, etc to make it a pleasant experience for my customers. Yet, only a small percentage tipped me. I couldn't believe it.

I gave all my customers my best effort regarding their hair, but when it came to accomodating their schedules that were inconvenient for me, making sure I had fresh coffee or water, an extra nice shampoo and massage, etc. I can tell you I went the extra mile for those that tipped generously. They made it worth my while to do so.

What I finally did when it was time to raise my prices is add a tip to the normal increase, and told them I didn't take tips any longer. Because I wasn't willing to work for the amount of those that didn't tip.

Personally, I tip according to service and the amount the salon charges in the first place. Many years ago there was a movement in our area that was to get hairdressers classified as "professional". This meant higher professional prices and no tips. It didnt fly with the majority of hairdressers, but it made good sense to me.

The way I see it there are very high end salons, middle, and low end. They charge accordingly, and usually the level of training and expertise of the hairdresser will go right along with the price, although not always.

If I go into a high end salon I will not tip. I expect a level of professionalism, and quality based on what I am paying. It is common to find apprentices working in these salons and I don't feel an obligation to tip them either. They are getting their "masters" and I dont' feel it is my job to pay them for that. In the end they will reap the rewards of doing so.

In the middle range salon you get mid to high prices. Generally these salons don't have shampoo techs, and your hairdresser will provide you with all the services such as shampoo, drying etc. I will tip according to the services given. If they charge more I don't tip as much.

Personally, I don't go to the salons that get em in and out so I don't know what I'd do. They don't generally get paid much more than minimum wage though, so I would probably be generous if they did a good job.

Just my two cents worth

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 1:44AM
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Well every etiquette book and Dear Abby for years say that you do not tip owners. The one I go to OWNS her salon for 100% sure, not lease a booth. And she is not super cheap and runs a nice salon. In fact, she specializes in hair extensions and makes real good money. I just go to her for hair color and trims. She also sells a book on the web on how to cut hair, so she's doing well, so I thought it was sleazy of her to take a tip since she IS the owner and isn't so cheap on her prices.

Yes, I know some think it's "dumb" to turn down a tip if offered. But I say it's honorable to do the right thing in turning it down if you are the owner, and your prices are not so cheap. A lot of people would take it when it's not warranted, but that's called being a crook. I will continue to tip her only because I accidentally started to from the beginning.

~Summer ð

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 4:18AM
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I understand what you are saying summer, but you can also make a person feel like you are ungrateful, unappreciative, and rude. Kind of like when someone offers to pay for your dinner and you sit and argue over the bill instead of graceously accepting their kindness.

There are people that want to tip their hairdresser because they appreciate what they do regardless of etiquite. There really are! I even had people stick money in my pocket when I didn't accept tips although those people were few.

If you feel strongly about not tipping just don't do it. Why do you say it is sleezy for a hairdresser to accept it when you offer it? You are trying to look good for giving a tip in hopes she won't take it. Is that honest?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 8:40PM
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Put yourself in the owner's position. Wouldn't you appreciate a tip? I always tip owners. Hairdresser/owners do not get rich by a long shot so they appreciate tips.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2003 at 11:05AM
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I do believe I closed this subject by saying that I will continue to tip her because I have already started. Or did you not actually read my last reply?

~Summer °Ü°

    Bookmark   March 14, 2003 at 10:45AM
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Personally Ive never understood why one wouldn't offer the owner a tip. Though he/she supposedly gets to pocket 100% of the price you pay, he/ or see still has overhead costs. Also, for many people a tip is like a complent, and reflects the customer's level of satisfaction, so not offering one can be something of an insult.

Also, I think we're all forgetting that traditional etiquite is less practiced these days, and while this may or may not be a good thing, more people are ignorant of these traditional rules than we all think. It is possible that the person you are not tipping because you dont think it is nesscessary can become very offended.

I just offer one to whoever services me, regardless of there position or status. If someone were to reject it because they were the owner, then I would not offer one in the future, but be sure to verbally express my satisfaction each time.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2003 at 4:54PM
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You can't close a subject on a forum.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 4:29PM
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Beverly's right!

My position was why in the word would you continue to tip a person just because you have already done so? That makes absolutely no sense to me. Circumstances change, I had customers that didn't tip me every time, or the same amount every time.

Ok, I won't bug you anymore. Just wanted to give you something to consider.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 9:02PM
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I go to a salon where my hairdresser leases a booth. When I write a check - I make it out to her, not the salon. My hairdresser charges high rates almost too high for the area and the salon.

I feel obligated to tip because it's the "norm", but I also feel that she sets her own rates, runs her own business out of that booth so should I tip her?

On a side note - some of the comments about "owners" providing service of fresh coffee, nice shampoo, etc. This is your business and you charge for a service. I own my own software company and have to keep up with web development, nice marketing materials etc. ... nobody ever tips me because of that - so why should we tip an owner of a salon because they provide the essentials of owning a salon? I think tipping has just gotten out of hand.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2003 at 1:57PM
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do you ask the cabbie if he owns it before you tip him? or ask the waitress if the restaurant belongs to her family before you decide on a tip?

I have clients who come to me, but stretch their budget to do it. from them, I refuse tips of money- but they are also the sort of people that will bring me a muffin, or a handfull of flowers from their garden- because I bring out the beauty in them.

I keep a day job so that I don't ever have to deal with people who think that I'm their servant, or who quibble about my rates, or have such a weak sense of ethics that they would ever have to bring the word 'etiquette' up.

I have a gift. I share it with the world, and the world shares its gifts with me in return- some poeple have nothing TO offer me but money, and I try and accept that as gracefully as I accept the roses that another has tended through years to be able to offer others a true gift of love.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 2:20PM
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Wow, I can't believe this thread is still going. I had to comment on Mary Ann's post.

I am quite sure as your skills increase so does your income. If not, I'd find another field. If a stylist is constantly learning they attend classes which are very expensive and they know a heck of a lot more than the average graduate of beauty school. These hairdressers charge accordingly. If they are good they are in demand and can get the prices they charge because customers know their value.

Now, about the fresh coffee etc. That is not part of my service as a hairdresser, nor does it have anything to do with my skill level. I did it because I wanted to do something for my clientelle that was so kind to me. It wasn't required of me to do so, and it wouldn't have made any difference in their coming back. I was good and they knew it. I never advertised, and I was as busy as I wanted to be thanks to those that appreciated me.

Ya know I could have put out some instant coffee and hot water, but I made fresh coffee with whole beans. I used quality shampoos instead of the cheapest I could find, and I used the best conditioners available. These again were choices I made for my customers benefit. I didn't "have" to provide them. I didn't only provide theses things I "served" them. I guess you could say I was a waitress too :-)

I also want to say I have done as chinacat said and given free services to those in true need that had been regular clients and fallen into a finacial slump. There were also many times I didn't charge for extra toner needed, reconstucters, etc, because the client made up the difference in tip. For those paying the bare minimum I didn't do that, and they probably ended up paying more than the tippers!

Tipping is all a choice and if we don't want to tip someone don't, but don't expect the same catering one would get that tips well. In most cases you won't.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 3:57PM
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The definition of tip is a gift of money given to someone who performs a service as gratuity. It doesn't say "owner excluded". I've owned my own salon for years and have been seeing more of this not tipping the owner moronic thinking. It was one thing years ago when a salon was a cash business and an owner could skim a little off the top. But my business takes 80% of the services performed on credit cards. AMEX takes a 3% processing fee off my profit before I even get it. And yes, thats the cost of doing business. But years ago we didn't have that cost because people paid in cash. I recently have had a slew of new clients who have not tipped me, yet they love their hair. These clients are getting a new price menu as they leave with a 20% increase in all services going into effect as of their next appointment. Its something that has to be done in order for me to make a profit. My prices are not exhorbitant, they're actually low for my area. So by all means tipping is appreciated when you're the owner.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 8:09PM
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hairguru, let me get this right. You are po'd you are not getting tips from certain clients, so they are getting a new price menu with a 20% increase. WOW. I hope these clients realize what is going on and go elsewhere. I have a feeling the word will spread and you will lose in the end. Good luck with your business plan.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 12:25PM
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I COMPLETELY agree with Kathya, a tip is a thank you for people who don't own their own business. If you don't think you are getting paid enough for the service you provide, raise your prices to be competitive with other salons, but if it because your clients don't tip then I hope they go elsewhere too. I would leave my salon because of that; I DO tip owners if a great job was done, but not as much as I tip the employees who strictly rely on tips.

That is a crappy way to treat your customers.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 6:34AM
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Boy, am I gonna stick out my neck and I already know I am NOT going to be very popular. BUT, I think tipping is totally not necessary. And I'll tell you why I feel that way. I worked in a nursing home for over 30 year, cleaning up everything you can imagine. My back is ruined because lifting 200 pounds of dead weight takes its toll. I've been bitten, kicked, hit, spit on, you name it. How much do you think I ever, in all those years got a dime for a tip? Also taking care of the dying, suffering, dealing with unappreciative families----you know the ones--the ones that could do it better than we do, (but then why weren't they taking care of them at home?)I could go on but I know you have the picture. I was never offered one thin dime and I didn't expect it. I worked there because I liked the job despite everything it stood for. When residents were appreciative for things I did for them, that was all the thanks I needed.
It's not just tipping in salons I resent, it's waitresses, doormen, cab drivers, etc. Do I tip my hair dressers? yes, but I do it begrudgingly. Sorry.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 3:19PM
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Brownthumbia, are you saying you made $2.13/hour? Did you have to pay rent to the owners of the nursing home for the rooms you worked in? THAT is why you tip the stylist or the server.

You are comparing apples to oranges, sorry, but working in a nursing home is not the same service as a haircut or restaurant server. You make a salary, these people work for less than minimum wage. Yes, a "thank you" goes a long way, but if you are making $2.13/hour that "thank you" just doesn't pay the rent.

If you don't like tipping, don't use the service.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 5:59AM
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Unless I missed it, I don't believe brownthumpia said anywhere she made $2.13/hour. She's saying she works in the service industry and she doesn't ever see a tip and doesn't expect one either. I think the hair stylists rent the "chair" - they don't pay rent for the room they work in either. For the prices these stylists are charging these days I'd say they make plenty. Again, why are customers expected to make up the difference so that the owners/managers don't have to pay. Tipping is way out of hand and, sadly, expected by those that are just performing their jobs. Just look at how bent out of joint their noses get when they don't get the expected tip. And no, working in a nursing home is not the same service as a haircut or restaurant server - it is in a class by itself.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 5:11PM
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Posted by kathya: :Unless I missed it, I don't believe brownthumpia said anywhere she made $2.13/hour. She's saying she works in the service industry and she doesn't ever see a tip and doesn't expect one either."

Unless I missed it, I don't believe brownthumpia said anywhere that she worked in the service industry either. She worked as part of the staff of a nursing home.

Posted by hairguru: "It was one thing years ago when a salon was a cash business and an owner could skim a little off the top."

So you are saying that you are angry that you are finding it more difficult to cheat on your taxes these days?? An owner of a business who "skims a little off the top" can wind up in jail.

Not only that but many business owners who "skim off the top" and keep a set of "cooked books" to show the government, make themselves eligible for all sorts of government grants and no interest loans that are intended to help the small businessman. Do you do that too? If you do you, are hurting the true small business owners that need that portion of available grants and loans to get started or expand.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:27AM
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I think anyone who does an exceptional job should be tipped

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 4:58PM
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I always tip the salon owner that does my hair. She is awesome and highly skilled. As a business owner myself, I know that owning a business doesn't always mean you have excessive amounts of money. It's easy for people to take a simple view of the service being provided and turn a blind eye to the real costs. My little boy once said he wanted to work in a gas station because it costs $40. a car and only two people worked there. He figured they kept all of the money themselves.

Most people who are in lines of work that involve tipping get very small hourly wages, no wages at all or have lots of expenses that come out of their pocket. When I was a server, I sometimes had to split my tips with the busperson, bartender, dishwasher, cooks and host/hostess. Hair stylists often split tips with the shampoo person.

If you begrudge tipping, it is probably best to not use services where a tip is traditionally expected.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 11:40AM
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I am checking out this thread because I was getting my hair done the other day.. My hairdresser has a salon in her home.. has gone to alot of trouble to make an at home buisness as comfortable and professional as she can, She does an excellent job with foil and is probably the best colorist I have been to.. the downside is she takes 4+ hours and the whole time she talks, sometimes quite offensively.. that is somewhat beside the point.. anyway I have been to her a handful of times and I have not tipped her out of understanding that as the owner of the salon I would not, this time however I did not have the exact amount for her fee and requested change for the difference between the $182 bill and the $200 dollars I had in cash.. ( she refuses to accept checks or Credit cards) The total included $60 in product that I opted to purchase from her in addition to the service. Instead os giving me the requested change she asked if I was going to tip her, I explained that I had not planned to since she was the owner of the salon. In fact I would have been hesitant to tip based on the hour and a half that my appointment was delayed and the fact that during the 4 hours I sat in her salon, she subjected me to her opinions about politics and my love life... She indicated to me that she receives a tip from all her other customers and that the owner rule didn't apply to her because she isn't making money off employees.. needless to say, I let her keep the change, but was offended to my core by the interaction.. Just curious what others may think of this scenario?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 8:40PM
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Menotjane- I agree with you- when did tipping go from "thanks for great service" to "mandatory add on, no matter how poorly you are treated"? I don't mind adding $5 for a $50 haircut, but when a half hour haircut costs $100, I think tipping is adding insult to injury. It's a haircut- not brain surgery-$200/hour is enough already.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 5:25PM
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I've been reading a lot of posts in different websites about this topic of whether to tip the owner of a salon or not and no one has brought up one thing that I think is important to consider when making this decision: often, the owner charges a bit more for services than the other stylists, therefore I always thought this is the reason why they don't get tipped. I went to a salon where the haircuts cost $55 with any of the stylists but $75 if you booked with the owner. Now I go to a salon where the owner is the only stylist. She charges $70 for a cut and blow. I tip her $15-20 plus the shampoo girl $5. I don't know if this differentiation still goes on at other salons where the owner or certain higher level stylists charge more, but it makes sense to me if the owner is charging over 20% more than that's his/her tip...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 4:00PM
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I own my own massage and skin care business and think it is rude not to tip the owner if that is the person doing the service. As the business owner I make the same percentage commission as the other workers. I only get paid when I work. The other funds go toward marketing our services and growth. Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:26PM
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There's another thing you can think about..you bet your sweet bippy that people that own the salon have expenses but they also can deduct all those expenses at tax time. I cannot deduct hair cuts, perms, or anything else that I leave at the shop. And, no, I did not say I made $2.13 an hour and neither did I say I was salaried! I got paid by the hour just like almost anyone working in a nursing home. To tell me that if I don't like to give a tip don't get my hair cut is so silly I don't even have an answer to something so ridiculous. I repeat I never got a tip for what I did for almost 30 years and I don't think I owe anyone extra money. One more thing, I DO tip my hairdresser, who by the way, owns the shop, but I do it begrudgingly. She has never refused to accept it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:34PM
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The rule of thumb is this...If you own the salon, then you do not accept a tip. Simple. If you feel that you are going above and beyond to deliver excellent service, then you as the owner have the discretion to charge more money!! Besides, I agree with the previous comments...When did a tip become mandatory???? The purpose of a tip is to give additional compensation for excellent service. Sadly, I have not received excellent service in over 25 years. I've literally been throwing away my hard earned money for something that has become an obligation. As a business owner, either include your "tip" in your base rates and/or pay your employees more money.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 4:29PM
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When I had a steady job, I treated myself every 7 weeks to the same fancy schmancy salon my peers went to. I wasn't making great money, but enough to justify looking good in the office and keeping up with myself. I felt like it was a bit extravagant, but lucky to be able to do this for myself at last. I tipped my stylist generously, probaby too much out of ignorance. Anyway, it wasn't until several months later I found out she owned the salon. I was miffed but continued to go because I looked great. Out of my own discomfort and unwillingness to feel uncomfortable to just stop tipping, I kept it up, perhaps not as generously, but still a decent tip. On a hot summer day I opted not to have her dry my hair, figuring I'd save a little and the response was oh let me just dry the bangs we just have to so I can see how the color came out! So I said okay and she charged me. The next time I went the bill was higher by about $20 and when I asked they said oh you had the (whatever they called it) rinse. Apparently when she said oh your hair seems dry and damaged I'm going to use X on it and I said great, it meant an additional crazy charge! So I went home and checked the prices listed on their web site and learned not only was I tipping the owner all this time but I was paying MORE for her services because she was listed as a level 4 provider. What the?! This meant I was paying on average $50 more per visit and getting so ripped off. This will never happen again.

I now go to SuperCuts, pay a mere fraction of the price for color and cut, tip very generously for the cost and I sleep well knowing I am no longer a sap burning money. By the way, my hair looks fantastic. No difference whatsoever.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:46PM
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I have always heard that you don't tip the owner of a salon. Where I go now, she only charges $25 so I give her $30 and feel like I got a good value. She provides a good service, treats me like I'm a valued customer, provides coffee and has a candy bar and snacks, plus I don't want her getting a bad feeling about me if she is expecting a tip. I want to keep a good relationship because I like going there so I just go ahead and tip.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:58AM
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