As a hairstylist, you have a lifelong skill and it is safe to say that you will never be out of a job as people will always need their hair cutting or colouring. When thinking about the best way to do your job, make money, build a portfolio and gain long lasting clients, a few definitely spring to mind. Now, with over 57% of the hairdressing industry being self employed, are the days of being employed by a salon over? Well, here at Hairdressing Supplies Lincoln, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty to explore which is the better option - employed, freelance or renting a chair!

Employeed vs Freelance | Hairdressing Supplies Lincoln Employeed vs Freelance | Hairdressing Supplies Lincoln

Employed

Advantages of being an Employed Stylist:

Generally speaking, being employed brings a sense of security as you have a guaranteed regular income. In addition to this, being employed takes the majority of responsibility away from you. This is due to your tax, national insurance and pension contributions are deducted before you receive your pay, therefore, you will not have to budget for tax bills (and remember to pay it on time!).

One of the main attractions of being employed are the extra incentives employers provide, in addition to your normal salary. First of all, you are entitled to your basic holiday rights - a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave per year. Also, as long as you meet the requirements your employer will be required to enrol you into a workplace pension scheme. Once you have been enrolled into the pension scheme, both you and your employer are required to pay into the scheme. Additionally, you do not have to stay in the scheme and can opt out if you wish to, however you will lose all employer and government contributions.

The disadvantages of being an Employed Stylist:

Of course, there are just as many disadvantages of being employed as there are advantages, and the main one for most people will be the loss of flexibility. As mentioned in the advantages of being employed, you are given a set amount of weeks holiday per year, however there may be restrictions on when you can actually take them. Also, do not forget that being employed may mean you have to work on holidays like over the christmas period, which can be a massive pain as you cannot set your own working hours.

Okay, it is safe to say that being employed is not for everyone, some people prefer the freedom and the thought of being their own boss, however, being your own boss unfortunately comes with drawbacks too which we will explore below.

Freelance

Okay so what about freelance? Well, before we go further and start stating the benefits and downsides of being a freelance stylist, we need to mention that we are splitting freelance into two categories: Mobile Stylists and Rent-A-Chair Stylists. Although both are very similar in terms of advantages and disadvantages, there are a few things that are different between the two.

Advantages of being a Mobile Stylist:

As a freelancer, you are blessed with a much more flexible work life. From choosing your working hours, setting your own prices and being able to work around your family and social commitments, going freelance may be the way forward.

There are also many amazing benefits that most people do not realise about being self-employed: like allowable expenses.

Allowable expenses are basically costs that you can claim the tax back on, these include things such as: travel expenses, equipment, training courses, marketing and much more! You can find a full list of allowable expenses online!

However, there is one factor of self-employment which we are unsure on what category it actually goes in, this is your paycheck. Obviously, when self employed apart from paying taxes, you keep the exact amount of what you make each month. Although, there is also the ability for this to be a disadvantage too. For example, there is the chance that business can be slower during some months than others, meaning that you will only take home what you make that month, and not a set salary as you would if you were employed.

The disadvantages of being a Mobile Stylist:

Of course, naturally there are always going to be a few downsides as there are with anything.

The first one, is that you are responsible for your own taxes. This itself isn’t too much of an issue as there are now helpful books, just like the Agenda Accounts Book to help you keep on top of your income and expenses. On the other hand, the HMRC website has a handy guide, making it even easier for you to file your taxes! Although, bear in mind that this may be a time consuming process and where you gain the flexibility from being self-employed, you lose some as you have extra responsibilities. Although, to minimise these responsibilities, there is always the option of hiring an accountant. However, this is not an option for everybody as there will be an extra cost involved.

As with filing your own taxes, you may lose some of your free time as you may be constantly travelling to your clients. However, this is not a huge issue as mentioned above, you can claim your travel expenses back. Also, when travelling to clients, equipment can become heavy or take up a lot of room. However, we have a solution, we stock some amazing products just like the collapsible Tint Bowl and Water Spray Bottle which are designed to help your life as a mobile stylist ten times easier! 

The last major downside is that you will not be covered with employee insurance. Therefore, another cost to take into account is buying your public liability insurance. Public liability insurance basically covers you against any possible damage you make in a clients home. Public liability insurance covers but is not limited to: compensation claims, legal expenses and cost of damage repairs. It is important to mention that the purchase of public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, however it is extremely recommended if you are a mobile stylist!

Rent a chair

Advantages of renting a chair:

As with being a Mobile Stylist, renting a chair in a salon encounters a huge amount of benefits not only for your personal life, but for your work life too.

The first and most attractive feature of renting a chair is you are still your own boss! You are able to choose your own hours that you work, meaning that you have the ability to work flexibly.

Similar to mobile stylists, you are eligible to claim back your allowable expenses which is a great feature of being self-employed. The Agenda Accounts Book is the perfect tool to use when keeping track of your finances.

The disadvantages of renting a chair:

The major difference between renting a chair and being a mobile stylist is that you may lose some control over your brand. Although renting a chair will give you the possibility of reaching a wider client base, you are also advertising your business through another, therefore it may be difficult to market just yourself.

Another huge downfall is that you lose the most important benefits of being an employee, such as a regular salary, holiday and sick pay, as well as any other perks which you may gain when employed.

As you are technically running your own business within another salon, you are therefore responsible for bringing in all of your own clients. If you do not already have an established client base who are happy to move salons with you, then you may be hustling for a while before you have a secure and regular cash flow.

So, with all of that information, what would you choose… employed or freelance?

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