How much should a beauty therapist be paid?

This was a question I was asked this week by a salon owner who is currently looking for her maternity cover.  My first question was to ask how long the person had been in the industry to which she said 1 year after qualifying for level 3.

Having been looking for job listings in the beauty industry (to get a feel for where is best to look for jobs and what qualities the job advertisers are looking for in a beauty therapist) my instant reaction was to say “Well in this area most places will pay a therapist minimum wage or slightly above.  In fact most jobs will pay minimum wage to even supervisors these days as they know the job market is tough and they can get away with it.”

In hindsight I do wonder if I was a little harsh in my reaction or if I was being fair and honest.

The manager of the salon did seem to think it might be a little low to pay somebody and so I suggested she work on a commission based pay.  I.e. she should work out what her overhead costs were (including the staff member) and advise the employee that they can earn 10% of anything over that amount as a bonus.  I’m not sure she was convinced this was a good idea but I really do believe it is the best way to pay staff.  It is a method that will encourage them to do their best and to work hard in order to ensure they receive a good bonus each week/month while ensuring the manager has enough money to cover all essential bills.

In the future I hope to work for myself and so in that respect I won’t be too worried about what an employer is paying me as I will be working hard to earn myself the best wage I can.  As a new therapist, what would or did you expect to be paid? And would you like knowing you could work for extra commission or would you rather a flat rate of pay?

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