Skip to main content

When Salon & Spa Employees Choose to Leave


When service providers decide to quit a salon/spa, it is anything but, "Go gently into that good night."

All too often, the process plays out with clandestine plotting and close teammates swearing secrecy. The easy part is quitting the salon/spa.

The difficult part is figuring out how to get the clients they serviced to follow them to a new location. The presumption is that all clients that requested them "belong to them." And why not, they did the work.

Owners have a very different perspective. Owners look at their investment in training, coaching and filling the service provider's appointment books with new clients. Owners look at the collective effort that is required to "build" a successful service provider.

Most importantly, owners regard their customer database, client history, formulas and other data as an asset and company property.

There are many voices in the industry that say, "no one owns the client" and that clients are free to go wherever they choose. Yes, clients are free to go wherever they choose.

But, when the departing employee actively solicits those clients ... often times through unauthorized use of client data ... that's when things get ugly.

Employees come and go in every business, but in the salon/spa business, service providers have an expectation of leaving with the clients "they" serviced - and the cash flow those clients represent to the business.

Entrepreneurial owners invest their life savings, sign personal guarantees to lease space and secure bank loans ... and put up their homes as collateral.

This routine practice of doing everything possible to take clients with them, at the expense of the business that created that opportunity, is simply unethical and unjustified.

It’s not a question of salon/spa service providers leaving for new opportunities elsewhere ... it’s about how they leave. It’s even worse when one disgruntled employee organizes a walkout with the intent of wrecking the business.

Yes, some owners can be jerks, take advantage of employees, and be horrible to work for. But the majority of owners are good people with good intentions that try to do their best for their employees.

Owners don’t deserve having their business blown up and have to rebuild every time a busy service provider decides to move on. It’s just wrong.

Here are my No-Compromise Leadership thoughts on the way many service providers leave:

  • It’s not a gas station stop: Graduate school, find a busy salon/spa to work in, take advantage of their training, get experience and have them funnel you enough new clients to build your following ... and leave. That salon/spa is someone’s dream and investment. That salon/spa represents years of hard work and struggle. It’s not a filling station to collect education and to build a personal clientele. It’s someone’s life that’s on the line. The welfare and livelihoods of all the remaining employees are on the line. This nonsense represents the true dark side of the beauty business.
  • What goes around ... comes around: If an employee wants to open their own business ... they can go and open their own business. But ... don’t do it on the back of someone else’s hard work. Why? Because every service provider that ever opened his or her own salon/spa remembers what he or she did and how it was done. Now as an owner, they finally get it ... and fear that the same thing will happen to them. And if the business is built on individual request rates and clientele building ... it probably will.
  • Do your own thing: Employees ... you are free to start your own business, rent a booth or lease a suite. If your time with this employer is done, move on. Take the education, training, experience and expertise you gained and chase your dreams. You deserve to have all the success your abilities and life can give you. Leave with integrity and lasting friendships. Be professional and above board. Go do your own thing the right way. Chucking a hand grenade into the business you once served as you leave is wrong in every way.
  • Grow them to rent? Seriously? There’s growing talk about a hybrid business model where service providers start out as employees, you develop and grow them ... and then offer a chair or suite for them to rent. The thinking is that if you’re going to lose them to rental or suites - you might as well be the one collecting the rent. So ... just because you’ll be the one collecting the rent, what makes this a viable business model? What’s the resale value of a space full of independently rented/leased chairs and treatment rooms compared to an employee-based business with solid financials and an impressive brand? The hybrid is short-term thinking with limited value.

Here’s my challenge to you: If what you read so far strikes a familiar chord, it’s time to rethink your business model.

Take a seriously hard look at your business model, business practices and your business culture.

If it is designed in such a way where departing service providers can easily chuck hand grenades into your business as the door closes behind them ... you are vulnerable to all the ugliness mentioned above.

Yes, I’m talking about a Team-Based model being the next evolution of the employee-based business model.


No comments found. Start the conversation!