As a barber, should you
rent a chair or work for commission?


Your success as a barber depends a lot on your ability to practice your craft in a supportive environment you enjoy, where you get recognized for your unique talents. You’re giving a little bit of yourself to each client you see. You owe it to yourself to set up your business in a way that works best for you.

To some that looks like renting a chair, while to others they prefer to work on commission. The choice can be tough, and switching from one to the other can be tough. We are here to make the decisions a bit easier on you. We’ve done the research so you can focus on what’s important. To break things down we have listed some major pros and cons of chair rental and commission in the Miami area, to keep it more relevant.

Barber rent vs commission in Miami

Barber Chair Rental

Renting a chair from a salon is a bit like having your own salon, but without having to spend start up costs or keep track of permitting and staffing. It’s very much a tenant to landlord relationship. Plus you can make friends with a variety of other barbers! The owner of the salon benefits in consistent monthly income and little staff management.


  • Complete control over your schedule
  • Complete control over your pricing rates and deposits
  • Complete control over clientele
  • You’ll receive every bit of what the client pays for the services
  • Little start-up costs while still being your own boss
  • Not locked into a location or mortgage
  • You can style your marketing and chair space to your liking


  • Keeping track of your own payments, tips, and expenses for taxes
  • Marketing and gathering clientele is all up to you
  • Supplies and continuous training are also up to you

Commission Based Barbering

Commission based barbering is where most barbers start as they gain their clientele, and often find it’s worth staying when it’s the right salon.This can especially ring true in Miami, where a prestigious name can bring clientele and celebrities from all over the world. Though a barber running their own business can certainly garner these types of clients, that is a long hill to climb and won’t happen easily or quickly. Commissioned based barbering is more of a typical employee to employer relationship The owner benefits in having the ability to market, brand, and decorate the space to their specific wants from their business.


  • Continuous training and healthcare
  • Steady base income with additional income from commissions and tips
  • Foot traffic to build your own personal clientele
  • Branding and Marketing is taken care of
  • Client scheduling is taken care of


  • You’ll receive a fraction of the service rate the client paid, typically %40-%70
  • Your schedule is made for you
  • Some salons do not allow you to take your clientele with you when you go

Miami Specifics

Florida has some really great tax benefits for those that own their own business or are 1099 based employees. This means when you run your own payments while renting a chair, come tax time you may turn out more of a profit than if you had worked based on commission. Clientele in Miami is also easier to come by in general just because it’s a big city with a lot of locals and a lot of tourists. This can mean running your own business will come easy. It also means that working a commission in a high end shop can actually make you more profit (if you are a fast worker) than renting a chair. You can stay busy cutting and styling while your salon takes care of managing appointments and greeting clientele as they arrive.

So What’s Best?

There isn’t a better or worse option, just options!

New barbers typically start out working on a commission, and build up a base of steady clientele. They then often transition to renting a chair or booth. While this progression can be considered a traditional model, some barbers work their whole careers renting, while others work their entire career on a commission.

It really depends on what you prefer and feel comfortable with for that time in your life. For example, plenty of new dads don’t prefer to barber rent vs commission because when on commission they can leave work at work and go home to be with family without having to field client inquiries, do billing, or other after hours responsibility that chair rent requires.

We believe that the decision can really be based on what you want out of your life. Do you care about creating your own flexible schedule enough to handle the hefty paperwork and marketing that is running your own business? Maybe you care more about work life balance and stability than schedule flexibility.

Whatever you choose, we wish you well. Best of luck out there, you’ll do great!

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