Cosmetology is a field that is growing at a rate expected to exceed that of many other professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cosmetologists often work in beauty salons, but many choose self-employment in a field that often offers flexible hours and work schedules.
The cosmetology industry can be traced back to the time of the Egyptians when makeup was used to enhance appearance and skilled artisans worked on Egyptian royalty styling elaborate hairdos and formulating concoctions for skincare. Hairstyles, skin care and nail procedures have developed over the decades into a multi-billion dollar industry which employs millions of workers throughout the world in the business of human beautification. The cosmetology industry encompasses several select fields of study, and those who choose this career path may decide to perform esthetician, nail or hair services for their clients.
Cosmetologists typically have very flexible work schedules within the beauty industry and when they choose a path of self- employment. Many salons that employ cosmetologists stay open until late at night and offer several shift options for their employees, including part-time. In addition, workers in this industry may be offered several pay options depending on their employer including salary, salary plus commission and tips. Commission-based pay can be very lucrative when a cosmetologist builds a clientele for whom they perform regular services.
When working in a salon, a cosmetologist may need to carry her tools home in order to perform services for clients outside of the shop, or leave the tools in the beauty salon, depending on preference. Many salons have their staff take home their equipment due to the lack of work space, or station availability in the salon. Stylists come into the salon 15 minutes or more before their shift and set up their equipment. This includes refilling sanitation bottles, cleaning combs and brushes, plugging in all electrical appliances necessary to begin the day and preparing towels or capes necessary to perform services.
Stylists will usually check their appointment books upon entering the salon to see whether there are any notes to call clients, cancellations and booking schedule for the day. The will ensure they have business cards ready to hand out to clients, and check product stock to prepare for product sales as well. Preparations such as checking the back bar to ensure shampoos are stocked, folding towels, turning on the computer, and counting and preparing the cash drawer are also necessary to prepare for client entry.
Opening the Shop
Once all preparations have been made, the shop is open to clients. Cosmetologists will take clients back to the chair where they intend to perform services and have an initial consultation to determine client needs. They will then perform the services required to ensure their satisfaction in the salon. This applies for home services as well. During services, cosmetologists will often attempt to sell products to clients that will assist them in their hair, nail or skin care needs. A commission of 10 percent is often paid in the cosmetology industry for product sales. The cosmetologist then writes a bill for services rendered. Most clients will likely include a tip with payment.
End of Day
Many hair salons that do not employ regular shampoo staff have specific cleanup functions each stylist must perform at the end of the day to ensure the salon continues to run smoothly. These may include cleaning the back bar, bathroom or backroom, floor, trash or hair dryers. In addition, certain cosmetologists may be responsible for closing the salon and dropping money at the bank for deposit. Salons often require that at least two workers are in the salon at all times for safety purposes.
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