The Salary of a Self-Employed Hair Stylist

Many men seek the services of a stylist instead of a barber.
Many men seek the services of a stylist instead of a barber. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Approximately 44 percent of hair stylists are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Due to the personal nature of the service, the economy can have a direct effect on a stylist's earnings. Other factors, such as years of experience, quality of clientele and hours worked, have some bearing on total earnings.

Average Salary

Hair stylists earned an average $26,510, or $12.74 per hour, in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 90th percentile of earners made $41,540, and the 10th percentile of earners made $16,350 annually.


Hair stylists earn a small to moderate amount in tips. Typically, clients tip hair stylists depending on the level of skill, satisfaction with the service, type or amount of the service or a general service tip percentage in according with most other tipping professions. Salons enforce a "booth" rent model in which the stylist pays a weekly or monthly rental fee for using salon space.


Several industries use the services of self-employed stylists. Mortuary, amusement and recreation and the offices of physicians were the highest paying industries in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stylists in these industries earned between $30,710 in physician's offices and $32,360 in mortuary services. The lowest paying industries were department stores at $21,040, employment services at $26,160 and personal care services at $26,760 annually.


Hair stylists spend an excessive amount of time on their feet and using scissors, which can result in varicose veins or repetitive injuries, according to U.S. News. Injuries coupled with a lack of traditional medical coverage can impact a stylist's earnings. After several years of experience, many self-employed stylists advance to related positions, such as licensing board examination or teaching at cosmetology training schools.

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