- As a cosmetologist, your salary may come from different sources. You may work for a salon as an employee and therefore receive a predetermined weekly or monthly salary. Other employers may wish to pay cosmetologists commissions based on the services they render. A private contractor pays rent to use a chair in a salon, therefore your salary will be what is left over after you pay for the chair and purchase necessary products and materials.
- The area of cosmetology you specialize in can determine your salary. In 2010, the latest report from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says that the average hairstylist makes about $11 per hour including tips. Cosmetologists who specialize is barbering earn about the same amount. Those who practice skin care earn about $13 per hour, while manicurist earn a little more than $9 per hour. Cosmetologists who work in motion pictures and videos make the highest wages, an average of $60,000 per year.
- Cosmetologists count on tips for a chunk of their income. So your income will depend upon the tipping habits of the clients who frequent your salon. If you receive a commission based on the price of a service, remember that many clients are more willing to visit and pay premium prices at a salon with modern equipment and decor. If you receive benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, and medical insurance, add the value of these benefits to your pay to determine how much you really make.
- A great deal of your income will come from repeat clients. The more you hone your talents and render good services, the more regular clients you will have. Some cosmetologists have the opportunity to earn commissions on the sales of products, so a savvy cosmetologist will learn good sales techniques. If you rent a space in a salon, you will likely be responsible for the marketing of your services. Develop and implement a program that rewards clients for returning on a regular basis.
- If you work as an independent contract, you will probably need to deduct money from your salary to support business purchases such as work equipment and products. You should save all of your receipts for any business-related expenses so that you can deduct the costs from your taxable income when it's time to file taxes. You will also need to set aside a portion of your earnings, possibly as much as 40 percent, to pay federal, Medicare, and social security taxes.