Should I tip my hairdresser who owns her own business and sets her own prices?

At Starla West International, we specialize in confidence.  In other words, we help business professionals all over the world gain the confidence that comes with…

  1. having an attractive and professional appearance,
  2. knowing their behavior is appropriate for the environment in which they are in,
  3. and being able to connect and build rapport with everyone!

Today’s blog post pertains to #2 above.

At SWI, we teach proper tipping etiquette.  Why?  Well…it’s rather simple.  If we know the rules, we can tip with confidence on a daily basis!  And, most importantly, we can rest assured our tipping behavior is positively impacting on our professional image along with the relationships we have with service providers.

Other blog posts you might find of interest:
Holiday Tipping Guidelines | Do you know who to tip this holiday season?
Vacation Season is Upon Us. Are You Prepared to Tip Appropriately During Your Travels?

That said, here is a question I received the other day:
“Should I tip my hairdresser who owns her own business, works out of her home and sets her own prices?”

According to the traditional rules of tipping etiquette, the answer is no.  It is not necessary to tip a service provider who has complete control over setting his or her own prices.  However, out of curiosity, I thought it would be best to consult with a few hairstylists to find out how they felt about this.  As expected, I received two types of responses:

Some said…
“This is one of the few times a hairstylist would not expect a tip. When we work for ourselves, we have the luxury of determining exactly how much we get paid. If we feel we aren’t being paid appropriately for our services, we can raise our prices.”

However, others responded…
“Yes, the hairstylist is providing a service. Therefore, he or she should receive a tip if the service meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. Who sets the prices doesn’t matter.”

To be perfectly honest, I am a bit torn on this one.  Part of me says, “A hairstylist who can set his or her own prices really isn’t any different than me.  I too am a service provider.  I determine the fee for my services and after I’ve provided them, I do not expect a tip.”  (This is why I believe the traditional rules of etiquette say we should not tip in this situation.)

What is causing me great pause, however, is that I wonder, “How many people are actually aware of this rule?”

If our hairstylist isn’t aware of this rule and/or his or her clients aren’t aware of this rule and are tipping at the end of each visit, this may be one of those instances where following proper tipping etiquette may actually damage our reputation and the relationship we have with our hairstylist.  Part of me says we should just go ahead and tip just to be safe.

Like I said, I’m torn of this one.  What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear them.

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