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.

4 Responses to “Should I tip my hairdresser who owns her own business and sets her own prices?”

  1. Dana

    I have a friend who’s owns her own salon, and has hinted on occasion that she should get a tip. She did this by having my daughter babysit for her, then when she paid her, handed her the money, and then reached into her other pocket and said ” here’s a tip”. I was very put off by this. My mother who is 91 years old always told me if the person owns the business then you do NOT tip. If they work for someone else, you tip them. I always follow that rule! Same goes for fishing charters, restaurant owners, pizza shop owners, and anyone who owns their own business. I paid $10.00 for my daughter to get her hair trimmed. It took 10 minutes. That’s $1.00 a minute!
    It’s not that I don’t think she deserves that. She’s very good at what she does, and if I don’t like the prices I can go somewhere else. However, I am not required to tip.

  2. Nancy

    I also do not believe in tipping an owner that can set their own price. I feel tipping are for those that work for a percentage of the cost because they have no control of the set price.

  3. Sasha

    my Facialist recently opened her own space and she increased her prices 20% from her previous job. should i still tip her. I did the last few times but feel like it’s not necessary

  4. Sally Phillips

    I just had my first appointment with my long term (20+ years) stylist at his new work/live studio. He owns his studio and has no one working for him. At the end of my haircut I said that I would like him to set the fee, all-inclusive and I’ll pay whatever it is, without having to do math for a tip. He quoted me an amount which happened to be higher than he charged when he worked in a studio. I’m fine with that and will continue on that basis.


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