Starting Your Career

Know Your Compensation Options

Believe it or not, some techs graduate from nail school and immediately open up their own salon. Most, however, wait to get some experience first. If you’re not ready for salon ownership, you can get to work as either an employee or a booth renter. Read on to learn the differences between these types of techs.

How to Estimate Your True Income

The big question: Will I make more money as a booth renter or an employee? It may seem at first glance that you will earn more as a booth renter — after all isn’t it better to receive 100% of your service fees without someone else taking a cut? But when you calculate the overhead a booth renter faces (she has to pay rent, buy her own supplies, and buy her own insurance), you’ll find the initial numbers are deceiving. Use the worksheets on the right to estimate your true take-home pay as either an employee or a booth renter. Consult a financial advisor for more details and help with your personal situation. (Learn the difference between a booth renter and an independent contractor.
Go to


Line 1. Annual Gross Income ______________
Line 2. Annual FICA (social security and Medicare taxes) (5.65% of line 1*) ______________
Line 3. Estimated annual federal and state income tax (15% of line 1**) ______________
Line 4. Annual cost for tools not provided by employer ______________
Line 5. Total of lines 2-4 ______________
Line 6. Annual take-home pay (subtract line 5 from line 1) ______________



Line 1. Annual Gross Income (gross service and retail income and tips) ______________
Line 2. Annual space rental ______________
Line 3. Annual tools, supplies, cost of retail product ______________
Line 4. Annual phone ______________
Line 5. Annual liability insurance ______________
Line 6. Annual Marketing and advertising ______________
Line 7. Annual misc. expenses (accountant, mileage, bank fees, etc.) ______________
Line 8. Total of lines 2-7 ______________
Line 9. Adjusted gross income (subtract line 8 from line 1) ______________
Line 10. Annual SECA (self-employment contributions tax) (13.3%** of line 9)
Line 11. Estimated annual federal and state tax (15% of line 9*) ______________
Line 12. Total of lines 10-11 ______________
Line 13. Annual take-home pay (subtract line 12 from line 9) ______________

* This rate applies only to the 2011 tax year. Ordinarily the rate is 7.65% for FICA and 15.3% for SECA.

**This is just an estimate. The actual amount will vary depending on your tax bracket.


Want more tax info? You can download the following publications from the IRS website at or call (800) 829-3676.

> Publication 1779, Independent Contractor or Employee Brochure

> Publication 531, Reporting Tip Income

> Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status

Facebook Comments ()

Leave a Comment


Comments (0)


The loss of an electron; the electron can become a free radical and damage cells; exposure to oxygen, the air, and sun are a few causes oxidation.
Learn More

Featured Products & Promotions   |   Advertisement

Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

Industry Statistics for

View All


FREE Subscription

VietSalon is a Vietnamese-language magazine and the sister publication to NAILS. Click the link below to sign up for a FREE one-year subscription.

Get a free preview issue and a Free Gift
Subscribe Today!

Please sign in or register to .    Close
Subscribe Today
Subscribe Today