Dear Shari: What can I do when a salon owner randomly charges me for expenses in addition to my booth rent?


I just began work as a booth renter. It’s my understanding I am responsible to pay only the amount I contracted to pay monthly. However, the salon owner is asking for money here and there to pay for things like beverages, clothing, advertising, etc. None of these things were ever discussed or agreed on previously. Shouldn’t the monthly rent cover the things she wants to have at her salon? Sincerely, Disgruntled Booth Renter


Dear Disgruntled:

The key word is “contract.” A contract is basically an enforceable promise. A well-written contract will state clearly both parties’ responsibilities and include a breakdown of what expenses are covered. As a booth renter you are a small business owner and are responsible for issuing 1099s, keeping business records, and carrying the required insurance. You could incur operating expenses such as advertising, phone, credit card processing, and cleaning service, just to name a few. Depending on how your contract is written, the salon owner may have you make a single payment with a breakdown of how much each expense is costing you.


Rent $350

Phone line $50

Cleaning $50

Beverage bar $25

Advertising $150


Total payment: $625

Or your contract might read that you are responsible to pay each expense separately.


Monthly checks will be written to each vendor to cover the follow expenses:

Salon owner/rent $350

Mary Joe/receptionist $100

USA Phone Systems $50

Merry Maids $50

Beverage bar (cash) $25

Advertising fund $150

It isn’t right for the salon owner to randomly charge you for things that weren’t previously agreed on. If new situations arise such as the need to advertise because business has taken a sudden dip, the owner should approach each booth renter and a new agreement should be reached. If it isn’t a one-time expense and it becomes reoccurring, then the contract should be amended.

I also suggest having an escape clause built into your contract that allows you or the salon owner a way out of the contract if something unforeseen occurs such as an illness.

Veteran nail tech Shari Finger — owner of Finger’s Nail Studio in W. Dundee, Ill. — fields reader questions in the areas of salon management and workplace politics. If you have a question for Shari, e-mail it to [email protected]

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