I have noticed lately that an increasing number of salon/spa owners are blurring the lines between the two, not making a clear distinction and requiring those that they 'hire' to perform functions that fall under both categories. This appears to be control and financially driven. If you are in such a situation, I would love to hear about it.

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I am personally not a part of this but I have seen it done numbers of times so far within just the small amount of time I've been working in this field. I've seen an employer not want to take on the responsibilities of being the owner of a spa and brush those duties off on the Independent Contractors.  A lot of duties such as helping to do reception when receptionist not scheduled to spa up keep, cleaning, and repairs. I guess I'm not expert with the the Employee vs Independent Contractor lines but I do believe such things as that are blurring them a bit. I completely understand the theory of "you make a mess you clean it" but it does bother me to see them clean dishes that others don't want to or mop the whole spa or answer phones when they aren't trained to. 

I was in this situation at my last esthetics job.  She hired me in as an employee, but within in a week was giving me a 1099(or 1090 IC tax form).  I was willing to give it a go but she still wanted me to come in at certain hours and on certain days.  I tried to explain to her that she lost those privileges by making me a IC but she just didn't get it..ended up quitting. The industry in Nashville is kind of crazy and backwards..didn't enjoy my experience for the couple of years I practiced there.


My first job out of school (over 8 years ago) was like this.  We were considered Independent contractors, but were treated like employees, without all of the benefits of an employee (insurance, workman's comp, vacation etc).  We were told what services to perform, when we had to work, were paid hourly and got commission on product sales.  Sounds like we were employees to me.  I didn't last very long in that environment.  I recently found out that they went out of business about 2 years ago, can't say I was surprised.

I am working on hosting an ASCP webinar on this particular subject, in hopes that it will help clarify the difference between the two classifications. Also, I really want to advocate to estheticians and anyone in the spa industry, to not let a potential employer bully them into a situation which would not be conducive to a healthy, profitable work environment!

Amen sister and excellent topic idea.  I think it's very scary for the newly licensed as they step into the workforce.  They want a job, but don't want to make waves.  And employers know this and pray on the innocent.  It's tough to turn down a position where you could be making a decent hourly wage just because the line between employee and IC are blurred.  When I was in this situation, once I figured it out, I didn't play their game.  I could have called the Equal Employment Opportunity commission and ratted them out, but didn't.  There are so many employers out there that try to get away with this and are successful, what can be done?

I am just getting into the industry, and I'm amazed by this 'blurring of the lines'! I'm renting a room, and was planning on simply doing my own thing. My new landlord; however, has scheduled 'group' meetings, devised a facility cleaning schedule, and put together front desk telephone etiquette guidelines. She told me point blank; "this is a 'co-op' (a creative term for sure) and we'll all pitch in to take one another's phone messages."  

Since, I'm the kind of person who's happy to pitch in, I told her I'd help when I can. BUT, I feel disaster brewing ahead. So, I've been researching this...I am not liking what I'm hearing and reading. SO many independent contractors are being taken advantage of. Sometimes, I think the leasers don't know the law. Other times, I think they don't care and are taking advantage of a bad economy where people are desperate to work.

Kuddos to you for doing this. I'd love to hear more too!


That's terrible..co-op my butt.  The only way you have to do any of those things is if you signed a contract that stated those were conditions of your lease.  If you signed a plan old rental agreement you can do your own thing.  My girlfriend is in a similar situation with her landlord, had to drive 20 mins for an 'employee' meeting a few days ago that lasted 10 minutes and consisted of the lady yelling at everyone for using too much water.  She didn't read her lease and the landlady did stipulate cleaning, meetings, and even her dresscode in the contract.  She's stuck for another month but already has her new room ready to go...and this time she took her contract to a lawyer to read over to make sure she was indeed just renting space.  Good luck to you, Chris!

I've had renters. employees and independent contractors throughout the years. I prefer renters and independent contractors just because the paperwork and such is much easier. If they are not an employee, I don't expect them to clean any area outside of their treatment room, but it's always nice when they are considerate of the rest of the center...in fact if I can tell that they aren't going to be the type to be considerate, I don't even get started with them.


Chris....this landlord is asking/demanding too much....not cool! The gal that works for me now is paid as an independent contractor. She supplies nothing and is not expected to do anything around the Center except work on clients. She tells me the schedule she wants to work and comes and goes as she pleases. She's super reliable and she does pitch in to make sure our Center is inviting for our clients....for which I am blessed! Landlords shouldn't expect it but be grateful for it!!

I am SO glad to see this is a topic of conversation.  I have recently been hired by an upscale salon/spa and started at a very low hourly rate to start while "training" and am to move to 50% commission when my services and retail exceed $1000 a month.  My schedule is 32 hours a week, not counting prep time.  My training consisted of "here is your room" and the other esti has been very nice answering my questions, but everything from product to services I have had to research on my own, which is fine, I'm a big girl and know how to do my homework, but twice I've had a client on the table asking for a service I had not heard of and had no idea how to fake it.  They do not use intake forms except for the very first client visit and many of the sanitation practices are questionable.  The real problem is, after I go to commission, I still have a 32 hour schedule that I must clock in for, clean, laundry, assist, and otherwise keep busy, BUT will only get paid 50% of services, LESS a product fee for each service (that I am not allowed to have a chart of) and ZERO commission on retail even though I'm expected to sell 15% of my service gross in retail sales.   I have worked for over 20 years in other businesses and can't even concieve of trying to pull this on any other type of employee!   I have only been there a little less than a month and am shocked that everyone else just seems to go with the flow and not see the problem with this arrangement.   I am really looking forward to reading everyone's opinions.


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